Review: SketchUp Light turns images into sketched drawings

Convert any image on your phone or iPad into a sketch-drawn variant.

SketchUp Light combines multiple filters designed to turn your existing photos into hand-drawn variants on your iOS device; but because of slow load times and at times frustrating feature layouts, the app never delivers fully on its promise.

The opening screen for SketchUp is actually very attractive. It shows what pencil sketching can look like, though it may be misleading in that it is almost certainly a unique sketch, not a converted photo from the app. After you open an image and start converting it, the app's issues start to surface. While there are numerous sketch filters, from hand drawn to charcoal to pencil, each of them takes some time to load and the slider to adjust the effect is even less responsive. Framing doesn't give you any options and the share menu doesn't always work right. With some features sending you back to the home screen and others leading to slowdowns or even crashes, the app is unwieldy and full of bugs.

Then there is the issue of the ads. SketchUp is a free app, so ads are to be expected, but there are two full ad bars--one at the top and one at the bottom--that squeeze the screen by a good 25-30 percent. Combined with animations they make it almost uncomfortably hard to use the app. SketchUp is a good idea with a good initial design; but slow load times, bugs, and overzealous ad placement bog the app down at every step.

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