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Use Snapheal Pro within popular image editors from Adobe and Apple.
We’ve reviewed Snapheal twice in the past, and each time praised the Mac photo editor as an inexpensive, easy-to-use method for performing digital magic on photos. MacPhun is back with a Pro version of the application, but is it a sequel worthy of upgrading its previous Excellent score to a flat-out Awesome?
The short answer is yes, now that Snapheal Pro can now do all of its object removal, enhancement, and masking tricks as a standalone application or as a plugin from within popular image-editing software from Adobe and Apple. The lack of such functionality certainly didn’t hold back the original Snapheal from being first-rate, but for those of us who prefer to stay confined within the cozy walls of their favorite software, it’s a godsend.
Snapheal Pro doesn’t look much different from its predecessor, with the same dark user interface that prompts the user to drag and drop, import, or open the most recent image to get started. To make the Pro edition plugin-ready, a one-time installation from the application menu is required, with a choice of five hosts: Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements 10 or 11, or Aperture. If one or more hosts are not installed, that option is unavailable.
Summoning Snapheal Pro from within the host software is largely the same process as other plugins, although there’s no need to make a selection first — each program has full access to the standalone Snapheal Pro interface, with a checkmark in the upper-left corner replacing the save button to send an edited image back to the host software, while a cancel button replaces the Share icon. The plugin version includes the same Erase, Retouch, and Adjust tools, including the ability to see a before-and-after view of your masterpiece.
Making Snapheal Pro work as a plugin inside other software does come with one unfortunate downside: Apple won’t allow such applications in the Mac App Store, so Snapheal Pro is being sold only from MacPhun’s website or as part of a bundle. That’s a bummer for those of us who prefer to update apps from the same place, but the reality is that not everything is available from Apple’s virtual store anyway.
Regardless of installation, Snapheal Pro works identically to its less-expensive sibling: just make your selection or tweak and watch as the software does its thing. MacPhun has clearly done some fine-tuning under the hood, because this process — particularly in Erase mode—feels much faster than earlier versions, and more precise as well.
At least some of that precision can probably be attributed to CleanPics, the company’s new algorithm technology for removing objects, healing skin imperfections, and other tasks. Wiping out unwanted portions of a photo is as fast and fluid with a low-resolution image as it is with a pixel-dense photo, and the smart brush makes it easier than ever to retouch only the areas you want while leaving the rest of the image as-is.
The bottom line. Under-the-hood improvements are nice, but Snapheal Pro’s shining star is the ability to be used inside popular photo-editing solutions, making this a must-have upgrade for owners of those applications.
Mac OS X 10.7 or later; optional: Adobe Photoshop CS5 or later, Photoshop Elements 10 or later, Photoshop Lightroom 4.0 or later, Aperture 3.3 or later
Can be used standalone or as plugin in popular host software from Adobe and Apple. Even faster image processing than earlier versions. Exceptionally powerful, while remaining easy to use for novices. Native full-screen support for OS X Lion or higher.
Not available in Mac App Store due to Apple restrictions on plugins. Upgrade price equal to original Snapheal. Still no preference settings. Plugins require separate installation for each host.