iPhone App Review: Color Range

iPhone App Review: Color Range

August 24th, 2011 by

Photo manipulation is an amazing capability of today’s smartphones, the most impressive of which (in my humble opinion) is the ability to adjust colors in your photographs. Color Range, in its just-released 2.0 version, gives you a huge array of color-adjustment capabilities like hue, saturation, color balance, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and of course the ability to single out a color in your photo and have just that area pop while the rest of your picture remains gray.

Color Range eschews the typical paint brush model of selecting a color area (though it does still have a paint brush tool), and instead lets you use an eye-dropper tool to select colors within your photo. You can then use the paint brush to fine-tune your selection, use the Hue effect to change that selected color to another color, or use the color sliders to remove specific colors from your picture’s color range.

How It Works

You must first obviously start with a picture, by either choosing one from your device’s camera roll or taking a new picture yourself. From this point your options are:

  • Color Picker: tap and hold on the image to bring up a magnifying glass-style viewfinder that shows what exact spot on the picture the color is being sampled from. You can also instead use the color slider knobs, which allow you to adjust the saturation of a range of different colors.
  • Brush: the standard brush that either removes color from your picture or adds it back.
  • Hue: adjust the selected color using the slider at the bottom.
  • Filters: brightness and saturation filters, adjustable with a slider.

Using all of these tools together you can either do simple color removal or replacement, all the way up to sophisticated color manipulation and enhancement.

Pros And Cons

Color Range offers an impressive array of color manipulation tools for the serious mobile photographer. Although the developers have done an amazing job of cramming tons of features into one great app, it’s hard to overcome the claustrophobic feel of doing photo manipulation on the iPhone. Thankfully they’ve offered Color Range as a universal app, which means that for one price you can the app on the iPhone and iPad. Devs who do this automatically deserve a point for “getting it”.

The tools themselves work well. I’m not convinced that the eyedropper method of selecting a color to isolate works as an alternative to the area selection method. There are times when area selection works well and there are times when color selection works well. Having the color selection tool there is a great feature (and it works very well), but positioning it as a replacement for area selection doesn’t quite hit the mark. The developers have thankfully included both tools, so you can use whichever method makes the most sense based on your needs and your workflow.


All in all, the developers at SSA Mobile have done a fantastic job of not just making another color/grayscale photo scrubbing app, but have expanded on and added to the category by including a range of other photo adjustment tools. They even went the extra mile and made it a universal app to boot.

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