APP OF THE DAY: Pixlr-o-matic review (Android)

The best camera is the one that's with you, or so the adage goes. When it comes to smartphones, it's perhaps not the real image quality, but what you do with it. In the app space, apps like Hipstamatic and Instagram now have royalty status, bringing retro customisation to images and twisting the pursuit of imaging perfection into something altogether more analogue.

Unfortunately, despite the recent tease from Instagram, neither of these apps is yet available on Android, so you have to look elsewhere to funk up your images - which neatly brings us to today's App of the Day.

Pixlr-o-matic

Platform
Android

Price
Free

Where
Google Play

Pixlr-o-matic is a photo-editing app which will allow you to apply a number of effects to your images. Divided into three categories, those effects include (basically) colour, lighting and frames. A lot of it may look familiar, following the retro trend, and Pixlr-o-matic isn't the only app that will do this, but it is nicely done. 

Fire up Pixlr-o-matic and you are presented with two options, either to take photos or to edit photos you already have. It's great to have these two options first and foremost, as it gives you the scope to do exactly what you want with your image. 

Another cunning factor is that when you opt to take a photo through Pixlr-o-matic, you aren't hamstrung with an in-app camera interface. Instead, you get to use the regular phone camera, so if you have a device such as the Sony Xperia S, you get to use all the great features of the camera before you start editing any images. 

As such, Pixlr-o-matic doesn't give you a live view of changes that will be made as you look at the scene. Instead, it takes the shot and then throws you into the editing of that image, just as if you'd selected a photo from the Gallery. 

This is where all the magic happens. You have several tabs to apply different styles of effect. Within each section there's a run of styles to apply and you're free to move back and forth through the selection and pick the style you want. Within the first section you have different hues and contrast effects to make changes to the entire picture. 

The second section contains some more extreme effects, adding things like light leaks, lens flare or aging to your images. Finally the frames give you a selection from the formal to the dirty, to finish things off perfectly.

But there is also scope to extend the selection by downloading more effects. Here you'll find things like filter effects, so you can add a grad filter to enrich the sky of your landscape shot, for example. 

There is also a "shuffle" button to take a completely random selection of effects and apply them to your photo. So if you want a quick result, you might find it works a treat.

Once you're happy that the final photo looks exactly how you want it, you can share your masterpiece. This being Android, of course, you get to tap into all your normal sharing options. Once the image is saved, you'll get the normal list so you can fire it to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or wherever, or to its own imm.io site.

Overall Pixlr-o-matic is nicely stylised as an app, although leafing through the options can be a little time consuming, so it would be great if there was an option to save your selections as presets so you could get to them easily. Other than that, it's great fun, and produces great results.



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