Filmora Video Editor (Mac and Windows) Why settle for a simple and limited video editor when you. Pixelmator is an image editor for Mac OS X that allows you to create, edit, and enhance your images. Interface designed for work with images, layers-based image editing.
Apple’s Photos (Built-in app) Apple’s Photos app is included for free on all recently released Macs. The GIMP Is the image-editing standard for the Unix world, and because Mac OS X is Unix-based, you can run it on a Mac as well, but there is a major caveat, namely that the GIMP does not run in OS X’s Quartz/Aqua user interface layer, but rather in X Windows under X11, a program that enables X Windows applications to run under OS X.
- January 02, 2020
- 18 min to read
Most free photo editors available on the App Store are quite basic, offering just a limited number of filters and allowing you to easily and quickly liven up your photos before posting them on social media.
But if you’re an aspiring or professional photographer, you probably need a more powerful app with a broader set of tools to use your creativity to the fullest. Besides, you probably use your Mac for photo editing because working on a large screen makes it possible to adjust the slightest details.
1. Apple’s Photos (Built-in app)
Apple’s Photos app is included for free on all recently released Macs. It does a good job at organizing your photos, but its collection of photo enhancement tools leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, our selection of the best free programs for photo editing on Mac will help you choose the right app to suit all your creative needs.
2. Luminar (7 days trial)
Luminar is another full-featured photo editor that’s popular with both Mac and Windows users. It can work as a standalone app as well as a plugin for such popular programs as Apple Photos.
Luminar uses Artificial Intelligence to enable sophisticated yet quick photo enhancements. Among these AI features are Sky Enhancer, which adds more depth and detail to the sky in your photos while leaving other areas untouched; Accent AI, which analyzes a photo and automatically applies the best combination of different effects to enhance your image; and Sun Rays, which allows you to place an artificial sun and adjust the lighting to your liking or make the sun rays already in your photo look even more incredible.
Luminar has over 60 filters you can apply to your photos to enhance them in a moment. Luminar also provides a set of powerful tools for cropping, transforming, cloning, erasing, and stamping, along with layers, brushes, and many more incredible features. Luminar supports the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro, making photo editing even more effortless and pleasing.
3. Photolemur 3 (Free Version with watermark)
Photolemur is a relative newcomer on the photo editing market but it has all the chances to win the favor of beginner photographers and hobbyists. Running on Artificial Intelligence, Photolemur is a completely automatic photo enhancer, meaning that it does all the editing for you in no time. It has the simplest interface, with only a few buttons and sliders to adjust the enhancement to your liking and view the before and after results.
All you need to do is choose a photo (or a few) that you want to improve, drag and drop or import them using the Import button, and let the program make enhancements. After it’s done, you can compare the edited version with the original image by using the before–after slider and, if you want, adjust the skin tone or even enlarge the eyes using additional sliders. Pretty easy, huh?
Photolemur also offers a number of impressive styles to touch up your photos and give them a sophisticated and professional look. With this app, you don’t need to stuff your head with photo editing nuances and terms. Just run Photolemur and watch the magic happen!
4. Aurora HDR (14 days trial)
As you probably can tell from the name, Aurora HDR is designed to help photographers enhance their HDR photos, making them even more detailed and beautiful. It’s an ideal tool for editing your photos, with an extensive collection of more than 20 tools including details, tone, mapping, color, glow, and vignette. Each tool has its unique selection of controls to adjust its effects.
Aurora HDR enables you to work with brushes, layers, and masks, and provides a number of automatic AI tools for recognizing and removing noise, enhancing colors, lighting, and details, improving clarity, and adding contrast to dull areas while leaving other areas untouched.
Aurora HDR does a great job dealing with difficult lighting situations and creating full-of-life images while being easy to use.
5. Pixelmator (Trial 30 Days)
Pixelmator is a photo enhancer beloved by many Mac users, as it offers a good combination of a modern and simple interface, the ability to work on multiple layers, and powerful features that take photo editing to a whole new level. With so many editing tools, brushes, and effects, you can enhance your photos to your liking. You can choose between two versions of Pixelmator – standard and pro – depending on your needs. The standard version is great for basic photo editing with its selection of essential tools and filters, while the pro version is packed with extra brushes, tools, and effects that let you push your creativity to new boundaries. You can decide which version is suitable for you according to what features you’re looking for in a photo editing app.
6. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 (Trial link)
Photoshop Elements isn’t as affordable as other photo enhancers for beginner photographers. But luckily there’s a trial version available, so you can check it out before deciding whether this app is worthy of your money. Photoshop Elements acquired many powerful features from Photoshop, only Elements is simplified for amateur photographers and enthusiasts. It includes a good number of effects and filters, plus automated editing options for improving lighting, color balance, and exposure, and even opening closed eyes and reducing the effects of camera shake.
In addition to all of these awesome features, Photoshop also offers editing modes for beginners, intermediate users, and experts. Beginners will probably prefer Quick mode, as it focuses on essential tools to quickly enhance your photos by improving color, lighting, and other basic settings. Guided mode provides intermediate users with step-by-step guidance with more professional features like artistic effects, skin tone correction, and background replacement. Expert mode gives you full access to the app’s really powerful editing features and is ideal for creating stunning images.
7. Affinity Photo (Free Trial)
Affinity Photo’s interface may seem overwhelming at first, especially for novices, but when you come to grips with it you’ll find that the app is just what you’ve been looking for. Its numerous professional tools, effects, and filters encourage you to get creative with your photos. Among the coolest features Affinity Photo has to offer is a before and after view to compare the original photo with its edited version.
Affinity Photo works with 15 file types, including common ones like PDF, PSD, JPG, and GIF as well as some less popular ones. The app amazes with its abundance of basic and top-notch editing tools, allowing you to tweak your photos using all possible kinds of instruments. Affinity Photo allows you to edit HDR photos, apply artistic filters and effects, play with masks and layers, and create breathtaking compositions by combining several images in one. If you find its interface a bit much and are afraid of getting lost in all those advanced tools, you should probably look for something more suitable for your level. But Affinity Photo is worth mastering.
8. Google Photos
Google Photos is a popular cloud storage service for photos and videos. It can’t boast countless masterly tools like other photo enhancers that we review in this article, but it includes some fundamental features like filters, color adjustment sliders, and transformation tools.
Although Google Photos may not be that helpful when it comes to editing photos, it does a pretty good job at storing high-resolution images and videos with 15GB of free online storage, compared to iCloud’s mere 5GB (which you can upgrade to 50GB for a monthly fee). If you’re planning to go on a trip and take plenty of photos, then it might be smart to sign up for Google Photos to use that extra storage space when you come back.
9. PhotoScape X (Free)
A relatively new photo editing app, PhotoScape X has been gaining popularity with many Mac and PC users since its release in 2008. Its interface is simple but unconventional, with a number of tabs running along the top of the window. Each is responsible for a specific stage of editing. The Viewer tab allows you to browse and organize your photos. After you pick a photo, you can switch to the Editor tab, which includes a broad set of instruments, filters, and effects and a useful feature that enables you to compare the adjusted photo with the original.
The next tabs, including the Batch tab, mainly concentrate on editing and renaming multiple photos at once. The GIF tab allows you to easily create an animated GIF from a group of selected photos.
The downside of PhotoScape X is a lack of selection tools, so all changes are applied to the whole image rather than to a selected part.
10. Gimp (Free)
Gimp is a free open-source photo editing app that has been on the market for over 22 years and is available for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. Unlike many free apps, Gimp doesn’t have any ads or in-app purchases. Its grey interface might seem a little old-fashioned and it may be a bit sluggish when it comes to complex effects, though.
Gimp offers a vast collection of advanced tools that hardly any free photo editor can boast. It has numerous enhancement options such as clone and heal brushes, layers and channels, accurate selection tools, a number of transformation instruments, and, of course, color adjustment controls. Gimp is one of the most powerful tools for enhancing photos and is beloved by so many users for its price (free) and versatility. But if you can’t come to grips with Gimp’s interface, it may be worth paying some cash for a more user-friendly program.
Open source high-end image-editing software is an unlikely concept when you think about it. For one thing, anyone who really needs an industrial strength image editing application for professional purposes can probably afford and will more often than not have the undisputed king-of-the-hill in bitmap graphics software, Adobe’s Photoshop CS, and most users – professional or amateur – will for that matter never test the limits of even Adobe’s much more affordable Photoshop Elements.
Alternatives to Photoshop CS
However, Photoshop CS is astronomically expensive at its list price of $649 (Elements 6.0 for Mac is more than a bit of a bargain at just $89.95). Then there’s Pixelmator, an aspirant Photoshop (at least Photoshop Elements) challenger that has a ton of power, a super attractive interface, and sells for an even more friendly $59.95.
