Instagram is a huge hit on the iPhone. The ability for a free application to allow you to make good photos, and even some bad ones, look like an amazing photo from another time is what makes it attractable to various iOS users. Many applications have tried and failed to copy. However, the wave of image processing popularity is found in a small part in the Mac world as well. While Instagram won’t arrive on a Mac near you anytime soon, there are many applications out there that offer the same features found in Instagram. How do they match up? Let’s look to find out!
Flare: Image Processing Comes at a Premium
Flare is the application that allows you to add filters onto your photos, along with making small edits and finishing touches. To get started, just drag and drop the photo you want to work on. From there, you can add filters, known as presets. Clicking the edit tab allows you to rotate, crop, and add other modifications. When ever you want to go back to a previous step in your editing process, just go to the snapshots section. Snapshots can be saved by going to edit and clicking “save as snapshot”, the edit region also allows you to save presets. Once done, you can send the photo off to Flickr or in an email.
Flare is available on the Mac App Store for $19.99, which is the most expensive on the list. However, Flare is a favorite of mine as well based on what it can do for the price compared to more professional (and even more expensive apps with more features).
Analog: Add a Filter and You’re Done
In terms of what it can do, this is the closest to Instagram that you can get. Analog allows you to import your photo and add a filter available on the right side of the application. Once you pick one of the many filters available, choose a border simply by clicking the switch toggle. Borders range from those with a film feel to others with a more classic touch. Many, including “Paper”, are similar to those found on the Instagram application.
You also have some light editing features including cropping and rotation. Analog allows you to send your photo in an email, off to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and iCloud. For $8, you get a filter application simply put. This isn’t an application that allows you to do much in terms of color correction and the like. It’s simple, while still offering some decent sharing options for the price range, the lowest among the three.
Focus: Tilt-Shift for Mac
The appeal that Focus offers is what we all love about DSLR cameras, the ability to add the blur focus touch that can be found with adjustable lenses. While most digital cameras can’t do this, Focus wants this to be an option for all photos. With Focus, to add this effect, simply import by dragging your photo into the application. From there, you have many different choices. From the blur seen on small objects, macro blur, to the ones famous on photograph portraits, the portraits blur.
You can also add the tilt-shift effect. They each have their own settings, for example, the portrait setting has facial recognition, while the macro is famous for plant photography. You can also auto correct photos and apply finishing touches like cropping and straightening. However, there are many limitations with Focus that doesn’t make it a favorite of mine. The ability to not create that true to DSLR feel with blur makes it a pain. For $15, that’s a bit overpriced since that’s the reason one would download the application is for the as close to DSLR feel as possible with blur.
A Summary of the Three
If you are looking for an application that is the closest to Instagram as possible in terms of filters and borders, then Analog is for you. Flare would be a close second, however, some individuals will find it difficult to look past the price tag. Individuals wanting to apply the blur feature we also see on Instagram will find Focus to be a great application for them. Flare does a great job at what you’d like, however it isn’t for those looking for a Photoshop replacement, more like a Photoshop companion. Individuals looking at Analog will like the Instagram feel and if that is what you are looking for, then you’ll love Analog. Focus is simpler with a focus on, well, focusing. However, it doesn’t do it as great as I would like, making the limitations hard to look past due to the price.
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