New photo app Awesome Photo FX by Duan hucai may look familiar to you because it is. It looks a lot like the photo app Etchings, except this one is buggier.

It’s not just a ripoff of the superior Etchings. Most of its code is ripped off from the original app.

Have a look at the app to compare the two, but do not buy Awesome Photo FX. A developer that steals code is worse than shady. At best you’ll get stuck with a broken app that’s unsupported.

Keep reading for more info and photos.

Etchings is a great, unique app that I’ve previously reviewed. It applies any of several crosshatch etching effects to your images.

I received an email from Bill Wilson, the developer of the original Etchings app, alerting me to this scam. I dropped the two bucks on the scam app so you don’t have to.

Much of Awesome Photo FX is almost an exact copy of the original Etchings app. The opening screen is nearly identical, except the onscreen Info button doesn’t work. The UI is nearly the same except for the Cancel and Save buttons. The app’s effects are identical, even down to the crosshatch applied. The  filter names are the same. Even the money effect was stolen without any changes.

After some digging, it looks like much of the code for Awesome Photo FX was hacked and stolen from Etchings, and then reuploaded as this new app.

“I opened up the .ipa file that I bought and found all of our artwork, GPU fragment shaders, our compiled user interface files, everything, etc.,” says Bill Wilson. “Of course running the app, everything is identical (a few graphics have changed) even the output resolution is 1200×1200, filter names and output are identical.”

I’ll bet that even the icon is stolen from another app.

Stealing code is worse than selling a badly coded clone of an app. It’s theft of intellectual property. Even if a few hundred users purchase and download the app before it gets pulled, this shady developer will be rewarded by a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in sales off the backs of the team that put hundreds of hours into the development of the app.

Mindsea have started action against this scam version of the app. Hopefully, it should be removed from the App Store soon. For now, have a look at the app for a laugh, but I strongly recommend that you not only avoid this app but this shady developer’s other apps as well.

Please share this post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to warn your friends and family about this app scam.

Etchings is a very cool app. Here’s the App Store link if you’d like to buy the real version of the app.

Etchings - MindSea Development Inc.



Etchings and Awesome Photo FX splash screens

Awesome Photo FX and “stolen Franklin”. The Franklin effect is identical in both apps.