BreakingModern — Snapseed, one of the best photo editing apps currently available, is free and available for Android on Google Play and Apple iOS. This ad-free app had its roots in a company, Nik Software, that specialized in plugins for Photoshop. In 2011 Nik Software channeled its high level of photo-editing expertise into an app for iTunes called Snapseed, which sold for $4.99. In 2013 Nik was purchased by Google and the Android version of Snapseed was born. Google pulled the plug on the Windows and Mac desktop versions of Snapseed and has since focused solely on the app.
Snapseed has three outstanding features:
- Excellent touch controls
- Quality of effects
- Staggering depth
Its clever touch-optimized interface, which gives the end user the ability to edit pictures using swiping gestures, is a real joy to use. Sliding your finger up and down on the screen lets you choose a parameter like contrast or color correction. Sliding your finger to the left and right increases and decreases the value and lets you view the change at the same time.
Snapseed’s myriad of editing tools are broken into 15 areas: Automatic, Selective Adjust, Tune Image, Straighten, Crop, Details, Black & White, Vintage, Drama, HDR Scape, Grunge, Center Focus, Tilt-shift, Retrolux and Frames. Some of these are just the normal editing tools for features like cropping, brightness, saturation and warmth.
Others are pretty specialized. One of my favorites is the Ambience control in the Tune Image area. If your photo has exaggerated contrast, where the dark areas are too dark and the bright areas too bright, the Ambience tool reduces that contrast without flattening the photo.
Another excellent tool is the Selective Adjust tool that lets you adjust portions of the photo by choosing control points. Just tap the plus sign and touch the image to place the point. Then pinch in or out to adjust the size of the area to be affected. Swipe up and down to select and adjust the brightness, contrast or saturation.
Other special effects can be found in the Drama and Grunge filters, which let you adjust the area and the strength of the effect with subtle graduations.
Snapseed has one limitation. It will, in some cases, scale down the image size. The amount of downsizing depends on the device, but in general anything more than 8 megapixels on a phone or 16 megapixels on a tablet will be scaled down.
If you need a basic photo editor for Instagram or any other use, Snapseed is up to the task. It also makes it easy to share your photos on Google, Twitter, Facebook or by email.
Snapseed is an incredibly versatile and powerful photo editor, and it’s all available for free, which is amazing. Its polished interface makes it a must-have for any photo-editing toolkit.
For BMod, I’m Sandy Berger.
All Screenshots: Sandy Berger
Featured/Header Image: “Camera Classics” by Alan Levine via Flickr Creative Commons