When I used to do wedding photography, I spent a lot of time using Photoshop to enhance and edit portraits, such as removing blemishes, smoothing out skin tones, and occasionally putting a smile on a bridemaid’s face. Photoshop is truly a magical tool, but it has for most users a high learning curve, with an equally high price tag.
But thanks to a new app called FaceTune ($1.99, currently priced at 50% off), you just may be able to use many of the advance portrait editing tools in Photoshop on your iPhone. FaceTune is not a single-click solution to editing and enhancing portraits. The editing does take some time and skill, but if you’re looking to do some major editing to a portrait, you may find most of what you need in FaceTune.
Its Main Features
As with Photoshop, FaceTune includes a collection of powerful editing tools for smoothing skin tones, whitening teeth, sharpening details, defocusing background distractions, removing red eye, and reshaping facial elements.
It also contains a wide selection of Filters for changing the overall temperature and tone of a portrait, applying one or more Lighting effects (e.g., Lighter, Darker, S-Curve, Warm, Cooler), and various Frames and Lens effects (e.g., Holga, Diana, Lensbaby, Fish Eye, Distorted). Note, however, the app doesn’t really have straight forward exposure and contrast correction tools, such as what you find in ProCamera or Camera+.
Now granted, expert Photoshop users will find FaceTune’s editing tools lacking in terms of levels of control and fine tuning, but the app’s editing tools are powerful enough to significantly enhance any portrait you bring into it.
How To Use It
FaceTune includes built-in instructions for using every one of its several dozen tools. For novice photo editors, the app may feel intimidating, but because it’s a non-destructive editor, which means your original photo is not overwritten to create a new one, you can experiment with the tools as much as you like, and learn as you go along.
The key to doing portrait editing is to zoom in on the areas you want to edit and enhance. FaceTune starts you off with a sample portrait, and walks you through the process of editing it. I spent about ten minutes working with the portrait in the screenshot below, and though there are still areas for improvement, it would have taken maybe twice as long to make the same changes in Photoshop.
Most facial enhancements are more subtle than the ones used in the above portrait. But as you can see, FaceTune can quickly get rid of acne, blemishes, sun burns, and other facial impediments. FaceTune does not include all the advance brush tools found in Photoshop, but it does contain, for example, a Patch tool that is used in a similar manner as the one in Photoshop. I used this tool to get rid of the dark spot on the middle of the woman’s neck.
The Patch tool basically copies one area of the skin and pastes it over another selected area. If you have never used this tool, it will take some time learn it. It’s not a simple one-click application, but it can work wonders.
Also notice, that at anytime in the editing process, you can undo the changes you make. Unfortunately the Undo and Redo buttons don’t show up until you hit the blue Apply button in the upper-right of the editor. It would be better if the former buttons were always present without having to first apply an edit. There is also a button on the bottom-right that you can tap to get a Before and After view of your edits. The red top-right button will cancel out all your un-applied edits so you can start over.
I used the Reshape tool to add a smile, but such an enhancement is a really advanced piece of editing, and it does take time and practice to make the changes appear natural.
Some FaceTune tools, however, are not as easy to apply. I tried to slightly darken my gray beard, but the Tone/blush tool was just too heavy to make subtle applications. To use the Tone tool, you first tap on the color Picker and copy a color or tone that you want to apply to another part of the portrait.
In the case of my gray beard, the application was too dark, and as far as I can tell you can’t create gradations of a selected color, though FaceTune includes an assortment of fixed colors to choose from. It also appears that you can’t adjust the size and hardness of the Tone tool, which also made it difficult for me to darken my beard.
FaceTune can’t go toe to toe with a photo editor like Photoshop, so it’s understandable that some of the app’s tools are not going to work as well in every situation. But FaceTune does include cropping and filtering tools that work just as well as in many other similar iOS photography apps. Even if you’re not a skilled photo editor, FaceTune is not too difficult to learn, and even have fun with.
So let us know what you think of FaceTune and how you use it.