TouchRetouch Free lets you quickly and easily remove unwanted content from your photos on an Android tablet or smartphone.

How many times have you stopped to take a quick snap of some beautiful scenery or a monument on your smartphone, then later reviewed the image and found that someone had walked into shot and spoiled the view? It's too late to go back and reshoot the photo, but TouchRetouch Free lets you quickly and easily remove the unwanted content for free. See Android Advisor.

When Adobe launched its Photoshop CS5 image-editing software in 2010, much of the hype concerned its new content-aware tools. Using the lasso tool you could quickly draw a rough outline around an unwanted object or blemish in your photograph, and intelligent technology then used the surrounding pixels to fill your selection with what it thought the background would look like.

While Photoshop offers much more functionality beyond this, it's also priced out of range for most consumers. TouchRetouch Free takes this single feature and offers it to Android photographers for free in a dedicated app. See Best Android Apps.

Content-aware achieves nothing that the uninitiated weren't previously able to using the clone tool and a little elbow grease, but it can speed up and largely automate the process. Its success depends on the background of your image. If that background mostly contains grass, water, leaves or another element in which it would be difficult to spot small mistakes, content-aware tools can be useful. However, if that background contains straight lines, people and other clearly defined objects, it's likely that the image will require further editing to perfect the effect.

This is where the free version of TouchRetouch falls down: you can refine the selection area and re-apply the fill, but no other editing tools are offered for you to tweak the result. The resulting image is saved at a lower-resolution, however, this does mean any inaccuracies will be more difficult to spot - particularly on the smaller screen of a smartphone. The full version (61p) adds a clone stamp tool, additional settings and full-image resolution, as well as removing the ads that run along the top of the screen.

We tried TouchRetouch Free using an image of some dirt jumps in the woods, in which we wanted to remove the cyclist from shot. The image was already stored in Android's Gallery, although you can also use the device's camera to take a photo. The leafy background is ideal for use with a content-aware tool, since it's impossible to say with complete certainty that there wasn't a leaf or patch of mud or grass where the app tells you there was.

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You can pinch to zoom into your image if needed, although a pop-up magnification window also appears onscreen. While zoomed in, the hand tool allows you to move the photo so that the unwanted content appears centre-screen. You can then use the lasso or paintbrush tool to select the unwanted area. The lasso tool is more accurate, but awkward to use without a stylus. You need only a rough selection around the content, so we found it faster to use the paintbrush tool. Usefully, you can adjust the paintbrush size, and there are eraser, undo and redo tools should you make a mistake.

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TouchRetouch Free paints the selected area in red. Double-check your selection contains all the unwanted content, then hit the Start button and watch it disappear before your eyes. We were impressed with the app's accuracy on our chosen shot, but there are many images with which it would be unable to create such a flawless result. However, we think it's a worthwhile install even if it's able to rescue only some of your pictures.

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As with most Android apps, your creations can be shared via Bluetooth, email, picture message, Picasa or social media.

TouchRetouch Free: Specs

  • Android 2.1 or later
  • 1.6MB available storage
  • Android 2.1 or later
  • 1.6MB available storage

OUR VERDICT

TouchRetouch Free is a useful tool for rescuing photos captured on an Android smartphone or tablet when you realise too late that there's an unwanted blemish or someone has walked into shot. However, with no other editing tools in the free version, the app will work well with only some of your snaps.

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