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APP REVIEW: PICSART

app_title-1Not going to lie, I decided to review this app solely based on how sweet the icon looked.  Granted we've been conditioned from a very young age not to judge a book by it's cover, this is one of the incredibly rare occasions where it totally payed off!

A few weeks ago I reviewed Adobe's Photoshop Express and was disappointed.  Although it was a somewhat decent app, it lacked everything that I love about Photoshop and overall felt kind of cheap.  To put it lightly, Picsart snatches the baton from PS Express and runs a marathon with it.

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The first thing, upon opening Picsart, you are welcomed by a collage photos from other users.  Picsart hosts its own community within the app which allows users to share images as well as enter them into peer-reviewed contests.

Picsart allows you to select pictures not only from your iPhone, but from your Dropbox, Flickr, Google+, Facebook, and Piccassa accounts as well.  I find this incredibly novel since I have many different digital assets strewn across several different devices and services, so the ability to draw from several different accounts is very convenient.

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For this app review, I decided to snap a picture of POW's resident tough guy, Robbie.  Something about that grin is just… evil.  With the help of Picsart, lets see if we can smooth out Robbie's rough edges, shall we?

After selecting Robbie's photo, the first thing I immediately picked up on was the user interface of Picsart, it was just as clean and polished as it's icon.  Over the years, the look and feel of websites have clearly gravitated to an oversimplified style.  Modern Design now capitalizes on a "Less is More" approach by stripping things down to the bare essentials.  Picsart's UI completely owns and understands this.

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Although boasting an incredibly sleek design, Picsart's tools and features are so layered and numerous, it'll take some dedication to harness the full command of it's abilities.  I've worked with Illustrator and Photoshop for 10+ years, and even so, I found myself getting lost at times working with this app.  Not lost as in an unsettling "Where did I put my car keys?" kind of way, but more in an Adventurous/Explorative kind of way.  Whether you're familiar with Graphic Design or not, it's only a matter of time until you're able to find your rhythm with Picsart.

All of the standard photo editing tools are present, but what really grabbed my attention is that where apps like Tadaa or PS Express leave off, Picsart is just getting started.  Picsart is so dynamic I could spend every week writing a "How To" about each tool available.  Instead, lets go over some of the more unique features Picsart offers.

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Picsart allows you to isolate certain colors in your image with the Replace Color feature, which allows you to transform the unselected colors to greyscale, making your selection pop.  You can also use this feature to change the selected color entirely.  In both instances the transformation is incredibly smooth, devoid of jagged edges.  It should be noted the accuracy of this feature is on par with the same feature included in the desktop version of Photoshop.

My favorite aspect of Picsart was the Drawing tool bar, which offered wide selection of pens, brushes, shapes, text/fonts, and cropping tools.  One feature that really got me excited was the ability to create layered images, much like in Photoshop/Illustrator.

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The Layers tool is worth the (free) download alone.  If you've got a lot going on with your photo in terms of editing and effects, layers can simplify the process greatly.  Picsart even allows you to change transparency of each layer with different filters.  Once again, much like the desktop version of Photoshop.

Poking around, I noticed more awesome little features like clipart (stickers), borders, frames, and effects.  On top of an already comprehensive selection of added effects/features, Picsart also offers additional image libraries for borders/clipart at a cost.

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I know in my review of PS Express, I criticized similar pay features that app offered, so why is this justified now?  It's because the standard features offered in the basic Picsart app makes it feel like a complete, fully fleshed out application.  PS Express on the other hand felt like you got half up front for free and had to shell out money for the rest.  Also, the pay features offered in PS Express didn't look any more exciting than what was already available.

So now that I got a chance to monkey around with all Picsart had to offer, lets see how my final image of Robbie turned out.

pa7How precious! All of these lovely additions really bring out Robbie's inner Popeye. Now let's see how this looks printed on Natural Gloss.

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Wow, what a dreamboat! Move over autographed picture Scott Baio, this handsome Robbie print is going on my nightstand.

So all in all, what was my final impression of Picsart?

RATING

As I mentioned at the start of this article, I downloaded this app on a whim and thought it was going to be a stinker, but was completely blown away once I got the ball rolling.  The UI is incredibly smooth and responsive.  Given the large scope of features offered in this app, I'd definitely recommend trying this out on iPad.  Working with the iPhone was fun, but felt a little claustrophobic.  Out of Tadaa, PS Express, and Picsart, I highly recommend downloading this app first.  Although the learning curve might be steep for a first-timer, once you get the hang of it, there's definitely huge potential for fun.

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For more information on this app, please visit: http://picsart.com

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