Finally, the world’s favorite alternative to Photoshop is released for Mac. It’s called Photoscape X, but it’s not what we expected.
Ok, we agree, Adobe Photoshop is an one-off: it’s more powerful, elegant, and fully-featured than any other piece of photo editing software out there. But that doesn’t mean its counterparts don’t deserve some consideration.
Photoscape X, for example, has been all the rage on the Windows platform. And deservedly so, because beyond the ugly interface, it’s a quality program that’s packed full of features. And now for the first time, Mac users can try it out as well…which is exactly what we did!
When you first open Photoscape X, it looks a lot neater than it did when we used it on PC, but then you notice right away that there are fewer tools. For example, neither the Batch Editor, Page (with which you can create collages according to preset layouts), or the Combine tool are present.
The first thing you can do, by clicking on Themes, is change the theme of the program. There are five available.
From the home page, you have access to the Viewer, the Editor, and the area for creating GIFs.
The Viewer offers the classic browser on the left, where you can scan the contents of the Mac to search for images.
In the main part of the interface, Photoscape X shows thumbnails of the photos in the selected folder, but there are also other possible views (list view and full screen).
Selecting one an image lets you see some information about it (file size, dimensions, and file name). By double clicking on a thumbnail, you can enter full screen view.
Here, moving the mouse to the bottom of the interface allows you to see the available tools (various tools for rotation, some for magnifying, reducing the preview, and deleting the photo). To exit this mode, press the Esc key on your keyboard.
This Mac version of Photoscape has a much improved interface (albeit not Mac style!). The amount of filters, effects, and instruments present in the Windows version is something else entirely.
In the Mac version, however, there are very few tools available. Among them is a good color editor with a fair number of parameters, including color temperature.
Others are Resize, Crop, Film Effect, Auto Level, Auto Contrast, Blacklight Correction, Bloom, Vignetting, Sharpen, Blur, White Balance, Sepia, Grayscale, Black/White, and Negative.
You can also compare the retouched image with the original if you hold the mouse button over the Original key and then rotate them. And that’s where Photoscape X’s editing abilities end.
This function is very basic and allows you to create animated GIFs by adding several photos and then choosing the speed of the slide transition and the transition effect.
You can also zoom in or out of the picture using the appropriate pull-down menu.
A little disappointing
Photoscape X is not a Windows-to-Mac port of the same program. Rather, it seems a very, very downsized version of the original. Or put simply, it’s something completely different. If in fact the original Photoscape can be considered an alternative to Photoshop, then you certainly can’t say the same of this Mac version.
It’s not that the product itself is bad, actually quite the contrary, but it is a collection of mostly automated tools to retouch photos, and even then, they’re no great shakes. That’s why we were a bit disappointed, especially since we were expecting to see a new and comprehensive photo editor that could replace Photoshop – instead we found ourselves with a simple package of photographic filters. If that’s what you’re looking for, though, you’ll love Photoscape X.