Way back in the day, back when the Mac was selling at ever great numbers each quarter, all the way back to two years ago, Apple introduced a cool new function to OS X Yosemite. It’s called extensions.
Extensions have handy functionality that works from one app to within another app. You see them on your iPhone in iOS 9.x as features that show up in the Sharing Box. Guess what? Your Mac has exactly the same thing and some of them are pretty cool. Here are a few words about extensions and some classy ones that work with the Mac’s Photos and the Creative Kit photo apps.
Fun. With. Extensions.
You’ll find extensions in the Mac’s System Preferences under, well, Extensions. OS X El Capitan comes with five basic extension categories. Action, Finder, Photos, Share Menu, and one that gets used more than you think, Today.
Take a look.
Third party applications usually install their own extensions and that allows you to move data from one app to another. It works well, but functionality can be moved from here to there within one app from another app, too.
Here’s a perfect example.
As a photographer wannabe I’ve been playing with the Creative Kit suite of photo enhancement utilities. If you can’t afford Adobe’s Creative Kit monthly subscription fee, and even the Photoshop subscription-for-a-lifetime fee, then you’ll appreciate the value in Creative Kit’s apps, even if you use Photos. That means the CK apps Intensify, Snapheal, Tonality and Noiseless work as Photos extensions.
Snapheal as a Photos extension.
It’s as if Photos and Snapheal blend together to embed what Snapheal does to, well, photos within Photos.
Another CK favorite is the Noiseless app, which has an extension, too. That makes it easy for anyone to use most of the Noiseless functions from within apps that can handle the extension. It might be the extension that improves photos the most. It works with native 16-bit RAW photo processing, handles layers with ease, and, very importantly, gives you access to the dozens of presets for one-click enhancements.
That includes grain, lens effects, textures, frames, even authentic film effects to give photos a retro look with little more effort than a click.
Though they’re not a good comparison of apples to Apples, the Creative Kit package of apps is a bargain when compared to Creative Cloud or the Photoshop-Lightroom combo ($10 a month forever) and the extensions are free.
Apple has a good support page which displays how to enable and disable extensions on your Mac, but they work much the same as extensions on iPhone and iPad. The only issue I have with any such extensions is the same basic one that applies to many of Apple’s features. Out of sight, out of mind. For whatever reason, Apple doesn’t make it easy for Mac users to know about such functionality without digging around to see what’s new with every OS X upgrade.