And if you’re on a tight budget and really need advanced, full-featured image-editing capability, there is a robust and powerful freeware image editor alternative to Photoshop with the cumbersome moniker of GNU Image Manipulation Program (the GIMP, for short), an advanced open source bitmap imaging program available free for the downloading. Like Photoshop, the GIMP can be used to correct and retouch photographs, compose multiple images, and create artwork from scratch.
The GIMP: Freeware
The GIMP Is the image-editing standard for the Unix world, and because Mac OS X is Unix-based, you can run it on a Mac as well, but there is a major caveat, namely that the GIMP does not run in OS X’s Quartz/Aqua user interface layer, but rather in X Windows under X11, a program that enables X Windows applications to run under OS X.
X11 is an option that can be specified during an OS X install, and the a standalone X11 installer is also downloadable for free at:
The GIMP is also a free download, but a mighty big one – about 120 MB – and you can also download the GIMP HTML manual at:
X11 is addressed through a Unix command line, although you can configure the GIMP to be launchable without command line intercession after the initial setup, but that’s still a lot of hassle.
The GIMP’s graphical user interface is more Spartan (and Windows-ish) than OS X Aqua, and there are no Mac OS X menu bars. Rather, the program depends heavily on contextual menus. To print from the GIMP, you will need Gimp-Print and ESP Ghostscript software installed.
There is also a hacked version of the GIMP by Scott Moschella called GimpShop, in which Scott has renamed and reorganized GIMP’s tools, options, windows, and menus to closely resemble Adobe Photoshop’s menu structure and naming conventions. Many of the menu options and even whole menus were recreated to faithfully reproduce a Photoshop-like experience.
Here are the Photoshop and GimpShop Image menus side by side:
And the respective Tools Palettes.
It’s an improvement, and if you’re a Mac user, GimpShop is probably the most comfortable way to go, especially if you’re familiar with Photoshop. However, you’re still going to have to install X11, etc. GimpShop is supported by Mac OS X 10.3 and up.
For more information and/or to download GimpShop, visit http://www.plasticbugs.com/?page_id=294
The GIMP is by all accounts an able and deep-featured image editor, and the price is certainly right, but if its user-demands sound too geeky for your taste (they are for mine), it is still possible to get some of the GIMP’s power in a much more user-friendly wrapper in the form of an excellent freeware program called Seashore.
Seashore is an interesting and capable Open Source bitmap graphics program in Cocoa for OS X by Mark Pazolli that for many users could be a viable free image editing application.
From my personal perspective, I’m a big fan of the venerable Color It! bitmap image editing program, which dates back to the early 90s and which I find fast, slick, and pleasant to use. Color It! is still available to consumers in it’s last Classic iteration, version 4.3, but recently has been released in a $59.95 OS X-native (Carbon) version (4.5). It looks and works pretty much like Color It! always has, and I still love it, although for the same price you really want to give totally contemporary Pixelmator a look.
One of my very favorite things about Color It! is that it starts up almost instantly, and I’m happy to report that Seashore, while not quite as quick to get up and running as Color It!, is no slouch in launching either, as opposed to Photoshop Elements 6.0, which I love dearly, but which takes forever to start. Pixelmator is somewhere in between.
I’ve been playing with Seashore off and on for a couple of years now, and I like it, but it’s no Photoshop – or even a Photoshop Elements or Color It. Most notably, although Seashore has a nice selection of basic painting tools and layers support, there are no automated photo image cleanup and optimization and enhancement tools. Even the (very cool and exceedingly useful) freeware image utility ToyViewer is more capable in terms of button-click image correction, although Seashore has basic tools to correct things like brightness, contrast, color hues, saturation, and values, and so forth.
Like MacPaint for OS X
Seashore arguably is what the wonderful old MacPaint program that shipped with the original Macs back in the 80s might be like updated for the OS X era. The Seashore interface is strongly reminiscent of MacPaint’s attractive, clean, quick, and user-friendly look and feel.
However, Seashore is a more powerful and capable program than MacPaint ever evolved to being, featuring gradients, textures, clone and smudge tools, and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP’s technology and uses the same native file format.
