Instagram loads up on editing effects in major update

10 new editing tools are coming to the app on iOS and Android

Instagram has added a suite of new effects to its app in a move to win over users who might otherwise turn to alternative software for photo editing tools.

The company said Tuesday that it was bringing new, creative tools to its app on both iOS and Android, giving users the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and warmth. The updates are rolling out starting Tuesday, Instagram said.

Other than its signature filters, Instagram previously provided only a limited number of post-processing effects, including straightening, borders and blurring.

Now, in version 6.0 of the app, there are 10 new tools for improving the look of photos after they are taken. The new effects can be accessed through a new wrench icon that will appear after a filter is selected. Users can also now adjust the strength of the filter they select.

Facebook bought Instagram for about US$1 billion in 2012. Since then the photo sharing app has grown to be immensely popular, with 200 million monthly active users, according to Instagram.

Instagram was never really a powerhouse app for applying creative effects to photos. Other apps, such as VSCO Cam or Litely, have established themselves as solid players in that market.

While some of those other apps have photo-sharing functions, some users may have used them only to edit their photos, uploading the photos to Instagram for sharing. With Tuesday's update, Instagram could keep those types of users more engaged inside its own app, and possibly attract photographers who may have dismissed Instagram for being a little light on tools.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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