Smart Photo Editor Review for Windows and Mac

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Smart Photo Editor by Anthropics

Smart Photo Editor by Anthropics
Text and images © Ian Pullen

Smart Photo Editor by Anthropics

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

In this software review, I'm taking a look at Smart Photo Editor by Anthropics, available for Windows and OS X. The application is designed to make it as easy as possible for users of all levels to achieve creative results with their photos. There are a few of these types of applications available now, both for desktop and mobile devices, so any application needs to stand out to have any chance of making an impact.

The makers claim that it's much faster to get impressive results than using Photoshop and, while it isn't the almighty powerhouse that Photoshop is, does it live up to the claim?

Well, I'm going to try and give you the answer to that question. In the next few pages, I'll take a closer look at Smart Photo Editor and give you an idea as to whether it's worth you taking the trial version for a spin.

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Smart Photo Editor User Interface

Smart Photo Editor - Grid User Interface
Text and images © Ian Pullen

Thankfully most software designers realize that the user interface is a vitally important aspect of an application and the makers of Smart Photo Editor have done a reasonable job. While it's not the slickest or easiest on the eye interface that I've encountered, it is generally clear and easy to navigate.

To the top left, the Undo, Redo and Pan/Zoom buttons are prominent, with the Last Tip button alongside them. This allows you to display the last tip that was displayed. By default, tips are displayed in yellow overlay boxes as you work to help describe the features, though you can turn these off once you become familiar with the application.

To the right of the window are three main buttons, followed by a group of further buttons for working on your photo, followed finally by the Effect Editor Button. If you mouse-over any of these buttons, you will get a brief description of what it does.

The first of the main buttons is the Effects gallery and clicking this opens a grid that displays all of the different effects that are available. With literally thousands of effects available, the left hand column displays a variety of ways to filter the results to make it easier to find a suitable effect that will produce the result that you're hoping for.

Next down is the Select Area tool that allows you to paint a selection onto your image and then apply an effect to just this area. Some effects include an option to mask an area, but this feature means you can also do this with effects that don't have the option included.

Last of the main buttons is the Favorite Effects, which allows you to curate your own favorite effects to save you having to search through the thousands of options each time you start work.

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Smart Photo Editor Effects and Features

Smart Photo Editor Effects and Features
Text and images © Ian Pullen

As already mentioned, there are quite literally thousands of effects available, though many may look a bit similar while others may be of lower quality than the best on offer. This is because the effects are community driven with other users mixing their own effects and then publishing them. Searching through the different options can become a time absorbing exercise, but when you find something that you like, it just takes a single click to apply it to your photo.

Once applied, you'll usually have the option to adjust some of the settings to change the final effect. Exactly what the different settings do isn't always immediately obvious, but you can reset a slider by double clicking it, so the best thing is to experiment by changing settings and seeing what you like.

When you're happy with an effect, click the confirm button and you'll see that a new thumbnail of your photo appears in the top bar of the application. You can then add more effects and build up some exciting combinations to produce unique results. Further thumbnails are added to the bar, with the latest effects appearing to the right. At anytime, you can click on an earlier effect and edit it again to make it work better with an effect that you added later. Also, should you decide that you no longer want an effect that you added earlier, you can easily delete it at anytime, while leaving later effects completely intact. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem an easy way to hide an effect in case you decide you want to use it later after all.

Further tools are available through the buttons that run down the right hand edge of the screen.

Composite allows you to combine photos so that you could add a sky from one photo to another or add one or more people who did not appear in the original photo. With blending modes and opacity controls, this is largely analogous to layers and you can return and edit these later.

Next is an erase option that seems very similar in use to the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom. However, the Area Split feature allows you to sample from multiple sources which can help you avoid obvious repeating areas. Furthermore, you can return to an erased area later on and edit it further should you wish, which also isn't an option available in Lightroom.

The following buttons, Text, Crop, Straighten and Rotate 90º are quite self-explanatory, but, like the Erase and Composite tools, these also offer the powerful feature of remaining editable even after you apply them and add further effects.

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Smart Photo Editor Effects Editor

Smart Photo Editor Effects Editor
Text and images © Ian Pullen

If you want more from your software than a simple one click solution, then the Effects Editor is likely to be of interest to you. This tool allows you to create your own effects from scratch by chaining together and tweaking different effects.

In practice this isn't the most intuitive feature of Smart Photo Editor and the description of it in the Help files perhaps isn't as in depth as it could be. However, it does offer enough information for you to get going, and experimenting with it will take you quite some way to understanding it. Fortunately, there is also a community forum where you can ask questions, so if you get stuck and need some guidance, this will be a good place to turn to. To ask a question specifically about the Effects Editor, go to Help > Ask Question About Creating Effects, while the complete forum is launched in your browser if you go to Community > Discuss Photo Editor.

Once you have created an effect that you're happy with, you can save it for your own use and share it with other users by clicking the Publish button.

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Smart Photo Editor - Review Conclusion

Smart Photo Editor - Multiple Effects
Text and images © Ian Pullen

I'll be honest and admit that I came to Smart Photo Editor with fairly modest expectations – there are quite a few of these photo effect applications about and I hadn't seen anything initially that made me think this was going stand out from the crowd.

However, it took very little time to realize that I'd underestimated the application and that, while it doesn't present itself with the smartest or most intuitive user interface around, it's a very powerful and versatile piece of kit.

The makers have obviously spent some time thinking about how to make it as versatile as possible and this has resulted in an application that has some impressive features. One of the things I've enjoyed most is the fact that edits and effects remain fully editable as long as you're working on a photo. At any time, you can change an earlier effect or delete it completely, though the ability to hide an effect in case you want to apply it again is a feature I'd like to see added.

Smart Photo Editor thoroughly deserves its four and a half stars out of five and it's just a few rough edges that stop it scoring full marks. For instance, if you re-size text using the bounding box, the change is not reflected in the text size displayed in the palette. This makes this displayed size unpredictable and rather arbitrary. Also, when using the Effects Editor, some of the palettes that allow you adjust the settings are cut off by the bottom of the screen, meaning that you cannot access the buttons at the bottom. However, such gripes are generally minor issues and I'm sure that with time this will mature into a more rounded piece of software.

You can download a near fully featured trial version (no file save or printing options) and if you like it, at the time of writing you can purchase this app at an attractive $29.95, with the normal full price a still reasonable $59.95.

For users who just want to apply creative effects to their photos, this is probably a better way to achieve this aim than Photoshop and less experienced users will almost certainly, as the makers claim, produce their results more quickly than if they used Adobe's image editor.

You can download a copy of Smart Photo Editor from their website.