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Faded Review: Easy to use, excellent value photo editor

Yet another photo editing app, but this one does have a few neat tricks

Faded bills itself as the ‘premiere all-in-one photo editing app’, although its primary function is to add a faded, degraded and aged look in the vein of Instagram.

We were initially pleasantly surprised at the app’s low price, but that soon disappeared when we realized that most of the presets are in-app purchases. You can buy filters and effects packs for a dollar apiece, or each complete set for $4.99. However at the moment the app is offering all 36 filters and 40 effects for $4.99 – and it doesn’t take a genius to figure that this is by far the best deal (although this doesn’t include overlays which are ‘coming soon’). So if you want the full package, you’ll be spending just shy of six dollars.

With some color edits and a light leak, this snap suddenly looks decades old

With some color edits and a light leak, this snap suddenly looks decades old

Snappy functions

To start with, Faded provides some useful additional features when taking photos. It has its own camera interface with flash on/off, timer, grid overlay, exposure control and a switch to toggle between front and rear cameras. Of note is the exposure control which lets you adjust the image with a simple slider, as well as the timer system, which has a neat ‘snap’ function: just click your fingers to start a three-second countdown. 

Faded provides separate focus and exposure points, with control for the overall exposure

Faded provides separate focus and exposure points, with control for the overall exposure

With your photo taken, you then have an array of editing options available from the six icons at the bottom of the screen. The first offers presets for instantly altering the look of your shot, making it look aged, adding color casts, desaturating the image or making it black and white. There are seven categories and most of these include the in-app purchases mentioned previously. The app also includes Actions, which enables you to save a history stack as a single Action, which you can then apply to other images.

Slide rules

Next we have the typical editing functions, such as Exposure, Contrast, Brightness, Temperature, Tint and so on. There are dozen in total, all controlled by the same simple slider system. For the most part these work well, but with things like Vignette, we found ourselves wishing for additional options, and with no image zoom it’s hard to tell if Sharpen and Grain are doing anything at all! The third option is FX, which lets you apply dust ands scratches, emulsion stains and frames (like on a Polaroid photo), plus gradients and light leaks, for that 1970s-style film camera look. 

At any point a swipe to the right reveals the main menu

At any point a swipe to the right reveals the main menu

The fourth icon provides access to cropping and manipulation tools, enabling you to cut, flip and rotate the image. Tab number five reveals 18 different frames such as ellipses, stars, triangles and so on. You can change the size and color of the border, and while we probably wouldn’t ever use them, they might be useful for sending cheery baby portraits to granny. Or something.

The final option gives you access to the camera and your image libraries (Camera Roll and other apps), so you can load up photos and either blend two images together, or add a color overlay. With the latter, you simply choose a color swatch, then merge it with your image, with control over the strength and blending modes. It’s a bit like using the Temperature/Tint controls or the film-look presets – for example, add a subtle blue or orange overlay for Instagram-style aging. 

You can blend two images together for ‘interesting’ results

You can blend two images together for ‘interesting’ results

All in all, Faded is pretty impressive. While it occasionally forgoes functionality in favor of ease of use, for snappers looking to populate Instagram or flickr it’s ideal. However dedicated iPhoneographers will bemoan the absence of deeper controls, or the lack of saving at full resolution. Presumably because it’s designed for online sharing, Faded only exports at half-res, so our 10MP iPhone 5s images were saved at 5MP – weirdly, images sent to Dropbox were even smaller. Faded might not be the ‘premiere’ app it purports to be, but it’s certainly very capable and feature-packed. It doesn’t quite do it all, but it certainly does an awful lot.

Price: $0.99/£0.69

Size: 55.7 MB

Version: 1.3

Platform: iOS Universal

Developer: Vintage Noir, LLC

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