Pixlr Express - Edit Your Photos Like a Pro

Pixlr Express iconPixlr ExpressIf you're looking for a high quality and comprehensive photo editing app for Android and iOS, look no further than Pixlr Express - photo editing. The app is from graphics giant, Autodesk Inc. Top quality can be expected and the app certainly delivers.

It's great that such a highly regarded company is providing a useful tool for free with no ads. Judging by its popularity in the app stores, this is the only photo editor you'll ever need.

When you run the app for the first time, you'll get the usual 'Agree to the Terms and Conditions' dialog box and a reminder about 'sending anonymous usage statistics'. That reporting can be disabled in the app settings. The main screen presents you with functions of what to do next—Camera to launch your device's camera app, Photos to open your photo gallery, Collage to create a photo collage, and a Fresh option to work on your last photo.

The app layout looks good on a phone or a tablet. There aren't many settings to worry about. You can choose the default saved image size and folder, and the option to start Pixlr Express in Camera mode. Twitter and Facebook options are also there.

If you like doing a lot of edits, firing up the camera from the app to take a shot will bring you back to the main editing screen after the shot. The options are arranged in various logical category buttons, so it's easy to get to the function you want. That could be a quick adjustment such as autofix, cropping, or red eye correction. There are many choices available. The best way is to dive right in and explore these and see what they do to the photo.

As well as image adjustments, there's a wide range of effects, overlays, borders, type and stickers. Over 600 effects are available. The great thing is that these editing options are presented in a tidy, attractive layout that's a pleasure to use. Once you're happy with your editing, there's a save button to keep your work or a close button to discard changes. When saving, you are offered several resolution options ranging from original size and lower resolutions.

Once your completed photo is saved, you'll see a 'share' button for Facebook and Twitter. You're offered a size choice that's great if you don't want to share the full sized image.

The collage feature is impressive, with a multitude of layouts and arrangement options available. For those whose device camera has a large megapixel count, you could output a collage in a high enough resolution to make a great looking poster print. This would be just the thing for those special family photos.

There are so many editing possibilities available in this app that it'd be impossible to describe them all in this review. One thing for sure is you'd be hard pressed to find an editing feature that isn't built-in. Pixlr Express is a must-have app for those who are serious about taking photos with their smartphones or tablets.

 

Pixlr Express - photo editing — Free Mobile App of the Week

For Android
Size: 6.9 MB
Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pixlr.express

 

For iPhone and iPad
Size: 13 MB
Download: https://itunes.apple.com/app/pixlr-express-plus/id526783584?mt=8

 

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Comments

by tamxir on 27. February 2014 - 5:55  (114678)

To Bruce_Fraser:

I did say at the end of the review, "those who are serious about taking photos with their smartphones or tablets." Most of the app functions are 'one tap' to perform. If you have a recent 10" Tablet with a screen res of 2560 x 1600 and an S Pen, you can do some decent work with it. Of course, a Mac or PC workstation with a couple of 30" LED monitors and Photoshop and a decent DSLR can do a better job, but did you miss the part about 'Free"?

by MikeR on 26. February 2014 - 16:21  (114673)

As Bruce asks, why on earth would anyone want to "edit" photos on a phone screen or even a tablet? Good question, because I have a 5" phone screen and a 10" tablet. The phone -- a HTC Desire HD -- takes half-way reasonable images and the Asus Prime, sort-of 75% reasonable.

But none are anything like the quality of my £70 secondhand Panasonic Lumix with its Leica lens because neither of those Android devices is a camera. The optics aren't up to it and never will be, despite all the marketing hype to the contrary.

That said though, tamxir's heads-up re Pixlr Express Iis much appreciated. Why? Because those of us who despair of the image output of smartphones and tablets -- because we're used to shooting with 'proper' cameras and post processing in Adobe CS -- desperately need *something* to hand when time and circumstance result in us having to take snap shots via phone or tablet.

