ECP Inbox Recently Appeared on
All My ios Devices
I Investigated to Determine What it Was & Why it Mysteriously Appeared one Day in March 2016
My First Recollection
I began noticing ECP Inbox on my ios devices in around late March. That time is a little vague for me in general because we had a lot of things going on in our lives. But slowly, it began showing up more and more often as an option for saving images. And slowly I started noticing it. But I had no reason to really think about it yet. It was just something that popped up once in a while that I generally ignored.
Recently however it’s presence has moved into my more conscious mind. When it showed up today while I was using the Evernote app, I decided enough was enough. I decided that I really need to figure out what this is!
What Occurred Today
I was annotating an image in Evernote. I do that a lot. Put a picture into a note just so that I can use Evernote’s image annotation tools. That’s a fast way to annotate something. Also, there are quite a few annotating tools available right within Evernote, which to me seem to be more abundant than similar tools offered in many of the photo editing apps that I use.
I should know…between my husband and myself we use a lot of photo editing apps!
So, the time had come to figure out what this mysterious ECP Inbox really was and why or how it just kept showing up on all of my devices.
What precipitated this started with the image below. If you look at the image below, the screenshot on the left is one that I imported into Evernote. I’d done that so that I could ‘pixelate‘ some of the words that I didn’t want displayed publicly. Evernote is really great for this! After I used the Pixelate tool (better known as the former Skitch app,) I tried to export the final result. That’s when ECP Inbox came on to my radar again! In addition to saving my annotated screenshot to the my iPad’s ‘camera roll’ (now it’s really called ‘Photos’) I also saved it to ECP Inbox.
When in Doubt Google It
So I moved on to plan B…Google it. My Google research gave me the answer. It also helped me to recognize the vast improvements that have quietly been implemented over time to 2 of my favorite photo editing tools. PhotoToaster and TitleFX.
What Are PhotoToaster and TitleFX
They are both ios apps created by East Coast Pixels, and made for editing many aspects of digital photos on a iPhone or iPad. The apps have been around for a really long time. I’ve owned them ever since we bought our 1st iPad…which was the iPad 2. Although it’s quite possible that I’ve used them even longer. Maybe since I had my 1st iPhone, which was a few years before we acquired our first iPad.
More Information About PhotoToaster
PT was probably one of the first photo editing apps I ever owned. I’m sure that in the beginning it was free…just because I was too cheap back then to spend any money on apps. There were so many free ones I reasoned, what was the point of paying for one? PhotoToaster was a decent app even back then…yet it’s continued to improve through the years.
Most of my readers know that I edit a lot of images for my writing. I have a handful of ‘go to‘ apps. PhotoToaster and TitleFX are included in that selective group. To me it’s pretty amazing that they remain amongst my favorites even today simply because there are so many really brilliant photo editing apps these days. There are many that can perform some really unusual feats with your images. The fact that they do never fails to bring new inspiration to me.
But, amidst all of those shiny new bells and whistles, I still retain my core group of apps. Rarely do I change that lineup. When I do it’s usually to include a new one. One that does something no other app can do. Less often, I remove an app. That usually occurs when I’ve personally assimilated most of the features of a newer ‘general photo editing app’ and the newer one includes all of the features of an older loved one…plus some newer features too. Because really, no one likes to be burdened down with too many apps!
I Can Confidently State That I’ve Never Once Considered
Removing PhotoToaster from that Selective group of
Below is a screenshot showing all of the apps by East Coast Pixels, Inc.
What I Love About PhotoToaster
Please keep in mind here that I use a lot of photo editing apps. Also keep in mind that I do all my photo editing on ios devices. So, while I don’t use PT for a lot of tasks (in fact it’s way more capable than my usage would suggest,) that shouldn’t impact someone else’s opinion of it.
But for the tasks that I do use it for, PhotoToaster both excels and doesn’t really have any competition from other apps.
