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๐Ÿ”ด Review: Image Editing Apps

 

๐Ÿ”ด Review: Image Editing Apps

 
July 7, 2015
 
I looked at around 60 image processing apps for a basic set I could use for working with photos (mostly low-light screenshots) for Twitter and for this blog. I work on an iPad mini and have a large collection of 24,000 pics, about half of which are about The Blacklist (yeah, I know). So my comments are relevant mostly to iPad and Apple users. This assumes starting with iOS as the operating system and iPhoto as the basic image storage and editing app. Unfortunately, iPhoto does not do everything.(1)

 
โ‹™ 7/31/2015: I’m going to be updating this in a few weeks, after I’ve had more time with the apps. I’ve added 10 or so new apps, plus I’m excited about some of the unique capabilities I didn’t know we’re even possible. Often it seems one app will do something simply a lot better or more intuitively. So, more later…

 
โ‹™ 9/27/2015. So, after a couple months and under increasing pressure, I find my choices are being driven by how closely an app works with the native Photo app on my iPad. That is a feature of Snapseed. But Snapseed has one feature everyone needs: the ability to zone in on a part of a photo and easily adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation. For this, I’d say it’s indispensable. Also closely integrated with Photos is an app called Afterlight. I use this to sharpen details as Photos does not have a sharpen function, and also to extend the ability to adjust brightness beyond what Photos provides (because I start with screenshots most of my photos are dark to begin with).

Although I maintain that Big Blue’s blur function is the very best, Big Blue has a tendency to crash under the weight of my large number of photos and to mix up their order when I try to select them โ€“ very annoying. So at times, I will use Aviary instead, if really detailed work is not involved. Another must-have app in my view is Pixelmator, for one reason: it has a “smart” function which allows you to remove objects by erasing them. There are stand-alone apps that don’t do this half as well. I still show it to people to impress them. The function is hard (counter-intuitive, in fact) to find. You do not select “Paint and Erase” but instead, “Retouch.” Then select “Repair.” You get a virtual eraser whose width can be adjusted. By “smart,” I mean if you’re erasing something against a complex background, it attempts to fill in the complex background. It even filled on hair on a bald guy’s head for me.

For collages, I like PhotoWallHD because it is totally freeform and very sleek and powerful. It retains the high-resolution I get from my iPad as I edit which allows for a lot of control over details. Then when I’m done, I typically reduce the res before loading to my blog. Finally, this is just a feature I like, โ€“ I like being able to add shine to eyes with ReLook.

I continue to play with many of the tools I got. There are tons of apps that do the various lighting adjustments perfectly well, but as I said, the iPad native app is there so I use it. I use add-ons (stickers, text, sparkles, filters) very rarely. I have not found anything that allows you to add/paint natural-looking colors to photos, but it could be out there and I just have not found it. 9/30/2015: oops, I take that back. Though I still haven’t mastered it, PicsArt appears to be what I was looking for.

Oh yes โ€“ I found an app for labeling photos called Focal Point. However, it rests on top of Apple’s Photos and can get out of synch. But so far it’s the only practical way I’ve found to add captions to my photos while retaining the quality of the photo. I don’t understand why Apple does not provide this capability.

So those are my experiences and suggestions. For a few dollars โ€“ and a lot of practice time โ€“ I can now salvage or perfect just about any photo I encounter, which is what I set out to be able to do. I hope this was helpful to you.

 

เผบ โœฟโŠฐ โ™ค โŠฑโœฟเผป
 
[ Original Article: ]
 
(Note: click on the pics and tables to enlarge; user browser’s back arrow to return)

I was looking for excellent, easy-to-use apps to do basic photo adjustments (exposure, color saturation, etc), plus some capabilities not always included in basic image editing apps like iPhoto, including:

โ— an excellent auto-adjust capability, plus the ability to set my own defaults
โ— the ability to sharpen an image
โ— the ability to smooth or blur out imperfections
โ— the ability to fine-tune faces (lips, eyes, etc)
โ— the ability to select a part of an image to enhance (eg lighten a dark section)
โ— the ability to combine photos into a collage
โ— the ability to “cut out” parts of a photo (“scissors”)
โ— useful filters, textures and backgrounds, plus vignettes and frames
โ— the ability to add text and stickers
โ— the ability to add cool special effects (I especially like “art” effects, like watercolor, etching, brushstroke styles)

Plus, I was hoping to avoid having to use a lot of different apps, to have to use cloud services beyond Apple’s iCloud, and to avoid subscription services like Photoshop’s Creative Cloud with its hefty $30/mo fee.
 
