Version 1.2
Price: Free

Rating 2 stars

Bottom Line: A slick but confusing interface that is more frustrating than fast.

Sometimes change is good. For instance, the iOS — once considered the little cousin to Mac OS X has grown in power and functionality so that many new features in the upcoming mac OS 10.7 release were taken from the iPhone. The new Filterstorm updates redefines the UI for image editing programs — tailoring it to the iOS and the device’s strengths.

TOUCHLOOK PRO (now free) tries to take the evolution of iOS image editing even further by designing an attractive, extremely gesture-based UI. Unfortunately, the result is so obscure and so confusing, the app makes using simple gesture-based adjustments more frustrating and a lot less precise than more traditional methods.

TOUCHLOOK PRO is a basic image editor that allows you to adjust RGB, Hue & Saturation, Brightness and Contrast, and allows you to create vignettes. Once you figure it out, the interface is lean and pretty. It’s been completely redesigned and there are no standard elements in the UI. Even the names of the tool are frustratingly and obscurely called “Impression,” “Expression,” and “Deep-pression” with no indication as to their use. Learning the app is trial and error, unless you stumble across the user guide buried in the app’s settings panels.

But pretty alone doesn’t get the job done when trying to adjust color and light characteristics of a photograph. Their custom-designed UI isn’t very intuitive for making precision color shifts.

Using a combination of unlabeled geometric shapes and points, you use gestures to move everything around until the live onscreen preview looks like how you want it. There’s no numeric feedback or eyedropper — it’s all visual. Moving the position of the shape effects the image as well as moving the points towards or away from the center.

The app supports full-resolution images — 5MP on an iPhone 4. It strips out most EXIF data, including geo-tags. Also, because of the confusing UI, it’s very easy to accidentally hit the Home Screen button, going back to the import screen and losing all of your edits. Very frustrating.

For adjusting color, there’s a reason for precision measurements and better feedback — it helps the user make better color moves. Being able to see where your starting and end points are on the Red color slider, for instance, gives the user more precise visual and numeric cues to use to make their edits.

TOUCHLOOK PRO doesn’t offer this. TOUCHLOOK PRO is a slick but confusing interface that is more frustrating than fast. It’s good for experimentation and guessing. They’ve really designed a great-looking, minimalistic user interface, but it doesn’t work easily, consistently, and intuitively for me. While I give the developers credit for trying to redefine the UI of this class of app, this is a case where the UI has been overdesigned and function doesn’t necessarily follow form.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later