How hard is it to turn your smartphone photos into beautiful drawings and sketches? Sounds complicated?
Take your tiny portable computer (aka your smartphone) out of your pocket, and you can instantly perform photo-editing feats you could only dream of in the past. Editing photos is just not that hard anymore, unless you’re looking for professional results.
The mobile editors of today are very sophisticated; While apps like Pho.to Lab (our review) lets you apply insane and tacky filters, others, such as Handy Photo (our review) are truly powerful editors that let you easily apply almost any changes to your photo. And then there are apps like PhotoMania.
What’s Special About PhotoMania?
Does the name sound a bit familiar? That’s because PhotoMania for Android (soon to be available on iOS too) is the mobile version of a powerful photo editor I already told you about. The Web version of PhotoMania is free, simple, and impressive, so I had high hopes for the mobile version. I wasn’t disappointed.
So what’s special about PhotoMania, you ask? It doesn’t try to be a fully-fledged photo editor. The only thing this app lets you do is apply an assortment of filters to your photo that turn it into a work of art. That’s it. No cropping, no resizing, no adjustments, no blemish or red-eye fixes; for those things, find yourself a regular photo editor. PhotoMania is here to help you have fun.
Your Photo = A Beautiful Painting
A few years back, I tried turning one of my photos into something that looks like a painting or a drawing. This turned out to be quite a task. While I did manage to find several programs that offered the feature, they were either expensive or too hard to understand. Mobile apps changed all that, and PhotoMania is a shining example.
Here’s how hard it is now: choose a photo (from your gallery or one you’ve just snapped), and have a look at PhotoMania’s five filter categories. These are Paining, Sketch, Instant, Vintage and Texture.
All in all, you get 50 different filters to choose from, and they’re all free. No premium packs, no in-app purchases, no ads. This is a refreshing change from most photo-editing apps. You can use everything you see.
The most impressive filters are the ones you’ll find under Painting and Sketch. Here’s where you can turn your photo into a drawing that actually looks good.
If these seem a bit much, the Instant and Vintage categories are more laid back, and include ordinary filters which are nonetheless refreshing compared to the boring ones we’ve all done to death on Instagram.
The Texture tab is perhaps the most tacky one, but even these are done right. Most of these filters won’t make you grimace, which is saying a lot for this type of effects. In fact, you may find them kind of useful. They’re definitely lots of fun.
What Else Can You Do?
The simple answer is: not much. The screens you see above are all you get with PhotoMania. Those five tabs, those fifty filters. That’s it. Don’t try scrolling or swiping left and right — there’s nothing else. In addition, you can’t apply two filters on top of each other. It’s one filter at a time.
Like what you see? Save the photo. Want to keep on exploring? Go right ahead, but remember that you can’t mix and match, and you will therefore not find options such as undo or revert.
Other than saving, the only other thing you can do through PhotoMania is sharing. The app lets you share your creation through almost any other app you can dream of.
So what’s the catch? Why are all these filters free? Can you count on it staying that way?
According to PhotoMania’s developers, the app will not include premium features or premium filter packs. On the contrary, time will only see the addition of more free filters and more sharing options. What you might see in the future are premium services such as easy photo printing etc.
Other than the obvious simplicity of the app (which some may take as a limitation — not me, though), I’ve encountered two things worth reporting:
1. PhotoMania can only export photos up to 600×600 in size.
2. There’s currently a bug when trying to import a photo to edit from Dropbox, resulting in a “Something went wrong. Please try again.” error time after time. This only happened when trying to import from Dropbox.
As for the first, it shouldn’t be a problem for most of your needs, but you should keep that in mind when using the app. As for the bug, the developers assured me they’re looking into it, as they do with other bugs that may arise with the relatively new app.
If you like what you see in the screenshots above, or if you want to see your photos as works of out, give PhotoMania a try. It’s easy to use, and the work the developers put into the filters definitely shows. It’s no VSCO Cam, but then again, who wants to pay a dollar or more for every pack of new filters?
Download: PhotoMania for Android