An interesting trend has developed in the photo enhancement category of Mac apps. Nearly any photo or color effect you can think of can be had by simply by collecting a number of inexpensive apps. Why bother with the expensive and learning curve of Photoshop, when Mac users have more than enough effects merely a click away?
Alright, true photo enhancement genius doesn’t come just because an app has presets, but it’s a good place to start. The latest addition to my growing collection is called ColorEffectStudio. For about the price of a cheap lunch you’ll get more than 120 presets to start, but by mixing and matching filters, you can create even more.
ColorEffectStudio requires a bit more effort than most of the inexpensive photo enhancement apps, but the results are worth it.
Plenty of photo filters are built in to ColorEffectStudio, including a great gradient map, over 100 vignettes, and a new way of mixing tints called MultiToning (think sepia, cyanotype, grisaille, aquatint, and others).
Antique photo styles are easy with the film grain feature, and ColorEffectStudio does brush stroke splashes of color effects anywhere on a photo.
Working with ColorEffectStudio is straightforward. The tools are in the left Sidebar, while the image is displayed on the right. The tools can be a bit complicated to master, though, and blending or mixing effects from a preset can be a tiresome effort in trial and error (yes, there are that many options). I still have yet to master the infrared feature.
Still, what’s impressive here is the number of options vs. the price tag. You get a lot of capability for a few dollars.