For all of you iPad lovers we have another photography app review today. Even though the iPad is still a new device there are lots of apps to wade through, some which are keepers but many which are not. We will be your guinea pigs and always give you real and unbiased reviews. Today we have one of our other guest bloggers helping out, Cheryl Lindo Jones.
Color My Photos HD iPad Review
Color My Photos HD is a simple, easy-to-use tool to convert a photo to monochrome, then color back in details that you want to highlight. There are several iPhone/iPad apps that do this, like the well-known Color Splash. It’s a fun, eye-catching way of putting the spotlight on a photographic subject.
The interface is very simple. It can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations. You load a photo from your Camera Roll which gets converted to monochrome, then you can use a brush, pen, or airbrush tool to color in your photo, or an eraser to make it black and white again. The app even has a sample photo for you to play around with when you first start it. Note that if you import photos larger than 5 megapixels, they will be down sampled to 5MP.
Figure 1: Photo selection menu
There is an “inverse” button that will flip the black and white and color parts of your photo.
You use the pinch gesture to zoom in and out of the photo to work on finer details, like around the edges of the subject you’re coloring in or erasing. Finally, you use two fingers to pan around your photo. All of this information is shown in the app’s help screen which is accessible when you tap on the app’s name in the center of the top bar. The top bar also has back and forward buttons to undo and redo the editing steps you’ve done. The undo/redo feature is unlimited, a plus.
According to the help screen:
- the brush is a medium tool with a round tip
- the pen is a small tool with a square tip
- the airbrush is a large tool with a round tip
At first, since I wasn’t zooming in that much to do my coloring work, I couldn’t tell much difference between the brush and pen tools. However, when I did some really fine detail work like in the photo with the zipper that I was coloring (seen below), the pen tool was useful for very small areas like the zipper teeth.
There is no way to resize the different tools. They are proportional to the zoom level of the photo, so if you’re zoomed out to see 100% of your photo, the tools act on a large area. If you’re zoomed into your photo at 200% or 300%, the tools act on a smaller area for fine detail work. I would have liked to see a slider to control the sizes of the tools, so that even if you want to do fine detail work while fully zoomed out, you can. While I haven’t used Color Splash, from its screenshots in the App Store it looks like it has resizable tools. The only slider in the Color My Photos HD UI is for adjusting the saturation of the the areas you’re coloring in. For example, you could paint in an area with 50% or less saturation to give the photo a light color wash, instead of bringing back the full color.
Besides lacking manually resizable tools, I wish Color My Photos HD had a crop tool. It would be nice not to have to save the colorized photo and bring it into another tool just to crop it before uploading. Personally, I think cropping a photo to get the framing right is just as important, if not more important than getting the best exposure, color, sharpness, etc. Some people would be surprised how much of a difference a good crop can make, but your mileage may vary.
Color My Photos HD also has an iPhone version, which unfortunately is a separate purchase. I don’t mind if the iPad version of an app is a separate purchase when the UI or functionality is sufficiently different from the iPhone version. In this case, it doesn’t seem like there is much difference between the two versions, except for camera support for the iPhone (please correct me if I’m wrong; I do not have the iPhone version of this app). I think this probably should’ve been a universal app.
Color My Photos HD is worth the $1.99 USD purchase. The UI is quite intuitive. The latest update increased the maximum zoom factor so that you can zoom in even further to do very precise coloring or erasing. Playing around with selective coloring is a great way to experiment with your photography and learn new techniques.