Below are the main functions that I always reserve for Photo Toaster:
a. The Softening tool – PT by far has the the best and most user friendly ‘softening’ tool around. I use this a lot to enhance portraits, as well as to remove noise and artifacts from images either shot in low lighting conditions or scanned in from old slides. The main reason that I love the tool though is that it can selectively soften aspects of any image to give an ethereal quality. The Soften tool is selected via the top right menu – FX Brush and then the top left menu – Soft Focus.
b. Textures – PT also has some of the best textures around. Again, these are extremely easy to use. In fact, one thing I really love is that you can try out several different textures so easily just by saving an image with one and then changing the texture and saving it again. It’s a good way to really see how subtle changes in textures can look next to each other.
c. There are a few other tools that I use a lot too, but not quite as often as 1 & 2 above. These include Frames because there’s a huge variety of frames and most can be modified. And next is the overall granularity that PhotoToaster provides for fine-tuning all of the color aspects of a photo including, saturation, exposure, contrast and many finer photographic details like colors within highlights. This granularity seems to me to be far superior than what most other apps offer.
It’s this combination of features that PhotoToaster includes that accounts for my primary reasons for never considering removing PT from my main group of most productive photo editing apps.
Below is a shot where I used Photo Toaster’s soft focus brush and a texture overlay tools to gain that ethereal quality I mentioned above.
More About the TitleFX App
PhotoToaster is another one of East Coast Pixels, Inc’s best apps. As I menti0ned earlier, they have developed a large portfolio of photo editing apps for ios over the years. Yet, I know nothing about them other than the fact that they make 3 or 4 of the apps that I use generally daily for photo editing. This includes another important favorite of mine…TitleFX.
The title sort of clues you in to what this app is used for. Anyone who publishes online has occasions arise in which they need to place text onto images. That’s exactly what TitleFX is used for. It’s a one trick app, so to speak…but it performs that one trick exceedingly well. Rather than spend a lot of time telling you about what TitleFX can do, it would be far easier for me to tell you what it can’t.
The one thing related to titles that TitleFX doesn’t do is provide users with a method for adding text onto different colored backgrounds. Meaning that you can’t place text into a colored text box. When you create text to be overlaid onto photos it can only be placed right onto the photo itself…so the background for the text is the actual photo.
In reality, they do have a tool which provides some minimal backgrounds for text…it’s just that’s used to stylize text, and the tool is quite limited background-wise to various light shades of black and white. But aside from that one limitation, you can do just about anything with text in TitleFX that you might ever need or want to. If your’re really desperate, there is a workaround that will allow you to place text onto different colored backgrounds too…it just sort of a ‘brute force’ method.
My Work Around for Colored Text Boxes
I won’t spend a lot of time on this, but I’m pretty certain that in the past I’ve created colored backgrounds for myself just using blank or solid colored pages or screenshots. Then I’ve saved those photos and turned around to use them to add text to that background in one step. Then in a 2nd step, I add the whole unit as an overlay onto another image. But that’s getting a bit off track…
Examples of 2 photos I created titles for using Title FX
The only reason that I really mentioned TitleFX here is because I found out that the ECP Inbox is a universal inbox for any and all of East Coast Pixel’s apps. Initially I thought that it was just for PhotoToaster. But then I needed to add some text to a background image and found out that the inbox appeared in TitleFX too.
By placing photos or images into ECP Inbox, you make them readily available to any of the apps you may be using from East Coast Pixels. Take a look at the screens in the brief slideshow below to see more about how the inbox works.
Update Added January 2017
There are 2 things I’ve discovered overtime that I wanted to add on the subject. The first is that East Coast Pixel’s use of a inbox is a unique and interesting solution for getting photos into their apps. The concept sometimes makes it possible to import things easily when more traditional methods might prove to be too cumbersome.
Here’s a link to East Coast Pixel’s homepage. I learned when visiting it recently that the app developers came from Adobe…which explains a lot about the quality of their apps!
Another thing to mention is that the ECP Inbox itself was updated. It now provides users with a way to have their photos printed. Below are some screenshots with more information.