Creating Graphics on the Go for Star Wars Day: My Favorite Free Mobile Apps for Image Editing

Mobile Image Editing for Star Wars Day
Image created by cropping a 1977 poster, adding text and border with a free Canva template, then filtering in Instagram.

I woke up this morning, checked Facebook, and was reminded by the “memories” feature that today is May 4th…a.k.a. “Star Wars Day” when everyone who has ever seen a Star Wars movie goes on social media, and greets friends and followers by saying, “May the 4th be with you,” (and those of us who grew up in church will often answer, “…And also with you”).

Fun times. Anyway, it was early on a Saturday morning, I had no graphics prepared, and I have four social media profiles to update on several platforms.  I usually create my artwork using Gimp, but that requires firing up the PC, and that seemed too much like “work” for that early on a weekend morning. What to do?

Previously-created images uploaded into Instragram, and assembled using the Photo Booth extension in Instagram to make a collage. Added a filter in Instagram to add consistency to all four images for a cohesive look.

I was already on my mobile phone, and I’ve been experimenting with mobile image editing apps, so I decided to see how much of this I could do without actually booting up the PC.  I’m kind of happy with the results.  Full disclosure: Although the graphics and social media posts were created on the mobile, I am writing this blog post on the desktop verson of WordPress.  I’ve had my coffee, now, and really don’t want to wear out my thumbs or deal with auto-correct on this much text.  🙂

When I was first researching mobile graphics apps, I searched (and searched and searched) for one app that would “do it all.” I wanted text, effects, filters, and image editing.  I wasn’t able to find one that really did everything well.  Many were slow, or they had just minimal features on their free version, and requiried a paid download to use the full version of the app.

I finally discovered it is quite easy to just download the image on my phone, and use my favorite features of several different apps to achieve the result I want.

Here are the apps I like to use.

Samsung Gallery (pre-installed default image editor) – for basic image editing

Starting with the obvious, I use a Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Gallery app that comes with it is fantastic for cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, flipping the image horizontally, and changing perspective. It even has a select crop that you can use to draw around the image with your finger to select and deselect portions of the image.  It’s amazing, and perfect for performing minor tounch-ups on images.  Your phone most likely also comes with a pre-installed image editor that might just be the most obious option for basic image editing.

Bitmoji "Weekend" Samples
Bitmoji “Weekend” Samples

Bitmoji – for creating a cartoon of yourself

Although I use Second Life images manipulated in Gimp for most of my figure art, I need a much lighter, more portable option for quick mobile graphics.  Bitmoji is a really fun option for this. Once downloaded, the initial set-up will take several minutes because you need to personalize your bitmoji, but after that, the app automatically generates sooooo many really fun memes and graphics based on your personal emoji.

Canva – for adding text

Although I find the desktop version of Canva a bit tedious to use, I absolutely love using the the mobile Canva app’s free templates to create professional graphics with text. You can use free stock photos provided with the app or upload your own images, and then cutomize the templates. Once you get your image exactly the way you want it, save it both to the app and to your phone.

Star Wars Graphics
Graphic cropped from an advertising campaign Disney is using to promote the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme parks. Text added in Canva, and image filtered in Instagram. The bottle in this image is the Diet Coke being sold in the theme park right now.

The copy saved to the app can still be edited within that same template (for corrections or creating similar graphics in the future), and the copy saved to your phone can be uploaded into other apps for additional filters. Sometimes I will re-upload my images back to Canva to add additional filters or to create collages, or I might just move on Instagram…

Instagram – for filters

Instagram has a plethora of image filters that will enhance your photos, and create consistency in the look and feel of your photos for a social media campaign.  Within Instagram, there is a Photo Booth extension for creating collages. You can make download the photo to your phone without posting the image by making a screen print.  I sometimes do this to use multiple filters on an image.

Star Wars Day mobile graphics
Basic graphic created in Bitmoji, text added in Canva, frame (stars) added in Facebook, and filtered twice in Instragram.

Note: the images created in Instagram will be square.  I happen to love square photos, but if you like rectangles you might want to use the filters provided in Canva (see above).

Facebook Image Editor – for frames

Facebook has some really fun frames and filters for photos.  Just upload your image as a post, then hover over the image and click “edit photo” to add filters or frames. If you just want to use the editor without posting the image (yet), you can save the image to your phone for additional editing by either making a screen print, or by posting the image with an “only me” privacy setting, then downloading the image from that post.

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