If the amount of people snapping away on their smartphones in public is anything to go by, then we all love photographs.
Who can resist the one-time opportunity to capture a chilly morning’s fresh frost or the burning beauty of a summer sunset? But what if tragedy strikes and while you’re pressing the shutter button a young man, overcome with the beauty of the dying sun, strips naked and catapults himself, tackle a-wavering, into the moment? All is lost…well, not quite.
Photo image editors are plentiful on the Mac, with Photoshop being so famous now that it’s actually used as a verb. But if the monumental cost of the Adobe suite puts you off (as it should) then there are more affordable offerings available. iPhoto comes free with any new Mac of course, and it can do a good job of touching up your holiday snaps, but if you want to delve a little deeper then something like TouchRetouch might be worth training your lens upon.
At £6.99 on the App store, TouchRetouch is hardly a risk, but for the money you do get a decent amount of power which you can use to remove unwanted objects from photos as well as sprucing up the colours and light balance. It’s not Photoshop by a long way, but then with the price being less than a tenner you already knew that.
The main features of TouchRetouch are based around tidying up images that, but for a blemish or stray pedestrian, would be great shots. To remove items you click on the Retouch button at the top of the screen and then highlight the offender. In many cases the software does a good vanishing act, with only larger items that are more prominent to the eye really being easily noticeable. For finer work there is the Clone option, which copies an area of the image onto the part you highlight with the mouse. Both functions are good, but they do require a little work to make images look realistic. Delicate work is also quite fiddly, with the Clone feature being awkward at times, and try as I might I simply couldn’t get hair to look natural without spending a great deal of time on it – even then it was somewhat obvious that I’d been tampering.
Little touches can be quite effective though. Here’s an image my daughter took of me at my desk. Notice the writers paunch?
So, in my vain efforts to look less fat I employed the TouchRetouch features and fashioned this adonis…
You can almost feel the six-pack ripple can’t you?
Removing people from the background is also reasonably easy to achieve with a little patience.
Here’s a group shot of the family while at an Ice Hockey match. Notice the interlopers in the background?
Now with a few quick strokes (which only took about five minutes) they’re gone!
TouchRetouch is a cool little piece of software that can get you on the road to photo editing without a huge learning curve or sizeable investment. It can be somewhat of a blunt instrument at times, but as you can see with a little effort you can get pleasing results quite quickly. The app is available of a range of platforms (check here for more details) and is certainly worth a look.