Review: Mextures Is An Outstanding Texture Overlay App
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Mextures is a recently released texture overlay app. It lets you add grit, grain, light leaks and other “schmutz” to grunge up your photos as much as you want. Or, as little, which is part of the greatness of this app.
Most texture overlay apps are pretty an much all or nothing proposition. Once a texture is selected, there are very few options. A few texture apps have some adjustments, but for the most part, texture overlay apps are a quick and easy one or two-click process.
Mexture addresses all the limitations of other texture overlay apps, giving you a tremendous amount of control over each effect in one powerful and easy to use photo app. The possibilities truly are unlimited. About the only thing missing from Mextures is “more”.
Shoot within the app or load an image from your iPhone’s library. Unlike many photo apps that try to play nice with Instagram, you are given the option to crop square or retain the image’s original aspect ratio. This is a great option I wish more apps would offer.
The magic begins at Mexture’s home screen, where the effects are divided into seven categories — Light Leaks, more Light Leaks (actually a lot of bokeh as well), Emulsion, Grunge textures, Landscape Enhance gradients, and a selection of Vintage Gradients. The eighth slot on the screen is reserved for easy access to all of your favorite textures.
Each category has a number of textures and overlays to choose from. The quality and usability of each is overall very good. Most iPhoneographers will find nearly all of the included textures usable. Film grit, scratches, stains, colorful light leaks, grunge textures and a lot more… there is no “filler” here.
Start anywhere and add textures. Add each texture individually. Mextures lets you stack and composite multiple effects in layers, so the number of effects you can apply are limited only by what the image and your imagination will bear.
For more variation, each texture can easily be rotated in 90° increments. With the onscreen slider, you can easily adjust the transparency of each effect as it’s applied.
Anyone who’s used Photoshop should be familiar with layer blending modes and Mextures lets you apply any of the standard 17 blending modes to each effect. This is a very powerful tool that can add either subtlety or impact to a texture. It’s a powerful tool found in extremely few texture apps. It’s well done and easy to use here. Simply change the blending mode and apply a transparency.
Mextures makes changes easy with an excellent, non-destructive history feature. Decide down the line that you don’t like a particular texture? Simply go to the history panel and delete individual textures without deleting any other edits. Most apps either require you to start over or take you back to that point in the editing process.
If you like a set of edits, with a click Mextures lets you easily save it to your formulas for later one-click processing.
Stuck for inspiration? There are built-in galleries of presets created by guest photographers. They either make good one-click processing on their own or make a great starting point for your own edits.
Mextures easily shares in-app to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It also supports iOS’ “Open In…” protocol bypassing the camera roll for further editing in other apps.
Mextures supports full 8 MP resolution of the iPhone 5 and 4S and also saves in full 6 MP square format resolution. Unfortunately, it strips out most EXIF data, including Geotags.
Currently, Mextures lacks a lot of the really extreme damage that some textures apps have. I don’t consider this to be a drawback. This lets you add effects that look more organic, yet don’t overpower the original image.
There’s a lot to like about Mextures. It’s a very well-designed photo app that encourages exploration rather than leaving you frustrated due to limits or lack of options. It’s refreshing when the least-complimentary thing I can say about the app is that I wish there were even more textures to choose from.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Mextures. When I first read about it, my preconception was that it was just going to be another run-of-the-mill grunge app. Instead, it’s a great texture app that lets you be as creative, as subtle, or as heavy as you want. It doesn’t have extraneous tools, trying to be an all-in-one app. This allows it to focus on what it does well. If using textures is a part of your workflow, this is an outstanding app. Mextures might be the only texture overlay app you need.
Mextures runs $1.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.