By Graham K. Rogers
With all the photography apps now available for the App Store it is hard to come up with an idea that is new enough, or an app that is interesting enough to make a difference. Faded does that.
The app was released in early December, but it has only just appeared in the Featured section of the App Store here and is at version 1.1. The description in the App Store suggested a rich collection of filters and editing tools at its basic $0.99 price. There are a number of in-app purchases available for Faded, including the full collection of additions for $4.99.
Images may be imported from the iPhone photo library or directly from the camera. The default does not save the original image, but that can be changed in Settings. When the camera is selected, a number of icons are available at the top of the screen, such as flash options, a grid toggle and a useful timer.
Once an image is imported, there is a rich array of tools available to the user. At the top of the panel are icons to access the camera and library directly. Below these is access to the store which allows purchase of filters, effects and (coming soon) Overlays. It is not clear if these future Overlays are included in the all-in price.
Below the Store is an item marked Actions. In this, a user may store filters and adjustments made to any image so that these same effects may be applied to another image: like Lift and Stamp in Aperture. Below Actions is the Settings icon.
Also at the top (to the right) is an Export arrow.
At the bottom of the panel are the editing tools, starting with Filters
- Actions (another method of access to this option)
In turn each of these has a number of filters offered. For example B&W has 12 options. Some of these are lined with yellow which indicates they are part of the in-app purchases.
When a filter group is selected, the image is displayed as a series of thumbnails on the screen so that a user may gauge instantly how the effect should appear. Tapping on the thumbnail brings the image up full screen and the filters can then be scrolled left and right.
At the bottom of the available filters, there is a slider to increase or decrease the effect. Applying any of these effects was subtle, unlike many apps that are filter-based when the changes to an image can be rather harsh.
The editing icon to the right of the filters also makes a wide range of tools available to the user: exposure, contrast, brightness, temperature, tint, fade, highlights and shadows. Again, a slider below allows some fine adjustments to be made.
The FX section gives us another series of effects that may be applied: Dust + Scratches, Emulsion, Frames, Gradients and Light Leaks. As with the filters, several thumbnails are available with each effect, some of which will only be available via the in-app purchase.
A Crop icon allows proportional cropping, free crops, rotate (in 90 deg increments), vertical invert, horizontal invert and straightening. There are also several preset crop options, such as 16:9, 5:7 and 2:3.
A triangle icon gives access to thumbnails of 18 white border types, including circle, oval, triangles and crosses.
The final icon allows a layer to be added, either from the camera, the photo library or color. When one of these is selected a series of options appear to control the way the effect is applied, each of which can be adjusted using the slider.
Lettering above all the filters and effects is a modern-looking, tall, sans-serif font, similar to DIN Condensed. A slightly wider font was used at the bottom of the screen.
When an image is completed, there are several export options available, including email and a number of social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr. Swiping down the image reveals the history with the option to save this as an Action that can be later applied to other images.
The saved image from a photograph imported into Aperture via Photo Stream was 2592 x 1944 (5MP) with a file size of 1.31 MB as opposed to a normal iPhone image of 3264 x 2448 (8 MP) and file size of 1.72 MB. The images were 36" x 27" and 45" x 34" respectively when exported in 16-bit TIFF format.
Faded is not optimised for the iPad so displays in the x1 or x2 screens. The controls available are the same as for the iPhone, but the iPad displays them in different ways. A good example is when using the camera: onscreen tools were in the way. These were less obtrusive on the iPhone. The thumbnails are less crisp and sharp than when displayed on the iPhone. Nonetheless, the app was easy to use on the larger device and with the number of users taking photographs with these tablet computers, the app would be a good addition.
This app has such a rich array of tools and options that for its $0.99 price there is much to recommend it. This is a photo app that gets it right. As Faded is likely to be on the top of my pile of apps to use regularly, I took the step of making the in-app purchase of 9 filter packs (36 filters) and 5FX packs (40 effects) for $4.99. As the packs were already included as part of the initial download, the in-app purchase simply unlocked the extra filters and I was able to use them with no delay.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.