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iPhone App Reviews and Critiques - Snapseed




Seller: Nik Software, Inc.
Category: Photography
Nik Software, Inc.
App Description

Snapseed is a camera replacement and photo editing app created by respected software developer Nik Software, best known for a variety of quality digital photography filters.  While this app is more expensive than most, Snapseed is definitely an essential component of any iPhoneographer's camera bag.  The interface is intuitive, and the app contains a wide range of tools, from simple straightening and cropping to the more elaborate grunge effects.  Full resolution is supported, up to 16 MP for the iPad 2, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

Snapseed supports JPEG and TIFF files.  RAW files are supported for those with an iPad or iPad 2.  With RAW files, images will need to be transferred from the camera to the iPad while using a camera connection kit.  Also, in IOS settings, check to be sure Location Services for Snapseed is turned on in order to allow Snapseed to use the IOS RAW processing and to preserve EXIF data.  In the case of the latter, photos will need to be synced directly to your computer.  Emailing a photo will strip the EXIF information out.

An entire website is devoted to Snapseed for mobile and for the Mac, complete with video tutorials.  It may be found at http://www.snapseed.com/ for those who wish more detailed information.



After opening an image and selecting a filter, tapping a button on the bottom control bar or swiping a finger to the left or right will adjust the effect, while swiping upward or downward will show the various categories (such as brightness, saturation, etc.) available for adjustment purposes.  



Automatic - This filter automatically applies contrast and color corrections to an image.  If a correction seems excessive, each is adjustable with a swipe of the finger.

Selective Adjust - This is a wonderfully useful filter which allows an area of any size to be selected on the photo where an adjustment to the brightness, contrast or saturation is desired.  In order to compare the change made with the original, tap and hold down the box on the top right corner of the screen.

Tune Image - This filter offers the ability to fine tune the brightness, ambience, contrast, saturation, and white balance of an image.  This is one of my favorite filters as it gives one so much control over so many areas.  I'm particularly fond of the ambience option, described by Snapseed as "a special type of contrast that controls the balance of light in a photo."  It really can work minor miracles with vibrancy!

Straighten - By selecting a corner of the grid that appears after selecting this filter and moving it slightly upward or downward, the photo can be adjusted to the right or left.  Tapping an arrow will rotate the image 90 degrees in either direction.   

Crop - This filter allows cropping of the photo in an aspect ratio chosen from the box provided at the bottom of the screen.  The rotate button (also at the bottom of the screen) is available to rotate the crop rectangle orientation.  

Details - With this filter, sharpening may be applied to an image and structure added, wherein the texture of objects is intensified, increasing the details in the photo.  A loupe is provided to show how adjustments are affecting the image at full size.

Black & White - This filter can transform an image into one of six black and white styles.  To access the different styles, tap on the star at the bottom of the screen.  For each style, separate controls are provided for brightness, contrast, and the amount of grain desired.

Vintage - Nine vintage film styles are provided with this filter, accessed by pressing the star at the bottom of the screen.  Each style has controls for brightness, saturation, texture strength, the center size, and style strength.  There is also a box at the bottom of the screen that allows the user to choose which type of four different textures is desired and what properties it possesses.

Drama - This filter, with six different styles on a pop-up menu, is for those wanting to create a more stylized image.  Each style can be adjusted for strength and saturation.  At maximum strength, this option can mimic an HDR effect.

Grunge - This is a fairly complex filter which creates a dramatic effect utilizing texture, color, the center focus effect and a vignette.  There is a shuffle button on the bottom control bar which makes it easy to experiment with random effects.  A texture button is also found on the bottom control bar - this opens to reveal five different textures.  Pressing the button labeled "Properties" will randomize the angle and position of each texture to provide a variety of looks.  Individual controls for style, brightness, contrast, texture strength, and saturation are also provided.

Center Focus - After selecting this filter, the center focus control will be in the center of the image; this may be moved about as desired to select an area to draw attention to.  Six different blur styles are provided, along with controls for the center size and filter strength.

Organic Frames - Tap the star to bring up thumbnails of the frame types to choose from.  Tapping the button labeled "Properties" will randomize the texture of each frame for variety.  The frame filter has two controls, one for frame width and the other for frame offset. 

Tilt-Shift - This filter is for simulating a miniature scene effect.  Either linear or elliptical focus may be selected from the star at the bottom control bar, and each of these choices may be adjusted for size and positioning.  Further menu controls are provided for transition, blur strength, brightness, saturation, and contrast.



Images edited with Snapseed may be saved to the photo library, emailed, printed, or sent to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. 


My Thoughts

Snapseed is ordinarily the first app I use on any image; it's my starting point.  I may do nothing more than straighten the photo or crop an unwanted frame out.  More often I'll select "Tune Image" and adjust one or more of the available controls, or I may see if adding more structure with "Details" enhances the image.  If I notice one area of the image is too light or too dark, I may choose to use the "Selective Adjustment" filter to correct it.  Depending on the image, I might try out "Tilt-Shift" or "Drama."  "Grunge" is usually a bit over the top for my taste; however, I have used it in the past and been happy with its effects after some adjusting.

My personal wish list for Snapseed would be another set of film styles - preferably a group of lighter films, complete with adjustable sun flares that could be added if desired.  Also on that list would be an option for textures all by themselves - a lot of new ones - or perhaps just different styles added to the collection already offered in the app.  I would also like to see more frame choices, possibly in a different format than the present organic one.  In all honesty, I believe I've used the frame option once or twice - that white border just doesn't look quite right to me no matter how much I adjust the settings.  (On the Snapseed website I read where applying the border first and then the other effects will give a different look to an image, so I tried it just now and still wasn't that impressed.)  

Despite these small issues, I've come to love and depend on Snapseed.  It has a highly professional feel and contains so many tools that if I had to pick one app over any other, this would be the one.  The app store description states, "Snapseed is the only photo app you'll want to use every day."  I agree, as I do indeed use Snapseed in some manner on nearly every image I edit.



Dancers by Luxtra - Filterstorm was used in addition to Snapseed

Think smart.. by Foxiest - only Snapseed

She by belowmyfeet - only Snapseed


This app review was written and submitted by luxtra.  More of her artwork can be seen on Flickr.  If you would like to submit an app review to be featured in the App Critiques section, email django@iPhoneArt.com.


To purchase this app at the iTunes store click here:

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Average rating for current version 10 5 ratings

i agree. I don't use other apply since i try this one. Sometimes i try other one but i always come back to snapseed

Posted almost 2 years ago

Great review! Snapseed is one of my favorite apps and is also my starting point for editing nearly every image on my iPhone. The cropping tool is the best and easiest to use of any app. The Snapseed interface has great ease of use and I love how it stays out of the way so the user can see the image clearly.

Posted about 3 years ago

This is an amazing review! I thought I had figured out all of the properties but learned a lot! Thanks for the thorough wonderful work Lainie! Top in my app list always.

Posted about 3 years ago

Love it! It's my final step on every image!

Posted about 3 years ago

It is a great app with a great UI. I never used Iris much because I found the learning curve too steep - and it's now been pretty much replaced by other apps. Agree with you about the frames. I never use them either.

Great review :) I'm off to peek at your Flickr...

Posted over 3 years ago

100% right, its my second app after the camera, 98% of my work passes trough it. a fantastic app for newbies or power users.

Posted over 3 years ago
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