I worked in the enterprise software industry for about 15 years and we used to talk about and compare the “power” of various pieces of software. Back then I realized that there are two different ways that software can be deemed to be powerful.
When most people say that a particular piece of software is powerful they usually mean that it can do a lot of things for you. That software will have lots of knobs and buttons and options to allow you to do just about anything you want as long as you know how to use it. In other words, if you are a “Power User”, that software will put a lot of power at your fingertips. Adobe Photoshop definitely falls in this category. It is without a doubt the most powerful image editing software on the market but it is so complex that few people master it and it has spawned a huge third-party Photoshop training industry. Even though I’ve been using it for years I estimate that I only know how to use about 3-5% of what it can do.
Another definition of the power of a piece of software is when it allows you to do powerful stuff with little effort or knowledge. This is what Adobe Lightroom tries to do for photographers like us, enabling us to do most of what we used to do in Photoshop but with a lot less effort or skill required. However Lightroom still requires a relatively high level of skills and over the years it has become increasingly “powerful” in the first sense as it has become increasingly complex.
This is where comes the Mac-only (for now) Macphun Creative Kit, a suite of award-winning and super easy to use tools for editing photos on the Mac platform. The Macphun tools are definitely powerful, both in the first and second sense described above. They offer both a fully automated and brainless way to handle various aspects of photo editing efficiently as well as a way to access the knobs and dials for the more advanced user who wants finer control on the end-result.
The various applications that are part of the Macphun Creative Kit all come with loads of well thought-out presets and automations that take all the complexity out of using the tools, but you still have access to all the settings behind these presets. You can streamline things even more by electing a set of “preferred presets” for quicker access. Once you’ve applied a preset you can fine tune it to your heart’s content and then save it as your own preset for future use. 90% of the time you will only need the presets and this really makes the whole process of editing or fixing your images child’s play.
The Macphun Creative Kit 2016 includes Pro versions of the following tools:
- Noiseless, (Noise reduction)
- Tonality, (Creative B&W conversion)
- Intensify, (Enhance clarity and details)
- Snapheal, (Remove undesired objects or imperfections)
- Focus and (Creative blur, focus, vignettes, tilt-shift lens simulation and more)
- FX Photo Studio (The largest collection of filters & photo effects on the Mac).
Each Creative Kit application supports RAW camera files and can operate as a standalone tool or as a plugin to Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture or even as an extension to Photos for Mac (running Mac OS El Capitan or later). The various applications can also pass files to each other.
These creative tools also support batch processing, so for example, you can process entire folders of RAW or JPEG files through noise reduction or B&W conversion and output them in various formats . The software is really quite speedy so it doesn’t take long to churn through hundreds of files. If you do not like spending hours post-processing your files, or if you feel powerless in front of the complexity of Photoshop or even Lightroom, then the tools that make up the Creative Kit will be lifesavers for you. But even if you are quite comfortable with the Adobe tools you can still use the Macphun tools as plugins to complement your workflow. Personally I really like using Capture One as I feel that its RAW conversion is superior to Adobe’s. So my workflow starts with Capture One for RAW conversion and to correct exposure, contrast, white-balance, sharpness, cropping and basic noise reduction. I then rely on the Creative Kit for further creative post-processing without having to fiddle with knobs for hours.
Over the next few weeks I will be writing reviews of each individual application, once I’ve had more time to work with them.
The tools purchased separately would cost $339 but the Creative Kit is only $129.99. If you are interested in purchasing or downloading a free trial version of the Macphun Creative Kit 2016, you can do so here: