Review: Photoforge


Well-known member
Jul 5, 2008
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Photoforge, by Ghostbird software
$2.99 (on sale), Four and a half stars

  • Just about any tool you could want
  • Good user interface
  • Redo button in addition to an undo button

  • No single "auto-enhance" button

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo-code to review this app.

Photoforge is an image/photo editing app for the iPhone. It has a variety of features, including some filters and effects (B&W, sepia, neon, pencil, etc), photo adjustment (white balance, exposure, hue, etc), and a variety of image editing tools (paintbrush, clone, smudge, etc). In addition, it has a variety of curves that can be adjusted (RGB, CMYK, and CIELab) to further adjust, refine, or modify your images.

I will be honest, there are more tools here than I know how to use. While I like painting and image editing programs, when you start to get into the really detailed stuff, it is beyond my expertise. But I will give it a shot.

I have divided this review into three sections - photo enhancing/adjusting, image editing/enhancement, and just painting, and will breifly mention using each of those types of options.

For photo enhancing and adjusting, you can basically use this as a mini-darkroom. In addition to the tools listed above, it incluse a noise reduction tool, a sharpen and contract tool, simulated HDR, as well as birghtness, saturation, lightness, and vibrance adjustments. In short, it has almost any tool that you could want to adjust a picture you might take with your iPhone. With the possibility of a better camera in the works for the next iPhone, I suspect these enhancement tools will be very usefull. One thing I wish it included is a "auto-adjust" button - a single button to optimize all the features - for those of us less experienced using these tools.

The next category is image editing/enhancement. This would include tools like clone, smudge, eraser, fill, eye dropper, fill, etc. With these, you can take any picture on your iPhone and enhance or modify it as you like. This also includes the various filters - such as "dreamy", black and white, sepia, heat map, neon, sunset - 12 filters in all.

Finally, we get to actually drawing. Some nice features include a slider to adjust the brush size (not just limited to discrete sizes). With the brush, you can choose a variety of brush type (ranging from a solid line to a fuzzy star). You can also use a slider to adjust the brush size (not just limited to discrete sizes). When choosing a color, in addition to a full range of colors available, you can adjust the transparency of the color which can create really nice effects.

The user interface is very well organized. When you see the picture, you tap once to bring up the "menus". At the top of the screen, you will see the various tools (brush, eraser, eye dropper, etc). At the bottom of the screen you have the various feature settings (filters, color, brush type/size, curves) as well as an undo, redo, and save button. The redo is very handy, because you can compare what an image looks like before and after, and then decide your preference. When creating a new image, you can open one from your photo album, take a new picture, or create a new "blank" canvas to work on.

All in all, this is a very full featured and fairly easy to use image and photo app. It allows for a wide range of enhancements and has a large number of editing tools. I do wish it had some "auto-optimize" buttons for the less experiences, but for those that like to tweak their pictures, this app will probably have most of the functions that you would want. Normally $4.99, it is currently on sale for $2.99. I recommend this app mostly for those that will see themselve editing pictures or creating images. Four and a half out of five stars.

Rating scale:

* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.

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