Summary:

Last year, MacGraPhoto offered seven Mac graphics app for cheap. This year, MacGraPhoto 2 is offering nine apps for the price of one. It may be one of the last times bundles like this appear, with the imminent arrival of the Mac App Store.

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Last year, MacGraPhoto offered seven Mac graphics app for cheap. This year, MacGraPhoto 2 is offering nine apps for the price of one. It may be one of the last times bundles like this appear, since the Mac App Store will change the landscape of how software for Apple computers is sold.

MacGraPhoto 2 represents the trend that’s become popular during the last few years of offering bulk discounts for Mac software, a model embraced by the popular MacHeist bundle, among others. Like last year, the MacGraPhoto bundle will cost buyers $39.99. That’ll get you $444 worth of software.

Here’s a list and brief description of what’s included:

  • AtomicView. This is, basically, an iPhoto or Aperture alternative that lets you organize, browse and convert photos, video and sound. It actively uses your Mac’s GPU to provide advanced multi-threaded task management and quick-scrolling. Looks like a very handy tool for the amateur multimedia enthusiast, or even the budding professional.
  • Sandvox. It’s a website builder that offers templates, live previews, and is tailored to both beginners and professionals. It’s an iWeb alternative that’s a little more flexible, without the learning curve that comes with Dreamweaver.
  • Snapshot. This app lets you prepare your digital images for printing. It supports cropping and framing, multiple layouts and even some fun features like borders and speech bubbles. It’s perfect for those who don’t want to get into something like Photoshop, but do want to make sure photos look good before printing.
  • Sketch. This is a vector drawing app that keeps things very simple, and focused on your drawing. The canvas is continuous and supports unlimited layers, so that you can just get down to work.
  • ImageFramer. This app is dedicated entirely to putting frames on your photos, and also allows you to do things like add watermarks and batch frame entire sets of photo files. It could be handy if you’re creating a gallery website to show off your painting, for instance.
  • Layers. Take a screencap of your desktop as a layered .PSD file with Layers. That means things like palettes, toolboxes, icons, and the dock are each captured on separate layers. This is a great tool is do a lot of work with screenshots.
  • Hydra. This app allows you to create HDR photos from multiple image files. You don’t need to use a tripod with Hydra, as is often the case with HDR photo apps. It also comes with a plug-in for Aperture and Lightroom, so you can create HDR photos right in those applications.
  • Posterino. This is a poster, collage, postcard and greeting card creation app for the Mac. Just pick a template, choose an iPhoto album or specific photos, and you’re on your way.
  • Swift Publisher. A desktop publishing app that lets you layout, design and print flyers, booklets, brochures and more, Swift Publisher comes with many bundled templates, and a variety of editing tools. One reviewer described it as what “Apple’s Pages should have been.”

The bundle also comes with a bonus app called DVD-Library that lets you catalog manage, and even backup your DVDs on your Mac. My DVD collection is virtually non-existent these days, but for those with lots of physical media still taking up shelf space, this app could help.

All apps included in the bundle are Apple Staff Picks and have been rated four stars or higher by sites like MacUpdate and Macworld. MacGraPhoto 2 is available for another 19 days, and there are trial versions available for many of the included apps, so you can take your time making a decision. For my money, though, Layers alone is worth the price of admission.

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