Facetune review: Complicated tools, but makes portraits better

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The Good Facetune has a steep learning curve, but with excellent built-in tutorials, you'll quickly be coloring, smoothing and reshaping your photos like a pro.

The Bad The app is better suited for a larger screen, but is not a universal binary, so you'll need to buy the app twice if you want both the iPhone and iPad versions.

The Bottom Line Facetune brings pro-level photo editing capabilities to your iPhone with great results, but you'll need some patience to learn the ropes.


7.5 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 7
  • Interface 7
  • Performance 8
Facetune is an app that aims to give you professional quality photo editing tools in the palm of your hand. The app is intended to be used with portraits or group photos giving you the tools to improve the overall look of your subjects.

Upon first launching the app, you're immediately given the option to use a demo photo. The demo photos are portraits of individuals who may have exposed blemishes, hair on their faces, freckles or some other attribute that can be removed through the app.

I suggest starting with a demo photo, as it gives you a chance to get familiar with the app and the tools you'll soon have at your disposal. And what better photos to learn your skills on than those of a complete stranger?

The first time you select a tool you'll be presented with a quick tutorial explaining what exactly the tool does, along with the providing a general idea of how to use it. The part that I like best about this approach is that the tutorial focuses on features in a timely manner, rather than in a short tutorial the first time you launch the app, where it's likely you'll forget what it was you quickly tapped through.

Another nice touch regarding the tool guides is that there's a video at the end of each brief explanation should you want to see how the creators use the tool. This visual demonstration goes a long way.

Tuning a photo
Included in Facetune is a total of ten tools to enhance your photos. You'll find tools such as Crop, Whiten, Smooth, Details, Reshape, Patch, Tones, Red Eye, Defocus and of course Filters and Frames.

Each tool is built for a specific task, and while most of the tools have similar traits in terms of how you use them, they all have minor tweaks and nuances you'll need to familiarize yourself with for the best results.

For example, the Patch tool helps you cover up moles, pimples or beauty marks. You start by selecting the spot you want to cover up, and then selecting a portion of skin to copy and replace the unwanted mark with. The end result is you're able to easily cover almost anything up.

You can zoom in on a photo, or increase the size of the area to be covered up with the familiar pinch-to-zoom gesture. In addition to the pinch gesture, you're able to move around the photo simply by dragging your finger across the screen. There is also a "Move" button that disables the editing tool currently selected that would normally apply an edit, so you can move the photo. Although, with the Patch tool, I never found myself accidentally selecting a portion of skin to patch when I had intended to move the photo, making the Move button kind of useless.

In contrast, the Reshape tool allows you to bend and transform a photo to make a nose look smaller, or bring the waist line in a bit. The same principle mentioned above for navigating is applied, but in this case you have to use the Move button in order to let the app know your intention.

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