Affinity Photo app: When iPad takes a problem picture


By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

The Affinity Photo app has a hundred different ways to fix your rookie mistakes

If you’ve got an iPad and take lots of pictures, grab the Affinity Photo app from Serif Labs to enhance them with various easy-to-use filters and functions.

The app can increase the value and usefulness of your iPad and it’s so useful that the Apple Store lists it as “The iPad app of 2017”.

Not all iPads can use the app, however – it only works on the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and the latest edition released last year.

As well as handling the iOS 11 Drag and Drop function, the app is loaded with tools, filters and functions for jazzing up photos in such a way that your imagination is the only limitation.

You can use it to adjust colours and brightness, remove haze, replace the sky with some other background, crop shots and straighten the horizon.

It works with Apple Pencil to precisely edit and crop images, but it’s designed to be manipulated with taps, pinches and swipes. You pinch in and out to zoom in and out. In Selection mode, you tap with two fingers to view context options.

Affinity Photo boasts an intuitive user-interface, real-time pro-level dynamic tools, non-destructive Adjustment Layers and Live Filters, a comprehensive blend mode set, and liquefy and retouching tools.

There are tutorials to get you started in a builtin help file that has a vast amount of detail for each and every tool.

Serif Labs calls the working modes “Personas”, and each has its own set of tools. These help reduce clutter in the user-interface and thus improve workflow.

So you have Photo, Liquefy, Develop, Tone Mapping, Export and Panorama Persona.

Photo Persona is the default for photo editing, including crops, selection, brushes, retouches, erasing, warping and vector-based tools.

Liquefy is a stunning design environment for distorting images. Use it to retouch pictures or add special warping effects.

Develop Persona is handy if you shoot photos in the RAW format. Images can be developed with full control of colour and tone.

Tone Mapping is intended for 32-bit documents but can be entered from eight and 16-bit documents and adjust the tones of non-HDR images.

With Export Persona, you can output an image, layer or slice to a range of image formats.

Panorama is for stitching together pictures into a wide view and fine-tuning them.

I tested the app on a new iPad 9.7 tablet and watched it run smooth and fast. Some effects took a few seconds to process, but most appeared in an instant.

The diverse adjustments, filters and layer effects make transforming images easy and fun.

The adjustments include Black and White, Brightness and Contrast, Colour Balance, Curves, Exposure, Shadow/Highlights, Selective Colour, Posterise, Invert, Levels, Soft Proof and White Balance.

Exposure is handy for altering the overall brightness and contrast if a picture is over or underexposed or for giving the photo a high-key or low-key look.

With Shadows/Highlights, you can brighten shadows and darken areas that are too bright rather than applying a lighting adjustment to the overall image. It works on specific areas and the surrounding pixels so there’s no obvious transition.

Selective Colour subtly adjusts and enhances hues in each of the four colour channels.

Among the filters, Haze Removal is great for cutting through any haze, fog, rain or glare obstructing a subject. In a landscape situation, these environmental factors can wreak havoc with contrast and colour saturation.

Zoom Blur applies streaks to the picture that converge on a selected point to lend the impression of movement, similar to the effect of a long exposure during zoom.

Motion Blur also suggests movement by blurring the pixels in a specified direction, much as you see when panning on a subject at slower shutter speeds.

For portraits with an attractive bokeh blur in the background, go to Lens Blur. It mimics the effect that occurs when a wide aperture produces a narrow depth of field. It improves composition by making the central subject stand out more against the backdrop.

The Lighting effects simulate ambient, point, directional and spot lighting. You can add light sources for more advanced lighting control. Different light source types can be used in combination, each one independently configured and positioned using onscreen handles.

For retouching photos, there are Red Eye Removal to get rid of the scary red dots produced in flash photography, and Inpainting, which means image interpolation.

This is how you restore lost or deteriorated image data or, in the context of digital photography, replace or remove unwanted areas of an image. You might want to get the ugly power lines out of the background, for example, or anything else that detracts from the image.

You use the Inpainting Brush Tool to paint over or identify damaged or unwanted areas. Complex algorithms then take over to harvest information from the surrounding areas and reconstruct what’s missing.

Affinity Photo has a suggested retail price of Bt699.

– Developer: Serif Labs

– Version: 1.6.5

– Size: 994MB

– Operating system required: iOS 10.3 or later

– Compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad


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