It seems like most of us are taking more and more pictures with every passing year.. The only thing that matches the amount of photos we are taking is the shear amount of photo editing apps available on the Mac. These apps range from photo editing apps costing hundreds of dollars to $1 simple filter apps. The problem is finding something that works for your needs. FX Photo Studio hopes to be that app.
FX Photo Studio is a photo app based on filters that offers more customization and the ability to transfer into other photo editing apps. Who exactly is FX Photo Studio for? Is it any good? Well, all of these questions and more will be answered in this review, so let’s dive in!
MacPhun LLC, the developers of FX Photo Studio, have made it available in two versions: standard and pro. The only difference between the two is their resolution support. The standard version ($9.99 in the Mac App Store), the version we received for this review, supports up to 16 megapixel images, which the pro version supports up to 32 megapixel images ($39.99 in the Mac App Store).
FX Photo Studio, at its core, is a filter based photo editing app. It is very simple but can produce some amazing final products. FX Photo Studio also integrates with other photo editing apps, such as Photoshop.
FX Photo Studio is not necessarily a feature powerhouse. What is included is what you would find as standard among photo editing apps. You have your adjustments for exposure, brightness, saturation, contrast, and hue. Also included are tools to rotate your image and crop. The rotate tools are quite disappointing; I would have liked a free form rotate tool and not just four buttons to rotate every 90 degrees.
If you are just using FX Photo Studio as a launching pad to add a few effects before you dive into a real pro photo editing app like Photoshop, Aperture, or Lightroom, then you are in luck. Once you are finished adding effects, you can simply use the menu option to directly export to your application of choice. Once you choose, it will open up the program and load your finished photo.
Perhaps my favorite feature of FX Photo Studio is the very simple, but really cool FX compare tool. With the FX compare feature you can see your original photo next to the altered photo. My only gripe is that you can only apply one filter or effect at a time and once it is applied, that altered picture becomes the next picture that you can compare to. I really would like to see the ability to put multiple effects and filters on top of each other and see that in the FX compare mode.
Filters & Effects
The bread and butter of FX Photo Studio are the filters. There are over 170 filters and 40 frames and borders that are included. Most of the filters dramatically alter the color of the image, which may work for some and not so much for others.
Personally, I would prefer to see more subtle filters that do not necessarily overpower the beauty of the image. You do have the option of adjusting some of the effects to increase subtlety if you so choose.
You can create your own filters by editing the existing ones and you have the option to save it under the presets, so that you can easily use it later! You can also adjust the mattes of certain effects as to add or subtract parts of the image. Check out some of my pictures that I added filters to below. The pictures below were also had minor editing in Photoshop using the export feature of FX Photo Studio.
Design & Interface
FX Photo Studio is a well-designed app that thoughtfully displays all of the filters and effects in an easy to use manner. I never found myself searching for essential functions and adjustment controls; they are all placed in plain view. At the top you have a toolbar that contains everything from view options to saving.
All of your adjustments such as crop and rotate are located on the right and your filters are located on the bottom. I would be remiss if I did not mention how the bottom effects window can become very annoying. The “tiles” which shows you a preview of your photo with the effect can take a little longer than preferred to load. This load time is frustrating. It would be better if they could remove the live preview and replace with static, stock preview images that would provide a faster browsing experience.
FX Photo Studio is a mixed bag for me; I am not quite sold on its need. The filters in FX Photo Studio are, for my taste, mostly overpowering. I really would like to see more filters with subtle effects that will help enhance the image and not completely change it. Features are not exactly what this app is known for but FX Photo Studio does contain all of the basic necessary features for simple image manipulation. The design and interface is nice, although I would like to see the live previews changed to static to decrease the time it takes to load the filters when scrolling. Out of 10 I would give FX Photo Studio a 7. It has decent filters and can export to other pro photo editing apps.
If you are looking at this app, you should also check out CameraBag 2. I reviewed it here on Mac.AppStorm and I liked it quite a bit more. What do you think? Do you like more or less features in a photo app? Sound off in the comments below!