Ever since Instagram launched in 2010 I’ve been fascinated by iPhone camera apps. You can take hi-res photos of nearly anything and import them into these mobile apps on your phone to create tremendous customizations. Filters, lighting, cropping, recoloring and nearly anything else you could possibly think about.
I’ve had the chance to review Color Splash Studio which is a similar app connected to all your social networks. It’s easy to import a photo and customize the settings, then share it out to all your profiles around the web. I love the simplicity of their user interface which goes hand-in-hand with the sharing and export features, but let’s talk about that more after the jump.
First after launching the application you’ll be presented with some initial import options. You can take a new brand photo to work with, import something from your collections or migrate something from your Facebook account.
The authentication page uses OAuth to connect into your Facebook. From there you can choose any photo to import into the studio. In this case, I’ll be using mostly photos from my camera roll and artwork I’ve moved over onto the iPhone.
Cropping and Basic Image Tools
The process only takes a few moments to grab the photo of your choice. The import stage is fairly short and requires an initial cropping handle. You can choose how to setup the photo by panning around the image.
You can also pinch to zoom and place the cropping box squarely within the range you would want to edit. Note this will not affect your original photo in any way — Color Splash makes a unique copy of the image which you are editing. Also, if you don’t want to crop anything you can tap Choose to move into the editor studio.
The default settings are skewed a bit where each image is targeted with a selected color scheme. I am working with Bluetone in the image above, which overlays a blue tint onto each area. By tapping on the color tab you’ll be presented with more options.
Dramatic FX with Colors
The bottom tabs are more useful for manipulating the image’s overall display state. You can reset the color schemes or additionally pan around the image for a better vantage point. Editing is all about precision, and sometimes you need a deeper scope to get the right effect.
Looking back towards the top toolbar you’ll notice a much larger selection of choices. The Effects tab has some interesting pre-built filters which you can turn on and off. The default choices are None, Soft, Dreamy, and Hard Light. This is also the menu where you’ll find the overlay colors — even monochrome black & white for an old-school feel!
Some Other Neat Tools
The Adjust tab near the top left will display some input sliders. You can add more saturation to the current color scheme, or slide the Hue effect to change up the image altogether. Admittedly, it is a bit annoying that the image preview doesn’t always update as you adjust these features.
Also in the far right corner, you’ll notice a tab labeled More Tools. There isn’t anything in particular that’s super useful in this menu, but you do get a glimpse into masking and how the app manages to edit large portions of your photos.
When using the brush tool you can show or hide the outline marks. You can also show or hide the clipping mask itself, or totally delete it and start from scratch again. These tools are more complicated and you probably won’t be using them very often.
The brush tool itself isn’t actually very handy. I’ve found it can be fun to play with, but it will not make your photos look any better. Unless you are trying to change the color of a specific area in the shot, you’ll have a difficult time appreciating any brushes. But luckily, the Undo button works perfectly in this scenario — so nothing is permanent if you do play around.
Exporting your Creative Work
I absolutely love the export menu where you can finally share out between so many different networks. When you are ready tap the “Done” tab in the top left corner. This displays a new menu where you can discard the current photo to start a new session, or save the photo and share among various social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, Instagram, CloudApp and email.
You’ve also got the option of saving the photo directly to your Camera Roll. There have been times where I’ve needed to have a photo on a different computer and uploaded the changes directly to CloudApp. Having these options handy is truly a great user experience.
However, this can be tricky since some apps may crash when running older versions of iOS. If you’re at all concerned with losing your saved changes, then export to the Camera Roll and upload to your different profiles afterwards.
Possible Future Changes
I can’t complain about very much in Color Splash Studio. The app includes some very basic tools which all work very well at customizing photos. You can export and share to so many different networks all at the tap of a button.
My only hope is that the developers will continue to release changes as time moves forward. It would be neat to have the option of adding/removing tabs from the top toolbar to make room for more unique effects. I would also love to import photos directly from other network’s profiles such as Twitpic or Imgur.
I have to recommend checking out Color Splash Studio if you’re a photography lover of any kind. The app has just been released so you can bet there will be plenty of software updates in the near future. Additionally, any Mac OS X users can download the desktop variant from the Mac App Store for only $2.99. Anyone who needs greater functionality than Instagram or Facebook should definitely check out this wonderful image editing solution.