There’s no shortage of camera apps on Android, with multiple options covering almost every niche imaginable. But sometimes one breaks through the noise with impressive filters or awesome features to wow you.
Pencil Camera HD is one such app. Similar to the popular Paper Camera, it applies sketch-like, painting-style, or texture-overlay filters to your photos and videos, to sometimes-incredible results. Let’s take a look.
Originally an iOS app, Snapseed garnered quite a following for its powerful photo editing capabilities and also won a few “App of the Year” awards from Apple. In September 2012, Google bought Nik Software, the developer company behind the app and a mere three months later, we have an Android version of the app available to us for free. On a side note, Google also made the iOS version of the app free along with the Android release.
But before I delve into this review, let me get one obvious explanation out of the way – Snapseed is not an Instagram competitor from Google. Instagram, if you didn’t know, is a photo sharing app that lets you apply color effects to your photos and share them directly from your mobile devices. It thrives on its social sharing and community feature, while Snapseed does not have any social features of its own. It is also a more extensive photo editing app than a way to apply readymade filters to your photos.
So with that out of the way, let’s dig into what this latest offering from Google that everyone is talking about really is.
As a photographer, I never thought I’d use my smartphone’s camera much, given that it obviously doesn’t have the capabilities of a DSLR. But lately, I’ve learned to love it for what it is – a simple camera that’s on hand whenever I need it – and that’s really the best kind of camera you can have. Having come to terms with my phone camera, I now use it for discreet street photography, making note of locations and props I could use for upcoming photo shoots, and working on my composition.
I’ve been hankering for a solid photo editing app, though – something that offers at least a smidgen of the control over how pictures turn out that desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop do. There are a fair number of editing tools out there, but none seemed to have the complete package of features, usability and fine-grained control over various parameters that I wanted. Then, I discovered Aviary.
The first thing you need to know about this app is its concept: the effects and filters applied to your photos are made to “cartoonize” them. In fact, it makes your photos look like drawn (or printed) images on paper – hence the name, Paper Camera.
Paper Camera stands out among the wide sea of photography apps in the Play Store. When I first saw the real-time application of its quirky filters, I knew I was going to have fun using it. There’s a lot of potential for your photos with this app – it’s just a matter of letting your imagination take the lead.
In this digital age, people rely more on their smart phones to take pictures than a regular camera. Part of the smart phone’s appeal is being able to capture and share moments in pictures right away with a touch of a button. It’s probably why there are quite a number of photo sharing apps in the Market.
But what about editing? Surely not all photos taken with a smart phone comes out perfectly. In fact, far from it. A mid-range digital camera is more capable of taking excellent shots compared to a phone, no matter how impressive its hardware is.
A while back, my fellow writer Paul Wilks wrote about photo sharing apps for Android. This roundup, however, will focus more on photo editing. Here are my top 10 picks: