Acqualia has released a notable update to their 2007 Apple Design Award winning image editing application, Picturesque. Picturesque is a “simple app with a simple goal: to make images more beautiful.”
The latest features include interface enhancements, new saving options, faster loading, and a number of general effect improvements. This review will cover a few of the original features, the new additions in 2.1, and show how the app can impact your image workflow.
Picturesque can turn standard photos in ‘beautiful images,’ allowing you to simply add appealing reflections, perspectives and borders. It’s a great tool for editing images for the web, and makes achieving relatively complex effects remarkably simple.
What Can Picturesque Do?
The app centers around five main ‘effects,’ along with a range of other functionality. These are:
- Perspective: Tilt the image right, left, up or down to create an interesting perspective rather than a simple ‘head on’ view
- Reflection: A simple way to add great looking reflections with customization over opacity and length — far easier than opening Photoshop and doing it manually
- Shadow: As you’d expect, for adding a shadow or ‘glow’ effect behind the image
- Curve: Simply curve any of the four image corners with an adjustable radius
- Stroke: Add a border of varying width/colour around the image
When opening the application, you’re greeted with a very simple window:
This allows you to drag and drop one, or multiple, images into Picturesque. One area where it excels is through applying the same effect in a batch to several images at the same time. This is a simple process, and is far simpler than writing a Photoshop action to do a similar thing.
Preset effects can be saved for future use, which is great if you regularly need to adjust an image in the same way for a website or publication.
Why Would You Use Picturesque?
As with any image application, these effects can be combined to create truly awful effects. Whether it’s the classic overuse of the ‘Web 2.0′ reflection or huge, obtrusive rounded corners — Picturesque can be used for more harm than good!
However, if you take care, you’ll find that it’s easy to save a great deal of time through using these simple effects. I’m always amazed at how a simple change in perspective can add so much more depth and feeling to a photograph.
What is New in 2.1?
Version 2.1 brings a number of enhancements to Picturesque including an improved image browser view, improved cropping & image resizing, and the ability to save straight to your desktop with one keystroke. It also fixes a number of bugs relating to stroke, the shadow effect and saving.
Saving immediately to your desktop is a really handy feature, and can make applying quick effects even quicker. When editing an image, a set of new menu items allow you to automatically save the image to your desktop, or overwrite the imported image file.
The new crop tools work in a way which I’ve never encountered before, updating the preview of the image as you drag and drop the corners to crop. It draws similarities with simply dragging to re-size, while intelligently cropping the image at the same time. As my vague description suggests, it’s difficult to describe easily without actually trying it out!
Pricing and Details
Picturesque 2 costs $34.95 and requires OS X 10.5 or later. A free 30 day download is available to see whether the app meets your needs. I’m not entirely sure whether the $34.95 price tag is justified, but I can imagine that you’d save a great deal of time over applying these effects through Photoshop manually.
Considering the app has been around for a few years, the updates haven’t been all that revolutionary. While this latest release doesn’t add a great deal of functionality in terms of image effects, it does ensure that Picturesque is easier and quicker to use — something regular users will certainly value.