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5 Best Free Image Overlay Apps in 2022 [iPhone & Android]

Last Updated on Mar. 17, 2022 – by David Morgan
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Best Free Image Overlay Apps

Adding an overlay to photos used to be a complicated and time-consuming process. It was a luxury afforded only to professional photographers and required an expensive camera or editing software.

Luckily, these days you can add cool special effects to photos in a matter of seconds without spending a dime using only your phone. However, most people don’t realize this is a possibility and still leave effects like image overlay to the professionals.

This article will explain image overlay and show you 5 excellent photo editing apps that require no prior knowledge of photography or photo editing.


Top 3 Free Image Overlay Apps Snapshot

PhotoDirector Logo

1. PhotoDirector - Best Overall

PhotoDirector includes a wide selection of overlay tools. You can add animated elements like stickers and light rays or more traditional static overlays like lens flares and light leaks. Add background art to any photo in a single tap or create your own overlay with the Cutout tool and blending modes.
More Info >

Photo Blender Logo

2. Photo Blender - Best for Blending

Photo Blender is part photo blending, scrapbooking, and collage-maker app. It has filters and lets you add stickers, frames, and text for a scrapbook-like feel. Change images to the correct aspect ratio for your favorite social media site without cropping precious chunks off of your images. More Info >

Superimpose X Logo

3. Superimpose X - Best for Masking

Superimpose X is packed with tools to make superimposing easier than ever. Use up to 24 multiple layers, 16 adjustment layers, and 18 blending modes to create stunning image overlay projects on a user-friendly interface. More Info >

What is an Image Overlay?

Image overlay is a photo editing technique where an image or texture is added as a layer on top of the original image.

PhotoDirector App - Overlay Weather

Imagine you have a flat, boring photo of someone standing on a sidewalk. With image overlay, you can add snow, fog, rain, sun flare, etc., to make the photo more exciting and give it more depth.

PhotoDirector App - Overlay People

Photo by Charles Parker from Pexels

You could also add other images on top of your picture, maybe of a crowd of people in the background, to make the sidewalk look busy. You can then blend the photos together to make them look natural and apply blur effects to give the illusion of movement to the added people.

PhotoDirector App - Overlay Glitch

A third way to add image overlay is to add texture to your photo. This used to be done by exposing or scratching the film before developing. Now you can add scratches, glitches, VHS effects, etc., as a layer on your photo without harming the original.

5 Best Free Image Overlay Apps

1. PhotoDirector - Best Overall

PhotoDirector App Interface

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Overall Rating: 5/5

Image Overlay Tools: 5/5

Key Features:

  • Easy object cutout and background removal
  • Animated overlays and stickers
  • AI tools, including sky replacement
  • Library of background art and effects

If you want professional-looking overlay effects in a quick and easy package, PhotoDirector is for you. It has a massive selection of image overlay tools, whether you want to blend several images, add texture like scratches and light rays, or overlay objects like snow and flowers onto your photo canvas.

In addition, there are over a million royalty-free images available to blend with your own photos in the stock library. Each overlay tool comes with a slider, so you can tweak the strength of the overlay and make precision edits. PhotoDirector even comes with animated overlays to make your photos come to life.

You can also stylize, edit, or animate your images with this one-stop-shop photo app. PhotoDirector has everything you need to make stunning works of art, ready to post or share. Make lighting and color adjustments with precision, use AI-powered tools to remove objects and backgrounds, and beautification tools to remove under-eye puffiness and slim facial features. Or add personality to your pics with thousands of stickers, filters, frames, and effects.

PhotoDirector is packed with unique editing tools and effects, plus it is incredibly straightforward to use. A user-friendly interface combined with creative tutorials and zero learning curve make this an excellent choice for new photography hobbyists and professionals.

Dazzle your followers with photo masterpieces that look like they were time-consuming to make with expensive, complicated software - but were done for free in mere seconds.

Download the PhotoDirector mobile app and start creating.

2. Photo Blender - Best for Blending

Photo Blender

Compatibility: Android

Overall Rating: 4/5

Image Overlay Tools: 4/5

Key Features:

  • Blends 2 photos with a tap of a button
  • Advanced photo effects
  • Updated weekly

Photo Blender is part photo blending, scrapbooking, and collage-making app in one. You can use it to create stunning double exposure effects. Blend 2 photos easily with one tap of a button. The blending tool offers plenty of layout options.

Photo Blender also includes special effects like filters, blur, splash, mirror, and shadow effects. You can add stickers, frames, and text for a scrapbook-like feel. Change images to the correct aspect ratio for your favorite social media site without cropping precious chunks off of your images. Or create a collage from over 300 templates.

Photo Blender comes with some cool filters, but there are no options to add texture or overlays like snow, leaves, rain, etc. And while you can make a collage of up to 9 photos, it will only blend 2 photos at a time.

3. Superimpose X - Best for Masking

Google Photos

Image from iPhone Photography School

Compatibility: iOS

Overall Rating: 4/5

Image Overlay Tools: 3/5

Key Features:

  • Multiple masking tools
  • Advanced photo editing
  • Lots of brush tools

Superimpose X is a tool for masking, layering, and editing photos. The app is best used for its image overlay tools. Remove objects and people with numerous masking tools, including Magic Wand, Magic Lasso, and predefined shapes. Or use AI to automatically mask out people.

There’s even a masking library so you can save your masked images. Superimpose X has 24 multiple layers, 16 adjustment layers, and 18 blending modes.

It comes with various brush tools like smudge brush, clone stamp brush, paint, and effect brushes, and a brush for darkening and desaturating. In addition, there are 63 photo effects, like vignette, frame, gradient, blur, and camera fill.

Superimpose X is a step up from the original Superimpose, but there is a learning curve, even for original users.

4. Blend Me Photo Editor - Best Backgrounds

BlendMe App

Image from Photo Blender / Mixer - Blend Me Photo Editor

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Overall Rating: 4/5

Image Overlay Tools: 3/5

Key Features:

  • Backgrounds in portrait and landscape
  • Shape blend tool
  • Constantly updated backgrounds

Blend Me Photo Editor is an app that mixes two images together, either with a blend effect or shape overlay. It has AI photo cutout to easily remove a person from a photo and replace the background with one of the thousands of unique choices available in the app.

The backgrounds come in both portrait and landscape. The blend effect allows you to adjust opacity and fade to your preference. There’s also a shape blend tool to make unique and interesting blend effects. The app offers editing tools like crop, rotate, flip, text, and filters.

Blend Me Photo Editor is excellent for pairing one or more photos with a new background. The range of backgrounds is truly impressive, but it doesn’t offer any other quality overlay tools.

5. Pixlr - Best for Stylized Overlay

Pixlr Interface

Image from pixlr.com

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Overall Rating: 3/5

Image Overlay Tools: 3/5

Key Features:

  • Tons of stylized filters and overlays
  • Beautification tools
  • Blur and splash effects

Pixlr has 2 million combinations of free effects, overlays, and filters to help you create something truly unique. Create cool effects, remove blemishes and red-eye with various beautification tools, focus on a single color with Color Splash, or focus on a person with Focal Blur.

With Pixlr’s Double Exposure tool, you can blend various effects using layers and adjustable transparency. In addition, there are many stylized and textured overlays to help adjust the tone of your images.

Pixlr is simple to use and has some good options for filter-like overlays. You can blend two photos together, but there are no cutout or background removal tools. To remove backgrounds requires a separate app, Remove BG by Pixlr. There are also no stock images or backgrounds to incorporate into your designs.

Best Image Overlay Apps Comparison Chart

PhotoDirecter vs

OS

iOS, Android

-

Easy to Learn

Yes

-

Cut Out Tool

Yes

-

Blending Modes

Yes

-

Other Key Features

Text, stickers, animated tools, splash, blur, glitch, beautification tools, crop, rotate, flip, filters

-

Software

PhotoDirector

Photo Blender
Superimpose X
Blend Me Photo Editor
Pixlr
OS iOS, Android Android iOS Android iOS, Android
Easy to Learn Yes Yes Rotate 90 degrees or to a precise degree Rotates photos 90 degrees Yes
Cut Out Tool Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Blending Modes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other Key Features Text, stickers, animated tools, splash, blur, glitch, beautification tools, crop, rotate, flip, filters Collage-maker, blur and splash tools, stickers, and text Photo effects, brushes, adjustment tools, text effects Add text, filters and stickers, also crop, rotate, and flip Collages, color adjust, blur, splash, text, borders
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download

How to Overlay Images

If you would like to create an image overlay effect, download PhotoDirector for free and follow these easy steps:

  1. Tap Edit and choose an image from your Photo Library or Stock Images.
  2. Scroll through the bottom menu and tap on Overlays.
  3. PhotoDirector App - Select Overlay
  4. Choose the type of overlay you want to use from Blender, Light Leak, Grunge, Scratch, and Lens Flare.
  5. PhotoDirector App - Select an Overlay
  6. Tap on overlays in your chosen category until you find the one you like.
  7. With the Blender tool, you can also choose another photo from your library or stock images.

    PhotoDirector App - Adjust Overlay
  8. Use the Adjustment Slider to change the intensity of the overlay.
  9. Tap the Check Mark in the upper right corner to save your edit.

PhotoDirector offers many other types of image overlay. You can find more under Elements, Effects, Cut Out, and Add Image.

When you're done adding an overlay, you can continue editing your photo, save it to your camera roll, share or upload it to social media.

For more information on creating photo overlay effects with PhotoDirector, go to 3 Creative Projects You Can Do With Photo Overlays [iOS & Android]

Best Image Overlay App for Free

There are many kinds of image overlay effects, and it's hard to find a single photo editor that carries them all. Especially a free editor that doesn't require hours to figure out.

PhotoDirector App - Cute Overlay

PhotoDirector offers every kind of overlay - from background and object removal to photo blending and textured overlays. Even animated overlay effects. And the overlay effects offer many options in each category and are adjustable.

PhotoDirector offers so much more than just image overlay. It is an all-in-one photo editor with millions of backgrounds and stock images to use in your photo creations.

PhotoDirector is available on both iOS and Android devices. Download it for free today.

Image Overlay FAQ

1. What Is the Best Image Overlay Software?

  1. PhotoDirector 365
  2. Paintshop Pro
  3. DxO PhotoLab
  4. Rebelle
  5. Pixelmator

To find out more about image overlay software, check out 5 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives for Windows PC in 2022

2. What Features Should I Look For in an Image Overlay App?

The top ten features you should look for are:

  1. Image cut out
  2. Adjustable transparency
  3. Multiple layers
  4. Backgrounds/stock photos
  5. Blend 2 or more images
  6. Background removal
  7. Textured overlay
  8. Superimpose objects/weather
  9. Lens flare
  10. Animated overlay

If you’re looking for an app that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PhotoDirector.

3. How Does Overlay Work?

Overlays use multiple layers to superimpose one image onto another.

Some overlay effects use AI tools to pull out a single foreground image or person and place them on a different background.

Blending modes allow the images to merge with stylized transparencies, so one image doesn’t completely block out the other.

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