PicShop HD Photo Editor Review
Feature rich and powerful app that is easy to use with some clever moves to make your life easier and your images cooler.
Linear editing, which does not allow total flexibility and no option to start from an online image. Social Media limited to Twitter and Facebook. No proper multi-tasking.
PicShop HD Review
There are some types of apps that proliferate faster tab the swine flue. They are the apps that piggy back on the social network wave. (Not sure the image is right, they surely must surf the wave, but I like it that way). Within this type of apps is the Photo Editing sub-type. Every day there is a new photo editor around. In these very columns, I reviewed PhotoSlice HD. I shall today review another one named PicShop HD Photo Editor, by esDot Studio, a development house in Edmonton Alberta, Canada.
What is PicShop HD Photo Editor?
PicShop HD is a utility tool that allows you to edit and modify a picture that you have taken and then publish it to Twitter, facebook and the like. Unlike Photo Slice HD, the core focus of PicShop is to edit the image itself and allows a few features on top. So, if you are willing to deal with contrast, saturation, filters, and other manipulation of the kind, then PicShop is a good candidate. Let’s have a look at how good this candidate is.
I will not list here all the features of PicShop, it would be long and boring. What you need to know is the type of editing one can do with it.
There are 4 big categories of editing you can do:
- Edits: contains the most important options like an autofix, crop, straighten, brightness, color, etc. These are the key editing you can do. Contains 12 options.
- Filters: This is treating your picture with a preset filter like Sepia, black and white, high color, emboss, etc. Contain 18 options.
- Frames: Once you have edited your image, you might want to give it a global look with a “frame”. It goes from basic rounded corners to paper styles, and classic frames. Contains 19 options.
- Extras: Allows you to do some extra little details like adding an arrow or a circle, adding text, stickers and even adding another layer of image to make a composition. Contain 10 options.
If you count all the options, it makes 59 possibilities. This does not count the number of stickers or “pointers” you have in each option. So, all in all, PicShop is not kidding with its features. You do have enough to play with! I happen to be a very serious amateur photographer and I am used to Lightroom and Photoshope as a way to treat my raw images. So, I need more than a filter to be impressed. In this occasion, I’d say that the possibilities are very descent indeed.
I should note that PicShop is very fast on an iPad Retina and iPhone 5. esDot Studio claims they have used some graphic acceleration techniques and I believe it shows.
The User Interface
Here is the interesting part. How is PicShop dealing with so many options? Is this really reasonable on a mobile device? The answer is: Great! esDot Studio has done a really good job at making the app really usable. They have integrated a very lite help when you are using the app for the first time. It is just enough to lead you in the right direction and not forget any great feature.
Some great User Interface ideas
- The general User Interface with the 2 rows of tools at the bottom is just plain obvious to use. No cumbersome menus to remember. It is all there under your nose.
- When you are using a filter, rather than picking the filter name and then see the result, they take your picture and produce a thumbnail of every single possibility. You just have to browse and verify you like it or not. This is extremely fast and convenient! Thumbs up! I’d wish Photoshop itself could do that!
- There is the possibility to select a zone of your image and make it sharp when the rest of the image becomes slightly fuzzy. This is the type of result you get while playing with the aperture of your lens on your SLR. Obviously, there is no such thing as an aperture with a mobile device. But with PicShop, you can pretend you have one. Easy to use and well executed!
- You can at anytime come back with your editing, step by step, like a control-Z on a desktop tool. This is just a simple button on the top left. Fast and easy to correct what you did.
- Another great feature: at any time, you can compare your new image with the original one. Touch the button and the image displayed is switched: new-old-new-old-etc. Marvelous!
If you count all the options, it makes 59 possibilities. This does not count the number of stickers or “pointers” you have in each option. So, all in all, PicShop is not kidding with its features. You do have enough to play with!
Some less marvelous features:
- If you can come back on your actions, it is impossible to really modify your work at will. For instance, at some point in the work you see on the screenshots, I wanted to move the yellow arrow on the left. That was to align it properly with the text. I could not do that without deleting the text as this one had been added after the arrow. So, when you arrive at the detailed level of your composition, you start feeling frustrated. But let’s be honest, this is probably due to the high expectation one starts to have with the use of PicShop. We should remember that this is a mobile device, not a desktop app! Nevertheless, it is frustrating.
- If you want to use the “Layer” feature, you have to think in advance. When I reached the point where I wanted to add an image in my image, I expected to be able to take a new picture. This option is not available. You can only pick from the gallery.
- You cannot store your image and come back to it later. It is a one way process from start to save/send/use/whatever you do with it. The app does not store your image in an editable format.
- You cannot open an image from the web except from Facebook. If you want to do that, you need to store the web image on your device first. Not necessarily a big deal but since PicShop is targeting social media it looks strange to not go online to use a friend’s picture to play with.
- You cannot quit the app to do something else and come back to your work. If you do so, your image is not in the editor anymore. All your work is gone. If you have saved before, what you have is a flat image (no way to edit back).
Globally, the user interface is really good and efficient. It is easy to understand what to do and very importantly, the app does not offer features you will never use because they are not accessible. So, in this respect you will have maximum return on your money. Good job!
So, how useful is PicShop HD Photo Editor?
In terms of photo editor I have to say that it is a good one and a useful one. Pictures taken with a mobile device are of good quality but will hardly stand for a competition. PicShop will allow you to possibly recover an average picture. It will also allow you to play and be creative with your images. Saying that, with the limitations identified above, it makes the workflow of PicShop very linear and therefore not very much flexible. You will like it if your aim is: Take a picture, edit it and send on Twitter kind of thing. As such, I would say that it does a great job. It is possible in a few clicks to actually transform properly an image and send it online. Well done!
I would not use PicShop as tool to work my images on the move. The simple fact that I cannot store my work and come back to it later is a no-go for this kind of job.
The Social Media access is limited to Twitter and facebook. Probably a bit short for some Social Media addicts but still covers a huge number of users’ needs.
Bugs / No Bugs
Using PicShop did not trigger any nasty bug. When I write a review, I often open-close-open-close the app. I go into a menu, get out, into another one, and so on. PicShop did really well.
At the current price of $4.99, someone purchasing PicShop would have quite some expectations. Would you be disappointed? I don’t think so. You have enough tools inside PicShop to never produce twice the same image. And all these tools are powerful, easy to reach and easy to use.