Mixing it Up With Mextures [App Review]

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More and more I find myself using my iPhone 5 camera to take quick pictures. I realize the iPhone cameras are not the best out there for phones, but I feel it does an amazing job. If I wanted something better I would simply bring my DSLR camera. Since Instagram I’ve noticed a lot more apps allowing the addition of filters and such to photos. I have jumped on the bandwagon and started using Instagram as well as a couple other photo editing apps. With all that in mind, I figured it would be a great idea to make my first review about a photo editing app. So without further ado, I give you Mextures.

I found this little gem while fumbling around the App Store on my MacBook and noticed the “fun with filters” section under collections. I checked later on my iPhone and you can find it the exact same way in the App Store under the collections section. I paid $1.99 for this app and right away upon launching it, I felt I had made a good purchase.

One thing I like a lot about apps requiring quite a bit of adjusting is explaining how the process works. There were about 8 different screens I swiped left through giving decent explanations of how to adjust your way through photos. I found out later when I had questions that this tutorial was easily accessible by selecting the in the upper righthand corner of the screen. Very handy! You are able to put many layers on your photos so explanations through this process was much needed. I will admit, I wasn’t completely confident after reading the tutorial that I would be able to go through my first couple photos without making a few mistakes. Irregardless, I decided to jump in and give it a whirl since I was excited with my new app purchase.

The first photo I decided to Mexturize (I really thought this when I started editing) was a black and white photo I have of the Chicago skyline someone took while on Lake Michigan. Black and white photos are my favorite to checkout these types of filter apps. For some reason, I feel you really get a better representation of what they can add to your photos with using your plain old black and white photos. I’ve found in the past when editing color photos, it does some rather odd things to the coloring.

I chose the Chicago black and white picture from my iCloud sharing folder and chose the texture pack Grit & Grain. Before I forget, you must allow Mextures permission to access your photos if you want to be able to use all the features. Within the Grit & Grain section i added the Marble setting and adjusted the current layer opacity to 65%. Wondering how else I could improve upon my creation, I decided to add another layer by pressing the + button. A popup screen asked me whether or not I wanted to a new texture pack or use a current one. Naturally I wanted to chose a different one.

For the second layer, I chose the Light Leaks texture pack and then added the Cotton Candy layer and adjusted the current layer opacity to 35%. It’s strange I selected Cotton Candy layer because I figured it would add a girly or cheesy look to the photo. Fortunately it didn’t. Instead it added a lite wisp of color that seemed to bring a little bit more character to the photo that may have been missing with just the first layer. If I’m being honest, it seemed to add the glow cities seem to radiate at night.

All in all I was pretty satisfied with my first photo with Mextures. It only took about 7-10 minutes to get my first photo complete and saved to my Camera Roll. Judging from what the black and white photo looked like I figured I would work on a color picture next before getting to excited about this app.

For my color photo, I decided to select a picture I took with my iPhone. Every day I get to drive down a road with trees overhanging the road and it’s just amazing this time of year. For the last couple of years I have always made a point of getting a picture during the fall because it always seems to glow around this time. If there was any photo in my library I wanted to see it could improve upon, this was the one.

With my photo loaded into Mextures, I had to crop it down to size. From there I selected the Formulas tab and then Fall Formulas. The formulas seem to be setup quite a bit different from the texture packs. Once you select a specific formula and then select a setting, there are layers automatically added to your photo that coincide with the formula. After you select the checkmark to validate your decision, then you can go through each layer and select the amount of opacity you would like for each layer. I like the fact there are preset formulas you can quickly select and also that you can adjust the opacity of each layer as well.

For the most part, selecting one of the formulas was quick and easy, but it kinda took the fun part out of exploring the content of this app. Although it does a great job manipulating the picture to make me honored to drive this road everyday, it felt like I was taking the easy way out by letting someone else do the work for me. For a quick fix or adjustment, this is the ideal route and I highly recommend using it.

On the other hand, I have always gotten a kick out of going through and selecting different functions on apps to see how it manipulates things. It’s almost like when you’re a kid and you were standing in the candy aisle and you were told to pick one…it’s nearly impossible! You keep selecting back and forth between so many that eventually you just have to make a decision. I really get a kick out of that because of the constant debate taking place in your head. In the long run I could see myself saving my favorite layers and making my own formulas for later use. This was probably my favorite setting or function about this app, the ability to save favorite layers and even name a formula after you saved a photo. After personalizing things, then I would feel like I was more in control of the creativity.

Now that I got my feet wet from using existing pictures in my library, I was ready to take the app for a test drive. I noticed right away when I took my first picture, the crop screen was a little off. The bottom of the screen with the cropping options was cutoff. Good thing I learned what the crop functions were from using my other pictures. So I got my picture all cropped and started using the textures, including some of the ones I favorited, and I think it turned out pretty good. You be the judge before you checkout the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Tutorial information is good and easy to recall when needed.
  • Numerous editing functions to alter photos.
  • Links up seamlessly with social media: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.
  • Images can be emailed within the application.
  • Images can also be opened in other filter applications via the export function then “Open With…”
  • Formulas and layers can be favorited and saved for quick recall.
  • Original pictures taken with phone are stored in your camera roll (you must allow Mextures access to your photos for this to happen though).
  • On the opening screen, the photo changes every now and again which seems to give it a fresh new look every so often. Also, there is an Inspiration button on the opening screen, which allows you to go through some photos created by other users to give you some ideas.

Cons:

  • Layers can get confusing after applying the second one. Selecting back through different ones got confusing especially if you want to go back and change the layer opacity.
  • When you take a picture with your phone, it gives you an option to crop the photo. For some reason, it cuts off the words on the bottom of the screen. Had I not known how to crop from importing other photos into Mextures, I would’ve been confused. It seems an app update would fix this.
  • When postig to Twitter, it auto fills information. When you go to select the top left portion of the pop up screen to edit, you can fall victim to hitting cancel and lose all the text you just entered. Not sure if this is the same for other social media postings.

All and all, I am happy with my $1.99 purchase. I really enjoy taking photos with my iPhone 5 and having this app makes editing my photos that much more enjoyable. I probably took 10 photos using the app and each one of them had a different flare to them thanks to the numerous textures and layers offered for editing. Once Mextures corrects the cropping issue in an app update, which I feel may lead to confusion, I would definitely recommend this app for those seeking a new photo editing app for less than $2.

Overall Score: 8/10

About Author

Jeremy McGinty

Jeremy McGinty is an iOS expert and has written over 350 articles relating to Apple and their products over the past two years. Writing about iPhones, iPads, and anything relating to Apple is what Jeremy does in his free time and you’re going to love reading how he’s a normal guy just like you. Jeremy is the most approachable person you’ll ever meet and you should try it out for yourself, send him a message here!

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