For the longest time, I took my BlackBerrys camera and picture folder for granted. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being able to capture life’s precious moments and hold them dear to my heart (while in my pocket or in a holster). I’m referring to what I did with the images from there. If I wanted to do any tweaking to them, I would always transfer them to my laptop and get to work with Photoshop. I did get a little jealous of iOS and Android, as they had Photoshop Express. I wanted to see what I could accomplish with my BlackBerry, so I went hunting.
Today, we will take a look at a few of the best options for adding pizzazz to pictures, ingenuity to images and a fine finish to photos. Let’s compare and see what we can expect from PhotoClub, imgEdit and Photo Editor Suite.
Rating at the CrackBerry App Store: 4/5Rating at BlackBerry App World: 4/5
By clicking on the imgEdit icon, you can choose the quality of image you wish to save (pick anywhere between 0 and 100%, but 80% is recommended). Next, is an option to select the pixel scrolling level (how fast you can scroll through pixels when selecting an area on an image), allowing you to choose between 1 and 10. Even though the menu of imgEdit has a button that says “Edit Pictures”, it doesn’t actually allow you to edit pictures, it closes the menu and takes you back to the BlackBerry home screen (or whatever folder you decided to place the application in. Isn’t this a bit confusing? Shouldn’t it open up your native pictures folder? If you’re a little confused, the developers did include a help section that will explain what you can do with the application. A legend will help you figure out what each icon is used for. So through the help menu, I figured out that I have to go to the media files then choose “open with imgedit” from the menu. It takes about 5 seconds before this command is executed. Here’s what you can do from the edit menu:
Under the Rotate feature, options include rotating by 90, 180 or 270 degrees. Here you can also flip or mirror the image. When you wish to crop, you open the crop window by moving right and down. You can also use your track pad to move the crop window around. Once you have the area selected, press the crop icon again. Fortunately, there is also undo option found in the menu.
I found that imgEdit did and well with resizing images, as far as personalization goes. When resizing, the application can decrease the size of an image increminents of 10%, or choose a size of your own percentage or pixel height/width. Using the Effects option you can apply the following effects: Black, Blur, Emboss, Flea, Grey, Interlace, Negative, Paint, Sepia, Sharp, Blk Rm, Noise, Scatter, BlurBac or Rub. From the menu, you can also apply the “Warhol” effect. For Color (Colour for fellow Canucks), you are able to lighten and darken the image, alter the hue, saturation and brightness or play around with RGB values. I like the fact that the application includes a preview (or a before and after) option.
The Tools menu was a bit confusing to use. You can create lines, shapes, text, etc. It does take some getting used to, so take time experimenting.
Depending on which effect you choose, it takes anywhere between 5 and 25 seconds for it to take effect. At times some options were randomly unresponsive when I tried to select them and not all functions were made clear, without having to refer to the legend for each icon in the help section. It should also be noted that imgEdit can be used in both Portrait and Landscape modes.
Rating at the CrackBerry App Store: 4/5Rating at BlackBerry App World: 4.5/5
I really liked how natural it felt to use PhotoClub. Not only was it quick to respond, but it did feel as though RIM should have incorporated its functionality already. While using PhotoClub, the images size is displayed above. You want to change the size? You got it. Under the Adjust option, users can crop, rotate, zoom in/out or fit to screen (width wise). The only problem I had is that I couldn’t specify the actually size of image I want, and I cannot choose an arbitrary angle to rotate by.
For some added fun, and possibly embarrassing pictures, PhotoClub comes loaded with clip art and frames you can add in. If you don’t see any that you like, you can search for more online from within the application. Clip art can be resized to fit the image, so if you wanted to add some sunglasses, you can make them fit no matter how fat the face is. Clip art includes speech and thought bubbles, so naturally the option to add text is there too. The font options include type, colour and size. Not to bog down on a lot of effects, PhotoClub does sport the following effects; Black & White, Negative, Sepia and Scenes (which turns you image into a billboard!). Don’t worry if you make a mistake when playing around with your Photos, nothing sticks until you hit apply – and nothing gets saved unless you acknowledge. Once completed, you can then export the image from PhotoClub to a folder of your choice. I would have liked to see an option to export to email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Images edited with PhotoClub will display a watermark. The only way to not deal with the watermark is to buy the full version. One point I’d like to address is the lack of portrait mode I experience on my Torch. Though I will admit that Landscape mode is easier to work with – it’s always best to give users a choice. In my opinion, PhotoClub provides a fun and quick way to make your images stand out without adding too much detailed photo editing.
Rating at the CrackBerry App Store: 4/5
Rating at BlackBerry App World: 4.5/5
Photo Editor includes a “Warhol” option similar to the one that is offered by imgEdit. In this case, it’s called a Pop Effect. The Sepia, Black and White and Colour Balance features are just as easy to use. Photo Editor needs to keep touch screen BlackBerrys in mind during development, as there isn’t any support for portrait mode.
The resizing option, though limited to 4 sizes, is uniquely presented. When I attempted to resize an image taken, I could choose from tiny, small, medium or large. Each size select displayed a file size and image resolution. I found this type of image resizing very straight forward, therefore saving time. Do you really need to follow resizing parameters while on your BlackBerry? The cropping tools really made excellent use of the pinch feature. Rotations can be made as well – choose from 270, 180 or 90 – this application also doesn’t allow arbitrary angle selection. As far as the colour palette goes, I was a little disappointed with the choice of colours you had; there were only 16 to choose from - a few also looking similar. These colours can be used when adding text, rectangles/circles (outline or filled in), or even drawing lines or freehand with a pen/paintbrush.
When using the pen or paintbrush tools, Photo Editor displays a pen and paintbrush for easy reference when you’re adding scribbles to a picture. The pen and paintbrush were incredibly responsive and allowed me to make very tight knit patterns. If you make any mistakes during your bout of creativity, the menu houses an eraser and an undo function. Once you are finished your masterpiece, you can select a frame to match (6 are available vs. 14 from PhotoClub and 5 from imgEdit). Photo Editor’s design is geared towards making editing images are simple as possible. It’s extremely responsive to touch and the trackpad. It doesn’t have nearly as many options as you would see with PhotoClub or imgEdit, but it is by far the easiest to use. This should attract those who are not looking to expect Photoshop like functionality – but rather effectively simple alterations to pictures.
There are a few basic similarities between these applications, as far as resizing, framing and text go. The difference lies in the more advanced features, and what you can accomplish with them. It’s best to look at it like this:
While looking at these, I did notice that quite a few missed some opportunities to take their functionality even further. What about more pen/paint brush options? Sure it’s great to doodle on a picture, but is it possible to change the brush size? The social networking aspect is missing in each of these. Nowhere do I see options to share via Twitter, Facebook or others. imgEdit includes an email option, but that’s it. Applications such as MiniPaint allow you to share with Twitter. I will cover that one in the future. Which image editing application are you are using? Which functions are missing that you would like to see? Let us know in the comments below.