Photogene Title PagePhotogene offers a variety of image editing tools previously unavailable to the Iphone.  Arranged in a series of icons on the left of the screen (portrait or landscape),the tools are easy and intuitive to select and apply the to a photo.  As with most Iphone photo applications, the user can either take a new photo from within the application, or select a new photo from the picture library.

The tools are arranged in a logical order, so typically one will can work from the top tool down to the bottom, however it is possible to use the tools in any order, or go back and tweak an effect.

Crop: The first step is to crop a picture to improve composition, perhaps remove distractions from the edges of the frame.  With the Iphone’s (3g at least) poor close focusing this is useful to get a small subject to dominate the frame.  To crop, like in photoshop, corners of a new frame are dragged into position, prior to a crop being applied.

Mirror/Rotate: Perhaps less useful, but nice to have, the application has options to rotate in 90 degree steps, flip the photo vertically or horizontally.  A slider is available for more subtle rotations, maybe to straighten a horizon.

Filters: Photogene currently has a set of 7 filters to choose from.  On the Iphone I often find some Sharpening can really help an image “Pop”.  A sepia splitone can be an effective way of presenting some picture, and can be applied in varying degrees.  The other filters are perhaps less essential, Pencil, Blur, Posterise, Night Vision, and Heatmap.  A Black and White filter is available, which converts the picture to black and white, surprisingly. However this is 2 colour black and white, not a greyscale option.  A slider can be used to adjust the brightness level where black or white is chosen.

BLack and White Filter Screen Shot

Black and White Filter

Colour Adjust: The Colour Adjust menu includes Photogene’s most useful tools.  Firstly, there is a levels control, common in most photo editing software, but I’ve not seen this elsewhere on an Iphone app.  Slight adjustments using the levels control can give pictures an effective contrast boost, particularly to make sure that blacks are black. After levels, there are exposure and contrast controls, however these are possibly surplus to requirements to a user happy working with the levels tool.

Levels

Levels

A colours option allows adjustment of the pictures saturation and colour temperature using a pair of sliders.  Desaturating an image allows creation of conventional black and white images, although I would normally do this before adjusting levels.  I have rarely wanted to use the colour temperature

control, usually being happy with the Iphone’s auto colour temperature on image capture, however it is nice to know the option to adjust this is there if needed.

Saturationan Colour Temperature

Saturation and Colour Temperature

The final tool under colour adjustment is to adjust the RGB settings.  Again, I have rarely used this tool, but it can be used to give a tint to an image, again with three sliders for red, green and blue.

Symbols tools allow the user to insert coloured shapes onto the phone, such as speech bubbles, stars etc.  A small choice of fonts in available to place text onto these shapes, after a chosen shape has been dragged onto the picture and sized to suit.

The final tool is allows a selection of frames.  A good variety of choices is available, such as square, and rounded with customised line colour and thickness.  When posting a picture to a website with a white background (facebook, flickr), a think black frame is great for marking the edge of a pale picture from the background. Options are available to give shadow effects to the frame.

After editing is completed, Photogene allows the photo to be saved at a custom resolution, and then exported directly to a selection of social media sites, including facebook and twitter.

Verdict:  The most feature packed image editing app I’ve found for the Iphone.

Cost: £1.99

Pros: Number of tools, simple interface, not crashed yet

Cons: Potentially over complex, without presets it can take a while to get the desired ‘look’ and so maybe overkill for a mobile phone app? Photoshop.com app is free.

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