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Sometimes Photoshop is just too much. Just too much for your image editing skills and sometimes just too much for your needs. And that’s not to forget the demands on your pocket!
As the company says ‘Everyone needs to edit images at some point, but not everyone has the time to learn super pricey wizbang image editing programs.’ With Acorn you can add text and shapes to your images, combine images, work with layers to improve images or create something new from scratch.
An added plus is that Acorn is claimed to be the ‘world’s only image editor with native support for Retina displays.’
After a brief dabble with the application and before I read any guff on its talents … a bit like using a camera under review and before reading the manual! … I fell for Acorn very heavily.
Besides, it does things I have never seen before.
Here’s a rough map of its talents:
Apply non-destructive effects to your layers; turn your text and shapes upside down and every which way; Quickmask allows you to zoom in and edit your selections; Instant Alpha — remove backgrounds and other unwanted pixels from an image; Multistop Live Gradients — with this, you have infinite rainbows at your fingertips. It can also convert text to bezier paths, add and subtract points and have edges snap to pixel boundaries. And quite a bit more.
You can export images as optimized PNG, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF and Google’s WebP format.
But my interest in these programs always falls onto the filters section. And boy! Has Acorn got some beauties!
I picked up a beachside image that just screamed out for a sunflare.
In Filters>Generator I found Star Shine. Great!
First, I could place the centre of the effect. Next, to adjust the radius (size) and cross scale (extent of the rays). Other controls included the ray’s opacity, width and Epsilon. The latter? Dunno!
Next was a classic image of a railways station clock that just screamed out for some treatment to lift it out of the banal. My choice?
Distortion Effect>Glass Distortion. By carefully limiting the effect to the circular clock face I could impart a pebbled, hand-made glass effect that did the trick.
A simple shot of a hat shop window showing their range had a bit going for it, but not much. My solution? Filters>Stylize>Bloom. Here I could vary the radius of the effect and its intensity. What I found interesting, and this comment applied to some other filters, was that the intensity of the bloom effect changed only in areas of lightness. Great!
Then, as if the Filters department was not enough to engage me, I then fell upon the Brush section and, as you can see from this example, there is plenty to enjoy!
If you feel your image making is becoming a bit tired, try an Acorn. From little ones, big things can grow!
Mac OS 10.6 and later. If your OS is earlier, back to OS 10.4 you can download an earlier version of Acorn.
Price: US$49.99. Fourteen days trial version available.
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