Even though the camera on the iPad 2 is not exactly at the top of the heap, there is at least one app for Apple’s new tablet (FX Photo Studio) that gives the user a lot of tools and a great gesture interface for photo editing.
Most of us have used similar programs on personal computers; the genre allows us to do some simple photo editing tasks and to apply filters that will turn you photos onto “oil paintings” or “charcoal drawings.” Overdone, such programs can produce a lot of tacky images from even the best of photographs. However, used with taste and a bit of good sense, they can also produce some beautiful finished images. Not only does the app have a plethora of effects for the user to apply, but the authors have done an outstanding job taking advantage of the mouse-less gesture interface.
It seems almost natural, as if one was working with hand tools and physical photographs, to use swipe, squeeze, and tap gestures to make changes in your photo. Working slider bars with your fingertips, using them to crop documents, and for a wide variety of other tasks seems quite natural in just a few minutes, leaving you wondering why you ever needed a mouse and a keyboard for something so simple. These same gestures let you control the details of the effects you select, from the width of chalk strokes to the exact tone of sepia used.
The app also has a number of clever shortcuts, like the ability to save a series of effects applied to a photo as a preset that you can use over and over again in a single step. No, it’s not Photoshop, but it is a very nice tool for the 99 cents that you will need to spend on it at the Apple App Store. It is great fun to play with and can produce very nice images for even the barely artistic.