The prevalence of camera phone means that we are now taking more photographs than ever before. Some people take the time to optimise their photos using one of the various image editing tools that are available, but this task has generally been limited to desktop platforms.
However, if you’re working with an Android phone or tablet, you do not need to spend time transferring your photos to your computer when there are apps on hand to help you transform them into something truly impressive. Lithic is one such app, and anyone who’s a fan of gothic graphic novels will love the style the app can inject into their photo collection.
It might be better to describe Lithic as an image processing tool rather than an image editor. In many respects, it is comparable to Instagram, at least in as much as it enables you to give your images a particular look by working with a series of preset options.
There are two sections to Lithic: the Canvas where you can work with your photos and the Gallery where you can view your creations. Head to the Canvas and you’re immediately greeted by a range of different layouts to choose from – although the lack of illustrated previews makes it a little difficult to decide which to use the first few times around.
Depending on which template you choose to work with, you can then add one or two images to your composition. These can be images you already have in your gallery, or you can opt to take a new photo or two. Simple controls are on hand to enable you to rotate images as necessary and the familiar pinch gesture can be used to zoom in on a particular area.
Stylise Your Images
The next thing to do is apply the filter – there’s only one to choose from, so it almost seems like an unnecessary step to have to select it. However, once your image has been given the basic graphic novel look, you can tweak the overall appearance using the sliders to adjust the harshness and brightness of the effect. This is where the real opportunity to create something unique arises, but you’ll quickly discover that not all images respond as well to the filter.
The next tool in your arsenal is the text tool which can be used to add a caption to your image. Just how you use this tool depends on what you are trying to achieve, but options are fairly limited. You are obviously free to enter whatever text you want and you can then choose to anchor it to any of the four edges before deciding how the text should be justified.
Another series of sliders can be used to customise the size of the text as well as adjusting the transparency of the text’s background. The only other option available to you is choosing between black text or white text on a contrasting background.
The last step in the process is adding a border. This is a simple black or white affair where you can only modify the thickness.
Oddly, when the time comes to save your creation, you are able to choose between portrait and landscape; quite why this option is not available earlier in the process is anyone’s guess. As well as saving directly to the internal memory or a memory card, the image can also be shared from within Lithic through all of the usual Share intent channels.
Lithic is not the app to turn to if you’re looking to ‘Photoshop’ your photos in the traditional sense. There are a very limited number of options available, and you end up with a very uniform look to all of the images you process through the app.
This is not a criticism; Lithic is what it is, and it’s very good at what it does. Where it does fall is in its fixed orientation and lack of colour. The lack of a landscape more is particularly noticeable on a tablet, but even on the smaller screen of a phone, it seems natural to try to use an image editing app in landscape and it’s a bit strange that the option is not available. As for the colours, the decision to keep the app entirely monochrome is understandable, but at the same time the option to add a splash of colour would have been nice.
The issues do not end there either. One of the pleasures that can be derived from tinkering with your photos in an image editing tool is the freedom to experiment with the various settings and filters that are available. A fairly serious oversight in Lithic is the lack of an undo feature. Should you make a mistake in selecting images to use and decide you want to change something, there is no way to step back – you’ll have to start from scratch.
If you can turn a blind eye to these shortcomings, Lithic is a great little app. The price tag should give you an indication of the kind of quality to expect – although that’s not to say that quality is poor, rather than things could have been turned up a few notches to make this something really special. Eventually, Lithic offers an interesting way to enhance and show off your images in just a few clicks.