Are you a person who works a lot with images? Do you resort to mobile more for editing your images rather than your desktop workstation? If your answer is yes, then voila!!!! This article is especially for you.
I’ve been asked this question by many of my friends. Which is the best mobile app to do image editing, which can stand up to the power of Photoshop? Although that may still hold true, I have found an image editor for Android that does an amazing job of allowing me to do some graphics work while on the go. That tool is Snapseed, by Google which is available for both Android and IOS. This is not a paid promotion, I am writing this article from my own experience as I found this app very useful and easy to use.
Table of Contents
- Snapseed Installation
- Thumb Rules
- How to Load an Image for Editing?
- Getting Your Hands Dirty with These Tools and Filters
In this article, let’s delve into the basic tools and filters in Snapseed which lets you create magic with your very normal images, captured in your smartphone.
Snapseed has more than 29 tools and filters, which essentially allow you to adjust and correct different aspects of the image in order to fix any issues with color, brightness, contrast, straightness or blemishes.It’s not something very usual in other free mobile editing apps which you will get from PlayStore.
Instead, Snapseed provides you the tools which are way similar to the ones available in industry standard tools like Photoshop.It’ll be hard-pressed for you to find out a better editing solution, which gives you features more than what SnapSeed provides you for free of cost.
Snapseed’s interface is quite bewildering, even though it’s intuitive.So in this article, I’m trying to make it more friendly and easy for you by explaining the tools.Let’s delve into those tools and filters, without any further prelude.
The installation of Snapseed is just similar to the installation of any other app in Play store or Itunes.
Open the PlayStore –> Search for the app Snapseed –> Tap the Install Button
Similarly in Itunes.
Before peeping into the tools and filters, there are certain thumb actions, you should be well versed in. It is so easy and very intuitive.
- Swipe up or down to select the adjustment option you want.
- Swipe left or right to increase or decrease the settings of that option.
- You can resize and rotate any elements on screen with a standard two-finger pinch/zoom move.
- Rotating is handled via two-finger twisting.
- Moving can be done by tapping and holding the element and dragging it to wherever you want.
Voila!!! All set to stride forward !!!
How to Load an Image for Editing?
If you’re ready to start, tap anywhere on the main screen to open an image for editing. You can open images from the device storage, Google Drive, or any cloud account you might have linked to your device.
Adding a text to your image: This will be the first and foremost thing you will try out in Snapseed. Follow these steps and screenshots below, in order to add an image and a text to it.
- Open up the image you want to add text to and then tap the TOOLS icon from the first page where you will find LOOKS, TOOLS, and EXPORT. From the listing of TOOLS, tap the Textbox.
- When you go to add text, a line will appear on the image reading DOUBLE TAP HERE TO CHANGE TEXT.
- Before you change the text, make sure you select the style of text to be used. For this, tap the icon in the bottom menu bar.
- This will show you the different styles of text objects you can use.
- Swipe to the left or right until you choose your favorite style.
- Move the text element to where you want it on the screen and resize it.
- Once you are done with moving and fixing the element, you can then double-tap on the element and then type the text you want.
- Once you are done with typing, tap OK and then the text will change.
Getting Your Hands Dirty with These Tools and Filters
1. Tune Image :
This tool allows you to specifically adjust Brightness, Contrast, Ambiance, Saturation, Shadows, Highlights and Warmth settings.
you can select these settings by scrolling up and down over the image. Apart from the settings you already know there is a new Ambiance control which is more like a contrast which will affect darker sides of your image. It can also be used to compensate backlit images without blowing the highlights.
You can auto-correct the photo setting levels by tapping the glittery wand icon to the right at the bottom of the screen.Tapping and holding the comparison view icon on the top right will allow you to compare the before and after states. For more advanced editors you can check the histogram by clicking the equalizer kind of icon on the bottom left corner just above the cancel button.
2. Crop :
It allows you to crop your photo to one of several preset ratios.
- Tap the icon in the lower right to reveal a selection of the pre-set ratios that you can crop to.
- A custom crop option is also available.
- Tap and hold the edges of the cropping frame to adjust the crop area by selecting the “free” preset.
- You can rotate the orientation by clicking on the circular arrow in the lower left.
Cropping is similar to other editing tools which will help you to compose again and make your pictures perfect for all platforms.
3. Perspective :
It allows you to adjust the horizontal or vertical perspective or rotation. In Snapseed, there is an automatic fill option to fill in your sides when you change the perspectives. This is one of that awesome feature I love about this.
