PicsArt, the popular photo-editing and social-networking app, continues to reinvent itself by adding AI-enhanced art filters like those popularized by the Prisma app. These filters can make mobile photos look like real works of art by masters like Picasso and Mondrian. In addition, this iPhone app has undergone a clarifying redesign and now has a price structure that is more appealing: Ads can now be removed without having to pay. In any case, maybe PicsArt’s most unique commitment is the idea of remixing photographs and drawings.
Getting Started PicsArt is available on Android, iOS, and as a desktop and mobile Windows Universal app; I put it to the test on my iPhone 6s. 599.99 at Verizon with the code VZWDEAL. (Opens in a new window) It’s a 153MB download, so clear out your phone’s storage. The app is free to use, and it has a lot of free content. However, you can buy frames, clipart sets, stickers, and fonts through in-app purchases, most of which cost 99 cents or $1.99. Without having to sign up, you can get a feel for what PicsArt can do, which is something I like about any app I’m testing.
The interface in the most recent PicsArt update is lighter, cleaner, and less cluttered, but it still has a lot of editing tools. Your social photo feed is on the Home screen, which you swipe down like in Instagram. You can follow other users by simply tapping a button. If the poster has included the hashtag #FreeToEdit, you can heart, comment on, repost, or remix the image. You can tap the blue Remix pencil button to see other users’ remixes of the current image if it displays a number.
You can add your own image by clicking the magenta Plus sign, either from the phone’s camera, the Camera Roll, or by drawing on a blank canvas. From the Plus sign, you can also begin creating a collage. Your Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, or Apple.com ($0 at Apple.com) photos can also serve as inspiration for your PicsArt creations.
You can zoom in or out with a pinch, use the plus button to reveal more controls, see your image before and after, undo the last action, and restore it to its original state. Every effect has sliders and a brush that can be used to change where the effect is applied or removed.
Curves, masks, clones, stamps, shape cropping, brushes, borders, text, and lens flares are all examples of tools. Photoshop, be careful! And let’s not even talk about clip art. There are sets for sports, travel, nature, birthdays, mustaches, babies, love, rabbits, and so on and so forth.
The app’s drawing tools also put it on par with Photoshop, offering more than 20 different brush types and shapes that can change on a three-dimensional plane. The marker brush’s opacity, size, and even its “squish” can be changed. For text overlays, you can choose from 30 fonts, pick a color, and change the size with a handle to your liking. The feature is compatible with Photoshop-style layers and allows you to begin a drawing with or without a photo background.
Naturally, you also get stamp-and-clone, red-eye correction, tooth whitening, and blemish removal. With regard to minor skin issues, the blemish tool performed well. Auto-object selection and edge detection are two features you won’t get, at least not as powerfully as in Adobe Mix and Photoshop Touch. For instance, when I applied fake tan to a friend’s face, the brown overlay affected both his skin and the background. While the cloning tool is enjoyable, Adobe’s Photoshop and Mix do not offer content-aware object removal.
PicsArt applies its Enchanted Impacts utilizing your telephone’s nearby handling. This means that you don’t need an Internet connection to use it, unlike Prisma. However, keep in mind that they take longer to render than the majority of photo filters due to their high processing demands. They finished in about 15-20 seconds on average during my testing. Applying Prisma filters takes roughly the same amount of time. However, the fact that you will never receive “server overloaded” messages is another advantage of this strategy in comparison to a cloud-processing system like Prisma’s.
You also have access to blending modes similar to those used by Photoshop layers when applying Magic Effects. Therefore, the blending modes of Normal, Multiply, ColorBurn, Darken, Lighten, Screen, Overlay, SoftLight, HardLight, and Difference are available to you. Although experimenting with these is fun, I find that the default setting frequently looks best. Prisma has 30 more basic art styles than PicsArt does, and some of them are better than PicsArt’s, despite the fact that company representatives informed me that more would be added.
The majority of photo sharing apps do not support collages; however, PicsArt provides an abundance of layouts, borders, and backgrounds for the creation of collages, as shown in the image below.
In PicsArt Sharing, you can collage because the app has so many tools for editing that you can spend a lot of time working on an image. You can save the image to the Camera Roll at any time by tapping a button. Of course, you’ll want to share your work with others, and the app has a lot of ways to do that. Sharing to Facebook, email, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger is built in. When you upload to PicsArt’s own service, you can also share to Dropbox and Facebook simultaneously. You can include location and keyword tags when uploading an image.
All of the typical social networking activities are supported by the app and the PicsArt website, respectively; following, highlighting, and commenting. The interface makes good use of swipe gestures and is well-designed and easy to use.
Given the numerous creative tools PicsArt provides, contests are a welcome addition and make sense. PicsArt’s blog highlights the winners after users cast their votes.
The Secret to PicsArt’s Success PicsArt approaches photo enhancement in a manner that is quite distinct from that of, say, Instagram. PicsArt, on the other hand, has a significantly larger number of image editing options than the latter. Not only are its filters more customizable, but it also provides tools like layers, clone stamps, curves, and masks that are comparable to those in Photoshop. It’s much more than just a photo app thanks to its drawing tools and clip art. However, because Instagram restricts the options and the extent to which those options can affect images, all of this poses a risk of over-modified, unnatural photos.
PicsArt is probably a better option for those who love to tinker with photos on their phones and make them look amazing. Or, at the very least, edit your photos using PicsArt before posting them to Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and other platforms. However, they may simply track down sufficient similar picture producers on PicsArt’s own hearty informal community to fulfill their necessities. PicsArt is unquestionably the Editors’ Choice of PCMag, but for a larger community and some pretty cool photo tools of their own, try Flickr and Instagram, which are also Editors’ Choices for iPhone social photo apps.