Photoforge 2 Review [iOS]

If there was ever a true and proper Photoshop alternative for the iPhone, it would be Photoforge 2. Even the PS app on the iPhone doesn’t even come anywhere near this! With Photoforge 2, you could be editing photos just like you do on your desktop on no time!

It honestly doesn’t get any better than this. Photoforge 2 takes your image editing and image manipulation to a whole new level, and then some! It’s available on the iOS platform for both the iPhone and the iPad, and while I can imagine the Photoforge 2 experience being vastly superior on the iPad’s 10 inch screen, it isn’t bad by any means on the iPhone either. In fact, it’s downright terrific!

One of the first things you’ll notice in Photoforge 2, is the sheer amount of control the app puts in your hands, and regardless of whether you’re a casual, photo buff looking to touch up your vacation photos, or an on-the-go professional, Photoforge 2 has something for you. In a nutshell, it gives you almost as much editing options and capabilities as a full-blown desktop application would!

For instance you can take just about any image out there, standard-res or HD and start ‘forging’. Photoforge 2 offers an immense amount of zooming capability, so much so that upon zooming in, I could even see each and every individual pixel of the 1080p images I had in my phone!

The app’s interface is a sight to behold! Upon launching Photoforge 2, you simply need to tap the + button and add the photos that you might want to edit from your phone’s library into the app’s. At this point, you can also acquire photos from another iPhone or iDevice over Bluetooth, or use your phone’s camera to take one! Once the photos have been added, they’re displayed as thumbnails in the Photoforge 2’s library. Tapping any photo once takes you into the editing canvas. And that’s where things really pick up!

At the bottom of the app’s screen lies its main menu, arranged in 6 buttons. Among these buttons, there are 3 broad categories of editing tools at your disposal in Photoforge 2: you have adjustments, FX effects/filters and tools. A bunch of other options lie within each category, which pop-up in a MAC OS-style manner, and can be scrolled left or right simply by swiping, which makes scrolling through all the available effects an extremely easy task.

We’ll now look at each of the 3 main editing tools included in Photoforge 2, one-at-a-time:

IMAGE-MANIPULATION ADJUSTMENTS:
This has your standard stuff like brightness and contrast, adjusting hue, saturation and lightness, exposure and noise reduction. Each adjustment comes with its own slider bar, which can be moved left or right to fine-tune each effect to exactly what you’d want, and once you’ve applied the effect, simply press the check button to accept or the cross to undo the changes.

Then there’s the advanced stuff – you can adjust the RGB, CMYK and LAB effects effect using graphs as well as curves! And while all that might sound like alien to the average user, the more pros among the Photoforge 2 users would certainly appreciate this level of control, and that too on-the-go!

Casual users looking to quickly touch up their apps just might find the auto adjustments more useful. These include one-touch adjustments for white balance, exposure and enhancement. Photoforge 2, here, will do all these adjustments for you, automatically, at the single tap of a button.

FILTERS AND FX
Photoforge 2 contains an impressive array of more than 25 filters and FX. Some of them are your usual filters like B&W, Sepia, and noise adjustments. Like the adjustments from the last section, these too are fully adjustable using the slider.

There are also some really neat and downright-amazing filters here to choose from as well. Filters like crystallize, twirl, sin city, television, night vision, or gothic can make for some very interesting results! You can apply as many effects as you want, maybe even come up with some really unique looking photos using a combination of filters.

I really have to mention a little something called Pop! Cam present in the Filters menu of Photoforge 2. Using this, you can use a combination of films, lenses, flash effects, post-processing effects and papers to come up with photos that could look like they were taken in the 80s, taken using a polaroid or a disposable or even a pinhole camera, or you could make them look like they were taken using a 1000 dollar DSLR! There’s quite literally so much to choose from here, it can be quite overwhelming to say the least (12 million possible combinations, wrap your head around that!), but a lot of fun nonetheless. You even have some pretty sick looking frames here!

Mind you, Pop! Cam is actually an in-app purchase in Photoforge 2 at just $1.99, but free to try.

TOOLS
No image editing app would be complete without those crop, rotate or resize tools, would it? Photoforge 2 is no exception. With the tools menu, you can quickly do all that, plus add frames and textures to the selected image. Each option, in accordance with everything else in the app, uses the iPhone’s touch screen controls to great effect.

But leaving everything that’s been said aside, perhaps Photoforge 2’s greatest strength is that it offers you to add layers to your photos – photoshop-style! An unlimited number of layers can be added, and rearranged according to preference. Tapping a layer twice from the layers menu opens up more options – stuff such as changing its blend mode or opacity, or even rotate or transform it. So you can add an additional layer if you want to apply additional effects to your photos, and even mask that layer if there are portions in the photo you don’t want. Reordering layers changes the visibility very easily.

It is important to note that blank layers can also be created and filled with color.

I could rave on and on about Photoforge 2. For instance I could tell you the exquisite way Photoforge 2 lets you undo EVERYTHING that you’ve done since loading an image. Or I could tell you that Photoforge 2 lets you save your edited pics to your phone’s photo album or your Dropbox account, send them via email, over the FTP or even as a postcard (printer required for this), or upload them on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa or Instagram. The truth is I could go on and on, and on, about how Photoforge 2 oozes AWESOME. But I’ll stop myself right here, tell you to get your wallets out and shell $1.99 on this gem of an app by clicking the link below!

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