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Creative Filters

The creative filters in Snapseed are where this app starts to get interesting. So far, the editing functions I've described are useful, but not unique. If you've used apps such as Instagram, you're familiar with their grungy creative filters and the way that they can transform images. Snapseed offers similar filters, but gives you much greater control over the effect. When you combine Snapseed's creative filters with its basic filters, the possibilities are nearly infinite.

Black & White Filter

The Black & White creative filter converts your photo to black-and-white. Tapping the Style button brings up six black-and-white styles from which you can choose (see Figure 13). You can adjust the brightness, contrast, and grain to imitate the look of black-and-white film (see Figure 14). Of course, compared to Photoshop or Lightroom, the black-and-white conversion options in Snapseed are quite limited.

Figure 13

Figure 13 Tap the Style button to bring up Snapseed's six black-and-white conversion styles.

Figure 14

Figure 14 You can add a realistic film-grain effect with the grain slider. I've set it to 100 here to show the full effect; move the slider to a lower number for a more subtle effect.

Vintage Film Filter

You can choose among nine Vintage Film effects (see Figure 15). Tap the Style button to bring them up. After you've selected the effect, you can make some adjustments to customize the filter to your own desire. This capability is what sets Snapseed apart from apps like Instagram. For example, some of the Vintage Film filters employ textures, and Snapseed lets you set the Texture Strength on a scale of zero (no texture) to 100 (lots of texture). This option is handy if you prefer a subtle texture, or no texture at all. That is, it's handy if—like me—you think textures tend to get overused by some photographers.

Figure 15

Figure 15 Choose from nine Vintage Film effects.

You can also use the Vintage Film filters to add a toning effect to black-and-white photos (see Figure 16).

Figure 16

Figure 16 Use the Vintage Film filters to tone a black-and-white image.

Drama Filter

The Drama filter creates a pseudo HDR effect (see Figure 17). You have complete control over the strength of the filter and can adjust the strength on a scale of zero to 100. You can also adjust the color saturation.

Figure 17

Figure 17 The Drama filters offer six varieties.

Grunge Filter

The Grunge creative filter is really cool. Open the filter, swipe from side to side, and you'll see what I mean—the color and contrast change as you swipe, and you have around 1,500 total options. The grunge filter also applies a texture (any of five) and soft vignette around the edge of the image, and you can control the strength of both effects (see Figure 18).

Figure 18

Figure 18 Three of the approximately 1,500 Grunge filter style settings.

Center Focus Filter

The Center Focus creative filter applies a soft-focus effect to the background of an image. This setting is designed to give an effect similar to using a lens with a wide aperture, although to me it looks a little like the Cokin soft-focus vignette filters that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s (see Figure 19). You can choose from six styles, and you can control the size of the clear center circle and the strength of the filter.

Figure 19

Figure 19 A before-and-after comparison showing the effect of the Center Focus filter.

Organic Frames Filter

The Organic Frames creative filter lets you add a frame to your image. There are eight frame styles, and you can change the appearance of each frame by tapping the Properties button. You can also adjust the width of the frame and move the frame inward from the edge of the image to create a white border (see Figure 20).

Figure 20

Figure 20 There are eight available frame styles.

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