Snapseed for iPad – Interface Usage

Cattail Reflections

About 1 minute while testing Image Tune followed by Center Focus

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Previous Post – an Overview

Today – A look at the interface of Nik Software’s Snapseed for iPad.

The interface is intuitive and easy. Once you grasp it, you literally know everything that you need to know to use every one of Snapseed’s 11 editing functions. That’s entirely apart from using them well in the sense of doing a good editing job on your image – proper tones, contrast, colors, etc. The latter is up to you and it’s the same challenge regardless of the image editing program you’re using – iPad or PC/Mac based. No program is a mind reader – only you know what you want your image to look like.

The previous overview post described the main page interface in terms of opening/saving files, choosing which edit function to use, getting help, etc. Today’s post will focus entirely on the interface used when actually performing editing adjustments on an image.

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Basics – Each of Snapseed’s 11 adjustment options, when selected, offer different sets of enhancements such as brightness, contrast, saturation. However, they all share two things in common –

  1. How you switch between & choose which enhancement you want to do
  2. How you make changes to the selected enhancement

Snapseed has a help overlay (overlays the image being edited) that illustrates this –

For example, Auto Correct (one of the 11 edit options) offers two adjustments –

  1. Contrast Correction
  2. Color Correction

as shown here. Click on any of the following images to enlarge it.

I made Snapseed display those two options by swiping a finger vertically (anywhere on the screen). Once displayed, I choose between them the same way – by moving the selection with a vertical swipe. Once one is selected, they disappear from the screen until the vertical swipe process is repeated. Each of the 11 main edit adjustment types offered by Snapseed work in this same manner. They differ only in what adjust steps are offered – for example Image Tune offers 5 different options which are Brightness, Ambiance, Contrast, Saturation, and White Balance.

Once an adjustment step is selected, as described above, a display showing the correction name & “amount” appears below the image. At this point, the 2nd basic interface “move” is employed – a horizontal swipe. You change the “amount” up or down simply by swiping your finger to the right or left. I’d suggest ignoring the actual numeric display and concentrate on the image – if it looks good to you then that’s what you want regardless of what the numbers show.

This is what we see after selecting Contrast Correction. Note the display at bottom center.

In the next image the Contrast Correction was  increased to 100 (swipe to right) simply to illustrate the effect as shown –

We’ve now covered what you’ll spend the well over 50% of your time doing in Snapseed. Try it, you’ll like it – easy and intuitive.

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Slightly less obvious interface options

A few of Snapseed’s 11 basic functions involve the placement and/or movement of control points on your image.

  • The most obvious case is the Selective Adjustment option which is built around adding control points for use in Nik’s patented U-Point selective adjustment system.
  • A less obvious case would be some of the 6 enhancement functions that use a normally invisible point (that’s why it’s less obvious ;-)).

In this latter case the point serves two purposes –

  1. Where the effect of the enhancement adjustment is centered (default is the center of the image)
  2. How widespread or concentrated the effect is (controlled by adjusting the size of a circle that surrounds the point).

You can “discover” one of these hidden points by tapping the image.

You can move it by dragging it with your finger

You can change its size by pinching in/out around it with your thumb & forefinger.

U-Point selective control points offer a few unique interface features. These will be covered in another post that discusses Selective Adjustments.

Now we’ve covered over 90% of what you’ll be doing in Snapseed to edit your images. Like I said – easy & intuitive. The remainder of interface elements that are unique to one or another of the 11 Snapseed functions will be covered in later posts which address those 11 functions. One example is the “Add Control Point” in the Selective Adjust function.

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Lessons learned while on the trail….

As I write this, after 3 days (2-3 hours) in the Snapseed/iPad saddle, it’s more & more obvious that telling how to use Snapseed is unnecessary – but I said that I would so ….  Giddy-up n Go, Pony

“Thinking in iPad” is something else again. Having virtually no control over folders and files in the iPad (as delivered and before discovering apps like GoodReader) is plain nuts! What an adjustment!! I hope (or since I’m talking Apple is that iHope? ;-))  that the salvation is up there in the iCloud, Steve.

I now know how to “reboot” the iPad after one of the apps that comes preinstalled (Photos) hung and was totally non-responsive.

[Update: Here’s the next Snapseed post – A Before/After Example]

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3 thoughts on “Snapseed for iPad – Interface Usage

  1. Ed,
    You should submit this to snapseed. While the interface is very easy, it’s not completely intuitive. And I’m sure as you continue this thread, you’ll be providing some clever tips and shortcuts!

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the frustrating lack of a file management system. Having to use iTunes to rearrange or move things is crazy.

    Mike W

    • Thanks for the opinion, Mike. Regarding iPad and files/folders, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. In a week or so, if I’m right, I’ll document it in a post here. Al Ruhl has complained about the same thing. What was Apple thinking? Maybe we can form a HH photo club iPad SIG (special interest group).

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