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Mextures for iOS review:An excellent interface for arty photos

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The Good Mextures lets you combine textures from actual 35mm film scans. The layer system is extremely intuitive, letting you switch to any layer to edit textures.

The Bad Mextures forces you into making square photos for sharing purposes.

The Bottom Line With tons of film textures, a layer manager, and a well-designed interface, anyone who wants to try something different with their photos should download this app.


8.3 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 9

Review Sections

Editors' Note, April 11, 2014: This review has been updated with new features and fixes in version 2.0.

Mextures is a photo editor that focuses on applying multiple high-resolution textures to your images for some truly unique results. This app isn't like most photo editors that have you add a filter or a frame and then save the image; instead it requires a good amount of experimentation, mixing and matching textures to get the look you want.

Obviously, there is no shortage of photo editing apps in the App Store, so Mextures has its work cut out for it going up against popular apps like Camera+ or Afterlight. But Mextures approaches photo editing from a different angle, letting you use real film scans as overlays for your photos. What results are full, rich effects that you can layer and fine-tune to make great looking pictures.

Exploring the interface

On the first screen there are three buttons across the bottom: Camera, Inspiration, and Library. Camera and Library are self-explanatory for selecting a photo to use in the process, but the Inspiration button is where you'll find a gallery of Mextures images from other users that can give you ideas for how to use the app.

After only a little fiddling around you'll realize that the key to Mextures is using a combination of textures to get the results you want. Created from actual 35mm film scans, the textures in this app give you everything from grainy overlays to light leaks and fine-tuned gradients you can combine together. Each has a slider so you can adjust the strength of an effect on your image. There are 130 textures to choose from, but with an included layer manager, and the ability to combine multiple layers, the possibilities are almost limitless. You also can move or rotate each texture over the image to get the exact look you want.

Formulas and Polish

Mextures has its own language for certain features, but once you get to know them, your images will turn out much better. For example, when you find a combination of textures you particularly like, you can save it as a "Formula" to use on other photos. From there you can grab an image, switch to Formulas, then apply the same combination of textures to a different image. If you want to see some good examples of how to mix and match textures, there are well over 100 pre-made Formulas in the latest version of the app you can either browse for ideas or use on your own images.

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