JuicyBits Software is well known for some innovative iOS apps, including Halftone and 3D Camera. Now the company has released a new app that's perfect for arranging, annotating, framing, and sharing any image you can view on your iPad. Layout (US$2.99) is an iPad app that makes it child's play to create an attractive, framed arrangement of your favorite images and then share it with friends.
I had the pleasure of testing Layout over the last week, and I found it to be both easy to use and just plain fun.
The app currently supports the iPad (2nd generation or later), but will be available soon in an iPhone-compatible Universal version (free upgrade). Upon launching Layout, you're welcomed with a blank gray screen. That's your palette for creating a photo arrangement. You can add framed windows by simply swiping a finger horizontally or vertically, then drag the edges between windows with a finger. You can save your own window arrangements, or use one of the pre-defined arrangements.
When you tap on a window, a radial menu control appears. This control is completely unique to Layout, and is used to perform all functions from adding images, touching up photos or applying effects, adding captions, and sharing.
Adding images is easy. The images initially come from just your camera roll, but if you wish you can have the app go out to Instagram, Flickr, or Facebook and bring in your photos. Coming from those sites, the captions are automatically grabbed as well.
Captions can also be added to any image, and if there's EXIF information included, it will let you automatically add the date with the touch of a button.
The photo effects engine is powered by Aviary, and is very full-featured. If you want to enhance a photo, add effects, put stickers (like mustaches or hats) on people, change the orientation of an image, crop a photo, change the brightness, contrast, saturation or sharpness, or do human touchups (redeye correction, whiten teeth, or remove blemishes), it's possible.
The sharing button lets you email your layout, save it to the camera roll, or share with Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. I was unable to get the Twitter sharing to work properly, but Facebook sharing worked very well, creating a Layout Photos album.
As with Halftone, Layout has found a permanent place on my iPad. It looks like the perfect tool for putting together "postcards" to email to friends and relatives when I'm on a trip. Take a look at the video below for a better idea of how the app works.