Tech Chat - Apps - Snapseed Just Got an Epic Upgrade!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Snapseed was already a kickass photo editing App and with the latest major update it's become an even more powerful tool to have in your kit! 

old snapseed loo to new one

screenshots of snapseed app from itunes
A bit of history to start us off, Snapseed was originally a photo editing software app created by Nik Software (who also produced a bunch of other computer based editing plugins that are amazing) but was bought out by Google back in 2012 who then released the app for free on both iOS and Android.

Since then Snapseed has had a few minor updates but nothing as big as this last major update to version 2.0 (note: the latest update was 2.0.2 which fixed minor issues - you can see further details in the app store). The entire layout of the app's UI has been given a facelift along with a bunch of new tools and filters.

snapseed front page

snapseed tools and filters menu screenshot

Amongst all the new shiny features, the stand outs for me were:

Brush - previously the only local edits you could make in Snapseed were by using the Selective filter which is an AOE (area of effect) style tool, however now with the new Brush tool you can literally brush on certain effects (dodge & burn, exposure, temperature and saturation) directly where you need them. Below I've desaturated the eyeshadow palette, dodged the lion emblem and burned in the corners/shadows at the edges of the shot. 

snapseed brush tool in use

Transform > Rotate and Autofill - when you rotate your image past it's originally cropped boundaries in the new Transform tool, it will autofill the background based on the content within the image. The Transform tool also allows you to change the perspective of the image on either the horizontal or vertical axis and will also autofill the blank spaces using a content aware algorithm.

snapseed transform rotate and auto fill before

snapseed transform rotate and auto fill after

Grain filter - you can now manually apply and control the amount and style of grain you want to add to an image. The styles available are designed to mimic old school film stocks. 

snapseed grain filter in use

Lens Blur filter - you can now place a either a linear or elliptical type of lens blur with adjustable strength, transition and vignette effects where you need them. 

snapseed blur filter in use

Spot Repair - is an automatic heal brush tool that generates a proximity match of nearby texture designed to remove dusts/spots. It's fairly clumsy but in a pinch can be used to remove distracting elements from an image.
Until now Snapseed didn't have any kind of heal brush or clone stamp functionality, unfortunately while it's handy for removing obvious marks, it's clunky with no real ability to fine tune the effect - its basically pot luck if it will work well on an area or not. I'm a bit disappointed with this one but hopefully with future updates they'll work out the kinks.

snapseed spot removal before

snapseed spot removal after

Stacks (aka Layers) - with each tool/filter that you use, a new "stack" or layer is created. At any point you can go back through these stacks/layers to a previous adjustment and either save your image or start adding different effects from that point. You can copy and reapply stacks too. 

snapseed stacks function stepping back

snapseed stacks additional layers

These are just a few of the new tools now available and there's still all the previous awesome filters and fine tuning tools to utilise too. 

I've personally been using Snapseed since it was still owned by Nik Software (and cost $) on my iOS devices as an "in between" editing step. Being able to make quick yet relatively complex local and global edits to an image while I'm out and about without the need to go to a laptop is essential in my workflow. 

I've also been laptop-less for about 18 months now, so when I travel I've only got my iPad mini retina and my iPhone but I still need to be able to upload, edit and post my images to this blog. I find Snapseed is a great tool to have in my kit and while it may not be perfect, it goes a long way in helping me get the job done. 

You can get it now for free on both iTunes and Google Play.

Bambi xox

P.S - Let me know in the comments below if this was helpful or if you enjoyed this tech based post as I have a bunch of apps and gear I would love to write about here :)  

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