There’s been an interesting trend take place in the Macosphere the past few years. Adobe’s Photoshop advances the state of the art of image editing, and clever developers are inspired to create an app which mimics one or two the more popular features. Photoshop came out with noise reduction, haze reduction, blemish and object removal, and since then a dozen similar apps have been launched.
Here’s another one. It’s called Portrait Retouching; a rather inexpensive Mac photo enhancement utility which does a bit of what Photoshop can do to a portrait photo, but without the complexity, learning curve, or expense. Think of Portrait Retouching as an easier way to remove blemishes, wrinkles, and flaws, while improving teeth, skin, and eyes– all with relatively simple point and click (after the trial and error period.
When it works.
I tried Portrait Retouching over a year ago and it was a no go for. Mac apps that are inherently unstable don’t make the grade for a review (hence the laundry list of bad reviews on the Mac App Store). However, the developer didn’t give up and continued to improve the app; adding features and stability.
Here’s a sample of what it does.
Portrait Retouching is rather straightforward to use. Drop in a portrait photo. Select Natural, Light, Heavy or Smooth from the presets. Select an option and you’re done.
Except for the trial and error. The app induces a trial and error coma where you keep adjusting and tweaking to get rid of the most blatant blemishes and problem areas while attempting to keep the image sharp and natural looking.
Portrait Retouching uses a form of facial recognition, and, indeed, as the name implies, works best with portraits; faces, so you can smooth skin and remove imperfections and enhance hair, eyelashes, even eyebrows and eyes.
Just as the tools are simple to use and apply to a portrait photo, so is the before and after view; a side-by-side way to view the original photo with the enhanced photo. Portrait Retouching features a variety of tools to apply granular controls to sharpness, warmth and brightness, contrast, and softness while maintaining the original skin texture and color.
That’s the good and the beautiful. What’s the bad and ugly? Originally, it was stability. Portrait Retouching was remarkably unstable considering it had to be approved by Apple’s reviewers to make it to the Mac App Store. That said, it has improved measurably this year and worthy of a look. Of course, it’s not as feature laden as some Mac portrait apps with higher price tags, and there’s no try-before-you-buy option, and the developer’s website could use some work to make it appear that he’s serious about promoting a useful application.