As someone who does the occasional design project and who has been looking for ways to better integrate my iPad into my workflow, it’s only natural that I would start looking for a photo editing app. Recently, there have been several great reviews of photo editing apps such as Photoshop Express and PhotoToaster, which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
However, another app that deserves notice is PhotoForge2 from GhostBird Software. With great app store reviews from professionals and beginners alike, this app is extremely powerful and adds some functionality that exceeds many others in the same category. With complete layer support, adjustments, and effects, this app proves to be versatile and well worth the price.
Keep reading to see all of the features this app has to offer, and how it can easily be your complete photo editing solution on the go.
Design & Interface
The user interface is similar to other photo editing apps, with an elegant dark background and the toolbar at the top. Initially a tooltip comes up explaining that if you click the PhotoForge logo you will be given a list of helpful tutorials to start with as well as other options.
The documentation and tutorials are great and adequately explain all of the features that the app has to offer. In addition, they can be accessed at any time from within the app, making it easy and safe for the less adventurous.
PhotoForge2 Help and Support
Creating a new project is as easy as clicking the icon in the top right and selecting a photo, either from the iPad’s camera roll or document folder. From within the “Photo Albums” box, you can also import photos via other devices or take a picture with your camera.
Opening a New Project in PhotoForge2
Once the photo is opened, a thumbnail is created on the app’s home screen. Every new project will be represented by a thumbnail, and simply clicking on the thumbnail will open up that project.
Opening an Existing Project in PhotoForge2
Once the project is opened, icons below the photo lead to menus for adjustments, layers, filters, effects, and more. The toolbar at the top now features an icon on the right side which will open up sharing options.
Overall, the interface of Photoforge2 is easy-to-use and intuitive for people at any level of experience. As a new user, I found myself quickly using this app to create new textured backgrounds and to create more intricate photos involving layers and adjustments much faster than with desktop software. It was not only quick to pick up, it was positively fun!
While the interface makes the app easy to use and enjoyable, let’s look at the specific functionality offered by this app that really helps to set it apart from other photo editing apps out there.
PhotoForge2 boasts a wide range of editing capabilities. In addition to loading most RAW formats, the app also provides full resolution editing and an easy zoom feature which allows you to see every pixel. These, in my mind, greatly increase the appeal to photographers and those needing to do in-depth editing on-the-go.
These features are merely the beginning; PhotoForge2 contains a broad range of adjustments, layers, and effects for any project that you could throw at it.
The volume of adjustments offered by PhotoForge2 is astounding, and includes common adjustments such as color balance, levels, curves, brightness/contrast, shadow/highlight, and sharpen. Being a long-time Photoshop user, I can confidently compare the the list of adjustments with that of desktop software. Not only that, but the touch interface and the ability to view any adjustments before they are applied makes it effortlessly enjoyable to play around with.
Layers and Masking
Complete layer and masking support, in my opinion, is another way that PhotoForge2 distinguishes itself from other apps out there. In layer editing mode, you can:
Create a new fill layer or transparent layer.
Duplicate a layer.
Merge and flatten layers.
Create a layer mask.
Move a layer.
Adjust the layer’s blending.
PhotoForge2 Layer Support
You can also easily rearrange layers, and the blending modes are extensive, which further helps to make this experience an pleasurable one. And don’t worry if you make a mistake. The app has a history icon that remembers every step along the way, and allows you to revert to any point in the history of the project.
The project files are also saved separately from the original to prevent any unwanted editing or deleting.
Filters and Effects
PhotoForge2 features 27 filters and effects such as: black and white, sepia, crystallize, vintage 3D, night vision, emboss, and negative. You could literally spend hours just playing around with the different effects and their settings, it’s temptingly easy to do.
Sharing Your Work
For me, this is where the app really sealed the deal. If I am going to spend all of the time editing a photo, I need to be able to share it, email it, or FTP it easily. That is exactly what PhotoForge2 allows me to do.
Not only that, but it supports sharing via Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Picasa, Dropbox, Flickr, and device to device. I can also save the photo to an album or my documents directory.
Sharing with PhotoForge2
With all of those options, I can quickly and easily get out the photos that I have edited from anywhere to clients or my social network stream. You’ve got to love those options!
In conclusion, Photoforge2 is a feature-packed photo editing app that I think really stands out above the rest. I loved using this app for editing photos and creating more intricate projects using layers and adjustments. It’s not only a great tool for creative professionals on-the-go, but also for people who love to edit photos and share them.
As for some future suggestions, I would eventually love to see some more brush support – it’s hinted at in the layer mask editing, and also the ability to add shapes – as a graphic designer who often works with buttons and icons.
To celebrate the recent release for the iPad, the developers have, for a limited time, taken 30% off – making it only $1.99!