Today we look at Snapheal for the Mac, a brand new app by Macphun software for editing your photos and in particular for tidying or removing distracting elements. Snapheal reproduces and improves on the content aware fill feature of Photoshop and also has clone stamp, exposure, cropping and selective adjustment features. It's very affordable at its launch price of $9.99 through the Mac app store.
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Colour Splash Studio is one of an emerging breed of photography applications that aim to do one task well and that are priced very affordably. Colour Splash Studio is for photographers wanting to make black and white photos with selective colour elements in the style of the movie Pleasantville.
When you first open an image with Colour Splash Studio it'll immediately turn your image black and white. You can now use the brush tool to paint back areas that you want in colour. The brush is edge detecting, which makes the process easier and faster and you've got control over the size, softness and opacity of the brush which combined with zooming the image to full size means it's pretty easy to paint in a good selection quickly. Once you've painted in your selection you can tweak the colour and greyscale areas separately with brightness, contrast and blur controls. Sadly there's no local contrast control but on the colour layer you can also tweak saturation, hue and exposure. I found these sliders a little harsh in their operation - fine tweaks were not at all easy and of course they apply to the whole image so there's no opportunity for tweaking just a portion of the image. There are also no controls for crop or rotation and very few options for getting more creative with colour (cross processing or split toning, for example) or black and white (dodging and burning, for example). I was very pleased to see support for my Wacom tablet. Pressure can be used to control brush size. I would have preferred it to control opacity but this is a good start. I was also very pleased to see standard Photoshop keyboard shortcuts working such as [ and ] for brush size and spacebar for dragging around the image while zoomed in.
It's clear that Colour Splash Studio is trying to do just this one thing well and I can respect that but for an app that concerns itself *only* with turning your image black and white there is one glaring omission - the lack of ability to control the black and white mix. Any photographer that is serious about wanting their image to look just a certain way is going to expect to have much tighter control over the black and white conversion process by being able to dial in brightness values for red, green and blue or at least by choosing from a selection of black and white filter presets.
As it stands right now this is a fine app for one simple task that does an awful lot right. I believe they've gone a little too far with simplifying by not including a black and white mix option and they should look at making fine control of those sliders easier. In a perfect world I'd like to see some dodge and burn options to further improve the black and white control. The quality of the application's results is excellent, however, and if you only want that simplified, limited set of options then Colour Splash Studio might be just the app for you.