When Google acquired the popular mobile editing app, Snapseed, one of the first things they did was axe the Mac version of the app. They recently re-introduced Snapseed for desktop users, no matter which operating system they happen to be using. The only catch is that Snapseed is now browser-based, as long as you’re using Google’s own browser, Chrome.
Not only have Google tied Snapseed to their own operating system, they’ve also tied it to Google+, rolling its features into the social network that has proven popular among some photographers. And it’s no surprise, since Google+ is stacked with awesome features for sharing photos.
If you don’t want to put too much effort into correcting your images, you’ll be happy to know that the auto-enhancing feature from Snapseed has been ported over to the web. In addition to simply auto-correcting your images, you can also fine-tune specific settings – namely brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows, warmth, and structure.
Fine Tuning Images
Tune Image: As is to be expected with any photo editing service, you have to be able to adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation of an image. With the Tune Image feature you can do just that, in addition to also adjusting the warmth and shadows of the image.
Selective Adjust: This is one of Snapseed’s best features – the ability to adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of specific points in the image. You start by adding a “control point.” Click the + button, and point to the location on your image that you want to adjust. After clicking, you should see a menu with four options. The arrows allow you to adjust the range in the image that is going to be affected by your changes. The other three buttons – B, C, S – allow you to adjust either the brightness, contrast, or saturation.
Once you’ve selected the setting you want to adjust, you can simply swipe your mouse to the right to increase the setting. Swiping to the left decreases it.
Details: With this setting you can adjust the ‘Sharpness’ of your image, or bring out even more details in the image using the ‘Structure’ setting.
Crop and Rotate: The final of the basic settings allows you to crop images with pre-set dimensions including 1:1, 4:3, 16:9, and more. You can also alternate the crop box between landscape or portrait. In addition to rotating your images right or left, another key feature that Snapseed offers users is the ability to straighten images. This is very useful for correcting those images that are almost perfect, save a little tilt when it was shot.
As would be expected, any photo editing service has to come with pre-set filters, and Snapseed’s filters certainly don’t disappoint. There are six filters to choose from.
- The ‘Drama‘ filter gives an almost HDR-like quality to your images, but is a little more subtle and realistic.
- Center Focus allows you to select a circle within your image, and blur around it.
- Vintage gives your images an old-school feel to them, and comes with adjustable vignetting. On the computer, you can also select from various styles, and adjust the colour tint of your vintage filter.
- Retrolux, Snapseed’s most recently added filter, also has a vintage feel to it, but that comes courtesy of scratches and light leaks. On Google+, there are lots of little tweaks you can choose from – different leak patterns, different styles, and colours.
- Black and White not only allows you to create gorgeous black and white photos, you can also adjust brightness and contrast within this setting, and choose from six different styles.
- Tilt-Shift does exactly what it says on the label. You can use this feature to create awesome tilt-shifts right there in Google+.
Finally, you also can choose from 21 different frames to jazz up your photos.
Mobile or Browser?
A major difference between the mobile and browser versions of Snapseed is that each setting in the browser version comes with presets. So for example, in the ‘Tune Image’ feature, there are six presets: neutral, pop, lift, moody, bleached and dark.
In the mobile app, you can only fine-tune contrast and colour correction. Two extra settings you can also adjust in the browser is to reduce noise reduction and also add vignetting to your images.
When it comes to the Tune Image feature, the mobile app’s white balance and ambiance are replaced with shadows and warmth, which is somewhat disappointing. The ambiance feature really helps to give your image a little bit more depth, whereas the warmth feature is a bit flat. The shadows feature in the browser is, however, a great addition and helps make subtle but necessary changes to your images.
The crop feature is almost identical. The only difference is that in the mobile app there is the additional crop dimension of 7:5 that isn’t available in the browser version. Selective adjust, details and the ‘creative adjustments’ are identical to the mobile app, save the presets mentioned before.
To find out more about how to use Snapseed in the browser, check out Google’s support page. And if you aren’t already familiar with the mobile version of the app, be sure to check out our review of Snapseed for Android.
What do you think of using Snapseed in Google+? Do you think it’s Google’s attempt to draw more people into its social network? Let us know in the comments.