- Select from Perspective Vertical, Perspective Horizontal or Rotation.
- Then swipe left or right to increase or decrease the settings of that element.
- Confirm your edit by tapping the ‘Tick’ icon.
4. Selective :
‘Selective’ allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation & structure of a small, select area of your photograph. This is similar to brush tool in Adobe Lightroom, But there is more to it. As this tool is based on Luma(brightness and darkness) you can control the skin tones, Background light or any distinctive parts of your image.
- As you tap and drag the selection pointer around the screen, a magnified circle will appear which will let you place the adjustment point where exactly you want.
- Pinching the area to be corrected will appear in red, letting you adjust the area of coverage.
- Swipe up or down to select from Brightness, Contrast or Saturation. Increasing the structure will increase the clarity or texture of the image which I don’t generally use.
- Swipe left or right to increase or decrease that particular setting.
5. Vignette :
The Vignette tool allows you to give artificial lens vignetting which will draw your eyes to the centre of the image by making the edges dark. you can control it with left and right motion of your thumb.
6. Details :
The Details tool allows you to sharpen the image structure and detail. Always be careful about this.Overdoing it can create a false, over tapped effect. Reducing it will give you a soft look. Use the ‘Tonal Contrast’ filter if you want to give more definition to an image.
7. Rotate :
This tool enables you to straighten the photo.
- Select the direction of rotation and then swipe left or right to rotate the image in that direction. The grid will direct you properly in this process.
8. Brush :
This tool lets you paint over areas of your image so as to Dodge & Burn, adjust Exposure, Temperature or the Saturation of selected areas of an image. This works best if you have a stylus. there is no way to control the brush size or feather.
- Tap the brush icon and select type of brush.
- Select the strength of that adjustment from the bottom center setting.
- Using your finger start painting the area of the image.
- Tap on the eye icon to get red mask which will give you a visual reference for the area that you covered.
9. Healing :
Similar to spot removal in Lightroom, this tool enables you to zoom in close to the image to carry out the detailed editing, healing, and retouching. Useful for removing a logo or blemishes on the skin.
- For proper results, you really need to zoom in close to your photo.
- Once you are focused in on the area, simply tap or swipe the spot that you want to remove.
Unsure of how to use this tool? Click on the star icon in the bottom right corner of every tools page to show a short interactive help guide about using that particular tool.
Adding filters is the easiest in Snapseed. In this section, I’m discussing a few filters which are commonly used by the Snapseed users.
1. Lens Blur Filter :
This is one confusing filter that you will come across in Snapseed. Given below are the steps and screenshots explaining how it works. Using this filter you can give more blur to the background by giving an elliptical or gradient mask for your subject.
- Open the image to be edited in the editing mode.
- Scroll down and tap the Lens Blur filter.
- The mask is very intuitive. You can control its shape using two fingers and move it by pressing on the blue dot.
- In the next window, tap the center icon in the menu bar to open up the Lens Blur options.
- There will be 3 options to change.
- Blur Strength
- Vignette Strength
- Tap to select the option you want to alter.
- Tap and swipe your finger to the right or left to change the setting.
- After the editing, tap the checkmark to apply the filter.
2.Tonal Contrast :
Tonal contrast lets you adjust the contrast in the Low, Mid and High Tones, as well as shadow and highlight areas.
This tool will help you to increase the definition of a photo at the same time giving you a higher level of control over the amount of definition.
3. Drama :
The Drama filter enhances the levels of sharpness, contrast, and saturation to an image.It lets choose from a selection of six presets or do you own adjustments using the ‘Filter Strength’ and ‘Saturation’ options.
For every action, you do there is an Undo button on the top right corner in case you don’t wish to apply that effect you used.
Saving or exporting images
When you are done with editing you can save it by exporting the image by clicking “Export” which will make a copy of the edited image. You can save it in a different folder if you choose “Export as” option. You can share it on different social media using the share option too.
This interface of the app is very user-friendly and fast that makes it the popular image editing mobile app that people choose to do their graphic works on the go. Also, it’s visual look, layout, and navigation are also cool. And the ultimate perk of using this app is, its completely free and you don’t need to spend a single penny to use these outstanding features on Android and IOS.
Besides the normal tools, there are some more interesting and complicated features that I will cover in my coming blog posts.
Snapseed is a one-stop shop for all your editing requirements. What are you waiting for? Go and download the app right away and start editing your pics in Snapseed. Post your comments in the comments section if you liked the article and want to know more about the app.
Featured image by Akash Satheesh