Sometimes, you just can’t argue with quality. In an age when “selfie” was Oxford University‘s word of the year for 2013, there are more apps that promise to enhance your photo than you can throw a stone at.
But no one had built the A-grade premium version of the retouching and airbrushing app until a Jerusalem-based startup Lightricks came out with Facetune (available for download on Android and iOS) in early 2013. The app immediately shot to the top of the iTunes store, obviating the need for Lightricks to raise any funding since the company was profitable from the start.
What’s so great about Facetune?
It allows a total amateur to achieve effects similar to that of a professional using Photoshop. For instance, if you want to whiten your teeth in a photo, you just use the whitening tool. You don’t have to stay within the lines because Facetune’s algorithm intuits what you are trying to do and does it for you.
How did they succeed where others failed? The company was founded by four Computer Science PhD dropouts as well as a lawyer clerking at the time for Israel’s Supreme Court.
“We realized there was a big gap between the cutting-edge research and technology available in the market,” Itai Tsiddon, the company’s co-founder and director of business development (he was the lawyer) told Geektime.
“Our IP is based on dozens of years in the university, [and] also places like Adobe and Microsoft research labs.”
Today the company announced the launch of Enlight, a photo editing app on iOS that promises to do for mobile snapshots what Facetune did for selfies.
Using the same image processing technologies first implemented in Facetune, Enlight will let everyday users achieve Photoshop-like effects on their mobile phones with virtually no training or expertise.
“Nothing like Enlight exists on the market. In addition to upgraded versions of existing tools, Enlight offers new features that, until now, were only seen on desktop editing software, if at all,” said Zeev Farbman, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightricks in a statement. “Smartphones are bringing the highest quality cameras to our daily lives. It’s time the highest quality software in the field came to mobile, too.”
“Most great photo apps succeed because they do one thing exceptionally well. Enlight succeeds because it does everything exceptionally well,” said Dan Berman, founder of the Mobile Photography Awards. “Enlight is the first true Swiss Army knife of photo apps. You’ll want to keep it handy and use all of its features, all the time,” he added.
For that price, you get a series of features that would make Photoshop blush: vertical and horizontal flipping, 90° rotating, and precision finger-drag swiveling, in addition to traditional image cropping. It is also possible to crop the image from the inside, bringing the desired objects closer together without losing important parts.
There are also features that let you brighten a dark image, add vintage camera filters, oil painting filters and many others.
You can see some before and after shots here:
Before. Photo Credit: PR
After. Photo Credit: PR
Asked what he learned from the experience of working at Facetune, Itai Tsiddon told Geektime, “Frankly, it’s a cheerful lesson. Quality matters. It’s easy to be cynical and think that people don’t care about quality, but they do. If you make something that’s really good, they notice it and appreciate it.”