Mixing and Sharing Layered Photos with Pictwo

So many popular photo editing applications have come out in the past few months. Many of these image editors utilize basic effects for blending modes, cropping and color manipulation. However, I rarely find an app like Pictwo which allows you to combine two different photos into one beautiful image.

The app UI design is phenomenal and very easy to start using. Any photography enthusiast will love all of the features which accompany Pictwo. There are some very creative textures & effects included which help to blend photos together in a collage-style design. Let’s see what develops after the jump.

Getting Started

When you first launch Pictwo you’ll be introduced with some helpful beginner’s tips. You should first upload two distinct photos onto the canvas which you’d like to blend together. These can either be uploaded from your Camera Roll or taken live with your iPhone’s camera.

Pictwo initial loading images screen

Pictwo initial loading images screen

The first image added will be your bottom layer which behaves as a background texture. The second image is what you’ll see on top breaking through the two pictures. If you look close, you’ll also see that there is a small Refresh button which you can tap to switch your foreground and background images effortlessly. It’s super easy choosing a set you like, and moving forward with any custom effects.

Dual Image Uploads View

Dual Image Uploads View

It helps if you choose two images which would naturally blend together. Pictwo works best if you can spend a couple minutes planning which images to combine for creating a really neat effect.

The Photo Process

After you’ve chosen two suitable images you can then tap the bottom arrows to start moving forward. I simply adore this navigation feature because it’s the first one I’ve ever seen utilized properly within an iOS app.

Loading Image Blending Mode Changes

Loading Image Blending Mode Changes

Each of the bottom dots can be tapped to skip ahead into that particular section. However, it’s a lot easier just using the arrow buttons to move forward or backwards a step on command. There are a lot of panels that you’ll run into along the way from importing images to final export including Select Photos, Position, Blending Mode, Opacity, Eraser, and Export and Share.

Each of these panels allow you to accomplish different management tricks with your photos. The Blending Modes are crucial for the final output of your mixed image. The default Normal mode is very basic and doesn’t include much except reduced opacity. But there are so many options to choose including Multiply, Color Burn, Color Dodge, Overlay, Soft Light and a couple more.

Image Changes and the Eraser Tool

After setting your blending mode, the next panel will show you a nice preview of the image so far. In the top toolbar you can tap the download button to save your image as it currently looks, or share it onto various social networks.

Opacity & Eraser Tools

Opacity & Eraser Tools

The opacity screen simply reduces the opacity for your top image with any blending mode. You can toggle the slider bar at the bottom to show more or less of the top image layer. It’s tricky to get a good looking photo, so don’t be afraid to go back and switch up blending modes. Often times I have been working with photos and a simple blending change affects the whole portrait design.

The eraser tool is another handy feature which I have never seen in such great detail. You are first given a tooltip explaining how to erase and draw back portions of your image. Note that you are only erasing portions of the top image so it can better blend with your background. Tap on the Zoom/Erase/Draw buttons to switch between the different editing modes.

Erase photo and brush tool settings

Erase photo and brush tool settings

You may also notice a small button with a hand icon sitting on the right side. Tap this to open up your brush stroke settings which you can edit via the sliding toolbars. The top value sets your brush size while the second slider sets the opacity difference. If you go too far and want to discard your changes, you can simply tap the trash can button on the left side.

Export Sharing Features

The final button navigation brings up the Export & Sharing screen. Here you can choose to save your image back onto your phone, or just keep it stored locally in Pictwo. The application keeps all your mixes saved right on the application home screen which you can revisit at any time.

The basic export options allow for sharing via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can choose any combination of these networks as a default sharing system. FB and Twitter will attempt to connect into your account via iOS, while Instagram still requires an OAuth login.

Export Photo and Share Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Export Photo and Share Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

You’ll also be setup with a custom caption which is appended onto any network you share with. Just tap this bottom bar to move into an edit screen where you can customize this message, or delete it altogether. Some people prefer to add captions and hashtags with their photos while others like to keep things quieter.

Possible Additions

Compared with many other photography editing apps, I argue Pictwo is within the upper echelon. The iOS App Store has so many photo apps that you may have a difficult time choosing one, but when it comes to mixing images you most likely won’t find a better solution!

Pictwo Home Screen Saved Photos

Pictwo Home Screen Saved Photos

I would love to see a few more blending modes featured within the app. The developers have already included so many tools that it’s tough to complain. But I think there is room for improvements over time, and I’d expect more releases over the coming months.

It would also be friendly to have some more features for brushing over photos. The current brush tool is fantastic for anything you’ll find in mobile apps. However, I am often struggling to erase or draw back part of the image using only my thumb or index finger. This could be fixed up with some new blending modes and pressure changes within the brush settings.

Final Thoughts

I really love Pictwo for its simplicity and creative user interface design. Working with Instagram has shown me just how lucrative the idea of mobile photographs has evolved. With powerful studio tools like Pictwo it’s even easier to customize your photos and share them everywhere.

If you have the $1.99 to spend on apps, I would definitely recommend checking this one out. Pictwo is the perfect fit for all photo lovers, both amateurs and professionals using an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The functionality does take a bit of adjusting before you’re totally comfortable with all the tools, however it’s certainly a one-of-a-kind app idea which is worth playing around in your spare time.


Pictwo is a photo studio tool used for combining two images together. You can build compositions with many different blending effects and even share them on your favorite social networking profiles.

  • http://www.tapmytab.com James Wright

    thank you this works brilliant on my android tablet,
    Thats the one i have, Does anyone else have it? Its amazing.
    As i have one and i think its brilliant, Please let me know what you think,

  • Radie

    Spam filter showing cracks..

    Anyway, does anyone know of a free altternative app that can do this?

    Oddly enough I have an app that can do this with video (Ubersense), but not with images… I suppose I could hack it together by taking said video into a photo extractor, but it’s obviously not ideal.