I don’t mind paying the freight for a good Mac application. I’m a longtime Microsoft sufferer and Adobe Photoshop tax payer.
I truly celebrate when I find a great Mac application that does cool without paying cold hard cash. The Belight folks do it with a new version of Image Tricks.
What’s Image Tricks? It’s a straightforward Mac application which takes advantage of OS X Tiger’s built-in Core Image features to modify images, particularly digital photographs.
What you get is a set of filters that take plain old photos and create digital art with advanced visual effects.
If you’ve ever just wanted to fool around with some of the image manipulation software but didn’t have the time to master the tool set, or the money to purchase (have you seen the price tag on Photoshop CS these days; ouch!), try something for free.
Image Tricks lets you modify images in a stylistically, artsy-craftsy way without having any knowledge of how to create the effects.
There’s the simple, straightforward effects such as color adjusment. Nearly any Mac graphic application can do that, including iPhoto. Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Hue, and so on.
Add to that list the ability to blur an image in a gazillion ways. Then distort images with other tools. Twirl, Bump, Pinch.
I love Pinch and the wonderful things it can do to a photo of Jack. Can you say, ‘beer belly?’
Image Tricks doesn’t stop there. Photos can become art with Mosaic, Halftone effects, Crystalize, and others. Seriously. This is easier than MacPaint and more fun in color and with instant gratification.
You can take an image and make an artistic design. Each filter generator has its’ own controls. Even set the colors of a photograph and tweak in ways you never thought possible.
There’s 40 Core Image effects and filters in Image Tricks. There’s also 11 image generators to manipulate the whole image.
Masks? We don’t need to pay for no stinkin’ masks! 30 unique masks can be applied to any image.
Oh, when I say “any” image, it’s most of the standard images available on the Mac; TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PDF, EPS, and over a dozen more can be imported into Image Tricks.
How about exporting? That’s usually a different story, and so it is with Image Tricks. Export in TIFF, JPEG, PDF, PNG, and GIF.
The Belight folks are at the top of their game with Mac applications. These are the same folks who do Disc Cover, Swift Publisher, Business Card Composer, and Mail Factory.
I especially like Mac developers with a good track record, made even better with a solid freebie from time to time. Image Tricks is a Universal Binary so it runs well on PPC Macs and screams on Intel Macs.
Interestingly, there’s a free version and a Pro version which sells for $10, minus a nickel. As you’d expect, the Pro version gives you a few more goodies. More brushes, more effects, more filters, more image generators.
Is Image Tricks a pro Mac application? If you’re a Photoshop master and charge clients by the hour, no. For the rest of us who simply need to do some graphics effects, don’t need a two-inch thick book to tell us how, and a six month learning curve to do what we’ve learned, Image Trick is a good trick.
It’ll integrate with the graphics component of other Belight applications and it integrates with iPhoto, making it ultra easy to test some of your artistic ability on a photo that’s backed up.
The free version of Image Tricks will keep you busy and happy doodling with images all day.