Snapseed is one of the most powerful photo editors out there, with a clever interface to match its power.
- Lots of powerful photo-correction tools.
- Localized adjustments.
- Many enhancing effects.
- More complicated interface than Instagram.
- No sharing to Flickr or Instagram.
- No photo-specific social network.
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- 29 Tools and Filters, including Healing, Brush, Structure, HDR, Perspective (see list below)
- Opens JPG and RAW files
- Save your personal looks and apply them to new photos later
- Selective filter brush
- All styles can be tweaked with fine, precise control
Snapseed’s interface is simple and clear, yet punches a lot of powerful and detailed capabilities. After you open or shoot a photo, you’ll see rectangles along the bottom of the screen (or along the side if you’re in landscape orientation), which you can swipe through to choose edits, adjustments, and effects. Simple swiping gestures let you adjust contrast, brightness, and color, or you can have the program choose those automatically or choose control points in the image. Back and forward arrows at the bottom corners take you through a workflow process from editing to sharing.
Once you learn that swiping up and down selects the effect, and right to left adjusts its strength, you’ve pretty much got the interface down. In the unlikely event that you do get confused, a question mark is always displaying in the upper-right hand corner; touching it overlays helpful hand-drawn instructions showing where to tap or swipe to perform a function. During editing, a picture icon lets you compare your work to its previous edit state, and in the menu interface, you can simply hold a finger against the screen to see the original, to which you can revert at any time.
Snapseed’s “Automatic” fix is pretty limited (to contrast and color correction), but the app adroitly handles photo-fixing basics such as brightness, contrast, cropping, and straightening.
Special effects include Drama, Grunge, vintage, center focus, frames, and “tilt-shift”–a popular technique that gives photos a miniaturized look. I was also impressed that many of the adjustments and effects can be applied to specific areas of the image using control points.
The Drama tool added just that to a bleak looking landscape I tried it on, while Vintage offers nine old-photo looks and several texture options. Grunge is one of Snapseed’s most impressive tools, with a whopping 1500 settings, each different degrees of color emphasis or fading. Once you’re done with tweaking the actual image, you can place it in a choice of frames that give the photo amounted appearance.
Snapseed offers one of the hottest effects in digital photography today—”tilt shift.” I use quotation marks, because, although this is the popular term for the miniaturization and saturation technique, tilt-shift is actually a geometry effect only possible with expensive lenses. Snapseed lets you choose an elliptical or linear focus area for the effect, and the results can be impressive.