For the last two years, Snapseed has been my goto app when it comes to mobile photo editing. Sure, I have owned and played with dozens of photo editors in the past but none prove to be a good fit. I edit my photos the same way I would edit them on my desktop computer. I look at the highlights and shadows to see if they need a boost and consider later if a faux-HDR touch would save the day. To be fair, not all photos shot on a mobile device will come out good. Often you find that the highlights are blown out an the shadows too dark to reveal anything of interest. This is where your photo editing skills come into play and how SnapSeed became a favourite.
Google bought out Nik Software, the creators of Snapseed back in 2012 and after that, there were little or no updates for the last two years. The team were seconded to G+ where they created an online version of Snapseed used in G+ photos.
SnapSeed 1.0 set the barriers for everyone else to follow. A good UI and UX was crucial but there are still others who prefer to load up your option with pre-set filters. These one touch wonders are perfect for any lazy bone who wanted a quick fix but for those who desire more, you have to get personal. This is why Snapseed was perfect.
For the new version, Snapseed 2.0 is quite a departure from the first. Gone are the top right capture button where you could capture and process a photo. Instead, Snapseed 2 assumes you have already captured the photo and are ready to do some dodging and burning. The tools are all there, so you can pick and choose what you like from the main screen.
Instead of flipping left to right to see your options, Snapseed 2 offers you a scroll down menu, where all the tools are ontop, and the filters and effects on the bottom. The UX is the same as the first. You can with one hand, swipe left to right to increase or decrease a chosen tool effect. To choose the desired feature option, it's up or down, just like Snapseed 1.0.
This is relatively easy if you already have a liking for the User Interface. Snapseed is a one handed app. You don't need to use your other hand unless it is for cropping or straightening the horizon.
Snapseed preserves your original image during edits. And you can see the before and after effects just by holding the image down with your thumb. Once you are satisfied with your edit, you get to save them in Snapseed's own image folder so you know where to find it.
One of the new features on version 2.0 is selective editing and lens blur. Selective editing allows you to highlight or fade out areas within an image.
Lens blur in Snapseed 2 is not as good as what you are able to render from Google Camera apps Lens Blur feature but it goes some ways to addressing the needs of folks not using the Google stock camera app.
Stacking is the key to good Visuals
In Adobe Photoshop, you can do non-destructive edits which are stacked upon one another. The same can be done on Snapseed to good effect. Each editing process is stacked upon one another for you to see the final effect and once you are happy with it, you can save a copy back into your device.
The updated app comes highly recommended as a photo editing mobile tool for novices as well as experts. For now, the app runs pretty smoothly but you'd probably need to upgrade your device if you are short of RAM. Editing images is a storage hungry exercise. Running Lollipop with 4GB of RAM is recommended if you intend to edit DNG files on your device.
For now, DNG is still very far away from the minds of those who take snapshots. Unfortunately for those on iOS, DNG will be at least another generation away on the iPhone platform. Maybe iOS 9 I reckon?