Seashore’s features include:
- Full support for the GIMP’s native XCF file format
- Read and write support for the TIFF, PNG, JPEG and JP2000 file formats
- Read-only support for the BMP, PICT, PDF, XBM and GIF file formats
- Layers with over 20 merging effects
- Individual primary and alpha channel editing
- Thorough transparency effects including semitransparent gradients
- Arbitrary selection regions
- Anti-aliased brush strokes
- 6 basic gradient effects with 16 variations
- Tablet support
- ColorSync support (including embedded profiles in TIFFs and CMYK previewing)
- Plugin filters
Seashore is sleek-looking and a lot better-documented than many of today’s commercial software programs, with a thorough and detailed user’s manual in PDF format. It also integrates tightly with the Mac operating system and is thoroughly object-oriented. It is intended serve the basic image editing needs of most computer users, rather than to provide a replacement for Photoshop, which is more the GIMP’s (or GimpShop’s) role. However, parts of the GIMP are present in Seashore in everything from the code that drives the brush and gradient tools to the brush shapes and textures themselves.
You can create a new image from scratch or from the pasteboard (previously known as the clipboard) by selecting “New from Pasteboard…” in the “File” menu.
Seashore works with two color modes – full color and grayscale. Images can be converted between the color modes using the “Mode” submenu of the “Image” menu.
Images can have an alpha channel that specifies what parts of the image are transparent. Seashore creates all new images with an opaque background – creating a new layer and then deleting the opaque background layer allows images with transparency. When saving, Seashore will automatically include or exclude the alpha channel of an image based upon its utility.
Seashore, like Photoshop, also supports layers, which are like images (or slides) piled one on top of another to form a grand image. Apart from drawing, layers can be manipulated in a range of ways, some of which involve using the layer buttons. All layers in Seashore have their own boundaries. You can reveal a layer’s boundaries using the “Show Boundaries” menu item in the “Window” menu and you can adjust a layer’s boundaries using the “Boundaries…” menu item in the “Layer” menu.
Each layer in Seashore has either two or four channels. In the case of a grayscale image, these are the grey and alpha channels, and in the case of a color image, they are red, green, blue, and alpha channels. Seashore typically works on all channels at once. For example, dragging the paintbrush across a layer adjusts both the layer’s primary and alpha channel together.
Seashore also allows you to edit the primary or alpha channels individually using the radio buttons under the “Channels” tab in the layers and channels panel.
The 14 tools available in Seashore can be accessed through the toolbox. You can reveal a tool’s options by double-clicking on its button in the toolbox. A number of tools also support textures, including the pencil, the paintbrush and the paintbucket. A number of tools also rely upon a brush shape to work, including the paintbrush, the eraser and the smudge tool.
Selections can be made using the selection tools, and also by using various operations in the “Edit” menu. Selections can be either anchored or floating. The selection tool can select using three possible shapes: a rectangle, an ellipse, and a rounded-rectangle. The ellipse and rounded-rectangle are anti-aliased, so when they are filled their edges appear smooth to the user.
The Lasso tool allows you to select an arbitrary shape. To do so, simply click at the point where you want the shape to begin, trace out the shape with the mouse button down, and release once complete.
The Color Selection tool selects all pixels on a single layer that surround a given pixel and are within a given tolerance range. This allows the user to select all nearby pixels of similar color. To use the tool simply click on the desired base pixel.
The Position tool allows you to adjust the position of a layer on the canvas; it also allows you to scale layers and floating selections – and to rotate floating selections.
The Zoom tool allows you to zoom in on any part of the canvas. To do this, simply point-and-click on the part of the canvas you wish to zoom in on. You can also zoom out by holding down the option key while you click.
The Pencil allows you to draw squares on the current layer. The squares can range in size from 1 to 21 pixels. The pencil deliberately does not use anti-aliasing, as it is intended for users who wish to edit a handful of pixels in a very precise manner.
The Paintbrush allows you to draw various brush strokes on the current layer. By default, Seashore comes with a range of brush shapes and, using Brushed, users can add their own. The Paintbrush uses anti-aliasing so as to create smooth flowing brush strokes.
The Paintbucket allows you to flood an area of similar color with a single color or texture. To determine what area of the layer to flood, the paint bucket relies on a tolerance range that works the same way as the color selection tool.
The Text tool allows you to place a line of text anywhere on the current layer. To place the text, simply click where you want the baseline of the text to go. Then type the text in the following dialog that you want written and press the “OK” button.
The Eraser allows you to erase pixels from the current layer. In the case of a layer with its alpha channel disabled, this means setting pixels to the background color.
The Color Sampling tool allows you to set the foreground color to that of a pixel or a group of pixels on the canvas. To achieve this, simply click on the position of the pixel or pixel group that you want to use for the foreground color.
The Gradient tool allows you to create a gradual shift from the foreground color to the background color. The area affected by the tool is constrained to the selected area of the active layer – or the whole layer if no area is selected.
