Directly from the startup of the Photoforge2 app for iPhone created by Ghostbird Software, which I use on my Apple iPad 2, I was impressed. Every time I tapped a new feature or setting, a helpful little bubble popped up with hints and tips. The customization capabilities available within the app are seemingly endless. To get started, you select the icon in the top left corner of the application that looks like four squares. This is where it will allow you to select from any photo library stored or synced to your iOS device. Side note: This application can read .TIF files, news that any high-res digital photographer will love!
Tapping the first icon on the bottom of the app accesses the group of settings made available to enhance the photo itself. Here, Photoforge2 allows the user to adjust all the things that a photographer would expect to be able to control in their digital darkroom. Levels, Curves, Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation, Lightness, (in a helpful grouping they refer to as “HSL”), Exposure, Noise Reduction, and Vibrance are all there! On top of all of this, there are added settings for Unsharp and Sharpen Masks, plus controls over Shadow/Highlight and White Balance. The Channel Mixer affords the user a greater control over color balance within the photograph. For those users that are unfamiliar with the multitude of each setting for fine-tuning their photographs, there is also an Auto Adjustment option. Within Auto Adjustment, you can select the options for the program to auto-adjust the White Balance and Exposure of the photograph, or simply do an all-around Enhancement which appears to encompass a refinement of the color balance, exposure, and contrast of the photo.
In addition to the customization intended to tweak the settings of the photograph to more accurately reflect the subject of which the image was taken, the second icon is an “FX” category. This allows the user to add further interesting effects to their photographs. Among the settings here are: Dreamy, 3D, Black and White, Sepia, Crystallize, Pointillize, Impressionist, Clouds, Noise, Bulge/Pinch, Twirl, Polar, Sin City, Posterize, Television, Night Vision, Heat Map, Find Edge, Neon, Emboss, Negative, High Pass, Radial Blur, Blur, Lomo, Gothic and the extra content “Pop! Cam”. (Pop! Cam will be reviewed separately at a later date).
In the grouping under the third icon from the left, with the crossed pencil and ruler, are the settings to add frames and textures to your photograph, as well as re-size and crop them. The fourth icon, with three pieces of paper stacked, holds the options to add layers to your photograph. The fifth icon that looks like a rewinding clock will pull all the states that your photo has been in since you began modifying it up in the mini dock and allow you to choose from any of them if you decide to scrap one set of changes. Once you select an earlier state of the image you can add edits to your photo from there. The sixth and last icon is the “info” icon. Selecting this will display geographical information for where the photo was taken, the size of the image and the day it was taken. You can also edit the information about the image, such as it’s author and title, and add a caption, and copyright information. To finish your project, tap the icon in the top right hand corner of the app to publish it to your favorite social networking site or send it in an e-mail.
Photoforge2 is an incredible app that any photographer who uses a device with the iOS should have. It allows quick and correct photo editing achieved in a short time with intuitive touch controls. I took an original photograph, fine-tuned it, and had it looking beautiful with accurate coloration, contrast, and brightness in a matter of minutes. For a bit of fun I also saved a version of the photo with the “dream” filter added on and it, too, is a gallery-quality image. The app controls are precise and easy to learn and being able to pull from any of your photo albums, edit in minutes, and then share wirelessly and easily is something that every photographer from amateur to expert level can appreciate. I would definitely recommend this app to any of my friends, and think it will be a great asset to providing clients on-site proofs on my iPad display when photographing special events. Though for now it is designed for iPhone sized screens only, the resolution of the app when magnified on the iPad screen does not negatively affect the app at all. I give this App an overall 5/5 Gears.