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How to choose a mobile image editor

    Last Updated on 07.06.2023

    A mobile device is a small but very powerful computer with a touch screen and a versatile camera that can replace a still camera and camcorder.

    Characteristics of mobile devices when working with images

    A mobile device is a small but very powerful computer with a touch screen and a versatile camera that can replace a still camera and camcorder.

    If this computer has a larger screen, the result is a tablet. If the screen is smaller, it is a mobile phone. In addition, currently it is not necessary to make calls through the telephone channel, since there are messengers and the Internet channel.

    Twenty years ago, such a text would have seemed like a bunch of meaningless words or an excerpt from a humorous story. Anyone can understand today.

    When mobile devices were able to take photos and record videos, the appearance of applications to process them was no longer a matter of time: they appeared immediately.

    When mobile devices received a reliable and responsive touch screen, along with a comfortable stylus, drawing applications appeared.

    When mobile devices were able to reliably connect to the Internet, cloud and online applications appeared that were specifically optimized for mobile devices.

    As a result, mobile applications appear that can be used to work with all kinds of graphics, which traditionally could only be used on desktop computers. Of course, they were adapted with full consideration of the specific characteristics of mobile devices.

    These are the features (let’s start with mobile phones).

    Small screen size

    The main consequence of the small screen size is the extreme difficulty in performing operations with images related to fine details. Even the usual scaling with gestures doesn’t always help. Having to change the scale from time to time to pan the image and enlarge details makes working with small details simply inconvenient.

    Thus, the classic retouching in mobile applications is replaced by replacement or removal operations on large objects: shapes, backgrounds, clearly visible lines. When working with vector objects, operations with nodes and curves are greatly simplified, and “layout creation” is reduced to simple manipulations with fairly large elements.

    Vertical Image Orientation

    The situation is further complicated by the fact that the most natural position of the mobile phone in the hands is vertical.

    Users instantly switched to vertical photo and video formats, for the simple reason that it is much more convenient to photograph or record while holding the mobile phone vertically.

    All the popular social networks and services, which were originally designed for desktops, have gradually adapted to this fact. All of them have introduced vertical photo and video formats.

    Only one problem remains: if, in general, only one button is needed to control the process of photographing and recording, then to process photos and videos many buttons are needed, many options to choose from, many settings available, simply because this is required by established image editing technologies and action chains.

    It makes no sense to occupy the “height” of the screen with buttons, menus, graphics and other service elements; it is already narrow and there is no place to visually narrow it even more. It is easier and more prudent to place all interface elements horizontally, that is, parallel to the narrow side of the screen, at its bottom.

    But many elements just don’t fit there! Therefore, the following problem arises…

    Small controls

    But the problem is not only the number of controls.

    Even if their number is small, they are poorly visible, because there is really very little space. And when you consider that mobile phones are often used outdoors and bright daylight can significantly complicate the visual perception of the interface, the task for application developers becomes almost impossible.

    You just need to make the interface elements different. Large, clear, understandable, well distinguishable. This task can only be solved in the event that the operations performed are clear and understandable, and the result of their execution is clearly distinguishable.

    We are talking about the maximum possible rejection of interface elements that desktop and laptop users are accustomed to and replacing them with simpler and more understandable buttons and windows, and replacing operations that consist of fine-tuning actions with filters and pre-optimized effects.

    Did this affect the quality of work with images? Of course yes. No mobile phone can provide the precision of settings and rendering quality that are available on desktop computers.

    But this is not necessary, because the mobile phone has not yet become a professional tool. This is a massive device.

    Mass availability

    What does this mean in practice? This means that the average mobile phone user is a person who may not have any knowledge of any image processing technology. He is not required to have them.

    It is in this situation that all these large and understandable visual interface elements that we just mentioned come in handy. And these interface elements correspond to operations with typical images and objects, preconfigured, simplified and optimized to the maximum.

    Everything is logical and understandable, as it should be, right? And all of the above logically follows all the features of different types of applications for working with images on mobile devices.

    Except for one case. We are referring to a specific type of mobile device: tablets.

    Tablet differences when working with images

    The first and most important difference is that the tablet screen is about the size of a piece of paper, and the tablet itself is the right size and weight to comfortably hold in your hands or conveniently place on a surface.

    Simply put, a tablet mimics a sheet of paper well enough attached to a comfortable enough support.

    The advent of high-precision touch screens and technologies that take into account not only the movements and strokes of the stylus, but also the angle of inclination, opened up absolutely impressive prospects for graphics application developers. And they made the most of it.

    For drawing on tablets, there are applications that are capable of mathematically perfectly simulating the application and spreading of paints, their mixing and drying process.

    Nothing needs to be said about the modeling of various types of brushes: the artist has access to such precise settings for the stiffness, flexibility, thickness and length of the bristles that he cannot even dream of them in real life.

    All this predetermines the success of tablets in the imaging segment. The user has the opportunity to work with the image in the usual way, as with a sheet of paper of sufficient size, and at the same time has almost unlimited options when choosing paints and brushes.


    Mobile phones have advantages in the operational processing of photographs taken with themselves. This processing is done primarily by presets and effects. Therefore, the most extensive type of applications for working with images on mobile phones are photo editors, often combined with means of creating collages and photo albums.

    Tablets are ideal for drawing with your hands and there are quite a few apps for sketch and sketch drawing (both raster and vector) as well as professional digital painting.

    Applications for designing various artwork from templates are available for all types of mobile devices and fully meet the needs of mobile-focused SMM professionals and marketers.

    Professional applications for interface design are usable on mobile devices mainly for testing ready-made design solutions. It is inconvenient to create them on small screens.

    It’s almost impossible to work with composite graphics on small screens, so “mobile Photoshop” is more entertainment than business applications, although it can be indispensable in somewhat extreme situations.

    Reviews of mobile applications for working with images

    The Best Android and iOS Mobile Apps for Vector Graphics Editing
    The Best Mobile Apps for Android and iOS for Image Editing
    The Best Drawing Apps for Tablets and Mobile Phones on Android and iOS
    The Best Graphic Design Applications for Android and iOS
    34 Best Mobile Photo Editing Applications

    How to choose a mobile image editor
    How to choose a mobile image editor