APP OF THE DAY: Perfectly Clear review (Android)
At Pocket-lint we get to sit in on a lot of briefings about smartphone launches. One of the first things that manufacturers mention is the camera. They say that their feedback groups rate the camera as one of the top features of their devices. The immediacy and the persistent connectivity (almost) make taking and sharing photos from you phone a breeze.
But they don't always look great. Some like the retro, deliberately downgraded look of Hipstamatic or Instagram, while some just want a decent photo. If you seem to be plagued by photos that just don't cut the mustard, then perhaps today's App of the Day can help you out.
- Google Play
Perfectly Clear is essentially a quick photo-editing tool. Some manufacturers bundle an autocorrect feature into their software which does essentially the same thing, but if you don't have one, or don't like the results, then Perfectly Clear might be worth the investment.
Perfectly Clear basically gives you an autocorrection, rather like the one-button fix you'll find in photography software. It's designed to clean up common complaints.
The mainstay of this is increasing the brightness of a shot, boosting the colours and removing tints. It will also take care of sharpening, so if things are a little blurry, it will give you a better result.
Of course, this app isn't magic. It won’t take a poor photo and make it much better, but it will take a less than perfect shot and give it a little punch.
Before the purists shout from the back, yes, this is all digital processing and there are some downsides to the changes that Perfectly Clear can make. Noise can be boosted, for example, so in low light, by increasing the brightness, you might find that noise appears in the background, for example.
Another thing to watch out for is realism. You might find that colours appear more saturated, but in the process, the overall balance of the photo doesn't look right. These are accepted norms for post processing and Perfectly Clear has a clever way of dealing with it.
Once the auto process has run, you get a before and after shot. Rather than showing two, you have a filter you slide across with your finger. One side is the original; the other, the result of the corrections. It's an easy way to preview the results and decide if you like them.
If you don't, you're well catered for. There are single-button fixes to alter the brightness or tint or beautify. But you can open up the main fix section (which is automated) and tweak individual elements, including exposure, depth, vibrancy, sharpness, tint and skin tone.
There are additional in-app purchase options for smoothing skin, enhancing the eyes and whitening teeth, if that's what you want to do.
The results are pretty good. Perfectly Clear will take a soft, underexposed shot, typical of an indoor daylight shot on a smartphone and give you a better result. As this is a common problem for smartphones, you might find that in itself warrants the price.
Below is an example of the sorts of results you can expect. The top picture is a little under exposed, so the foreground and subject is a little dark. Perfectly Clear brings out some of the shadow detail, so the purple of the T-shirt comes out and the Caribbean Sea is a little more lively and exciting. The downside is the loss of detail in the highlights in the sky, so you lose some cloud detail.
But we also like the other options the app offers. You can choose the saving options, so if you want to improve a shot and share it, you can reduce the size first. You can also set it up to share directly with Facebook or Twitter, so the process becomes more streamlined, although the app adds its own irritating message, rather than letting you add your own.
Talking of streamlining, if you want to edit several photos, you can work in batches, to save the amount of back and forth time in the app. You get to tweak each photo in the batch, or just accept the automatic results.
And, this being Android, you also get the option to share a photo from the Gallery with Perfectly Clear, so you can jump straight into fixing. The camera can also be accessed from the app, so if you really love it, you can process all your pics as you take them.
When it comes to saving, Perfectly Clear saves the edited version separately, in it's own folder, so it isn't a destructive save process.
Perfectly Clear doesn't give you retro filters or photo effects, it's simply about getting your photos to look better. You'll have to pay 63p for a app, but it's a small price to pay to make your world look better.