Snapseed has been in the news recently, since Google acquired Nik Software, the German company that develops it. Most of the articles called for an “anti-Instagram” move, comparing Snapseed to the popular image sharing platform: this makes no sense at all, since Snapseed is a complete photo editing software, and it cannot be put on the same level as a (extremely good) social app with some basic filter settings.
Snapseed is universal, and you can have exactly the same features on the iPhone and iPad.
UPDATE: Snapseed has been updated! It is now FREE, has a new feature called “Retro-Lux”, new frames and can now export directly to Google+.
When you launch the app, you can start getting the hang of it using the sample image. Or, of course, you can take a new picture or edit one in the Camera Roll.
The start page in landscape and portrait mode on the iPad.
Using the tools on the bottom (or right) you have access to all the functions. Autocorrect is the first one you might want to try.
The interface is pretty intuitive: you swipe vertically to pick the setting you want to change, you swipe horizontally to change the setting.
Here’s how the Tuning section looks on the iPhone:
Selective Adjust makes you pick control points for Brightness, Contrast or Saturation. By pinching you decide the range (the affected area turns red while you apply the gesture). You can then change the amount for the selected setting.
The Details section lets you edit the image’s sharpness or its “structure” (making weaker details stronger):
The Black & White section has several presets:
You can also customize the results editing Brightness, Contrast, Grain and the Color Filter:
The Vintage, Drama and Grunge sections allows you to apply different filters and textures, and the results can be amazing. What I like here is that this features are highly customizable, so that you can fiddle until you find what you like and you can tune down textures if you feel they are too aggressive. What I definitely DON’T like about Snapseed is that, once you apply a filter, there is no Undo button. You can revert to the original image, but you’ll have to discard everything you have done in the middle.
The Center Focus and the Tilt Shift sections lets you both apply blur effects to the image. The former has some presets, and it is also recommended for vignetting. The latter has a wider set of options that let you achieve the effect you want.
UPDATE: a new “backlight” section, called Retrolux, has been added.
UPDATE: The Frames section has just been revamped: you now have a lot more to choose from, and you can also apply them in square format, cropping the image while you do that.
All in all, Snapseed is an wonderful photo editor with some high-end features and only one big minus: the lack of an Undo button. After some uncertainty, it seems this app might still have a future on iOS after Google’s acquisition. Big G had no problems in discontinuing popular software in the past, but it seems now to have made Snapseed a part of their Google+ project.