Forgive me, Photoshop, for I have sinned. I have fallen in love with another photo editor.
Although Photoshop from Adobe has been the undisputed king of image editors, since the move to smaller mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad, the photo giant has had trouble adapting its software for the small screen.
Although it did release Photoshop Express Editor, it didn’t really give me the results I was looking for or take advantage of the touch-screen interface.
Editing photos with your fingers on a tablet device such as iPad instead of a using a mouse should make things easier and more fun when it comes to photo editing, but this is one area that app developers fail to factor in.
Then I discovered Snapseed.
Snapseed ($4.99 iPhone-iPad) is produced by Nik Software, a company that cut its teeth making outstanding plug-ins for Photoshop such as its popular black-and-white conversion software Silver Efex Pro 2.
I expected a lot from Snapseed after using Nik Software’s previous products and I wasn’t disappointed. What I didn’t expect is an innovative approach that brought fun and ease of use to a task I normally dread.
When you open an image in Snapseed, you can access the various adjustments neatly grouped together by genre. Basic adjustments, for example, are found in Tune Image.
Simply swipe up and down to access various controls such as brightness and contrast, and swipe left and right to adjust the strength. You can quickly preview before and after, save as a favourite adjustment (for quick use later) or choose to save or cancel your changes. You can also access creative genres such as Vintage, Grunge and, of course, Black and White, which looks fantastic.
Aside from great general adjustments, one area that Snapseed scores huge points is through its use of selective editing points. You can select certain areas of your image (by tapping and pinching) to locally control brightness, contrast and saturation. This is great for making areas of the background darker, for example.
Once you are happy with your creation, you can also add a creative (read: not tacky) photo frame to your image, which again is fully customizable with touch-screen gestures. Save your image to your camera roll or share directly on your social networks. Rinse and repeat.
Since being chosen as app of the year for 2011 by Apple, Nik has also made the popular mobile editor available for Mac desktops through the Mac App Store ($19.99). While it obviously lacks the touch-screen interface of its portable cousin, it makes for a perfect cross-platform editing solution that doesn’t break the bank. A version for Android is also in the horizon this year.
Let’s be clear: Snapseed is a wicked editor designed for basic adjustments and creative edits. But don’t go burning your desktop copies of Photoshop quite yet. Snapseed’s success at utilizing the touch-screen interface provides an interesting glimpse into the possibilities of image editing in the future.