Touch Up iPad-bound Pix With TouchRetouch HD

Recently I’ve been on a personal campaign to do more with my time. By “more” I’m not referring to quantity as much as I’m focused on quality. When I do things I want it have some sort of impact. Of course, not everything we do is a life changing or life affirming experience, but I believe I should endeavor to expose myself to more of such experiences.

How’s it going?

Not bad, actually. I’m finding that I’m more open to impromptu outings to places that I likely would not have gone to before. An example of these new extemporaneous expeditions of mine occurred two weeks ago. Some friends suggested we take a day off in the middle of the week and take a kayak tour down the St. Johns River. I did and it was amazing. The kayaks were powered by electric motors so the going was whisper quiet. (That’s right, I did very little paddling. Don’t judge me.) Early morning fog gave the river a primeval feel, as if at any moment, around the next bend, we’d discover dinosaurs at the river’s edge, drinking, or a some carnivore stalking its next meal.

I took lots of pictures. In fact, I’m throwing together a movie of the experience and including the photos that I and others on that outing took. When it comes to photos, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I want each shot in the movie to be perfect and evoke the same feelings I had while trolling down the St. Johns. That means, of course, that I need to do some post processing of the pix. Normally I would do my pix adjusting in Photoshop (I have CS3 installed on my iMac), but I’ve come to appreciate the many fine photo processing tools now available on the iPad. Unfortunately, no one tool can handle a complete photo editing job as well as Photoshop can, so I’ve wound up with several apps, each have a speciality that I turn to when I need it. The latest tool in my growing iPad photo processing arsenal is TouchRetouch HD, and it is amazing.

TouchRetouch HD does one thing and does it exceptionally well; it removes artifacts from your photos. The way it does it is almost magical.

I really like the photo below from my St. Johns outing; the silhouette of the palms, the gray mist, and the sun in the background gives you an idea of what I was seeing. But what if I wanted to enhance the mood a bit by removing that cluster of brush on the far left side of the photo? Normally that would be a job for Photoshop, but not now.


A nice photo of my St. Johns River outing, but the clump of brush on the left is unsightly.

I fire up TouchRetouch HD and load the photo, then highlight the area I want to remove using my finger and one of several tools the app provides for that purpose. I then touch the “Go” icon and, budda-bing, budda-boom, that clump of brush is gone and has been replaced with a natural looking horizon.


No worries. Fingerpaint the offending area. Note the magnified view in the upper right.


Press “Go” and voilà! No more unsightly brush clump.

What you don’t see here is how TouchRetouch HD displays the change. When you hit the Go button the area in question fades out and it’s replacement fades in. It’s as if you waved a wand and altered reality which, after a fashion, you have.


Cloning is just as easy, but requires a bit more finesse.

Intelligently swapping out bits of your photo isn’t the only magic TouchRetouch HD can perform. Let’s say I like that palm on the center right so much that i want to duplicate it. Easy-peasey. I touch the stamp icon and then the tree, that puts a “source” dingy on the tree. Then I start tracing where I want the new tree to go. Before long I have my new tree in the new area.

With a bit of ingenuity you can do all sorts of interesting things you would normally rely on far more expensive computer based apps to handle. De-pimple a face, unwire unsightly wires, uncrack cracks, de-spot spots, re-position people, the list goes on.

The app gives you unlimited undos, a choice of final photo resolution, and it will email the results if you’d like. The clean interface is welcomed. It’s nice to use a simple, well designed app that just plain works as advertised.

There are a few minor negatives to using TouchRetouch HD. First and foremost, it is a separate app, which means you have to go through the rigmarole of opening, loading pix, fixing pix, saving pix, then opening another app to do your other post processing chores. This, of course, is not a fault of TouchRetouch HD, but it would be nice, for instance, if I could buy it as an add-in on one of my other photo fixing apps like FilterStorm, Snapseed, or PhotoForge2.

Secondly, it would be nice if the app offered blending options. As it is you just have to be very careful when cloning, and even then the results can be less than spectacular. (See the cloned palm above.)

And finally, while the tools provided are adequate, I wish there were a better selection of brushes. I’d like to be able, for instance, to have a spray paint brush to soften the edges of the target area, thus making blending a bit easier.

As I said, all minor quibbles and something the makers of TouchRetouch HD are likely readying for the next version. We’ll just have to wait and see. As it is, the app is a must-have.

Bottom Line:

Photo processing on iDevices have come a long way and, in my opinion, is quickly catching up to the capabilities currently reserved for desktops and laptops. TouchRetouch HD proves that not only is the iPad a device capable of replacing your laptop, it can do so with finesse.

There’s nothing fancy about this app, and that’s a good thing. If you need to remove something from a photo it just doesn’t get much easier than this. Paint the object you want to delete from your shot with your finger, press “Go”, and its gone, as if it were never there to begin with.

It is a separate app, which can be annoying when you have several photos to process in a hurry, but such is the state of affairs for all photo adjustment apps on iDevices.

A better brush selection and blending options would be nice, and in some cases a necessity, but, again, such is the art on iDevices. These features, I’m sure, will come in time.

It’s easy to use, you get great results, and, at US$0.99, what’s not to like? Which is why TouchRetouch HD gets my highest rating. If you use your iPad for photo processing get TouchRetouch HD. Get It Now!*

Review ItemTouchRetouch HD
ManufacturerAdva Soft

List Price


Minimum Requirements

iOS3.1 or Higher (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad2)

* Note: My rating system goes like this;

  • Get it Now! - Highest rating and an absolute must-have
  • Highly recommend - Minor flaws, but a great product
  • Recommend - Flawed, but still a solid product
  • So-so - Problem product that may find a niche market
  • Avoid - Why did they bother making it? A money waster.