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PicLab Review for iPhone

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We review PicLab, a photo editing and sharing application that lets you edit photos with various typography, overlays, filters and adjustments, then distribute them on different platforms.



What is PicLab?



PicLab is free, but you are limited to selected features, an extra $0.99 will unlock masks and remove the branded watermark. Although the hidden cost is disappointing, it’s rare to find a good app that doesn’t have one, and it does allow you to try it before you buy it.

The start up screen comprises of the lens view and the main tool bar. The tool bar takes up almost half the screen, leaving the remaining area for your image; this can feel like insufficient space, especially if you are used to taking pictures with the entire screen and if you are looking to capture landscape views.

On start up you have the option to take a fresh photo, or use an existing one from your gallery. The shutter button is in the middle of the tool bar with keys to your gallery on the left of it and settings to the right. The downside to taking a picture through the app is the limited view options, with less screen space and the inability to zoom.

After you have captured or selected an existing image, you are presented with the editing options. These are divided into four main sections: text, overlays, filters and adjustments.

The cross button will cancel all edits and let you start afresh. You are requested to confirm before this happens, in case you select it by mistake. All editing functions are applied post shot, which can be restrictive but means you can play around with all the different editing tools, and mix and match to your hearts content.

The first editing tool is text. Here you can write over your photo, selecting the color, font type and opacity, then rotate it and change the font size accordingly. The entire font collection does not come with the $0.99 purchase, and requires another $0.99 but there is plenty to play with before you spend any more money. The next tool along is overlays. This section is subdivided into four further sections, being borders and shapes, light fix, textures and patterns. These masks are pretty basic on their own, but when used together, effective. Select one of the sub sections and scroll down, tap about until you find a style that you like, then move on to the next section. You can combine any four of the different overlays but you can’t combine more than one type of overlay in each sub section. Photo filter is the next tool. This is can be likened to the editing masks found in popular apps such as Instagram. There are nine to choose from, these are common but effective and a nice quick way to get a pretty, post card image. The last option on the toolbar is adjustments. You get your standard functions of brightness, contrast, blur, exposure and saturation. A slider is used to make adjustments. Although the editing functions are nothing new, the ease of use and ability to combine them seamlessly makes it a fun and satisfying experience. In each section, after selecting your layer or making an adjustment, pushing the little blue box with the tick on the right accepts the edit. The back arrow in the filters and adjustments section will revert the image back to its previous look. There is no undo function in the app, which would be useful, especially in the adjustments section. After you’ve worked your photo into the desired outcome, push the big tick key. This takes you to the sharing page of the app. This function is really useful and once again, easy to use. There are options to save to your gallery, share on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, open in Mosaic, present it on a Postcard, send in and email as well as transfer it to apps on your phone such as WhatsApp, Evernote and other photo editing tools. On the settings page you will find the options to unlock overlays and fonts, and select a theme for the app, however the only choices for this are black or white. You can purchase the PicLab HD Design Studio here, although we decided not to fork out the $1.99 for this so can’t say what it’s like. The actual editing functions of PicLab are pretty basic but the ability to combine all of these with interesting typography and share in several places, makes it a rewarding experience. It doesn’t have the depth of editing that tools like Photoshop and Snapseed have but it’s a quick to use and produces nice results.

PicLab Highlights



How to add and adjust text With this function you can add a quote, caption, or just your name in corner.

Choose the typography and then adjust opacity by moving the fill slider. If you double click on the text box it allows you to edit the actual text and brings up the color, alignment and depth options.

Use the corner buttons to rotate and resize the text. By pressing and holding the box you can place it where you want on the photo. A grid appears over the image when you do this, helping you align the text accurately.

You can add multiple text boxes by double clicking and pushing the small plus key in the top left hand corner.

How to save and share your photo.

Once you are done with editing you are given various options to share the image. The first is to save it in your gallery, this function allows you to save various versions of your photo without having to go back to the original each time, and you can edit your last version.

When you click save, they photo’s are automatically placed in a PicLab album in your iPhone gallery.

To share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter you need to have these apps already set up on your device and configured in your settings.

The post card share capability sets your image on a 4x6 inch postcard that can be printed and shipped. You can add a personalized message to your postcard, include your profile pic and send it anywhere in the world. Of course there is a little more work to do this than that, requiring a Sincerely account to be set up and payment to be made.

The mosaic app that you can transfer your photo to lets you set up and print a photo book.

How to use overlays

Go into each sub section and select and unselect until you are happy. There are a few different layers to choose from and it’s nice to play around until you find one that fits.

In the borders and shapes section there are lots of frames to choose from including numbers and letters. The light fix, textures and patterns sections don’t have a huge range, but there’s enough for an interesting result.

You can adjust the opacity of each overlay using the slider.

After you have made your selection, push the red button with the angle bracket, this will take you back to the main overlay section and you can go into another sub section, alternatively you can push the back arrow and this will take you back to the main tool bar.

Pushing the tick box in this section is not necessary to save your edit. This can be confusing as the other tools require you to do this to save your edit.

Getting the basics right: PicLab


How to adjust the Contrast and Brightness with PicLab



Under the adjustments tab, select the icon representing contrast or brightness. Then use your finger to slide the cursor along toward the plus or minus.

How to switch to the front camera with PicLab to take a selfie

On the start up page, in the top right hand corner, you will see the standard symbol to alternate from the front camera to the back, allowing you to perform the renowned selfie.

How to adjust the flash with PicLab

You can turn the flash on or off by pushing the flash button in the top left hand corner of the start up page.

How to adjust the picture quality with PicLab

Not a function in this app.
20th Nov 2013, 20:19  

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