Two nice apps for the iPhone for editing pictures have emerged since the launch of the App Store, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Mind you neither of these can replace Photoshop, but that is not the point either. Snaps you grab with the terrible 2mpix camera have no need for level adjustments or exposure settings – what we all want is a little fun (I imagine). And in that respect, both Comic Touch and Sketches deliver.

Comic Touch (iTS link) ($4.99) comes from plasq, developers of the quite-so-famous Comic Life for both the Mac and PC – which means we have certain expectations. If your expectation is to be able to make comics, you are in luck. But there isn’t a whole lot else to do.

Comic Touch will allow you to pick a photo, and add various forms of bubbles and captions, change the font size as well as choose between white on black and black on white color schemes. You can move the bubbles around and keep changing your parameters till you are satisfied, after which you can save the picture or send it by email. Oh and you can add the obligatory bulge/dent/squeeze/stretch/light effect, but c’mon, even for a comic they are useless.

It’s a fun little app, no doubt, but even for $5 I would have expected it to do a little… more.

Sketches (iTS link) ($5.99) from LateNiteSoft is more of a general drawing app than just for comics. It’s compromised of 3 main parts:

You start out with a background, which can be any photo on your phone (or from camera), a website, a solid color, a google map or one of the many built-in pictures.

You can then draw with your fingers, change pen color and thickness.

Lastly add objects like speech bubbles, arrows, hats, glasses and so forth. Objects can be resized (by pinching) and rotated.

You can also zoom in when you want to add that tiny handwritten text. Sketches has no copy/paste, but will allow you do undo any action (multiple undos, to be exact).

No text tool at the moment (one point to Comic Touch), but this is promised in the next release, already pending approval from Apple. The next release will also sport a built-in web server for super easy picture sharing. Very cool. For now though, Sketches will allow you to save the picture to the phone, or post it to twitter.

Oh, and in both apps you can shake the phone to erase your work. It’s the little things that count.

So which one should you pick?
Well if you have a paper cup full of coins like I do, get them both. If not, go with Sketches. Even if it’s a whole $1 more, it just has tons more features, and with the almost-released version 1.3, if seems to do pretty much everything that Comic Touch does too.
It’s easy to buy Comic Touch because “it’s from those guys who did that other cool app”, but I personally feel that this version needs a lot more work. It’s not a terrible app by any means, it looks good, works great – but it just doesn’t have enough features to warrant the price tag.



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