Snapseed was a runaway smash on iOS with its insanely easy photo editing capbilities. Nik Software now seeks to translate that success to the Mac. For those looking for an iPhoto alternative, Snapseed is a tremendous option. While it won’t manage your photo collection, it is the best tool for casual edits and creative overhauls.
Those who have used Snapseed on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch will find the interface extremely familiar. There are two categories of photo tweaks: basic and creative adjustments. The strength of Snapseed is how easy it is give a photo a splashy retooling. Much like Instagram, many of the options include a vintage, retro look or various shades of black and white.
Each of the adjustments then has two or three further tweaks available, such as vignette or blur. Slide the bars to the left or right to add these further elements of customization. If you don’t like the way it looks, it’s easy to switch back by clicking the “revert” button. Or click the Compare button to view it side-by-side the original.
More sophisticated options are available for those who like to really toy around with a particular picture. For example, the black-and-white mode allows for adding a color filter. Snapseed also has a very cool zoom feature, making it easy to hone in on specific areas of a picture.
I fell in love with the Automatic Tool’s one-click fix. It is the best one-click option I have ever used; superior to the “I’m feeling lucky” command from Google’s Picasa or any quick fix from iPhoto. In fact, those who are not thrilled with iPhoto’s puzzle-like photo management system may prefer to do the majority of their photo work in Snapseed. Unfortunately, there is only limited integration with the Mac’s Finder, so it by no means can completely replace iPhoto, especially for those with an iPhone that rely on Photo Stream.
Snapseed works in Lion’s full-screen mode. Just be mindful that the save, share and print icons move to the Edit menu when in fullscreen mode.
Where Snapseed may frustrate some more advanced users is in the absence of more advanced controls. Also, a few of the tools take some exploration to find. For anyone that is looking for a competitor to PhotoShop or Aperture, Snapseed may not be the right fit.
Yet for the typical user, especially those who aren’t in love with iPhoto (and there are many reasons not to be) Snapseed is an excellent creative tool. It retains all the charm that won it so much praise on iOS. And given the fine tuning it has received on that platform, it can only be expected to improve further on the Mac.
- Excellent, one-click editing options
- Minimal learning curve
Off the Mark:
- Not enough flexibility for more advanced users.