Basic Recommendations
 
imageThe basic set of apps I ended up with is “Big Blue Clip’s Collage Maker” plus “Snapseed” for small-area editing and “Background Eraser” for cutting out parts of a photo. Snapseed has additional functions besides what I got it for. All of these are free. These are all indicated in the table below with ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™. These will do 95% of what I need. Big Blue Clip is more than just a collage maker. It has the best image editing tools out there, so anything you can’t do with iPhoto you can probably do with BBClip Collage Maker. BBClip also offers PicStitch which is basically the same thing but with a more structured collage-making capability. Aviary and Big Blue Clip (and Axiem) use the same set of editing tools and Photoshop โ€“ the giant of the business โ€“ has bought Aviary. If you use Aviary for the editor instead of Big Blue Clip’s version, however, you may find yourself sucked into the event horizon of Photoshop’s Creative Cloud and without a collage capability outside of Photoshop.
 
Other Apps I Liked

It’s impossible to ignore the many nifty additional apps available that will add “Zing” to your images. These I marked as ๎€ข๐Ÿ’™ and you may want to get one or more of them. These include:

โ— Brushstroke and Mobile Monet convert any photo into many different artistic styles
โ— Pixlr allows you to to add many different fun effects โž” a shippers’ Paradise!
โ— Relook allows you to fine tune faces, eg brighten eyes, bring out lip color, even reshape faces; the main problem is it’s easy to overdo it; plus, Big Blue Clip’s “blur” or “smooth” function is much better (more precise and subtle)
โ— Repix is not to be missed: it allows you to use virtual “pens” to add effects, some of which are even animated, like “Ravens”!
โ— Photogene has the best auto adjust for Twitter (which always seems to darken photos); it is a fully functional pic editor but is not particularly easy to use; more powerful than BBClip but more than I need
 
image
 
It’s too bad you can’t get all of the basic functions in one app. Photoshop is clearly headed in that direction(2), but it will cost you. Plus if you don’t want your photos on their cloud that’s a problem.(3) I don’t see them as wanting to offer all the fun capabilities you get with an app like RePix. In addition, in Europe, there’s a lot of interest in GIMP, an open source alternative to PhotoShop, as PhotoShop is seen by some as the “Big Brother” (or “Big Blue”) of image editing.
 

By Brushstroke

By Brushstroke

I’ve included my table of options below. CLICK TO ENLARGE. I’ll continue to update this as I notice things. All these suggestions are based on my personal experience and evaluation. I’m not a techie, but can try to answer your questions if you tag me on Twitter using @LizzieB90. No DMs please โ€“ I won’t see them.

Happy Blogging, Tumblring and Tweeting!

NOTES

(1) But iPhoto’s editor does do something I have found nowhere else. It differentiates between “exposure” and “brightness.” To be brief, if you want to light up the foreground but leave the background as it is, use “brightness.” “Exposure” will effect all parts of the photo equally. (Also, to decrease pixelation when you brighten or increase exposure, try playing with “contrast.” I use BBClip to smooth when the pixelation really bugs me)
(2) ITProPortal (9/23/2014): Adobeโ€™s Aviary purchase looks to bring Photoshop-style editing to more apps http://bit.ly/1CizfgH
(3) If you want to shield a subset of your photos from being sucked up into a vendor’s cloud, there are apps that you can use to store selected photos that actually allow you to remove them from your camera roll. I use iVault for this.

 

โŠฐ โ™ค โŠฑ
 
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เผบโœฆ โŒ˜ โœฆเผป
 
 

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