Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Photogene is a very well designed iPad app that provides many essential features for simple photo editing. This is my favorite iPad app for photo editing. It cannot replace my Photoshop yet, but neither can any other iPad app I have tried.

Rating: Price: $3.99

What's Good
Photogene is a feature rich photo editing application.
We will review, one by one, all of the nine mean tools provided by this iPad app.

You can crop a photo with a unconstrained box or with an aspect ratio of your choice. Unfortunately the most common choices are missing (see what's bad section for more details).

You can rotate your picture 90 degree left or right, and flip it, horizontally or vertically.
Photogene also provides a straightening tool. By dragging a slider you can rotate your image in either direction a desired amount. While dragging the slider a grid is displayed to help you align features in your photo. In this picture I used the grid to align the horizon line visible in the background.
I was very pleased by the maintained image quality. This tool performed much better in this regard than others, as with Picasa, where I had experienced quality degradation after picture straightening.

You can choose among 16 presets effects. You can tap on any of these effects and evaluate right away the result on your picture. More interesting is the ability to save a combination of settings in the Custom section, to apply to multiple pictures.

Photogene has 8 filters: sharpen, pencil, edge blur, B&W, posterize, sepia, nightvision and heatmap. An adjust slider allows to control the selected filter.
Personally I don't understand photo filters, with the exception of the edge blur. I guess someone does, since they are common in photo editing applications.

This is, in my opinion, the most important tool for photo editing. Here you can adjust the most important characteristics of your photo: exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation and color temperature.
These are the essential settings to correct wrong exposures, back-lighting or wrong white balance. You can also play with contrast and saturation to get a nice B&W picture.

Photogene offers as part of the same tool the control for Levels. You can tap on Auto to let Photogene compute the right settings, or you can drag the sliders to define the desired range of colors. Finally three RGB sliders allows to change the overall balance of RED, GREEN and BLUE channels.

The curves tool is another important tool, mostly used to adjust contrast and exposition of your picture. You can bend the default three point curve or add additional points for a very complex curve.

This is a classic red eye tool. You can zoom in the area you want to fix, and tap in the pupil location. You can the control both radius and intensity of the filter. This does a pretty good job even in difficult cases as the one below.

You can add text and shapes to your picture by using the symbols tool. Photogene has a library of 14 shapes that you can resize and position where you like on your photo.

Once you have add the symbol, you can then customize colors and appearance, or type your own text.

Frames allows to select among 13 different frames to add to your picture. You can customize color and other features for the selected frame. You can also add a nice reflection effect if you like.

What's Bad
To be honest, not much is bad in this photo editing application.
My only surprise was the selection of aspect ratio for cropping. I miss the standard cropping ratio for printing as 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10. I guess 2:3 count as a 4x6, but that may be not obvious for everyone. Also, the other 2 are not covered by any of the provided ratio.
For once here I have a list of wishes, here listed in priority order:
- cut, copy and paste of selected regions
- a stamp tool to remove imperfections
- support for multiple images (so I can cut a piece of an image and paste over another one)
- mask
- layers
Then I will have my Photoshop on the iPad and I wouldn't need to use my computer any more :)
As a side note, at the moment I did not find any other app that support most of these features, but I am hopeful in a brighter future.

Rating Breakdown

Photogene for iPad demo on YouTube
Photogene on the iTune App Store


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