“Vivid-Pix” Land & Sea is a surprisingly capable little image-processing app for iPads and iPhones. There is also a version for PC and Mac although this review only covers the mobile version.
The basic app retails for $4.99. Once you install it, it prompts you with the option to ‘go deeper’ for another $19.99. This option gives you some impressive underwater filters. During the free trial, saved images retain a logo watermark; after either standard or “go deeper” in-app purchase the app no longer applies the watermark.
For my first test, I chose an image that I struggled with for quite some time in Lightroom. It’s a dive I did with Sturgeon spawning in a river with a very high level of tannins in the water. The visibility was poor and the water was an intense shade of red.
The image was taken at about 5 meters depth. At that depth, because of the poor visibility, most of the red was filtered out and the water appeared bright yellow.
When you open the app you are greeted with two choices: ‘Fix My Pictures’ and’Tutorial: Show Me How’.
I jumped in without consulting the built-in tutorial, selected ‘Fix My Pictures’ and loaded up the original sturgeon image to see what the app would do without any manual editing.
Almost immediately I was presented with nine versions of my image, from which I chose the one I liked best.
As you can see, it depth-compensated the image by restoring reds.
I wanted to see how quickly and accurately I could approximate the corrections I made in Lightroom, so I went to work with the simple toolset available in the app. The various tools are presented as icons at the bottom of the screen. Using them, it took me all of 10 minutes to achieve what took hours in Lightroom. Of course, I had the advantage of knowing what I was going for, but the app is impressively effective and easy to use.
In addition to the color filters above, Vivid-Pix Land & Sea features a couple of interesting depth sliders. One increases reds, the other offers a very effective green filter.
After trying the most difficult image I had, I picked another image, more typical of the kind of environment I dive in, and just let Vivid-Pix handle it – with no manual intervention.
This is impressive. In creating a very simple and easy-to-use app for devices with relatively little processing power, the designers have done a great job balancing performance, simplicity, and, for lack of a better word; taste.
The only downside I can find is that the app is limited by the iPad OS to an output image size of 4096×2730, which is fine for prints up to about 8×10.
Interestingly, the loss of image quality is negligible after processing an image from 11 megapixels at 5472×3648 through Vivid-Pix Land & Sea down to 2.1 megapixels at 4096×2730.
Before And After
Here is another ‘before and after’ image set. Once again; this image was processed by Vivid-Pix Land & Sea with no manual input from me.
In the super-zoomed-in image below you can see a tiny loss of detail in the pectoral fin, even as most other aspects of the image have actually been enhanced.
- 1-click improvement to photos
- For snorkeling, diving, pool or travel pictures
- Patented image science
- Available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android
- Check out Land & Sea, and their other products at http://www.vivid-pix.com
- US$4.99 stops trial mode watermarking, an additional in-app purchase of US$19.99 improves SCUBA depth images.
- Perfectly tuned to work efficiently on iPads. There is no waiting for changes to process, and it does an amazing job on most images without user input.
- For more difficult images (or if you don’t like what it does) there is a comprehensive-yet-simple set of powerful tools for tweaking the image manually.
- An online tutorial is provided, but the intuitive interface and instant feedback Vivid-Pix Land & Sea gives you make diving right in and experimenting fun and easy.
- This app’s performance exceeded my expectations. It compares favorably with products costing six times as much and is far easier to use.