Photography course with iPhone (XIII): editing images with Filterstorm

7 Comments 10 April 2012, 11:13 Jesus Leon

Filterstorm is one of the most comprehensive tools available today for editing images on an iPhone (and is also available for iPad). And I’d say it’s the most complete one, along with Snapseed we’ve already seen and another veteran like PhotoForge2. With Filterstorm we have a powerful application with which we can make multiple adjustments, far beyond simple adjustments or filters. It’s the closest thing to desktop software, in the style of Photoshop.

Photography course with iPhone (XIII): editing images with Filterstorm
Photography course with iPhone (XIII): editing images with Filterstorm

With these praises, he who does not know it will come with curiosity to try it. First of all, it should be noted that Filterstorm is such a complete application that those less initiated in image editing will find it hard to handle. It is not an application for those who are looking for a quick edition , with a couple of touches to the tools.

In fact, I only recommend it for those who really have some knowledge of image processing, and know how to adjust curves, levels, layer application… and also have time. Because although the application is agile (especially in version 4, which is the last one), due to its multiple options it is more suitable for a more complex edition and therefore requires patience.

Filterstorm, a sober interface but with tools for everything

If you’re willing to get the most out of your iPhone photos, you can’t resist trying it out. Although the design of its interface has improved slightly in recent updates, it’s not really a design statement. It is purely functional , with a neutral background as a wallpaper, where we can place the image, where we can move it, enlarge it and see the progress of the changes we are making. However, at least we have a Spanish version (which can be improved).

On one side or the other, as you like (although by default they appear on the left side), we find the tools , arranged in a row. Each one hides a good handful of options, so it is advisable to know each one well, in order to be able to access the setting you want more quickly.

In the first button above we find the options to open our images. We can either load directly from the library or if we’ve copied the image previously we can just hit paste photo and have it on the tapestry ready to edit.

The next button, called “Document” allows us a basic editing as to crop, rotate, flip, scale, straighten… even define the size of the image.

The “Filters” button is the main one and where we find a list of options really overwhelming. From here we can make almost all of the improvements and apply the options to edit our image. Adjusting brightness and contrast, hue and saturation, white balance, focus, noise reduction, red-eye correction, vignetting,… but also conversion to black and white, improving exposure automatically and two essential tools like Curves and Levels (although we will see it as “Levels”, since in Filsterstorm not all options are translated).

For the handling of curves and levels it is advisable to take a look at the tutorials of Xataka Photo on this subject (there is now one in progress on the new version of Photoshop) to better understand how they behave, what they are for and how to use them. In Filterstorm it is practically identical to Photoshop in this respect.

And the best thing about each of the options we have discussed, including these curves and levels, is that we can apply them in a general way to the whole image or by areas. This is one of the features that makes Filterstorm an essential, versatile and unrivalled tool . Once we have made, for example, the desired curve adjustment, we can apply it through the brush to an area of the image, just by “painting” with our finger. You can control the softness and thickness of the brush.

Of course, in a further step we can even apply any option in a new image adjustment layer (which is the next button in the tool row), which we will later dock to get the final result. Here, again it imitates Photoshop, although with the limitations that a screen like the iPhone allows us. However, for more advanced users it will be the only impediment, since the creativity to edit images by adjusting by zones or applying layers becomes a strong point of Filterstorm.

Macros, history and export, other great virtues of Filterstorm

As if what we have seen so far was enough to evaluate this application as very complete, we can not ignore the rest that we find, which end up forming a lot of very interesting options. In “Macros” we have the option to save any adjustment made to apply it later to other images. This is the equivalent of Photoshop “actions” or Lightroom “presets”. They are a set of automated adjustments , that once saved in “Macros” we will only have to apply to our image avoiding all the cumbersome process that entails to make it each time.

These “Macros” can be shared and we can even test other users’ Macros and save them if we like the results. Also, in the same option we find the possibility of setting our watermark to the photos.

, author’s name, date… We can save them and apply them to our images, if we always use the same ones or just need to vary some of them.

The history is another of Filterstorm’s virtues. Any action we have done is recorded as a step in the edit history, so if we make a mistake or simply want to go backwards at a point, just go to the history and click on the setting we want. This is essential if you have a lot of settings to make.

Finally, the export option is one of the most complete that we can find. Not only does it allow us to save the result of our processing in our image library, but we can also determine the size at which we want it to be stored or the quality of JPEG compression, among other options. In addition, it allows us to choose several destinations such as sending by e-mail, the usual online services such as Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, but also to Dropbox or even FTP.

The high level of customization that this point also has, allows us to configure the usual export parameters to our needs and save them, so that we only have to mark them and hit export. Here again we save a lot of work.

For those who want to learn how to use Filterstorm a little better, they can take a look at the tutorial section of the official website or their YouTube channel where they include several videos with examples of settings. Filtestorm is available on the iTunes Store for the price of 2.99 euros (currently in version 4.1). And there is also a Pro version only for iPad at 11.99 euros.

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