While some features, such as the ability to turn a photo into a comic book-type visual, are inventive, many use pretty standard effects that similar editing apps offer. Kids can use Prequel to increase or decrease the brightness of a photo, for instance, or change how vibrant the colors are. The ability to add animated GIF-type text options is fun -- although some are definitely not kid-friendly -- and the functionality to include music with photos or videos is a standout feature. It's easy to use -- kids just click on the music icon, tap on the "My Library" selection to access their music, and choose what part of a song they'd like to include by moving a slider to that portion. They can also add emoticon stickers, customized written content, and several motion-based effects, such as falling snow.
As with other photo editors, some functions may not work with every photo. Lighting, background, and other elements can make modifications tricky or ultimately not as dynamic as they initially sound. Some embellishment features are less impressive than others. One effect, for instance, slaps two swaying dragons on either side of an object, which aren't always proportional in size with the rest of the image. Kids may not find many uses for another option that can completely obscure two people in a photo with large flowers. Also, the tool kids can use to create videos isn't as straightforward as some of the app's other elements and can be slow to load. A few app's filters and effects are presented almost as an identity you could adopt, with names like Model and Star -- but their visual effects can be mixed. Indie Kid, for instance, seems to make people look more orange. Although the app is billed as an "aesthetic AI editor," neither the developer's website nor the app store descriptions offer much information about what that means or how AI is specifically involved. The editing features offer kids a chance to be creative, which is a plus, but the retouching tools, though, present some problematic ideals. Kids can use them to whiten their teeth, move their eyes farther apart, make their skin look smoother -- essentially, to correct things they may perceive to be physical flaws, which doesn't send a very positive message. Even if the visual effects were all completely unique and stunning, the price point isn't clearly identified when you sign up for the free trial, making it tough to know what you'll be charged after the three-day window. It's listed as varying amounts in different places, ranging from nearly $35 a year to $4.95 a week. Considering kids can probably find a number of comparable effects elsewhere, they -- and their parents -- understandably may find whatever Prequel's subscription cost ends up being hard to justify.