How to Edit Photos on PicsArt Without Losing Quality on IOS

in-game screenshots on the go. After trial and error of over hundreds of photos, I have learned some tips and tricks to help you produce the best quality for your photos.

So, how do you edit your photos without losing quality?

  • Avoid using the magic effects filters as it will reduce the quality.
  • Edit with images that are 4k (approximately 8 megapixels) for best results.
  • Do not resize.
  • Enable High Resolution in settings.

I don’t claim to be an expert but I have been using PicsArt religiously for my Instagram images, and some of my web images since the summer of 2016. I still use it until this very day on my iPhone 7. Allow me to go into more depth, including some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

How Magic Filters Reduce the Quality of your Photos

When you use the magic effects filters, your image resolution will be reduced to 1200×676. A 4k image (3840×2160) was reduced to 1200×676 after use, and a 1200×676 image with these filters applied had no changes in quality. In other words, no matter how high resolution your image is, it cannot exceed 1200×676 (the cap) when magic filters are applied. Even if you apply a magic filter fade at 100%, meaning with no visual change, it still reduces the quality. This is unfortunate since I really became partial to a few of these filter’s effects. To put things into perspective, here is how much these filters downsize your image.

A. 3840×2160 B. 1200×676

The Maximum Image Resolution you can Export on PicsArt

You should know that PicsArt will only allow you to export 4k images maximum, which is approximately 8 megapixels (1 megapixel = 1,000,000 pixels). So for example, if I import an 8k image and do absolutely no editing it will still be no more than 4k once I export it. The good news is that you don’t need more than 4k in most cases. For the web, you only need 1920×1080. For Instagram, you won’t need more than 1350×1080 pixels.

Aspect Ratio vs Resolution

Often time people confuse aspect ratio with resolution. An example would be 1920×1080 is an aspect ratio of 16:9, but 16:9 isn’t always 1920×1080. Aspect ratio is the ratio of the height and the width of the pixels whereas the resolution is how many total pixels the image has. When I talk about image quality I am really talking about the number of pixels also known as the resolution. To know the number of pixels you multiply the height and width of the resolution. For example, a 1200×676 pixel photo = 811,200 pixels total. A 3840×2160 = 8,294,400. To put this into perspective, the following image will show you how much detail you lose when you use the magic filters.

Left: < 1mp Right: >8mp

So why is aspect ratio important to understand? The reason why I am informing you of this is because cropping images does not always reduce the quality of the image, but it can. This is because in some cases, you do not use a compatible ratio for the desired platform. It is always best to find out what the ideal aspect ratio is for what you are doing, especially on social media platforms.

Why you Should Edit in 4k

Despite the fact that you don’t need more than 1350×1080 pixels for Instagram, and only 1080 for the web, I highly recommend using 4k images for editing for a few reasons.

  • You can retain pixel detail during the editing process.
  • Your images will look higher quality overall, even post cropping.
  • You can further edit it using Photoshop or other powerful editors.
  • You can print it later on if you want to.

If you cannot obtain a 4k image don’t worry, just use the highest quality images that you can get. DSLR cameras and current smartphones these days both do a great job of getting high detail. The trick is in the lighting (and lenses but that is another topic for another day). When you take photos, make sure there is adequate lighting. This will allow the photo to have more detail. If you are a game photographer like me, you will have to either use a third party program to take a higher res screenshot or change the settings in your game or game launcher.

Tested Features – Updated 2/3/19

I’ve tested the following features and have found that they DO affect the image resolution.

  • Tools – Resize
  • Tools – Stretch
  • Fx – Magic Filters

I’ve tested the following features and have validated that they DO NOT affect the image resolution.

  • Tools – Adjust
  • Fx – Filters (FLTR), FX, Blur, Artistic, Paper, Distort
  • Beautify – Hair Color
  • Add Photo
  • Brushes
  • Mask
  • Lens Flare
  • Shape Mask

I’ve tried just about every feature over the course of the 2 ½ years that I’ve used this app. No other features have shown an obvious change in quality, but since I did not exhaustively verify all the features amongst my research for this post, I can’t officially state that every other feature causes absolutely no quality changes.

Make Sure your High Resolution is Enabled

This is as simple as making sure that your high-resolution settings are enabled by going to your account settings and enabling it.

Other Related Tips

PicsArt to Instagram tips

Although Instagram now supports landscape images, I have learned that I had the best results in terms of image detail on Instagram if I did the following.

  • Use a 1:1 aspect ratio a.k.a a square image.
  • Use Instagram itself to crop the image.

I had noticeably less quality using the PicsArt cropping tool with images that did not use standardized aspect ratios. This is because Instagram will size your image up or down to match their standard.

Although I found that you can crop in PicsArt without losing image quality if you do not use the correct aspect ratio per platform it will reduce the quality. By doing these things I noticed a difference in detail using the same exact image!

Using Fade on Filters

This is totally my opinion, but often times I see people making the mistake of using filters at either 100% or a very high percentage. This is probably why a lot of people don’t like filters because they think it has to be obvious. It doesn’t. To be honest, I never use more than 10% of a filter and as little as 2% because once you go beyond that your screenshots begin to look generic. Most of us can recognize these filters. This doesn’t just apply to artistic filter effects but color filters as well.

Truth be told, less is more, just like makeup. More often than not subtle effects are better. It gives your photo allure, leaving the viewer not quite able to put their finger on why your art stands out. This, however, is a judgment call that only you can make as the artist.

Here is an example down below.

Top left 100% filter applied. Top right 50% filter fade applied. Bottom left 90% filter fade applied. Bottom right is the original with no filter.

The filter fade of 90% on the bottom left (10% of the filter applied) looks more subtle. Can you tell there was a filter applied? Perhaps the trained eye.

I still use Magic Effects Filters

I love the magic effects filters even though they butcher quality, and I still use them from time to time. I just have to use a workaround that most people will likely not be interested in, but if you are a screenshot capture artist like me, who loves to post process and make composites then you might be interested in reading more.

For certain effects that I have yet to find for free with Photoshop plugins, I am sometimes willing to take a cut in the image quality and then fix it back up in Photoshop by fusing the original with the filtered version.

My Favorite filter, the one that I probably use more than any other, is the Undead filter. The way that I use this is to give my screenshot bolder edges, creating thicker outlines, with more contrast between the shadows and highlights. I especially love to do his with hair, considering how often in games hair looks too pixelated, or is an obvious 3d mesh. This filter usually gives my screenshot a more digitally painted look, going from the screenshot to art.

Before and after. In this example, most of the end result is from the use of PicsArt filters, but some of this is done with Photoshop.

Hello, Goodbye

I feel like if you are still reading this I should introduce myself. Hi, I’m Heather. I am obsessed with game photography, character creation, and pixel fashion.

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