Review: Magic Touch by Nick Drabovich
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Top Photography and Image Manipulation Apps. Additional details may be found in the original article.
Magic Touch ($5) is a very ambitious image editing application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Offering a number of basic image adjustment tools, a color palette of over 200 colors, 18 color blending tools, undo, and the ability to take pictures from inside the app, it’s loaded to the gills with functionality. Unfortunately, this functionality is hampered somewhat by the interface. The main view offers five buttons at the bottom: a camera button for taking a picture, opening a saved image, or saving the current image, an undo button — users can also shake to undo all changes — a before button that shows the original, unedited image, an action button for setting brush parameters, and a centrally-placed smart button that toggles between edit and zoom/move modes. Images opened from the photo library will often appear cropped on the screen, requiring adjustment to be able to see the full image.
The brush parameter selection is where the app’s interface troubles lie. Instead of offering the user some visual feedback of brush size, transparency, and effect, the app simply presents all three options on selector wheels, with size listed as pixels — full is also an option — and transparency given an alpha value between 0.01 and 1. A button at the bottom lets the user set a color for the brush, if desired. Unfortunately, we found the results from the brushes to be less than reliable — for instance, we ended up tapping repeatedly in an area to add brightness instead of moving our finger over it like one would when using a Photoshop brush, as the latter resulted in nasty over-brightening. The app really works best when using the full image brush size, but doing so undermines the idea of varying brush sizes. Magic Touch was also hindered by repeated low memory warnings, which sometimes resulted in a crash. Adding to the disappointment was the app’s maximum output resolution: 1024x768, which is less than the maximum allowed on the iPhone, and thus a little low for an app this powerful.
It’s fair to say that while we are generally impressed with the myriad of options available in Magic Touch, it still needs quite a bit of work. We disagree with the decision to leave out any sort of graphic-based brush preview in the parameter screen, as it makes things overly-complicated. Yes, some would argue that the ability to specify their adjustments on this level is worth the trial-and-error, but on a handheld device, it’s close to being overkill. A more graphical and intuitive way to select and define brush parameters, improved memory handling, and additional polish would go a long way to improve this app, which has terrific potential. For the time being, however, it falls short of our recommendation. iLounge Rating: C.