Shane Rogers | Nov 23 2012 09:30 PM
If there is one type of application that Android has in spades, it would have to be tip calculators
. Well, it would be if I were writing this review a few years ago. Nope, the topic of the moment would have to be image manipulation
applications. While it’s not to the point that you can’t toss your Android phone (out of anger, of course) and hit an image editing app - it’s getting close. Fortunately, there are some fairly
high quality ones out there so it all comes down to what you like and the interface you get to use. Today I’m looking at Pixlr Express
from Autodesk, and if you think that application name sounds familiar that would be because it is: Pixlr Express essentially replaces Pixlr-O-Matic
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pixlr-O-Matic, it comes with a handful of effects and borders and other cool filters that you can run your photos through. The only minor nit against O-Matic is the need to go and manually fetch those filters, but like I say it’s minor. Pixlr Express comes with more filters and effects built in than the previous application and it will automatically download effects packs whenever you select a new filter for the first time, which is a nice addition. Pixlr Express does a better job at filling the screen with your image as the interface doesn’t really get in the way and is remarkably clean. Sadly, this also means that the buttons are a little on the small side and the text can be a tad difficult to read. This also means that PE does not follow the Android UI guidelines, but it’s not like Google themselves are always able to follow those either.
When you first load up PE you get the option to either take a photo with one of your installed camera applications or to load an image from your device’s gallery. Once you do that you’re taken into the business end of the app and are presented with a full screen representation of your selected image. At this point, this is where you’re either glad that you have a phone with a ginormous screen, or are cursing the fact that you didn’t get a tablet, because the editing buttons are a bit on the smallish side.
Along the bottom left of the screen you’ll find “Adjustments, Effect, Overlay and Border” buttons, which each pop up a secondary menu of items to choose from. Fortunately, most of them also provide a method by which to add filters and effects to a Favorite list, which will then place that item into a “Favorite” menu item that then shows up as the first submenu item of either Effect, Overlay or Border.
To go along with a plethora of effects, borders and overlays, PE does have a decent amount of Adjustments that can be made to your images, ranging from simple cropping, red eye reduction and auto fixing to touch up, de-noise and color adjustments. They are all pretty simple to use, some of them, like the focal blur can be set to work their magic on a selected area of the photo. Then there is always the favorite touch up so you can see what old Uncle Earl would look like with white teeth.
Once you've got all the changes made that you need, you can then opt to save your new image in the gallery and also share it via the standard Android share menu. There aren't a whole lot of options that you can change in Pixlr Express: saving location and image size are about the two most important ones you’ll find.
Sure, we have a wide selection of image editing applications for Android and that’s a good thing. It’s difficult to come up with something that works for everybody, and in the case of Pixlr Express we find that even one developer likes to have a few editing choices as well. For my taste, I really have enjoyed giving Pixlr Express a try and will most likely turn to it for my image editing needs for the time being.
Pixlr Express is available for free on the Google Play Store