This article was published on December 14, 2011

Snapheal is a $10 photo editor that will blow your mind

Snapheal is a $10 photo editor that will blow your mind
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

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For many of us, editing photos is a near-daily task. But even if you rarely have to do it, getting high-quality, precision edits such as the removal of an item from the frame or adjustments to lighting is often times more art than science. But what if science could do the art? That’s exactly the magic of Snapheal.

Snapheal is the newest release from MacPhun, the same company that brought you FX Photo Studio and Color Splash Studio, two wildly popular photo apps for the iPhone and Mac. It exists to turn some of photo editing’s more tedious processes into a click -> drag -> done level of simplicity. Need a demonstration? Here you go:

Now it’s worth noting that there’s nothing that was done in this video that you couldn’t also do in Photoshop or Pixelmator, but you most certainly couldn’t accomplish the task as quickly. Also, you can’t do multiple layers in Snapheal. It’s designed more for the fixing of a single frame. While both Photoshop and Pixelmator are more robust tools than Snapheal, they’re also more expensive and they require a considerably steeper learning curve.

With Snapheal, most actions require little more than just highlighting what you want to change, and then clicking the button for the appropriate action. Once you do, Snapheal goes to work calculating what the image should look like based on what you’ve selected. That is to say that, if you remove something from a frame, Snapheal will try its best to fill in the otherwise-blank spot with the appropriate texture and image as if your item was never there.

But what else can it do? Here’s a partial list:

  • Erase unwanted objects, delete skin imperfections and text
  • Fix images with clone&stamp tool
  • Adjust saturation, gamma, exposure, color temperature, etc
  • Reduce noise and sharpen images
  • Control shadows and highlights
  • Import pictures from Aperture and iPhoto
  • Export to iPhoto
  • Handle up to 32 megapixels
  • Work with Tiff, Raw, etc

I’ve been playing with Snapheal over the past couple of days and, largely, I’ve found it to be one of the best tools in my arsenal. The ability to easily make a section of a photograph “disappear” feels every bit as magical as MacPhun claims. The breadth of the tools will help you to do just about any image touchup that you’d like, and specific functions to each tool help you to narrow down  your choices by subject. See below for an example of what the lighting tools can do:

Snapheal will eventually cost $20 in the Mac App Store. Right now, however, it’s on a just-launched sale for only $10. At that price, it’s an absolute steal, and I’d consider it a must-have, even if you are the type who can make quick work of projects like this in Photoshop or Pixelmator. The ability to simply highlight, click and walk away is huge, and Snapheal’s results are beyond reproach.


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