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Macphun Creative Kit 2016 review: Critical photo editing functions delivered in one diverse app

Jackie Dove | Jan. 18, 2016
With Creative Kit, Macphun wants to pick up where Apple’s now-defunct Aperture left off.

When you’re done editing, FX Photo Studio’s special effects that can make run-of-the-mill photos shine.

Interface

Choosing the plugin gives you the same interface as launching the app independently: It opens in its own window and will either save in its native format or export to a universal format like JPEG or TIFF.

If you save in Macphun’s native formats hoping that other CK apps will read or open them, you’ll be disappointed. Focus, for example, will not automatically open an image saved in Noiseless MPN format.

ck3
Noiseless CK interface.

Note that to use the apps as Photos extensions, you have to launch them independently once. Focus, the only app that does not show up in Extensions, will be updated soon, Macphun said, though you can still use it in standalone mode.

And, while the suite’s File > Open In command is the easiest way to bounce a photo among the different apps without having to save, close, and relaunch them, you will have to save and relaunch if you are using Creative Kit as an Apple Photos extension.

tonality interface
Tonality CK interface.

App interfaces are similar but not identical. The original standalone and plug-in apps were created at different times and with different functions, so expect controls to be located in various places.

The best part about Creative Kit is that there’s no need for a manual. Just fire up each app and poke around. There are an abundance of presets to get you started, and quite often the presets are all you need. The Macphun website also features video tutorials and guides that demo the programs’ major functions.

For the most part, the app gives impressive results without your having to do much more than click and keep your eyes open.

ck6
Intensify interface.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of tweaking opportunities that will put you in an alternative time zone—you can literally experiment for hours on a single shot. That’s because each app has an abundance of manual settings that work alongside the presets.

If a portrait or landscape needs a little more than a single preset offers—or the preset is the right idea, but just too little or much—adjustable sliders and manual controls are there for fine-tuning. Most of the apps also have a layers function lets you stack edits on top of each other and switch them on and off.

focus portrait face recognition
Focus CK portrait mode zeros in on faces.

There are also several ways to view real-time edits: side-by-side view, slider view, compare button, and a complete restore for starting over again.

 

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