On a US trip last year I was daft enough to leave both our Lumix's back in our hotel room on a day out in the Utah canyonlands so only had the tablet to work with -- yeah, right, a 10" viewfinder in full sun. The output was soft and badly composed (not surprising, when you can't actually see what you're shooting.) But, but. . . Pixlr Express proved itself indispensable for immediate post-processing, mainly image cropping, image sharpening and color balancing, tasks that had to be undertaken because I have elderly relatives who couldn't wait to have our pix emailed to them.

So. Is Pixlr Express some kind of Android equivalent of a fully featured pro editing suite on a desktop computer? No. Of course it ain't. What it actually is, is an incredibly useful tool for all hobbyists (and even professionals) who can't bear the thought of emailing off uncorrected tablet or smartphone output to anyone.

I'd thoroughly recommend it, and am delighted that tamxir has flagged it up today -- many thanks!

by tamxir on 27. February 2014 - 7:03  (114681)

Hi MikeR

Thank you for your comments. It was only a few years ago I was dragged kicking and screaming into getting a 'Smart' Phone. I saw no reason for anything other than making calls with it. The camera only served to remind me where I'd parked my car. The cameras are a lot better now.

Yes, Pixlr Express will encourage many to take their phone photography more seriously without the expense of a dedicated camera. Apps like this make it easy and more enjoyable.

by Richardcn on 26. February 2014 - 15:32  (114672)

Hi

Whilst I most certainly agree that this is an excellent mobile editing tool, one of the best in fact, unfortunately it does not retain any image metadata. For any photographer (even hobbyists), preservation of metadata is essential, not only for image comparisons (which allows you to improve your own image taking) but for cataloging purposes as well. The developers have chosen not to implement this feature although many have asked for it (see their forum) and I, like many others, just cannot afford to lose our metadata and so have dropped this App. With metadata retention, it may well have been my go-to editor!

Richard

by tamxir on 27. February 2014 - 6:46  (114680)

Hi Richardcn

I would expect that many who will use this app will have no concern about metadata in their photos. For me, I use another app, "Metadata Editor" for that purpose. While that's only a work-around, I can't see a large company like Autodesk adding something that'd take away a chunk of business from their expensive desktop solutions. What they've given us for free was hard to believe when I first saw the app. Big companies can be charitable sometimes.

by Photo Addict on 26. February 2014 - 15:28  (114671)

"Edit like a pro?" No. Every pro I know - and I know many - use masks, layers, layer masks and adjustment layers when they edit. Yes, it does appear to be a nicely featured editor. And for those who [erroneously] believe a cell-phone camera is a serious camera, it should fit the bill quite well.

by tamxir on 27. February 2014 - 6:18  (114679)

Hi Photo Addict

See my previous reply. If you want to BE a Pro, you'd be using a workstation like I mentioned in that reply. Pixlr Express is arguably the closest you are likely to get to 'Pro' on a mobile device, short of some paid Adobe apps.

I don't want to get into the semantics of 'like a Pro' with you, but to me, the FREE app is the closest to it you will get without parting with money. Smartphone and Tablet users can decide for themselves if this app does what they want. If not, go see Adobe.

by andymand on 26. February 2014 - 14:08  (114667)

I recently started using a Chromebook (and look forward to any tips/tricks/cautions you publish about them!) and -- having been used to using Paint.net for my image-editing needs -- was scratching my head when it came to how I would do so on my Chromebook.

I Googled around and stumbled upon Pixlr for Chromebook: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pixlr-editor/icmaknaampgiegkcj...

It is, as best I can tell, "just" a webpage that functions like an online image editor, but so far, so good.

by Bruce_Fraser on 26. February 2014 - 14:04  (114666)

I'm sure Pixlr Express is an excellent program.
My question is: Why on earth would I want to edit photos on the (relatively) tiny screen of a mobile device? Even a huge 10" tablet is about 1/4 the size of a 19" monitor. I can't imagine tweaking details with such a small image.

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