Pixelmator Photo first impressions: An amazing iPad image editor [Review]

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Pixelmator Photo should be on every photographer’s iPad.
Pixelmator Photo should be on every photographer’s iPad.
Photo: Nuria Gregori

Pixelmator Photo, a new image-editing app for iPad, gives you tons of tools for tweaking your images. The app lets you apply filters, crop, trim and generally making your photos look great.

In this regard, Pixelmator Photo is like a zillion other photo apps for iOS. What sets it apart are a) the now-expected Pixelmator polish, and b) machine learning that powers pretty much everything.

I’ve taken the app, which launches today, for a quick spin, and it’s pretty great. The photo-editing space is so crowded with great apps, though, that we’re spoiled for choice. How does Pixelmator Photo match up?

Portrait mode remains miraculous — but frustrating — on iPhone XS [Opinion]

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Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not. Fix failed focus with Focos.
When it works, Depth Control lets you dial in just the right amount of blur.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Portrait mode on the iPhone XS is pretty amazing — when it works. I gave it a good, hard workout after the device’s launch in September 2018, and found it to be an almost miraculous trick to fake the optical depth of photos taken on a bigger camera.

But after using it for half a year, does Portrait mode still seem so great? No. While it’s still just as impressive, sometimes it’s so frustrating to use that I just give up, quit the Camera app, and don’t bother to take a photo at all.

Hyperspektiv 2.0 is the bestest, glitchiest photo filter app ever

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Every single filter on Hyperspektiv is killer.
Every single filter on Hyperspektiv is killer.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Hyperspektiv is one of my favorite photo apps from the past few years. Instead of screwing with your digital photos to make them look like olde timey film photos, it screws with your digital photos to make them look crazy and awesome. It’s a glitch-style filter app, and it pretty much decimates your images, turning them into incredible video clips, and — now — still photos.

Hyperspektiv 2.0 is out, and it cranks up the heat on the image-mangling burner to H-O-T.

Nizo blurs the lines between shooting and editing video

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Nizo manages to mix power and ease of use. Take note, Apple.
Nizo manages to mix power and ease of use. Take note, Apple.
Photo: Nizo

Nizo is a new take on video apps. It manages to blend shooting and editing together, so you can edit your movies on the fly as you capture them.

The interface to do this is — like much good design — so clean and obvious that you wonder why it wasn’t done before. Let’s take a look.

Hyperspektiv app glitches up your photos and videos [Review]

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Imagine this moving, and you might start to get seasick.
Imagine this moving, and you might start to get seasick.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Hyperspektiv is a contradiction. Photo-editing apps are designed to make your photos look better by making them look nicer. Hyperspektiv is designed to make your photos look better by making them look worse.

Not only that, it’s one of a handful of photo apps that don’t try to mimic the limitations of film photography, like grain and light leaks. Instead, it ditches the nostalgia and uses truly digital means to glitch up your images, turning them into stills and videos that would look fantastic in a music video.

Use this quick tweak to fix the iPhone XS’ flat photos

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Punchy pomegranate, no auto-enhance required.
Punchy pomegranate, no auto-enhance required.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS’ camera is amazing, but put an unedited shot next to an unedited photo from the older iPhone X, or one of Google’s Pixel phones, and it looks a little flat. To “fix” this, you can tap the auto-enhancing Magic Wand tool on the edit screen, but this takes things too far in the opposite direction, making faces as orange as Florida bodybuilders.

I actually prefer the less-gaudy images from the XS, but sometimes they need a little extra pop. And the good news is, you don’t have to spend lots of time editing. There’s one slider built into the Photos app that will fix things up right away.

How to erase the background in your photos

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This needs some fine-tuning, but took just seconds to do.
This needs some fine-tuning, but took just seconds to do.
Photo: Cult of Mac

There are a bunch of reasons to remove the background from a photo. You might just hate the background — a perfect portrait ruined by crowds, or ugly construction work, or both. You may want to remove the background in order to extract the subject — maybe you’re doing some kind of Photoshop trick, or making a greetings card.

Whatever your reasons, it’s easy to do. Removing the background from an image used to be a nightmare. Now, you just need the right app. And if you’re a regular with our Cult of Mac photo how-tos, you probably have that app already.

How to fix up your janky Portrait Photos with Focos

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Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not. Fix failed focus with Focos.
Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Portrait Mode in the iPhone XR and XS is hands-down amazing. In the time it take to snap a photo, the camera scans the depth of the image in front of it, and uses that data to blur the background, and make the subject pop out, sharp. But it doesn’t always work. The depth detection gets confused by glass, for example, ruining what could have been an amazing image.

Today we’re going to use and app called Focos to fix these depth glitches. Focos is an all-round focusing powerhouse of an app, recently updated to support the iPad, including the new iPads Pro. The area we’ll focus on today (sorry) is the ability to edit the depth map, and paint back in the glass or hair that the iPhone missed.

Lightroom-busting Darkroom comes to iPad

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In the olden days, this was the only way to edit your photos.
In the olden days, this was the only way to edit your photos.
Photo: Agirldamednee/Flickr CC

Even if you don’t have much interest in editing RAW and JPG images on your iPad, you might still want to check out Darkroom. The brand-new iPad version of the popular photo app offers a view of your standard iCloud Photo Library that’s better-looking and easier to use than the native Photos app. And that’s just for starters.