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FX Photo Studio HD Review

Special Effects Photo Editing App for iPad

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


FX Photo Studio HD

FX Photo Studio HD

© MacPhun
What is FX Photo Studio HD?
FX Photo Studio HD is an iPad app for applying hundreds of image effects to your photos.

Compatibility: Requires iPad running iOS 3.2 or later.

Version Reviewed: FX Photo Studio HD 3.2.0

FX Photo Studio HD Pros:

  • Offers a large variety of effects (187 in version 3.2.0).
  • Can save presets of effects and adjustments.
  • Mark your most-used effects as Favorites for quick access.
  • Save documents and come back to them later.

FX Photo Studio HD Cons:

  • Does not save edited photos at full resolution (2048x2048 max. size).
  • User interface does not rotate; locked into landscape orientation.
  • Icon text is hard to read.
  • No text tools or selective adjustment options.
  • Too many gimmicky effects and not enough useful adjustments.
  • Not a universal app--iPhone and iPad versions require separate purchases.
  • No in-app help or tips.

FX Photo Studio HD Description:

Burnt Paper Vintage Effect in FX Photo Studio HD

Burnt Paper Vintage Effect in FX Photo Studio HD

UI © MacPhun, Photo © Sue Chastain
  • FX Photo Studio HD provides hundreds of special effects and useful adjustments for your photos.

  • Also provides common editing tools such as crop, rotate, flip, and color/tone adjustments.

  • Categories include Art, Blur, Color Fantasy, Color Temperature, Cross Processed, Distortion. Frames, Glow, Groovy Lo-Fi, Grunge, Hue, Image Correction, Overlay, Photo Styles. SFX, Sketch, Symmetry, Texturize. Vignettes, and Vintage.

  • Mix and match effects. Save presets of effects and adjustments.

  • Share presets and import presets from other users.

  • Hide effects you don't want to see.

  • Read "Amazing Facts" as you wait for processing when an effect is applied.

  • Quickly toggle original and edited image.

  • Save to photo library, in-app documents (for iTunes file sharing), or clipboard.

  • Share via Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and email.

  • Purchase additional FX bundles for $0.99 each.

Hands-on with FX Photo Studio HD

FX Photo Studio HD is an iPad app for applying hundreds of image effects to your photos. With 187 effects available, you have to wade through a lot of garbage, gimmicky effects to find the few useful ones. Fortunately, once you do find something useful, you can save it to a Favorites list for easy access later. And while many off the effects are silly, the app is well-designed and easy to use.

No tips or help are provided, and while it is not needed for basic use, it would probably expose more features of the app if there were some tips or instructions. For example, the iTunes file sharing and preset sharing options are not explained and many users may overlook them.

Monterey Color Fantasy Effect in FX Photo Studio HD

Monterey Color Fantasy Effect in FX Photo Studio HD

UI © MacPhun, Photo © Sue Chastain

Although the effects in FX Photo Studio can be mixed and stacked on the same photo, there is no way to apply selective adjustments, or fine tune the placement of effects such as overlays. The category of image correction is sadly lacking with no adjustments for highlights/shadows, white balance, sharpening, or noise reduction--corrections which would be useful given the poor quality of the iPad 2's camera. I was also frustrated by the app's inability to rotate the screen orientation when working on vertical photos. But the biggest disappointment of this app is that it does not save your edited photos at their full resolution--2048 is the maximum pixel size for width or height. For an app with "HD" in its title, there is just no excuse for this.

The app does have a few nice things going for it, however. It provides a large number of sharing options, the ability to save and share custom presets, and a Favorites list for quick access to your most-used effects. The built-in camera of the iPad 2 is supported, and several sharing services are supported. It is also nicely designed and easy to use, although my 40-year-old eyes had a hard time reading some of the tiny icon labels.

FX Photo Studio HD only costs a few bucks, and if you are the type of person who likes to play around with a lot of one-click effects, you will get some fun out of it. Personally, I would rather pay a little more to get a smaller collection of more useful , higher-quality effects.

FX Photo Studio HD in the iTunes App Store

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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