The Smudge tool allows you to smudge part of the current layer using the current brush shape. To smudge part of the layer, simply click the point where you want the smudge to begin and drag to the point where you want the smudge to end.
The Crop tool allows you to adjust the boundaries of an image so that they match a particular rectangle. This rectangle is formed by a click-and-drag operation similar to what you would use to select items in the Finder. Once you have selected the desired rectangle, press the “Crop” button (from the tool’s options box) to finalize the change.
- Blur (Blur) – Blurs the image by mixing colors from surrounding pixels. This is repeated a user-specified number of times.
- Gaussian Blur (Blur) – Blurs the image using a Gaussian blur. This is faster than a standard blur applied multiple times and produces a similar result.
- Brightness and Contrast (Color) – Adjusts the brightness and contrast of the image according to user input.
- Grayscale (Color) – Turns part of a color image to grayscale using Apple’s ColorSync. Not available for grayscale images.
- Invert (Color) – Inverts the primary channels of the image.
- Posterize (Color) – Reduces the number of colors per channel to a user-specified amount.
- Threshold (Color) – Makes the image black and white. The user-specified region of the histogram becomes white.
- Sharpen (Enhance) – Sharpens the image according to a user-specified value.
Seashore and ColorSync
Seashore uses Apple’s ColorSync technology to allow you to transfer images between devices while ensuring that the colors appear similar.
When loading images, Seashore is aware of embedded ICC profiles in all TIFF and JPEG files. When saving images, Seashore embeds the main display’s profile in all TIFF files and in certain JPEG files, depending upon the selected options. Currently, Seashore does not embed ICC profiles in JPEG 2000, PNG, or XCF files.
To create a JPEG with an embedded profile, select “Export…” from the “File” menu then in the following save dialog press the “Options” button in the accessory view. A dialog should appear giving you the option to target the Web or print. If you elect to target print, the JPEG you save will be embedded with the ICC profile of your display. Conversely if you elect to target the Web, the JPEG you save will not be embedded with an ICC profile.
SVG and JPEG 2000 Support
The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format is an image format that uses shapes as opposed pixels to describe images. SVG is fast emerging as an important image format industry, and there are already a number of SVG collections available online. Seashore supports the SVG format through a Java add-on based on the Apache Software Foundation’s Batik project. The add-on requires Java 1.4 or later to be installed on your computer. You can download it from http://seashore.sourceforge.net/The_Seashore_Project/About.html
The JPEG 2000 format is an image format that supersedes JPEG. Unlike its predecessor, JPEG 2000 supports alpha channels and lossless compression, as well as featuring better results at low compression values. As of Mac OS X 10.4, Seashore supports JPEG 2000 without the need for additional add-ons. Support for JPEG 2000 is still limited in many browsers, so use for this format is limited. JPEG 2000 is not supported on systems running Mac OS X 10.3 or earlier.
Seashore supports the GIMP’s XCF file format. It ignores but preserves the GIMP’s vector paths and ignores and destroys the GIMP’s selection channels. It also destroys the mask of a layer by composting it on to the alpha channel of that layer. Seashore may inadvertently interfere with other aspects of an XCF file, so make sure to keep a copy of important XCF files before editing them with Seashore.
Unfortunately, Seashore’s save options are pretty basic, and, for example, there is no option to save just the selected area of an open window.
The Information Panel
The information panel presents the user with information on the current cursor position, selection size, and pixel group color. Both the cursor position and selection size can be quoted in any of three measuring units: pixels, millimetres, and inches. To toggle between the units, press the numerical values in the information panel.
An Options palette with three tabbed panels lets you select image attributes, brush sizes and textures.
The image window can be displayed with or without rulers.
Seashore isn’t perfect by any means. Minor to middling annoyances include the inability to save just a selected area of an open window, and you can’t select-copy and drag a portion of an image using a keyboard modifier (i.e.: Option in Color It! or Command Option in Photoshop) while leaving the original selected area undisturbed. You have to copy and paste, which is a lot more cumbersome.
I’m also not enamored with Seashore’s feature of graying out all but the selected area of a document window.
Image Editor For Mac Os X 10.12
Conclusion: Seashore is a basic (and free), more Mac-like “the GIMP lite” for the less-geekily-oriented, but it’s no Photoshop (or GIMP) replacement for photo correction or advanced image editing. Rating: 4 out of 5.
System requirements: Most features work on Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and later, with the exception of JPG 2000 support, for which Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is required.
Short link: http://goo.gl/nbhHfc
Free Video Editor For Mac