Developer: Tai Shimizu
Price: $3.99
Version: 2.6.2

Design Rating: ★★★★☆
Features Rating: ★★★★½
Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Tai Shimizu’s Filterstorm is “for anyone who simply wants to get the most out of their pictures while on the road” (Tai’s words). The universal application is an in-depth photo editor that allows you to apply a number of different filters to your photos and adjust a myriad of different levels to get your photos looking picture perfect. All on-the-go.

Filterstorm can load photos in two ways: from your clipboard (if you’ve copied a photo) or from your Photo Library. The former option is particularly useful if you come across a photo online, perhaps your own, that you fancy editing. When it comes to saving, you’ll always save to the Photos application, with additional options to send to Mail.app and even upload it via FTP to any server you may have access to. Nice touch.

Once you’ve got a photo loaded up, two categories of adjustments exist: canvas and filters. For canvas adjustments, options to crop, scale, rotate, straighten, flip and add border exist, all of which work exactly as you’d expect. Aspect ratios can be locked for convenience, but for now, the only unit of measurement is the pixel. No percentages.

Filters adjustment is where Filterstorm shines. The ‘common four’ are there – luminance, hue/saturation, temperature, black & white – along with a number of additional tools including soften / sharpen, blur, add text and clone. For those interested in maximum detail, further tools like tone map (simulated HDR lighting) and reduce noise can be found, as well as tools like posterize, add exposure and vignette (the latter tool adds a tinge to the corners, bringing out the centre of the photo).

For filters that cover the photo in its entirety, almost all use Apple’s scroller bars, meaning adjustments can be made with a slight finger adjustment, and then applied or applied with mask. This is what sets Filterstorm above its desktop counterparts: no mouse scrolling, no arrow keys, just your finger doing all the work. Unfortunately, even the iPad’s current A4 processor can’t handle on-the-fly visual adjustments, meaning only once you release your finger from the scroll bar will the changes take place.

The application features an in-built visual history, meaning you can revert to earlier edits if you aren’t happy with your progress but don’t want to remove all your work. By the looks of things, every time you make an adjustment, a new level of history is added (maximum 10). Filterstorm also includes a very useful automation mode if you’re working with a batch of photos and want to apply the same effects across the board. Simply apply the effects manually to one, save the automation, and then each time you open up a photo you can run the automation. This is a great touch, the only partial downside being you still have to manually open each photo to run the automation. Nonetheless, precious time is saved.

Overall, Filterstorm is very impressive – its list of filters is wholly suitable for most users. In my opinion, its only real downside is its lack of Apple integration. With the exceptions of a few category bars and scrollers, the application just doesn’t feel natural on the iPad, but almost ported over. This is a superficial, cosmetic complaint, not a structural one. And ultimately, Filterstorm’s about getting your photos looking picture perfect – and it does that very well indeed.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Photography, iPhone Apps and Games, Photography, Reviews

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