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AFilter for iOS review: Tons of photo effects without the interface clutter

A new photo editor is making waves on the App Store most popular lists, and once I started using it, it was easy to see why.

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Jason Parker
Jason_Parker.jpg
Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.

4 min read

AFilter is a photo editor with an interface that stays out of your way, but gives you a ton of photo tools and filters to enhance your images.

afilterpromo.jpg
8.0

AFilter for iOS

The Good

AFilter has both basic photo tools and tons of filters and effects. The interface is intuitive and stays out of your way.

The Bad

The one-touch revert button has no undo option.

The Bottom Line

With an enormous amount of filters, textures and useful editing tools, AFilter is a great option for iPhone photographers.

Make A, the developer behind AFilter, has several photo editing apps already in the App Store that range from apps to improve your Instagram shots, to apps that let you do photo projects with shapes and fancy fonts. You get a variety of filters in these other apps, but with AFilter it seems Make A decided to go all out with an enormous variety of filters and textures. What results is a photo editor with almost limitless possibilities and an interface that's extremely intuitive.

A great interface for photo effects (pictures)

See all photos

Navigating the interface

The AFilter interface is right at home on iOS 7, with a minimalist design aesthetic, and flattened icons across the bottom through which you can get to most of the app's functions. What's also immediately noticeable is that the app uses a zoomed, yet greyed out, version of your photo as a backdrop while you're working on the image. It's difficult to describe, but it's a cool effect. Check out the slideshow above to see what I mean.

To get started with AFilter, you can take a fresh picture or use one from your photo library. With your photo onscreen, you'll notice six buttons across the bottom. The first button lets you revert to the original at any time (which is not always a great thing, as I'll talk about later in the review).

The next button gives you all the basic adjustments such as contrast, saturation, exposure, shadow, and color temperature. These slide out in a list from the left side of the screen. Choosing one brings up a slider so you can adjust how much or how little of the effect you want.

The third button gives you fine-tuning adjustments that are categorized by setting. These include things like darken, cloudy, sunset, and shade. You won't see a lot of difference using these sliders, but these tools work as a good starting point depending on what type of shot you're working with.

With the fourth button, you get to the meat of what AFilter does. The photo filter section brings up 20 different categories of filters, each with more than 10 different variations. What's more, each of the filters has sliders so you can adjust it more precisely. All told there are almost 250 filters to choose from, more than any photo editor I've seen thus far.

The fifth button is where you'll find textures divided into four categories of effects, Dust, Light Leak, Lens Flare, and Gradient.

Finally, there's a button for frames, but they're not your average run-of-the-mill frames you find in other apps. With these frames, you start by choosing a shape, then the frame shows up as a sort of transparent color overlay. You can still see your image through the frame, but it creates a really nice effect.

Sharing your work

Through different combinations of each of these tools, you can make cool photos you can save to your library or share. When you're finished, you can hit an arrow button in the top right of the screen to open up your sharing options. Here, you'll be able to open the image in Instagram, send it to Facebook or Twitter, or send via email.

One touch revert

My one issue with AFilter is the first button on the bottom of the screen. No matter how many filters and effects you have added to your photo, if you touch this button, it immediately reverts back to the original, but there is no way to undo your decision. The app already lets you view the original briefly by tapping and holding the actual image to see how much your filter choices have changed the photo. The problem with having this other revert option is that there is no way to turn back, and it's in such a prominent location that you're likely to accidentally touch it, losing all your work.

This could be fixed by adding an "Are you sure?" dialog pop-up or perhaps another press to get all your previous work back. Hopefully this is something we'll see in an update in the near future.

Conclusion

AFilter manages to pack in an enormous number of ways to enhance your photos without cluttering up the interface. It's incredibly easy to go from button to button across the bottom of the app, make your changes, then move on to the next set of features.

With that said, the revert button is definitely a problem, and should have an extra step before getting rid of all your work, or at least a way to get back to where you were.

Still, with so many ways to give your photos a unique look without having to sift through confusing menus, AFilter is a great addition to your photography app collection.

afilterpromo.jpg
8.0

AFilter for iOS

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 7Interface 8Performance 9
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