Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android

Saikat Basu 29-08-2012

picsart appYes, Instagram isn’t the only game in town. We may or not may be able to give up on your love for Instagram, but that shouldn’t stop us from getting around our tunnel vision and looking at some other really good mobile photo editors (or photo enhancers as I call them).


PicsArt is an Android photo editor that not only deserves a good hard look, but in my opinion it is a photo app that should find a permanent corner on your smartphone.

There are a few things I require from my photo apps. A good assembly of filters…modicum of editing controls…and a large community of creative to fall back on when I need some photo upliftment. PicsArt ticks all the right boxes for me. But can PicsArt tick all your boxes? Find out.

The First Look

picsart app

PicsArt Photo Studio is a free Android (Android 1.6+) photo editing app. But it comes with a bundle of features. The clean simple interface that greets you when you launch it for the first time doesn’t suggest as much. But the fun starts when you click your first snap with the camera or choose a photo from the gallery.

Let’s Click Our First Photo

I always prefer using the phone’s default camera and then picking the photo from the gallery rather than clicking the photo from within the app. You can go either way, or alternatively you can pick up a photo from any of your social profiles, the PicsArt community, or from Dropbox.

picsart android

Here’s the screen where you will be doing most of your work looks like. The only irritant is the advertisement at the bottom which doesn’t let you take advantage of the full screen. But hey, the developer has to earn something too on his free app. Of course, a purchase will remove the ad.

picsart android

I will go over the features that lie below the photo. The features above the photo are pretty much self-explanatory. Of the four on top, the last icon (of an eraser) is important as it lets you Clean all changes. On the bottom bar, you have a series of editing tools that help you enhance the image in creative ways –

  • Tools,
  • Effect
  • Mask
  • Callout,
  • Text,
  • Draw,
  • Sticker
  • Clipart
  • Frame
  • Border

Getting into each tool would be a waste of time because they are quite easy to operate and there’s nothing really arcane about any of them. If you have handled a few mobile photo apps before this, you can easily make out what each one if for. But as the fun lies in playing around with photos and the many ways you can warp them with your creativity, let’s take the above photo and go wild with PicsArt on it.

Going Artsy with PicsArt and Its Editing Tools

The first tool on the menu here is aptly named Tool. Clicking on it lays out the options:

picsart android

For this particular image, I don’t have a need for cropping it out in interesting shapes, so I give it a miss and head on to effects.

Affecting Magic Photo Effects

Here you are spoilt for choice as there are seven major categories of effects and the choices under them. For example, the Artistic effect gives you choices like Poster, Motion Blur, Gouache, Old Paper, Pastel, Comic, Neon, Sketcher, Contours, Pencil, Oil, Cartoonizer, and a few more (phew!). Here’s a snap of the Artistic Effect in action and I am using the Pastel brush on it.

picsart for android
While applying the Pastel brush, I have full control on how I want the effect to be applied by varying things like Contrast. Brightness, Lines, and Face. You can fine-tune every magic effect like this.

picsart for android

Quickly – The Other Photo Enhancing Options in The Toolkit!

Mask helps you apply interesting effects in a layer above the photo. Try out interesting variations with Bokeh.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart07

Callout is for those photos which are meant to say something. Add humorous text to your photos.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart08

Text if you would rather use straightforward text instead of callouts.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart09

Draw if you fancy your finger skills and just want to be expressive with brushes and color. You can draw on a photo or draw on a blank canvas.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart10

Sticker is just another way to say something with…pre-made symbols that are digital equals of those adhesive ones.

picsart for android

Clipart could be a good visual tool if you want to explain something with symbols and shapes on your mobile screen.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart12

Frame choices are aplenty…after all you need to wrap your creations in something.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart13

Border your photos especially if they are black and white ones. It does give them that old world charm.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart14

There’s More…

You should have come across Collage on the first screen. As the name says, with Collage you can combine several photos into one image and then decorate them with the backgrounds and frame choices here. It’s really handy for putting together a little display of photos which share a common theme. For instance, a family picnic, or a bunch of your macro shots.

Give Instagram A Break And Take PicsArt For A Spin On Your Android picsart15

If you aren’t feeling too much like playing around with photos or are short of inspiration, head to the Gallery which is a continuous feed of the PicsArt community. You can browse through them by Top Users, Top Tags, or just the ones which are interesting.

picsart app

And what about you? Don’t you want to be a part of the PicsArt community? Click one good emotive snap and jump in. It is simple really.

PicsArt Photo Studio sits right alongside my Instagram app. Instagram might have become a habit, but PicsArt is growing on me rather fast. Yes, some of the effects aren’t yet on par but I can live with that as it is a small mobile app and comes with a free tag. I haven’t yet managed to try out all the effects. Maybe, you can pitch in here and tell me about some great affects you managed to conjure up on your photos. That in effect would be an endorsement for PicsArt. What do you say?

Explore more about: Image Editor, Instagram, Photography, Smartphone Photography.

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  1. Anonymous
    June 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I have used both Instagram and Picsart and have to say Picsart is my favorite of the two. Instagram is a fun social median but it doesn't offer you the creative freedom that Picsart does not to mention Picsart offers you so much more in the way of social interaction and introducing noobs to android photography through it's contests and galleries of other photographers. Picsart is definitely worth the space on your phone.

    • Saikat Basu
      June 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Great. I see it is a collage maker. The thing about Instagram is that it does one thing really well. But I am glad that we have so many options to play around with.

  2. Mohammad Hamad
    October 8, 2012 at 7:43 am

    It is actually much much better than instagram you get a big picture size numerous filters, and almost anything your mind can think of pics art does it with pictures

    • Saikat Basu
      October 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Instagram is a community now and that's where it's real mojo lies. There are a few apps which are functionally better but are still playing catch up.

  3. Totoy Badiola
    September 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Your review got my interest! I am sold. Besides, Instagram, I later found out is a social app. Downloading...

    • Saikat Basu
      September 11, 2012 at 6:08 am

      Do come back and tell us how you find it after using it :)

  4. Sadaf Printmaker
    September 8, 2012 at 7:09 am

    its amazing

  5. suks
    September 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

    looks interesting... but i guess Instagram is much better and more flexible!!!

    • Saikat Basu
      September 11, 2012 at 6:09 am

      In fact, Instagram is less flexible and has a very limited set of filters. It has become more of a social app and there lies its "magic".

  6. Ashwin Ramesh
    August 30, 2012 at 5:30 am

    nice :) should give it a try!

  7. Ruben Marrero
    August 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Interesting, going to try it out...

  8. xbalesx
    August 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Looks interesting, think I will stop what I am doing and give it tryout.