PhotoForge2 by GhostBird Software icon

PhotoForge2 ($0.99) by GhostBird Software is the sequel to the popular editing app PhotoForge. However, it’s not an upgrade, it’s a whole new app. Rebuilt from the ground up, it has features and power far beyond its predecessor. The original app was a perfectly serviceable photo editor, but with all the newer apps out there competing with it, GhostBird Software really needed to step up their game, and they did.

PhotoForge2 by GhostBird Software screenshot

First off, the app is universal, so you can use it on any iDevice running iOS 4.2 or later. Native iPad support won’t be available immediately, but coming soon.

So, what is it like? It’s a powerful tool, that is for sure. It’s not the easiest to use app I’ve ever tried. But if you take a little time to learn how to use it, you will find just about any tool you could think of within this app. You can edit your photos and add a wide selection of effects and filters, which you can mix and match for endless variety.

Check out their video below for an overview of what this app can do. Their website gives this full list of features:

“Layers & Masking: Complete layers functionality, Opacity and blend modes, Free scaling, rotation and translation, Create and edit layer masks, Full mask painting editor, Copy and paste masks, Create new layers from images, duplicate another layer or create an empty layer and fill it with color

Powerful Tools: Curves & Levels with RGB, CMYK and LAB colorspaces. Sharpening & Noise Reduction HSL & Channel Mixer controls, Brightness & Contrast, Exposure, Vibrance White Balance, Shadows & Highlights Auto Exposure & Auto White Balance, Precise Image Cropping and Resizing

Filters and FX: Customize your film, lens, flash and much more to create amazing looking photographs with the Pop! Cam add-on, Great Black & White and Sepia filters, Lomo, Gothic, Dreamy and 3D, Crystallize, Pointallize and Impressionist. Bulge, Pinch & Twirl Plus much more, over 30 different customizable filters

Social Media and The Cloud: Built in social media support, Upload directly to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, Picasa, Tumblr, Full FTP support, Email or save to the photo album”

One thing I really liked about this app is that you can access the excellent Help menu by tapping the logo at the top of the screen at any time, which is important with such an advanced editor. Another really cool feature is the history button — tap that and see the entire history of changes you’ve made to the photo. You want to take your photo back to how it was four changes ago? Just scroll right back to it and tap, and that’s it.

One thing that did bother me about this app was that its most fun feature, Pop! Cam, is an in-app purchase. Sure, you can play around with all of its fun films, lenses, color gels, flashes, developers, papers, and frames. But if you want to save or share any of the effects you’ve tested out, you’ll have to shell out another $1.99 in-app.

PhotoForge2 really has just about anything you could want in a photography app. It has features for users way beyond my experience level, such as curves and masking and channel mixing. It also has a beautiful user interface as well as the expected editing/effects features that even novice photographers can use to improve their photography.

If you’ve found other editing and effects apps lacking, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up, especially if you can grab it while it’s still just $.99. You won’t outgrow it as your photography expertise level increases. This is no one-tap, one-trick pony. This is a serious photo editor to add to your iPhoneography app collection, one that will probably allow you to delete some of your others.