Layer support for the iPad! That is all the headline needed to read to grab my attention and make me download this app through the App store for my iPad. Always on the hunt for a great editing app to play around with on my iPad I had to check out PhotoForge2 when I saw it had Layers. Not even sure how I would use layers on the iPad for editing but still had to try it out. Here is a quick review of PhotoForge2 for iPad.

photoforge2 ipad app PhotoForge2 is a pretty full featured photo editing app that does give you much more control compared to the other photo apps out there. The app is split into 4 main sections:

– Image adjustments – Here you have a huge list of things you can edit from Curves, Shadow/Highlights, White Balance, Sharpening and even noise reduction. Most of these are very straight forward just click on the tool at the bottom of the iPad and then use the sliders like you would in PhotoShop to adjust. These work well, the only thing is it’s not in real time however I think that really is just a limitation with the iPad and not anything developers can do at this time. When you are adjusting a slider it does only take a quick second (or less) for that to render, the speed of the app is very quick and does make up for the fact that there isn’t live previewing available. Also the sliders appear over the image to retain a large image size but you can move the slider box around the screen which can be pretty helpful. Once you are done with an adjustment you have to remember to tap the checkbox at the top left to save that. You also do have a history button where you can see all steps made so far and go back to any prior state of the image.

PhotoForge ipad app review

– Fx adjustments – Presets and filters are what most photo apps have and this app does give you the ability to quickly tap on a filter to adjust your image. The filters are pretty standard though and not many that I really like. Some of the effects like Embossing, Neon, Heat Map…. are a little cheesy in my mind and don’t really have any professional use. I don’t even know it they would have any use with normal consumers but that’s a totally different discussion. The one really cool filter they do have though is an add on called Pop! Cam. You can buy this extra filter set for $1.99 and it gives you many different types of adjustments you can make (and layer on each other). Its similar to the Hipstamatic iPhone app and has some cool vintage styles. With this add on you have 7 different main filter sections and within each one there are about 15 different filters include. The sections include films, lenses, lens filters, flashes, developing settings, papers and borders. My only wish is that a few of these nicer filters were included with the main app.


PhotoForge iPad Pop Cam Presets

– Image Editing – There is a separate tool bar for image editing that includes your basics such as cropping, resizing, borders, textures and rotate. Straightforward and simple tools that do what they should.

– Layers & Masking – This is what got me interested in the app and works pretty good. You have a lot of control here and can create as many layers as needed and also create layer masks which is pretty cool.

Some of the nice things you can do with Layers:

  • Opacity and blend modes
  • Create and edit layer masks
  • Full resolution mask painting editor
  • Copy and paste masks between layers
  • Load images a new layers or create empty and color filled layers
  • Duplicate and merge layers
  • With layers you can create as many layers as you need to by clicking the new Layer in the layers option. This will let you add a new photo or a blank photo. You can also tap on an existing layer thumbnail to open up a menu to the right
    with additional options. One of these will give you the option to add a duplicate layer. You can also see just that layer by clicking the little eye icon, delete the layer, merge the layer with the one below it, edit the layer or create a layer mask.

    PhotoForge ipad

    PhotoForge ipad layers


    Tap the mask icon on the corner to switch back and forth from mask view

    PhotoForge creating layer masks

    creating layer masks with your fingers

    PhotoForge iPad

    PhotoForge iPad Layer masks

    When the iPad first came out a few years ago I had said that the power will be in the apps. We are just starting to scratch the surface with some more full fledged apps coming out now and I’m excited to see what will be created over the next few years!

    Overall this is a pretty powerful photo editing app and at just $2.99 a great deal.
    You can get PhotoForge for iPad in the iTunes store here: PhotoForge2 iPad App

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    Also here is a quick view review from the makers of PhotoForge2: