APP OF THE DAY - Touch Retouch (iPhone/iPod touch)
Aside from games, another genre of application that seems superbly suited to the current wave of smartphones is photo manipulation. As the in-built cameras become more sophisticated, more and more of us are using our handsets to snap pictures. Indeed, many of our Facebook pages are more full of photos than a Gran's sideboard drawer.
So it's good to find the occasional photo editing app that offers something different to the others. And today's app of the day certainly falls into that category...
- iPhone, iPod touch (iPad version also available)
One of the major new features of Photoshop CS5 that has had everybody a-buzzing is "Content-aware Fill", a one-click solution to removing unwanted objects (lens-flare, shadows, etc) in photographs without having to do the hard work yourself.
Well, that's exactly what Touch Retouch does too. For 59p.
And not only is it cheap, it's also extremely simple to use. Just load a picture into the software, paint on the section you want to remove, click "Go", and it will magically disappear before your eyes. You can change the size of the brush so you can be more accurate with the area you paint over, and if you make a mistake, you can redo or use the eraser to refine the area you've selected.
There's also a lasso tool to mark around a zone, so you don't have to scribble all over it, and you can pinch and zoom a picture as you see fit, allowing for the most intricate of editing.
Pictures can be grabbed from the device's library (or from camera, if there is one) and there are a couple of in-built training videos that can be played when you start up the application. They're handy, although the use of a computer text-to-speech voice is a tad unnerving. It's as if Stephen Hawking's guiding you through the process. Who knows, maybe he is!
The other caveat of the software owes more to initial expectations than anything. Touch retouch works best when the background is fairly uncomplicated. The more chaotic and colourful the scene, the more likely that it will offer up some bizarre results. However, the same could be said with the Photoshop equivalent, and that's hundreds of pounds.
As a cheap and simple photo manipulation tool, Touch Retouch presses all the right buttons, and is essential for any amateur photographer who doesn't have the time or inclination to spend hours on editing.