lucid, perfectly clear, mobile photo, iphonegraphy, fix photo

Even with recent improvements over the years, the iPhone camera can still take photos that come out just a little flat or have dark areas. Regardless which iPhone you have, odds are you are still taking photos that for whatever reason can use some quick help.

Lucid for iPhone and iPad ($2.99) offers one-click photo-correction that “lets you improve photos in an instant.” With a tap, Lucid analyzes and automatically applies up to 18 image corrections at once. If it sounds like Perfectly Clear, it’s because it’s also from Athentech and shares an updated version of the same engine. But it’s a very nicely updated version. Read on to find out more….

Long-time readers know that Perfectly Clear has been one of my go-to photo apps for years. It performs nearly the same automatic photo corrections that Lucid does. I was asked to help beta test Lucid by Athentech. Having just gotten one of the snazzy new iPhones, I thought “Sure, new photo scrubbing app… let’s see what you got.” The image quality of the iPhone 6S cameras is so good, I didn’t think Lucid would make much difference.

I was very pleasantly surprised at not only how well Lucid improved a wide range of iPhone 6S photos, but also that many times it was visibly better than the one-tap fixes of its predecessor, Perfectly Clear. Granted, the improvements were not as striking as they would be on an older iPhone, but it demonstrated to me that the Perfectly Clear technology is still relevant.


Basically, the two apps work exactly the same. Load an image, select an adjustment, tweak if necessary, then save or share. The interface is almost identical, although there are some significant improvements under the hood which make this a worthwhile purchase. I’ll get into them in a bit.

In a surprising number of photos, colors were brighter, richer, and more natural than unenhanced. Lucid helped contrast and sharpness without adding unnatural halos and artifacts. Detail was brought out in darker areas, giving presence to dark, shadowy areas. In my tests, the moves looked natural and more like what my eye saw when I captured the photo.

In both Standard and Fix Dark modes, Lucid is a visible improvement over Perfectly Clear. The tools have been refined so that Color gradations are smoother and more natural. Color blends are more subtle, smooth, and natural. I noticed a lot less Sharpen artifacts in the new app. Dark areas improved with more subtle enhancements. Noise in darker areas was reduced, although still visible. Lucid has good built-in noise reduction, but I think NoiseWare is still a superior solution for this problem.


Moreso than in Perfectly Clear, I found myself using one of the one-tap presets without any additional tweaks. The new fixes are that good out of the box. You can also tweak individual adjustments. A tap of the Adjustments icon brings up the tools.

The look of the interface now better matches what I expect from an iOS app. You can now pinch to zoom the preview image to get a closer look while comparing the before and after. The iconic look of the Adjustments tab is easier to use. And the app is noticeably faster and smoother.

Improving Selfies


In my tests, Lucid also did a good job of fixing people photos — portraits, snapshots and selfies. According the the App Store description, Lucid’s Beautify button offers instant removal of blemishes, dark circles, shine, and red eye. At the same time, it enhances and whitens eyes and teeth, smooths skin and enlarges eyes. It even adds catchlights and face contouring.

(It was easier just to copy and paste all of that.) My tests pretty much confirmed these features. Forward-facing photos showed better improvement than off-angle ones. Lucid smoothed out and minimized pores and wrinkles. It reduced or eliminated blotchy areas and balanced out skin tones. Overall, it did a good job of removing unnatural color casts and making skin look as it should. It was able to remove or more often minimize all but the worst skin blemishes and pimples (Adobe Photoshop Fix will take care of those pretty easily). The dark circle removal was impressive, removing shadows I didn’t want while leaving those I did.

One of the things I like about Lucid’s Beautify adjustments is that it leaves just enough texture to look natural, unlike many of the selfie “improvement” apps which over-blur, over-soften, and over-whiten to achieve results. Overall, it improved many — not all — test selfies and portraits I threw at it.

Is Lucid a New App or an Update?

The answer is yes.

The developer says that there are so many improvements that it’s basically a new app. And although the two apps look the same, Lucid really does have better performance and UI enhancements. I like the new name, but it doesn’t feel like an entirely new app. For me, it’s more of an excellent update.

That said, I realize that some users may be put off that there is no upgrade path and that they will have to buy the app again. The App Store has no way for developers to charge incrementally for version upgrades. A quality app like this one takes a lot of time and investment to continue development. While I wish there would have been at least an initial launch discount making the upgrade path a little easier for previous users, in the big picture, Perfectly Clear paid for itself for me years ago. Considering the desktop version regularly goes for about $50, this update is a bargain for me.

The Bottom Line

Lucid is an excellent update. More often than not, it visibly improved very good photos from a brand new 6S Plus. It quickly and easily improved many aspects of a photo, helping to restore the color, light, and contrast that my eye saw. I initially thought it wouldn’t be necessary on the newer devices, but Lucid really does a great job of taking an already good-quality photograph and making it pop.

Perfectly Clear has been a staple in my iPhoneography toolbox for years. Lucid is a worthy successor. I highly recommend Lucid if you have an iPhone 5S or older. And to my surprise, I think it’s worth a buy if you’ve got one of the great new 6 or 6S iPhones.


Download Lucid

iphoneography, iphone photo, mobile photo, photo app, Perfectly Clear, Lucid

App Store link: Lucid