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Daily iPad app: Snapseed

It's an app with a funny name, but a lot of power. Snapseed, from Nik Software, is a powerful photo editor for the iPad. You can enhance color and exposure of any photo with a single click, or just tweak your photo using a variety of powerful tools that can transform a mundane photo into something compelling. The app also lets you crop, straighten and rotate an image, or even take new photos from within the app.

Perhaps the most powerful tool in Snapseed is the ability to selectively filter an image. This comes from Nik's innovative U Point technology, which was perfected on Photoshop plug-ins that are used by the pros. It's impressive to see that same function being brought into an iOS app.

I tried Snapseed on a variety of photos. The tools have an interesting user interface designed specifically for a touch screen. Slide your finger up and down and to reveal a list of tools. After you select an effect, slide left or right to decrease or increase the effect. After a bit of use, the operation becomes a reflex.

In addition to the tools mentioned, Snapseed lets you create frames for your images, and can produce a very striking black-and-white image or emulate some old color film styles. There is a useful sharpening tool that does't just devolve into noise as so many others do. There is also a tilt-shift function and a very useful compare button to show you before and after images before you commit to your changes. Completed images can be shared via email, Facebook, Flickr or Twitter.

I've just scratched the surface of what you can do with Snapseed. At US$4.99 it is not the cheapest photo editor on offer, but I think it is clearly among the most powerful.

Snapseed is universal, so when you buy it you'll get the iPhone version as well. The app requires iOS 4.2 or later and is a 26 MB download. Check the gallery for some samples I created as I used the app. Highly recommended by me, and now Apple, as Snapseed has been named iPad app of the year.

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