Picfull - a playful, if frustrating, photo filter site


Any compact camera released within the past year comes with a dizzying array of filters as standard. It seems to be the current battle-ground of the point-and-shoots. If you can’t sepia tone, posterise, or Warhol-esque your pictures at the click of a button without the tedium of transfering your images from memory card to computer, then why bother? There need to be star filters, cross-processing look-a-likes, and over-saturation options at your fingertips.

But what if you don’t have a camera with such a crazy selection of toys, but you’d like to play? And what if you’re not the sort of camera-owner to have a snazzy post-processing programme waiting to crop, rotate, and adjust the colour and contrast of your images? There are quite a few online, and free, filter-adding options out there. One of them is Picfull.

This is me made to look glow-tastic

Picfull offers 18 different effects that you can apply to your photos, for free. You upload an image, you select which filter you want to apply, you fiddle around with it until you’re happy, and then you save and either download or share it with your adoring fans by email, Twitter, or Facebook. Or you can undo eveyrthing and start again. Or you can apply another filter over the top of the first one.

It’s a really simple concept, if you’re into vintage-looking portraits or pen-and-ink sketches. But I didn’t find the user-interface all that friendly.

How about in ghastly two-tone?

It’s great that it offers you the option to adjust the contrast on your yellowed image, or control just how much blur there is on your blurred effect, but it doesn’t show you how much of an effect your adjustments are having as you move the slider. You have to wait for the effect to be applied. And if you don’t like it, you can’t just undo the move without undoing every previous action, not unless you can remember exactly at what value the contrast used to be, or where the saturation levels were initially.

If you’re making adjustments to the colours in an image, this inability to remember previous values, or undo just one action, is not helpful.

Or there's me looking vintage (in jeans)

I know, Picfull’s a free toy that’s meant to be a bit of fun. In all honesty, I shouldn’t complain. I’m spoiled by the control I have in Lightroom and when do I ever make my photos look as if they were taken on a Holga? But it feels that bit of a waste if you’ve gone to the trouble of developing a site specifically to play with photos, and it isn’t quite as easy as it should be.

I wanted to be able to play with Picfull. Instead I found it a touch on the frustrating side.