Layrs: Creative Image Editing on a Mobile Device

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Creative Editing on a Mobile Device A Step by Step Tutorial Using layrs App

With the sophisticated cameras now included in most mobile phones, everyone has become a “mobile photographer”. There are many mobile apps on the market today that allow users to edit their photos to create a truly magnificent image.  Although, the majority of these editing apps only allow users to edit the whole photo, constraining their editing to a single layer.

layrs is a photo-editing app that allows mobile photographers to engage in true multi-layer editing on the iPhone. Layrs introduces this capability of true multi-layer photo editing by separating a single photo into multiple layers based on accurate object detection.  Once the photo is separated into multiple layers, each layer can be edited differently.  In addition, a user can import an unlimited number of different images and extract objects from them to become additional layers.  Layrs is the first truly high-end, multilayer photo editing application for the iPhone that allows users to edit mobile photos with the same results as if they were editing on a computer, using an advanced/professional photo editing program. For example, creating the effect of a narrow depth of field by blurring the background layer and sharpening the foreground layer. Or, creating the effect of a slow shutter speed by applying vertical motion to the foreground layer while the background layer remains still. Or use objects from multiple photos. A user can edit an unlimited amount of layers, replacing the background, inserting objects from other photos, using an array of creative filters, improve the image with multiple editing features as well as integrate one of the 19 blending modes to create a true work of art.

layrs is intuitive and simple to use providing users professional features and ease of use not previously seen in mobile photo editors.  The app combines ease of function with amazing features to provide a photo editing experience that is great for both professionals and amateurs. Layrs has raised the bar for mobile photo editing.

In this tutorial, we will illustrate a step by step approach to editing an image using layrs app.  After reading and understanding this tutorial, you will be on your way to create amazing works of art on your own.  Please take a look at the accompanying article, “The Art of Layrs” to see what amazing photos the layrs fans have created.  

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Getting Started

To get started editing a photo using layrs app, you can choose a photo from three different sources – your Photo Gallery on your mobile device, take a new photo or download an image saved in Adobe’s Creative Cloud

Once you have chosen a photo to edit, the is shown on the “layers bar” on the bottom and is called the “Main Photo”.  At this point, you can edit the whole photo using any of the multitudes of editing functions, filters, and enhancements included in layrs, but the uniqueness and beauty of layrs app is the ability to chose a layer from your image and edit it differently from the rest.  In order to do this, click on “Add Layer” on the top left-hand side of the screen. This will bring up a choice of where the new layer will be chosen. 

So, let’s finally get started!

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The Object Recognition and Masking Technology: Using the Smart Mask

Editing in multi-layers requires that a photo needs to be separated into layers very precisely on the boundaries of objects or elements within the photo.

Layrs incorporates a proprietary image processing engine that is based on an algorithm presents that accurately detects the edge of objects on the mobile screen.  This technology allows you to select specific objects of the photo and mark it as a different layer and edit it separately from the rest.  The proprietary smart mask, an autosegmental detection technology, senses the movement of the finger and spreads by itself to completely mark an object, isolate and extract it on its exact boundary with single pixel accuracy.

Touch the object you want to select. Let the Smart Mask spread by itself, guiding it lightly with your finger to reach the edge of the object. Do NOT try to paint the object. The Smart Mask will spread by itself. If the mask goes over the edge, “sweep” it back by placing your finger OUTSIDE the mask and move it towards the object boundary.  The Smart Mask will “learn” the real edge.  The sensitivity of the mask can be set to “Normal”, “Medium” or “High” for cases when the image and the object are close in color.  You can also use your fingers to “Pan and Zoom” the selected object to fine-tune the edges of the Smart Mask. 

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Replacing the Background Image

Once the layer has been extracted and appears in the “Layer Bar”, the background can be replaced. Select the lowermost layer of the Layer Bar.  Click on the “Tools” icon which will bring up several options. Select the “Replace” option. This will bring up a list of choices from where you can choose the new background. Choose your new background and your extracted layer will appear within the new setting. But, this is not the end. The extracted object may need to be adjusted to fit well in the new background. This brings us to the next step. 

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Moving and Sizing A Layer Adding More Objects to the Photo

Once you have extracted an object from the image and placed it in a new background, the object is easily re-sized, moved, or flipped.  Select the object you want to edit on the Layers Bar. With your finger, you can ​reduce the size or move the object.  The object can be flipped by selecting “Tools” and then “Flip”.

Since​ layrs allows for an unlimited amount of layers to added to the image, let’s add yet another object from a different photo!  Use the same steps as previously to choose a new photo with an object that you want to extract. In the case below, the balloon is similar in color to the sky. For such cases, you can take advantage of the intelligence in the Smart Mask. From the image below, it can be seen that the Smart Mask goes past the boundary of the balloon. You can make the mask “understand” the real boundary and extract just the balloon by placing your finger outside of the mask and using a sweeping motion with your finger towards the edge of the balloon.  The mask outside of the balloon will be cleared.  

Once the balloon has become the top layer of the Layers Bar, you can edit this layer. As before it can be moved and resized using your finger.  It can also be duplicated. Click on the Tools icon and then touch “2X” to duplicate this layer. This can be as many times as desired to duplicate an object. 

Now that there are a couple of balloon in the sky, we move to extracting another layer to edit. This time we choose to add a new layer from the Main Photo and select the water using the Smart Mask.

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Changing Hierarchy of Layers

The layer bar on the left hand is the place where all the extracted objects are organized. The most bottom image in the layer bar is the “Main Photo”. As you move up the layer bar each object is higher up in the “layers hierarchy”.  

Once the water has been extracted, it appears on the top of the layer bar.  Since the water is the highest layer, it also appears as the top layer in the photo, hiding the objects below, such as the little girl.  In order to move the little girl in front of the water, select the object of the little girl from the layers bar. Using your finger move this object to a higher place on the layers bar. By doing this, the little girl is no longer hidden below the layer of the water.

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Editing the Saturation, Exposure, Hue

Layrs allows for adjustments of each layer separately.  Choose the layer to be edited on the “Layers Bar”. Click on the “Tune” icon which will open up the different adjustment features – Exposure, Contrast, Saturation, Temp, and Hue. Each adjustment will provide a “slider” that allows you to change the strength of the adjustment by moving it up and down with your finger.

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Deciding on one of 46 Filters

Layrs ​also provides 46 unique filters organized by Textures, Wild and Moods. In order to apply a filter, the layer is selected from the Layers Bar. The “Filter” button is pressed which brings up the different filters available. By touching the filter icon it will apply the effect to ​the selected layer. The effect can be strengthened or weakened by using your finger to raise or lower the orange outline on the filter icon. 

Once complete, the image can be saved and shared on any of your favorite platforms.  

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Duplicating, Adding one Additional Layer

Now that you can add and modify a layer, to complete our photo, we will duplicate the balloon again, size and move each balloon and add one more layer - rocks for the foreground. 

Once complete, the image can be saved and shared on any of your favorite platforms.  

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Happy Editing!

There are even more effects and features that are not illustrated in this tutorial, such as the 19 blending modes, using the different blurring effects such as focus blur to create the effect of a narrow depth of field, or motion blur to simulate a slow shutter speed or a creative radial blur or just sharpening the image as well as cropping and adjusting the transparency.

With layrs app, editing is easy, fast, creative and fun.  Unleash your creative side with layrs, you will be creating works of art in no time!

To see what other layrs users have created, check out “The Art of Layrs”