The new version of the Enlight (now called Enlight Legacy) app, is now called Enlight Photofox.If we cut to the chase, the key feature in this powerful app is how it uses layers and blending modes to help you turn creative ideas you might have to brilliant art on your iPhone and app. And in order to help you to do so, it uses excellent tutorials that are easily accessible even while you are in the middle of an editing process. Trust me, this is really helpful and stops you from having to switch between apps while you’re learning or experimenting with a new creative process. Photofox also has an excellent set of tools to help you to achieve the effects your want, including brushes, fonts, tonal adjustments, film simulations, black and white and special effects. The sophistication on offer makes it clear that Photofox is targeted towards a pro-level audience, but is also great at helping you learn along the way if you’re a keen amateur too.
Let’s walk through some creative process that use the key features of the app and make Photofox an app well worth considering.
1. Blending and layers
Formerly known as the ‘Mix’ feature in Enlight Legacy, layers lets you combine, blend and merge up to five layers (2 layers in the free version), where you edit each layer as your build your final creative image. The eraser tool helps to trim unwanted parts of the image as you adjust the order of layers, exposure and opacity and add filters, frames and stickers or other elements to compose your montage. The eraser tool can be a bit strong at times, and I’ve found it easier ti zoom in and use short strokes and save along the way to get the best effects. The tutorials (including speeded-up videos) really help you to master these tools. The edge avoidance feature is really helpful, and there are multiple undos too for when you go too far, or you want to back up the process if you change your mind, or you want to introduce another element.
Here’s a classic double exposure I created using a while layer with a paper effect painted in, and a portrait of a face that I blended in to it.
2. Darkroom, Target, and Duo features
The paid Pro version unlocks the Photofox Darkroom, Target and Duo features.
The Darkroom feature can be thought of as an app-within-an-app, providing multiple sets of filter looks and photo tools, like Details, Colour, Split tone, and an excellent and flexible Curves tool.
The Target feature enable you to move a selection are to a certain part of your image and enables you to adjust the tonality just in that area - and you can choose between radial, linear and mirror areas ot the top and bottom of the image to select the areas you want to work with. For spot changes in colour, its a powerful tool.
The Duo feature is like a graduated filter tool, but with different shapes and colour gradients that can be combined.
As well as the standard and powerful tools like heal, and the ability to reshape parts of the image while isolating and masking parts of the image you want to remain unchanged, there’s whole host of other features, like the Tools section, such as the ability to introduce motion or zoom blur into your images, and light flares or leaks, even the ability to simulate aurora borealis in your compositions.
Photofox’s interface is well-designed and easy-to-use, with conventional ways to adjust edits and effects that you’ll quickly pick-up. However, compared with Enlight Legacy, it’s not so easy to use for new users and is a bit harder to control. That’s partly because the target audience is - from what I can work out - quite a bit different. It goes beyond bashing editing to compositing and creative blending of images. So, don’t expect to pump out masterpieces straight away - there is definitely a bit of a learning curve. Each section has context-aware instructional diagrams and videos available but it takes a while to get comfortable with Photofox. But if you persist, it becomes a pretty compulsive activity.
Although it works well on a phone, bigger screens are probably going to help you to get more out of Photofox. So, larger screen iPhones and iPads will help you to get more out of the app - especially as you can use the app in Landscape mode on an iPad but you’re restricted to portrait orientation on your iPhone. Unfortunately, it isn’t available on the Android platform yet.
The app used to be a simple outright purchase, and Enlight Legacy is still available, and remains the same award-winning app.. Enlight Photofox is sold using a Freemium model, where you pay for extra features. Although this works well for most uses, if you want to do more complex work like using more than two layers, then you’ll either need to subscribe monthly (£6.49), pay for a heavily discounted yearly plan (£32.99), or make a one-off payment for lifetime access (£64.99). If creative art is what you’re into, then you might want to consider these options. In my view, this seriously rivals Photoshop as a mobile solution - specially if you don’t want to spend hours in front of your computer at home. Though the price is comparable to desktop apps for the perpetual license, you might value the ability to use it on the fly - your mileage may vary. I also imagine that development resources will be focused on Enlight Photofox, meaning that the features in the Enlight Legacy app, though good, will become increasingly outdated as new features are added to Photofox.
Enlight Photofox lives up to the hype and really is like having Photoshop in your pocket. Its not cheap to unlock the full-featured pro version, but the free version is probably enough for most purposes. Give that a try and see how you like it before you fork out any more. But if you’re serious about unleashing your creativity away from your desktop, then you can seriously consider the Pro version to meet your needs.
What do you think about Photofox? Do you think it might be useful for you in your photography and artistic work? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.