As a starting point, Ashampoo ImageFX simply needs a photo from your archive or to use the webcam on your Windows 8 PC or tablet to snap a shot of you. The app then loads to a light blue screen on which the webcam or file picker options are presented.
A third option – the image you chose for your Windows 8 account when setting up the PC – can be selected by clicking the option at the bottom of the screen, in Ashampoo ImageFX. The maximum resolution for the webcam is just 640 x 480 pixels. There are options to manually adjust the contrast, focus and exposure. We couldn't get the timer for the webcam to work at all, though. (See also: Windows 8: the complete guide.)
Most of the edits that can be applied using Ashampoo ImageFX are intended to create something more artistic and eye-catching from otherwise run-of-the-mill photos. It's hard, however, to see how to go about creating them given the limited range of editing options. The Oilpaint option, for example, in the Basic FX blocks out detail to make a pseudo-painted effect, but is really rather crude.
It's fun to experiment with the edits that Ashampoo offers, though, you don't always end up with the result you expect. A so-so photo of Tower Bridge with a mauve twilight glow ended up with an intriguing stippled effect when we asked Ashampoo ImageFX to sharpen the shot. Thankfully, reset and undo buttons ensure you aren't stuck with some ghastly effect.
Sepia, greyscale and variations on RGB (red, green, blue) colour filters can be applied, and any digitally altered photos you like can be saved. There aren't yet any sharing options, though. We also found Ashampoo ImageFX habitually crashed and would often spend too long applying a fairly simple setting.