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Mac App Review: Flare

Image editing and filter application made exceptionally easy on your Mac

There is a myriad of photo editing options out, there from the colossus that is Photoshop to the much-publicised Pixelmator.
So, you’d be forgiven for overlooking this unassuming little app from the Iconfactory. Should you take the plunge and download this little beauty you will be instantly rewarded by an app so easy to use that you will have the urge to edit your entire photo library. It comes with a bunch of presets, which are pretty standard, but the real beauty of this software comes in the ability to combine effects and create your own.

Each and every effect is customisable with a ton of cool options and these can then be stacked upon other effects and saved as a custom setting for you to apply across a batch or event. The simplicity of the software is what makes it so accessible. There is no point where you are in danger of getting out of your depth or not being able to reverse a decision you have made. Each setting is clearly marked and can be switched on and off. This gives you the option to play with combinations of effects. As you play with the settings you can see them in a live preview and can quickly flick between the effected view and the original with a handily placed toggle at the bottom of the interface.
The effects are controlled by sliders and presets. Take the Sharpen effect, for instance. A slider will determine the extent of the sharpening and then within that parameter there are options to change the blending mode, the blending mask and then also sliders for radius and intensity. At no point are you expected to enter any values or rely on knowledge from elsewhere. Everything you need is in-app.
Our favourite creative effect by far was the ability to add texture. The options here are simply stunning, giving you the ability to throw any picture onto a type of canvass or even add some lens flare- style effects like ‘Garden Rainbow’. We also enjoyed the frames available as they offered us the opportunity to easily theme batches of pictures before we exported them and dropped them into an album in iPhoto. This is an incredible app that offers a multitude of options, stunning simplicity and a price that makes it an impulse buy.