Thursday, 27 October 2016

on-phone photo editing

For a long time (since about 1999) photo editing has been the domain of my PC and its (relatively) only recently that my phone has even been a photographic tool for me let alone an editing platform.

Things have changed recently with:

  1. me getting a tablet
  2. me getting a more powerful quad core phone that has a good screen size

To me it wasn't that long ago that I used a 1024 x 768 monitor and only much more recently went to 1600 x 1200 screens (like a couple of years back). Lots of things have changed recently and to my mind there has been a confluence of software as well as hardware that has made it not only actually possible but in some specific cases preferable to edit on my phone / tablet.

Photo Editor & Snapseed

These two apps on my (Android) device give me great capacity to edit and in some ways even make some tasks easier than (say) Photoshop on my PC

Photo Editor has the "usual" range of things I like to use in editing:
  • levels & curves
  • full unsharp masking (no, not just "sharpening")
  • perspective adjustment
  • cropping and resizing (I'm still inclined to resize smaller when sending by email or posting to FB)
  • a bunch of other stuff
that set pretty much gets me by to enable me to send out an image that I'm happy with (because its pretty common that an image needs something to make it how I saw it), but as my phone supports RAW (as a DNG file) I needed to add something to get that. 

Of course that is: Snapseed

Snapseed (which is also free and better yet is not Adware) is my go to tool for "demosiacing" a RAW file on my phone (processing it) and while my old PC fav of DCRAW exists the interface on Snapseed is simply stunning. If you're a PC based editor it may at first seem strange, but with a screen only interface I believe their design is just top notch.

As well as RAW processing Snapseed has its own editing system which is complimentary to (with some overlap) what you can do in Photo Editor. As well as adjustments used in "tuning" your picture there are so called "Art Filters" which normally I don't like much (very Instagram). Having said that the layer approach to Snapseed is fantastic (you can go back in your workflow and tune something or remove it), and its HDR system gives me the ability to apply HDR sorts of tone mapping to a JPG image (which can really help).

This post isn't intended to be a tutorial (as plenty good ones exist on youtube on the Snapseed channel already), more just a quick post of the sorts of things I can get done.

So, some examples:

The classic sort of look that a digital camera will give you on an overcast and dull day:

despite how it looks to our eyes (which automatically contrast mask in our brains) the sky looks washed out and the colours dull. So (in a rock and roll sort of manner) I wanted to see what I could do quickly in Snapseed:

so a slighly heavy handed HDR-esque tone map brought a great brooding image, and then a bit more with a heavy application of "grunge filter" 

Just to see what that looked like.

I did this to see rather what the processing looked like in so much as to produce "great works" ... love it or hate it its quite powerful.

So I'll leave you with some other before / after images, but if this has tweaked your interests / opened your eyes to tools you didn't know existed then that's great (and exactly my intention).


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