Add a splash of color with PhotoSplash

PhotoSplash, also known variously as “PhotoEffect” and “A+ Insta Photo Splash FX HD – Splurge Foto B&M Effect Editor para Tumblr,FB” [sic] is a new iOS app from independent developer Yang Wei. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and largely serves as a promotional tool for this similar paid app by Tao Lin. It’s currently listed in the “New” section of the App Store’s Photo & Video category.

PhotoSplash is a simple app designed for creating “color splash” effects — the simple but striking effect where an image is first converted to grayscale and then individual details returned to full color to guide the eye into focusing on them. PhotoSplash allows users to apply the effect to either images from their device’s photo library or pictures they take using the camera function in the app.

After loading an image, it is automatically converted to grayscale. At this point, the user may use their finger to “paint” the areas they would like the color splash effect to be applied. The size of the brush used when painting can be adjusted using an option at the bottom of the screen, but no indication is given of where the brush’s boundaries are while painting, which can lead to inaccurate application of the effect. To make matters worse, there does not appear to be an eraser function, so if the user makes a mistake they have no choice but to reload the image and start again from scratch.

This isn’t the only issue with the painting interface. If the user makes use of the “pan & zoom” control to move around the image and focus on fine details in an attempt to apply the effect more accurately, part of the image sometimes inexplicably becomes completely impossible to paint on. This issue didn’t happen consistently so it’s difficult to pin down exactly what causes it, but on more than one occasion during testing it became completely impossible to apply the color splash effect to the upper part of the image.

This isn’t the only issue with the app as a whole, either. The app regularly bugs the user with popups begging for reviews and to check out other apps, even while they are in the middle of doing things like browsing through their photo library. An “information” button in the upper-right corner of the screen displays nothing but a page of ads for other apps rather than anything helpful, and any exported images are plastered with an extremely amateurish-looking huge bright green watermark proudly announcing that the image was “Powered by PhotoEffect,” which (possibly — it’s difficult to tell for sure) isn’t even the name of the app. And speaking of sharing, the app’s title in the store — “A+ Insta Photo Splash FX HD SPlurge Foto B&M Effect Editor para Tumblr,FB” [sic] implies that the app shares to both Tumblr and Facebook, when in fact it supports neither. The only sharing options available within the app are saving to the camera roll, copying it to the clipboard, or sending as an SMS/iMessage (which simply opens a new blank SMS/iMessage and requires the user paste the image in themselves).

On the whole, PhotoSplash is a terrible app. It’s poorly-designed, riddled with obtrusive advertising and doesn’t include some absolutely essential features such as an eraser. The images it outputs look cheap, tacky and amateurish and the whole experience is clearly set up to be little more than an interactive advert for the $0.99 app it keeps bugging users to buy at every opportunity. There are already plenty of far better photo manipulation apps available on the App Store — many of which offer other effects alongside their color splash facility, and many of which are also free — so there’s really very little reason to download this.

You can follow PhotoSplash’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.