The new Snapseed

I use Snapseed a lot. I've tried plenty of other mobile photo editors and find features that I like, but I always default back to Snapseed for it's intuitive design. Every feature is quick and easy to access and it does most of what I need.

An update to the iOS app (and presumably to Android given that Snapseed is now owned by Google) arrived yesterday. Not just an update though, this is an entirely new version of the software. Pretty much a complete redesign.

Is it any good? Firstly, it looks great. A really simple, smart opening screen then a more professional looking interface. It looks and behaves more like a serious piece of software now, and I like that a lot.  

The old menus across the bottom of the screen have gone, replaced by a histogram (nice!) and a button which then gives you a screen of menu options for both tools and filters.

The basic tools work as before. Once you've selected the tool you want, swipe up and down within the image to choose the parameter you want to change, then swipe left and right change the setting. As before, you always have the option to compare before/after, and reject the changes if you prefer. I'm glad they've kept this interface because it works so well. I'm pleased to see Vignette as a tool in it's own right now too.

Filters weren't explicitly present in the previous version but a lot of them are features carried over such as the HDR and black & white options. Added to those are new effects such as Lens Blur and Tonal Contrast.

Another great new feature is the ability to copy adjustments from one image to another. Like Lightroom, if you've edited one image and have another that is similar, you can copy across your edits to the new image. That's a great time saver if you tend to take multiple shots in very similar lighting conditions.

Most interestingly to me are three new editing tools: Spot repair, brush tools and perspective transforms. Snapseed has always been good at making changes across an entire image. Trying to make a smaller change to one area of an image was possible but very limited. These tools have the potential to make very detailed corrections such as removing blemishes or drawing over part of an image to adjust a specifically defined area. I've yet to play with them very much. My early attempts with the spot repair showed some limitations but I hope with some experimentation and practise these will be powerful features.

Finally there is also a new 'layers' (history) feature. This means that each change you make can be listed and you can go back to previous versions without needing to save the new image each time. Another excellent feature.

It won't take long to learn the new features. There have been some other new editing apps getting publicity recently such as Darkroom and Priime, but to me Snapseed is still the best, especially with this update. Not bad for a free app.