A SciFi image altered using Decim8.

The List – Update #3

The Android landscape is always changing, and when it comes to mobile photography and image editing, it’s a pretty picture we see. There are some new and creative additions to the image editing tools on the market. One app, Meld, is a brand new release, while Decim8 for instance is an old favorite of iOS users that, happy to report, has now expanded into Google Play.

This particular update to the definitive list focuses to some extent on layering. At least five of the apps listed here have layering capabilities, some of them specializing in it. The main list as well as the two previous updates can be found here:

The Definitive List

Update 01 (focusing on lossless image saves)

Update 02 (focusing on DoF, blur and out of focus mobile photography)

Update 03 (this post)

Update 04 (focusing on Camera Replacement Apps)

  • The Photo Editing Apps

Decim8 is finally on Android. This app has a reputation that precedes it. A quality app designed and created by artist Kris collins to destroy and abstractify your images in heavy or light doses, right at your fingertips. This is a must have for any Android editor who enjoys image crunching and picture pulverizing. Glad to see this app join the Android crowd.

Max save resolution: Camera resolution.

Phonto has been around for a long while, both on Android and iOS. The app is a strong asset if you enjoy delving into typography and the written word in your imagery. The number of fonts the app has is quite numerous, and the variety of modifications that can be made to each typeface is extensive. Phonto can save images at full resolution (even 16 megapixel saves) but at this size it does tend to crash. It’s main challengers in typography are Photo Editor (by dev.macgyver, 30 megapixel saves) and also PicSay pro (12 megapixel saves).

Max save resolution: Camera resolution, though can crash at high res.

Meld is a brand new app designed from scratch for both Android and iOS. I had the opportunity to beta test this app and was quite pleased with the speed and ease of editing with this layering tool. The app only offers a square format, which indicates a focus on Instagram more than on the art that layering provides, but still, within the framework of a square format, it has a wide potential for the creative mobilographer. It has 5 layering design packs for adding variety to your images. Imported images with transparency (in png format) maintain that transparency, adding further to what can be created. There profile on Instagram shows what sort of creative imagery can be created.

Max save resolution: 4 megapixels.

Image Editor (by Byte Experts) is a complete suite of photo editing tools that rivals PS Touch. It has a fairly easy to use interface, and provides for a number of layering and masking tools. It has an opening page that looks peculiarly similar to PicsArt, though it isn’t made by them. In any case, the app comes with numerous tools for editing and manipulating, layering and modifying your images.

Max save resolution: full. I’ve tested it up to 16 megapixels on my Galaxy S5.

Rhonna Designs is a colorful app. Similar to Meld, the app is focused on low resolution layering to beautiful images with various design packets. Some design packets are free, but if you really want to use this app to its full potential, you may have to buy a few additional packs. The app is quite low res, only saving at a little over 1 megapixel. Still, it offers unique tools that set it apart from the many, many apps that all do the same things, which is why it makes this list.

Max save resolution: 1+ megapixel.

Photo Blender is a lightweight app that provides loads of different layering methods. A simple interface allows you to select an image, add an additional image in the same format, and then select from over 20 different ways of layering the second image on top of the first.  There are no tools to alter opacity, or mask the layer, so it doesn’t offer much more than variety. That might be good for creating composit images for use in other apps in need be.

Max save resolution: 1 megapixel.

Stop-Motion is a great little app. Simple to use, and creates fun results. There are only a few simple options as far as film frame rate and resolution, so that it is easy to put together a quick film. Sometimes the images are out of focus and there is unfortunately no way of removing individual slides or replacing them. That alone makes it a bit impossible for use as a serious stop-motion camera app. Still, if you have kids, this provides for loads of fun. Here is a first attempt which my son and I made in just a few minutes:

Max save resolution: unknown. The app converts images, even 16×9 format images, into 3×4 format .gif files.

PicShop – This is one of my old favorites, though I wouldn’t say I use it any longer. Back when I first started out editing with my Android phone, this was one of the only layering apps around. Maybe it’s nostalgia that makes me want to at least mention it. There are now plenty of other apps that do the same. Developed by esDot Development Studio, this app has a free or “lite” version, and an inexpensive paid version. It works on Android 2.2 and up, but is a bit buggy and slow. It flows smoothly on my S5.

Max save resolution: 8 megapixels. The paid version has custom resolution saves and can reach a max of 4000 x 4000 (16 megapixel images, though it warns of the possibility of crashes on some phones). Save at a lower resolution before the attempt!

  • Video Replacement Apps

Cinema FV-5 picks up where Camera FV-5 leaves off. Camera FV-5 is one of the best camera replacement apps around and Cinema FV-5 lives up to its older sibling’s reputation. This app unlocks all controls possible within your phone’s video and film capabilities. It comes highly recommended as a video replacement app.