Now that we all have awesome cameras in our pockets, taking pictures and capturing moments with our phones is becoming the preferred way to do it for both video and images. However, things don’t always go right – no matter how good your camera is, the fact is that sometimes the thing that makes the difference between a decent picture and a great picture is your skill and what settings you are using, and once you take a picture that’s it. To correct any mistakes or make any changes, you have to edit the picture after the fact, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing today!
Android comes with tools to aid exactly with this: both stock Android and most of the releases from manufacturers like Samsung and HTC include some sort of image editing software, but it usually boils down to small things like filters or red eye removal. Those are basic features that we certainly appreciate, but for something more complex, like an out-of-focus image or a sensor glitch, you’re going to need some better tools. And that’s where Snapseed comes in.
Snapseed is a completely free image editing app for Android, which you can click here to download on the Play Store. The reason why you should use this and not the built-in software if you’re serious about image editing and fixing up your pictures is because of the sheer amount of extra settings and customization options that this app offers, all with a simple interface that lets you work on your picture and see the results straight away.
So, once you download and open the app, you’ll see that it doesn’t have a long introduction or anything like that. It just shows you a screen and a button to tap on to open the photo you want to edit:
So, just pick a photo in your gallery or downloads folder, and get to work. Once you pick your image, you can then start to tune it up to your liking:
You see that the interface is fairly simple – there is a navigation box for you to drag the image around if you’re zoomed in, and there is a circular button you can tap to go into editing mode:
Once there, you gain access to all of the tools and customization options of the app. You can already see that the list is fairly comprehensive, divided into tools and filters:
The tools available are actually fairly decent considering you’re using a mobile device. From simple things like cropping and vignetting:
To tools like exposure and contrast brushes, so that you can work on specific zones and parts of your picture:
Moving onto the filters section however, things are also a fair bit more comprehensive than something like Instagram. For example, you have access to things like positional lens blur:
And most of the tone filters actually have a fair bunch of options for you to mess around with, if you don’t just want to apply and forget it:
The interface of the app is fairly simple, once you select a tool. Usually, your available options show up in the lower bar, and extra options for that tool show up if you tap and hold on the picture and then slide your finger up and down. Sliding left and right changes the value of the current tool, so you can increase and decrease exposure, for example, just by sliding around. This means a completely uncluttered interface with the maximum screen real-estate dedicated to the picture and your changes. For example, most of the options of the Tune Image tool are hidden until you hold the screen and slide:
And this just about wraps up our little tour of Snapseed, in my opinion the best image editing tool out for Android right now. With mobile phones starting to perform close to mid-range dedicated cameras, image editing is starting to get more and more popular and increasingly complex. This is ultimately a good thing for power users, since it means more options for you to toy around with and hopefully better image quality out of your phone’s camera and pictures, and if today’s app is any indication of where the future will take us, things are looking good.