In an age of increasing complexity, I’ve become enamored with the one trick pony; software that does one thing well.
Think about it. Can one application do everything without becoming overly complex? No. Enter Picturesque. A one trick pony.
One of my favorite graphic applications of all time is Photoshop. It can do nearly anything that a graphics-minded person may require, but the learning curve for those who don’t use Photoshop every day is a steeper climb than from Dolly Parton’s navel to her chin.
Photoshop is a bear to master, and for people who need just a few features, is overkill. Is it any wonder that I prefer to use Fireworks for web graphics? Even Fireworks is not for the faint of heart.
Picturesque is one of those delightfully simple Mac applications that focuses only on what you need and with great results. The objective is to take a photo image and make it beautiful when dropped into a web site or a photo album.
Easier said than done, especially when using Photoshop. Certain effects can take time and a couple of books.
Picturesque does just a handful of things, not too much, not too little. For example, let’s say you have a photo that you want to put curved corners. Photoshop does it. Picturesque does it quickly.
Now you want to add a nice edge to a photo with corner curves on just two corners. Ah, not so easy in Photoshop, but only a couple of clicks in Picturesque.
Add shadows, glows, and a specially colored stroke to your framed photos with just a click, click, click.
What caught my eye is Picturesque’s ability to create those wonderfully attractive and sometimes overdone bottom reflections. Apple uses them all over the place. They add depth to a web page and look classy, glossy.
Picturesque makes reflections with a click, yet with control. First, drag your image over Picturesque. The image appears as does the pop up control panel (laid out in ultra chic dark charcoal with those iPhoto sliders).
The Picturesque control panel is elegant simplicity personified. Change the Background color. Click to add the Reflection, including Length, Offset, and Opacity. All in sliders.
Shadow and Glow is equally simple. Add a glow, change the distance, blur the radius, and increase or decrease opacity as desired.
Any one of four corners can be curved, and the radius modified accordingly using a simple slider. I would like to see slider control for each corner, but that’s a minor nit.
More control is provided for Edges, with stroke, fade, and length, and for any of the four sides. Finally, the image can be resized to a pixel perfect size, proportioned or otherwise.
Even better is batch control. Save the settings, then drop in a whole folder of images and have them all come out with pixel perfect effects. Alright, so it isn’t really a one trick pony, but you get the idea.
Focus is what Picturesque does. Not so much that you need to buy three books and take an evening class at the community college. Enough to make some very attractive effects in no time at all. Sweet and affordable.