Photo Editing Revolution

Photoshop Mix screenshot

A few weeks ago, the photo editing program Adobe Photoshop celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Judging by the popularity of my photography blog post a couple of months ago, I am assuming that many of you out there, like me, are also very interested in photo editing and other kinds of digital art!  Adobe Photoshop has celebrated its anniversary by rolling out a new business plan that will make the highest level of photo editing available to the masses.  Well, maybe not the masses, but at least more affordable than before.  Their desktop programs are now “in the cloud” and are subscription-based, instead of having to pay a $700 price tag like before.  Previously, the hefty price tag limited the software to industry professionals.  Adobe has also grouped the different features from Photoshop and used them to create various iPhone and iPad apps, making you a digital artist on-the-go.  The mobile apps can be used on their own or in conjunction with the desktop software.  Some of them require a payment, but others are completely free, and a few are free with in-app purchases available.  Just go to the App Store on your Apple device and search for “Adobe” to see all Adobe apps.  Adobe Photoshop Mix for the iPhone and iPad allows you to cut and paste part of an image from one photo onto another, and is completely free!

Although Adobe Photoshop and its related apps are the most well-established, there are now an abundance of high-quality photo editing apps for mobile devices.  There are always the ubiquitous Instagram and built-in Photos app on Apple devices, but there are other great photo editing apps with neat features.

Enlight screenshot

Two of the best, which are trying to give Adobe a run for their money, are Facetune and the brand-new Enlight, from the Lightricks company.  Both cost a few dollars to download from the App Store for Apple devices.  Facetune rode the wave of the selfie-craze and is specifically for editing portraits.  It is extremely easy to use and works best with high-resolution and close-up photos of faces.  If you’ve ever wondered what you would look like if you could have your selfies edited like the pros do for fashion magazines, this is your app!  Of course not that you should want to or feel any pressure to whatsoever, but if you were ever so inclined as to create that “perfect” Facebook profile pic with white teeth, bright smile, sparkly eyes, and smooth complexion, then you should try this app.  You can even change hair color with it and reshape facial features (which is scary).  The app also lets you change the intensity of the effects- you can make mild changes that might be flattering, or extreme changes that look kind of scary.  The same company, Lightricks, has just released another photo editing app called Enlight which is for all kinds of photos, not just portraits and selfies.  It is currently a featured app in the App Store.  Oddly enough, as of right now it is only available for the iPhone, not the iPad, which is odd for a company that is trying to compete with Adobe.  It offers the same kinds of filters that Instagram and Photos do, but you can layer them on top of each other and adjust them, and it also offers a much broader range of advanced editing options of light and color.  The major way they are differentiating themselves from Adobe is that Enlight aims to be easier to use without requiring a learning curve.

Repix screenshot

One final photo editing app which is really fun, and which I have used a little bit but would like to try out more, is Repix.  It has filters and light and color adjustments like the other apps, but what sets it apart is that it allows you to use different “brushes” to create completely customized effects on top of your photos.  A few brushes are included free of charge, but you have to do an in-app purchase to use the other brushes.  To draw in the app, you can of course use your finger like usual, but many users will prefer a stylus pen.  If you ever use any illustration/painting/drawing apps such as Paper by FiftyThree, ArtRage, Auryn Ink, or many of the Adobe creative apps, then you will want to use a stylus pen.  As Repix states in its press release, “When filters don’t cut it anymore, remixing photos with Repix offers users the chance to express themselves.”

If you feel your creative juices flowing and want to learn more about digital art, check out these books from the McAllen Public Library:
Digital Art Revolution: Creating Fine Art with Photoshop
Digital Arts: An Introduction to New Media
Beginner’s Guide to Digital Photo Art


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