By now, most mobile photographers — and practitioners of the highly regarded selfie genre — are familiar with Facetune, the popular iOS photo editing app from Lightricks. Facetune helps make portraits look a lot better than you might expect with tools that improve skin tone and texture, fix up messy hair, apply makeup, sculpt faces into a more pleasing shape and blur out backgrounds.
Today, the Facetune developers strike again with Enlight, a new photo editing app that builds on the image processing technologies first implemented in Facetune. It offers a new iPhone photo editor featuring pro-level options but maintains a consumer level ease of use.
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My first dive into Enlight, with a pre-launch beta, supports that claim. Despite the app’s high-end features, Enlight is completely intuitive, especially if you’ve already been using some of the popular image editing apps on your phone, such as VSCO Cam, Aviary, SnapSeed and others.
“Enlight is a unique product in that it offers the most powerful tools for mobile image processing in a way that aims to make them accessible for the mass market; this makes it a bit different,” Itai Tsiddon, co-counder of Lightricks, told TNW.
“Some tools … are very complex and aimed at professionals. Others do a great job of creating creative communities and enabling sharing with beautiful filters. These are less focused on deploying state of the art technology to innovate in mobile creativity — they have a different place.”
Enlight logically groups different types of editing tools together under main sections like Canvas, Image, Filters, Tools, Artistic, Brushes, Text and Finalize. An animated tour of the app is immediately accessible to demo each tool, and conveniently for the target audience, each tool has a pull down animated guide that explains how to use it in context. Thus, Enlight also functions as a learning tool.
All controls appear in a collapsable vertical menu at the right side of the screen. You can widen the controls to show text controls or just work with the icons. Every adjustment and effect is customizable with a tap and swipe, so it’s easy to get exactly the right amount of any edit.
The main sections of the app contain subsections for additional controls, and that sounds more complicated to describe than it actually is to use because the menus are collapsable. You only see options for tools you are currently using. If you get too entangled in your own vision, no problem. Just long tap on the subtool to revert to the photo’s original state when you entered that module.
For example, Crop opens up to vertical and horizontal flip and straighten tools, but also offers a slate of fixed ratios. Adjust gives you a choice of presets, tools and a mask feature. The tools can go very deep, but you don’t have to plumb the depths immediately.
Advanced tools include Refit, which borrows from the concept of Photoshop’s Content Aware Move — it lets you adjust the composition of the photo to bring elements closer together but without altering the context of the scene.
A Mixer tool lets you combine content from two different photos, offering an assortment of blending modes. The mask tool gives you fine control over where to place effects, and you can select different parts of the photo for special effects while leaving other parts untouched.
In addition to filters, Enlight also provides painting effects, urban and sketch effects that let you adjust everything from the texture of the canvas to the lighting and offer a palette of artistic brush styles.
Like many photo editors, you can either shoot directly from the app or you can pull up an image from your camera roll. Your photo collection is completely accessible from within the app.
Enlight is available via the App Store for $3.99. An iPad app and an Android version are also in the works, according to Lightricks, but there is no timetable for release, as yet.
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