CaPix in Review – The magic of content aware fill in the palm of your hand? Not quite…

I’m sure many of you have seen the videos that showed up last year when Adobe was announcing their CS5 suite and the truly magical content aware fill feature! The amazing tool that did everything, from finishing your homework to cleaning up garbage on your lawn blew my mind with the endless possibilities. No wonder that when NeoMobili offered me to review their CaPix application for the iPhone, one advertised to have the same possibilities, I was eager, though a bit skeptical.

CaPix is image processing app, advertised to have the power, or, at least, part of it of the genius content aware fill of Adobe Photoshop CS5. In fact CaPix is supposed to bring the power of smart clean-up to the iDevice. Imagine you’ve taken a picture of a beautiful landscape, only to find out later on that there is a tin can somewhere on the premises. Well, now there’s an app for that.

The idea is simple on the surface and so is the interface. Just pick an image from the iPhone library, choose the remove tool and use your finger to mark the areas for removal. And here we run into the first issue. While tracing the areas you wish to remove, your finger completely obscures them. What is worse, there is no preview for what area you marked this time around and there’s no undo, apart from completely clearing the selection. This often leads to the necessity of starting over. The second issue is the nonexistent help on the interface. While the removal feature is showcased in the infomercial of the app on YouTube, the Keep feature purpose is still a mystery to me.

Speaking about the interface as a whole – multitouch support is virtually nonexistent (apart from the pinch to zoom). So such a simple task, as panning the view area becomes a counter-intuitive task, requiring excess taps to call up the menu and switch modes. And I’m not even talking about autorotation to get the most out of the iPhone’s rather limited screen real estate.

But all of the above is peanuts. Say you managed to more or less reliably mark the area, destined for removal. Now you simply call up the menu and choose to apply the changes. After a period of time, depending on the size of the area and the power of your iDevice you’re presented with the magically cleaned image. Or are you? In reality while the CaPix manages more or less ok on structured backgrounds, like grass and similar, as soon as you give something more complex to handle it performs far below par. From the local distortion around the removed area to some completely crazy screw ups on the other side of the picture.

Regardless of what developers want us to think, Adobe doesn’t earn it’s keep for nothing. The rip-off of the CS5 content aware fill into an iPhone image processing app is a complete blunder. CaPix suffers from poor interface design and performance, but most of all from the simple fact that it doesn’t work on any real-life images. It’s not even worth mentioning that the idea of trying to make something this complex work on the limited resources (both screen size and power) of the iPhone is flawed in its core.

With this I declare CaPix officially touched!

App Summary
Title: CaPixDeveloper: Neomobili
Reviewed Ver:1.0.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$1.99App Size:0.15MB
  • Simple and fast interface
  • Works more or less ok in very simple cases
  • Very poor interface design with poor multitouch and orientation
  • No undo
  • Hopelessly screws up any images with even a little bit of complexity

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