It eventually happens to all of us. We’ll take a great shot, but when viewing later, we realize that it’s cropped just a little too tight. “If I only had a little more sky, this photo would be perfect,” we lament. Previously, on the iPhone, that involved using one or two (lesser) crop apps to add canvas and then cloning back in image. Some would call it a detailed process. I call it a PITA.

AntiCrop is a new photo app from Adva-Soft, the makers of the very good content-fill app TouchRetouch. In addition to standard crops, AntiCrop allows you to crop outside the edge of your photos, using fairly intelligent content fill to add image where there is none.

I like the app, but it’s not perfect. Read past the jump to find out how well it works.

AntiCrop is super easy to use. Just take a snapshot or import an image from your photo library, then slide the photo frame in the direction you want to expand it. AntiCrop extends the edge with similar image. It draws pretty quickly on an iPhone 4S. It’s very similar to the content-aware fill tools in Adobe Photoshop.

AntiCrop also works as a standard cropping app and has some great tools to crop an image down as well. As you resize the edge of the image, AntiCrop displays the final trim size in pixels. It’s got a 90 degree rotation tool. In addition to freefrom crop, there are also several standard aspect ratios in both portrait and landscape modes. The handles are a little dodgy to grab and move, but AntiCrop might be the only dedicated cropping app you use on your iPhone.

The fact that it does what it does — on an iPhone, no less — is very impressive. AntiCrop supports greater than full resolution on an iPhone 4S — up to 4691×3812. That’s an image of almost 18 megapixels. Wow!

And did I mention that it’s fast?

AntiCrop also allows you to import an image at three smaller sizes – high, medium, and low resolution (on older iPhones, just medium and low).

It’s not perfect. AntiCrop works best expanding basic backgrounds, such as horizons, beaches, treelines, sky, etc. It won’t recreate a detailed subject correctly. There’s even a warning in the app’s description, which the developers deserve huge kudos for in being proactive about this:

“Please do not use AntiCrop to complete unpredictable picture areas – human face, buildings or other objects since the application was not designed for these kinds of tasks.”

They’re right. The results are unpredictable and often pretty bad.

So, how well does it work? Extending backgrounds and horizons, it often works well, although many times I found myself wanting to clean up areas of the expanded image with a clone tool in TouchRetouch or other image editing app. In my tests, AntiCrop worked great on expanding the sky, including sky with clouds, which I thought was pretty impressive.

Below are several samples and my notes on each. The first image is the original, the second has been expanded by AntiCrop. All images were processed from high resolution photos.

I pulled out all four edges of this shot. Overall, the sky looks good, especially in the top and right sides. There’s a slight discoloration down where the bottom edge was extended. This can easily be fixed with a few passes of TouchRetouch.

Although it tried to extend the trunk of the palm tree and the lamppost, it had problems. Cloning these back in to fix them should fix these fairly easily. If I’d have not tried to extend the bottom edge, this image would have looked great with no additional fixes.

There are a few artifacts in the sky and on the horizon of this sunset pic. Most of the artifacts in the sky can easily be blended out in TouchRetouch. The surf extended out fairly well, especially on the left side of the image. There were more problems on the right side in both the surf as well as some pier artifacts in the clouds. Much of this can easily be cloned or blended out.

AntiCrop did a great job extending the grass and dirt. Although it tried to extend the tree out a little bit, there are visible problems.

Sky – great. Clouds – pretty good. The horizon is great on the left side of the image and the treeline on the right only needs a little tweaking. There’s some cleanup needed on the roadside poles on the right. The road on the left, though, surprisingly gave the app some pretty big problems.

AntiCrop disaster!

The above is what happens when you try to extend a pretty detailed area.!

Based on the preview we ran recently, I wanted to say that AntiCrop is fantastic and perfect and is the miracle fix for your images. It’s not. It has its limits.

It’s still an impressive piece of software. What it does well is amazing, but rather than being a one-stop fix, it can be a very good tool in the process.

For a dollar, I highly recommend AntiCrop, if for no other reason than it usually works great on skies and many horizons. I like the app for what it can do. I don’t dislike what it cant.

AntiCrop is old-iPhone friendly! Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1 or later

AntiCrop - Adva-Soft

And, in case you want to have a look at it, here’s a link to TouchRetouch on the App Store.