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App review: piclab hd

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You know those artistic looking motivational posters that simultaneously make you want to puke and make you want to stop spending your nights in bed with Netflix and pizza? Yeah, those. Now, with the help of PicLab HD, you can make your own kick-in-the-ass posters.

I should also note that these are essential pieces in a popular decorating trend currently sweeping the bedrooms of teenage girls across America. If you don’t believe me, look at Pinterest.

Considering that these make you kind of hate yourself, they are also rather fun to make. It’s hard to go wrong with PicLab’s multitude of choices, and if you do, it’s digital, so no one has to know.

If you don’t fit into the teenage girl demographic, don’t worry. This app still has merit, which is one of the main reasons that I actually considered it. For all of you DIY types, this has the potential to create great cards, and actually features pages of artwork specifically dedicated to occasions like weddings, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

There are two versions of PicLab, the free version and the HD one for $1.99. For the sake of research, I downloaded both, and was unsurprised to find that the HD version is far superior. That’s not to say that if you’re a cheapskate or just dabbling, you can’t get by fine with the free one, but there are far less design options and the majority of them are in-app purchases. To be clear- this review is on the HD version, which I highly recommend.

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This is the first screen that you see. Well, replace my photo gallery with your own, but you get the picture. Helpfully provided is the ‘Inspiration’ button, which is a link to the Instagram feed of everyone else’s beautifully illustrated words of wisdom. Check it out, because it will give you a much better idea of the options that PicLab provides you with.

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Here’s a hint: choose your most boring photo. Ok, not your most boring photo, but one that makes a good background. If it’s too busy, then it’s probably better suited to be an actual photograph and not covered in text and other stuff. This is a shot of the Smithsonian Castle in Washington D.C. that yes, I actually took. Now, first order of business is to mess with the photo.

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In terms of editing, PicLab is pretty basic. You have your crop and rotate, your brightness, saturation, exposure, etc. Then again, the picture just the background, it’s not meant to be the focus of your creation. And, as you can see above, the basics do just fine. If you’re really picky, feel free to run your picture through another photo editing app first, but I personally saw no need to. Also provided were several light effects, which I didn’t choose to use on this particular photo, but that are cool.

Okay, that was the boring part. On to the meat of the app, which is the artsy stuff. By now, you probably have at least a general idea of how you want your poster to look (and if you don’t, then go back to the ‘Inspirations’ button on the first screen). Chances are you’re using an inspirational quote of some sort, though other viable options include improving scrapbook photos, creating wedding announcements, etc. Any way you choose to use PicLab, you have plenty of options.

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I counted 77 fonts, and didn’t even bother trying to count the number of doodles and other things available. While we’re still on the topic of text, though, make sure you experiment a little. You can curve the line of text, shrink or expand it, change the alignment, create separate text blocks with different fonts/sizes, etc. I kept mine relatively simple, all things considered.

When you’re reasonably satisfied with the results, move on to the tab labeled ‘Artwork.’

Here’s where you can get really creative. There’s all kinds of doodles, pre-done labels, banners, and other things that you can add to your picture. Let it be known that mine almost had a whale on it.

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Like I mentioned before, there’s all kinds of themes to the artwork. Love, summer, cartoons, moms, it’s all there. There is a small catch here though. Just about half of the categories are in-app purchases, denoted by a tiny dollar sign in the top right corner, which you can choose to buy separately (as a category) or you can just buy all additional artwork at once for $2.99. Since I already paid for the app, I was perfectly happy to stick to the stuff that was included, which proved to be plenty. That being said, there are some really cool things available for purchase.

Again, I decided to stay relatively simple, and just chose to add a little texture to my creation. Once you are happy with yours (read: tired of messing with it), the blue checkmark in the upper right saves your poster and gives you the option to share it in a variety of ways.

Remember, at Prints on Wood.com, you can upload your photo via camera roll, Facebook or Instagram.

Here’s my finished product:

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And I really can’t wait to see it printed on wood.

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Looks pretty good if I don't say so myself!  Printed on natural gloss it looks like it would fit in just fine next to the posters in my professor's office.

All in all, I would give this app 3 stars out of 4, and a recommendation to my friends.

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There were many positives, including the numerous uses for the app (you now know where my Christmas cards are coming from) and the design options that it gave, as well as the inspiration for those of us who weren’t entirely sure where to start. The app itself was fairly intuitive, and though it took a little getting used to, once I figured out what everything did, it was easy to navigate. The reason that this app doesn’t get that fourth star, though, is those in-app purchases. Come on, guys. I already paid for your app. Additionally, there were several annoying freezes and other bugs that need to be worked out to make the app more user friendly. For example, a few times I had trouble with moving both font and art around the screen, which got rather frustrating.

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For more information on PicLab HD, please visit: http://piclabapp.com/