Pictures Collage (or, to give it its full name, “Pictures Collage — blender your multiple photos to one image”) is a new iOS app from AppsDoctor (listed as “Maggie Q” on the iTunes Store page). It’s available now as a free download with an optional in-app purchase to upgrade to a “Pro” version. The app doesn’t make it particularly clear what the benefits of upgrading to “Pro” are, but presumably it removes the obtrusive pop-up ads that occasionally appear while using the app.
Pictures Collage is, as the name suggests, an app which allows users to create collages of their favorite photos. Unlike many other photo collage apps, however, which tend to simply provide a variety of different frames into which users may insert a few photos, Pictures Collage allows the freedom for users to lay out and display their photos as they please, moving, rotating and resizing them around the page and editing them in various ways.
Pictures Collage makes use of a simple, minimalist interface. Only four buttons are visible on screen initially — the button in the top left provides access to frames, effects and editing tools; the button in the lower left displays a help screen; the button in the lower middle allows access to the camera, photo library and the ability to add text boxes to the collage; and finally, a “cloud” button in the lower right provides access to sharing services. There is also a button simply marked “Photo Collage” in the upper-middle of the screen, but this takes users to the App Store page for a seemingly-unrelated app by a different developer.
Using Pictures Collage is a simple matter of importing or taking photos, using the editing tools to tweak them and then laying them out on the page. Editing tools include a series of Instagram-style filters, a cropping tool, automatic enhancements, manual adjustments to contrast, saturation and sharpness, a redeye reduction tool, whitening and blemish removal tools, and a freeform drawing tool. These tools are implemented through Aviary’s SDK. Text boxes (with selectable fonts, text and background colors) and colored frames may also be added for further customization of the complete image. The background of the canvas may also be set to one of a variety of preset patterns, or to one of the photographs that is currently laid out on the page
Laying out photos is a matter of dragging them around and pinching to resize or rotate them. Photos may be layered by tapping on which one you would like to bring to the front, then repeating this to set their order appropriately. The touch controls are certainly intuitive, but when there are more than two or three objects on the screen, it becomes somewhat clumsy and difficult to select the object you actually want to manipulate. When you add text boxes to the mix, it becomes even more troublesome to perform some of the gestures, particularly those that require two fingers — more than once during testing, I ended up simply moving two objects simultaneously rather than resizing or rotating one of them.
Finished photos may be saved to the device’s photo library, copied, emailed, printed and shared on Twitter and/or Facebook. The social options make use of iOS 5 and 6’s built-in Twitter and Facebook support respectively.
Pictures Collage is a decent photo manipulation app, and the ability to freely lay out photos and text can create some attractive images. It could do with a little refinement with regard to accurate touch detection and manipulation of objects on the canvas, but on the whole it’s a reasonably good app that is worth checking out for free.
You can follow Pictures Collage’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.