One of the benefits of helping out the Mac360 folks (Alex and Ron are out for awhile) is the opportunity to try out new Mac software.
There’s no shortage of serious, productive, useful Mac software. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of Mac software that is just plain fun to use. Photo Booth, for example.
Even more fun is the nifty photo editor Funtastic Photos. Sure, Photo Booth is fun, but the fun wears off after 12 minutes. How many ways can you distort your face in iSight?
Funtastic Photos is more like a personal, entertaining version of LightZone, which I reviewed recently. Think of LightZone as point and click Photoshop effects and filters for the masses.
Think of Funtastic Photos as LightZone with a sense of humor, a sense of style, and a personalized sense of creativity. LightZone is serious about enhancing photos. Funtastic Photos is serious about style, creativity, panache. And, fun.
What you get when you start up Funtastic Photos is both familiar and simple, elegant and competent. And point and click. FP opens to a browser which looks similar to what you see initially in iPhoto.
In the left column are all your iPhoto albums. Click on an album and you’ll see the photos in a window to the right. Pretty much like iPhoto.
Double click on a photo and the fun begins. The album list and photos slide out of the way while your selected photo slides to the center of the screen, ready for editing.
Editing? Uh oh. I know what you’re thinking, “You didn’t tell me about no stinkin’ editing.” Relax. In this case, editing simply means applying filters and effects and styles to your photo. Did I mention that it’s all point and click?
Forget the toolbar to the top. That’s all standard stuff and self explanatory. Save. Copy. Share. Print. Rotate. Crop. Anyone can figure out what those are and they’re not fun anyway.
Below and to the right of the photo you selected is a list of pre-built sections for your photo. Artistic. Romantic. Quick Fixes. Vintage Camera. And, My Styles, which you can create and save for future use.
Clicking on Artistic brings up a long line of artistic effects and styles to scroll and select, and there are plenty of them. Blueprint, Color Halftone. Crazy Popsy Artsy. xRay and Negative and many more.
Click on one of the styles and Funtastic Photos immediately changes your photo to that particular style. Easy, huh? Not worry, though, all the effects, styles, filters, are non-destructive, so your original iPhoto photo won’t be disturbed if you get carried away.
The Romantic section has one-click styles which add a Soft Focus, a big red Heart, borders and so on.
To the right of the photo is a list of the tools—the effects and filters—used for each style. Clicking on the button next to each one applies the effects to the photo. Clicking the button also opens additional configuration tools, usually sliders, which change the effects.
For example, clicking on Hue & Saturation brings up a Hue slider and a Saturation slider. Move each to change each. Easy, huh?
There are Tools to fix contrast, color balance, exposure, shadows, even sharpen and straighten. Color adjustments can be made to colorize, change to grayscale, posterize, add sepia tones, and change hue and saturation.
Artistic adjustments can also be selected and applied to your photo with just a click. Blur, diffuse, mosaic, captions, wave, water drops and many others. If you’re impatient to create very attractive photos from your blah la iPhoto photos, you’ll be satisfied with the results in minutes.
But, wait. There’s more. The Finishing Touches section applies more layers, including matte, vignette, gloss, borders, the all important reflections, and more.
Once you’ve applied a tasteful amount of styling, tools, filters, effects, then you can select Save as 1 Click Style from the pull down menu, and use those same effects with a single click on another photo.
Funtastic Photos is very intuitive. That means you can open it up and figure out what’s going on without digging through a PDF manual, or calling a friend up to ask for help. Whatever changes you’ve made to your photo can be undone with the Rewind to Original button.
Ohanaware, the folks who develop Funtastic Photos, have taken advantage of many of the graphic tools that Apple has been stuffing into Mac OS X in recent years. You may have heard some of the terms from time to time.
There’s Core Image, Core Animation, Core Audio, Core Video and more, like Core Data. Apple has all these wonderfully complex capabilities built in to OS X so Mac software developers can create cool stuff quickly.
Funtastic Photos bills itself as an image editor. That just sounds like work. It’s not. It’s fun.
There are plenty of features I didn’t mention, but combined, make FP more than the sum of the parts. For example, you can create greeting cards, use your iSight camera, create a photo collage, even send someone a fun email postcard similar to Apple’s now defunct iCards.
Did I mention captions? What’s more fun than adding a personal caption to a photo. It’s the perfect way to break up with your soon-to-be ex. With humor.
Humans are social animals and the social web has become a big part of our digital lives. There’s Facebook, MobileMe, Picasa and Flickr, all vying for our attention and photos. Funtastic Photos handles them all with photo sharing.
What’s missing? Not much. FP is easier to use and more fun than LightZone, which is aimed more at those Mac users who want Photoshop-like results and love to tinker with a multitude of settings to make it happen.
FP is what it is. Funtastic Photos which you make yourself on your own photos.