Layout shows off your photos

Spoiler alert! Layout allows you to create a custom photo spread from your family album or favorite downloaded photos. You can create an art project or even a narrative of family events. It's about as easy to use as I've seen, although I can already see a long list of feature requests in its future. iPad 2 and above. Five Stars./p>

Layout is the app iPad developers envisioned when the tablet was just a glimpse of an idea in product development meetings. The actual application is irrelevant. It looks gorgeous, it's easy to use and it appeals to social networkers rather than tech geeks. That alone makes it worth four stars.

This is another app designed to bring out your inner Beth. If you didn't read earlier blogs, my sister Beth loves artsy crafty stuff. She's also into art photography. My younger sister Aimee fills that bill too, but she makes money at it, so she doesn't count. She uses Photoshop extensively, which puts her more in the tech geek category like me.

Sadly, Layout lacks one feature that keeps it from being a Beth Five Star. It doesn't sprinkle stuff into your lap when it opens. It does have a magic wand tool with stars, and you can hand paint confetti onto your pictures, and you can also add stickers. So it comes close. But until it get real sprinkles, it falls short of Beth perfection.

For most Facebook and flicker posters, 1 however, it does enough to get there.

Layout allows you to arrange your photos in multi-image frames. You can add as many frames as you want, although the images will get smaller as the number of frames decreases. Since the largest export size is 2048 x 2048, this limits the finished size of your project (although that's pretty large by older computer standards).

You begin with a single square frame and add as many frames as you want. The tutorial says you can split frames by dragging your finger, but the feature work doesn't work quite the way the instructions describe. Since the app wasn't available for download even after it's selection as Editor's choice, I suspect they were doing last minute debugging and still not finished.

Adding captions to your panels is easy with a separate text window and fairly robust formatting capabilities. The only drawback is the inability to position the captions.

You can also split frames with the interface menu, which worked perfectly. Once you split frames, you can drag the windows to resize them so you can create any layout you want. Your only limitation seems to be four horizontal frames with three vertical frames. The smaller the frames, the more limited your sizing options.

The interface menu pops up with a tap and allows you to import and edit images. You use the touch screen to scroll and resize photos into position, although the app recognizes foreground and background remarkably well. It automatically zooms in to the foreground objects. You can even set it to zoom to faces.

It's easy to add captions to your photos. Text editing features are easy and the captions lay over the photos with the Apple TV style semi-transparent background. It would have been nice if you could place the captions anywhere on the image (especially for the speech balloons), but even laid across the bottom they look sharp.

Your finished panels can be as garish or subdued as you like, with as many as twelve images. Each can have its own effects. Your image can be as large as 2000 pixels.

The editing tools were designed for novice users, although they perform well for professionals. You can correct for red eye and correct color. You can also apply captions and a number of fun effects such as stamps. You can also add a number of customs frame fills in a variety of colors to match the palettes of your photos.

The projects are stored on iCloud so they don't eat into your iPad flash drive space, and you can email them or post them to Facebook in a snap. The image editing is as good as, if not better, than many more expensive image editing apps and at $3 it's a bargain.

Jenny Manytoes rates Layout

Jenny Manytoes would make biscuits all over Layout. There's room to add more features, and I'm sure they will be requested, but at this point it's a solid app that performs well for even the most inexperienced users.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she's in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she's very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it's okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don't think I need to explain this one.
1By posters I mean people who post, not large paper images you hang on your wall.back


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
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