At one time, not long ago Apple had a pretty great program called Aperture which due to unknown reasons Apple discontinued. Loyal users have continued to use the program but as systems change for Apple, the support for Aperture is rapidly disappearing.
Fortunately other developers have stepped up to fill the void. Some are just so so and others are okay, but one has come to the forefront and is proving itself to be exceptional. The name of that program is Picktorial 3.0
What is it?
Picktorial has its own raw processing engine that works with a lot of raw formats from a great many different manufacturers. (to date 536 cameras are supported) If it does not yet have a specific camera represented in its own raw engine (which I have not found yet) it can use those provided within the Apple system software.
I like software that does not get in my way. Picktorial does not get in the way. The more simplified the interface the better and Picktorial does not disappoint. Everything you need is at your finger tips and with just a click can be opened or closed depending on what you need to do. This keeps the interface very clean and simple.
There are the standard universal adjustments
That means there are sliders for all the tone controls including white balance, exposure, contrast, clarity, black, whites, shadows, and highlights. They are all extremely accurate with very effective micro movements for precise adjustments. There are tone curve adjustments which are really easy to use, as well as color adjustment sliders for adjusting hue, saturation, and luma of each individual color. All of these adjustment are extremely smooth and accurate.
There are also additional features that allow the use of overlays, frames, that have opacity sliders and transitions. There are also controls for activating a large variety of presets.
Local adjustments via brushes, gradients, called “retouch” include:
All tone controls, smoothing, sharpening, defocusing, denoising and patching. What does local adjustment mean? it means that I can work on very specific areas of a photo and apply any of the above from the smallest spot to the largest area. One of my favorites for portraits is called smoothing and that allows you to do perfect skin retouching.
All of the retouching options get applied as a mask using a brush, linear gradient, or radial gradient, so you can work on specific areas of an image as opposed to simply using universal corrections. It is a learning process but I can tell you after working with all kinds of other software that the learning curve takes minutes as opposed to hours.
An interesting feature of the retouch control panel is when it comes to sharpening. Most programs I have used have a separate drop down slider control for applying universal sharpening. In the case of sharpening of Picktorial you can sharpen individual areas or you can apply a full image mask which acts more as a universal sharpening technique.
Other programs I have used have a feature called layers. This does not exist to my knowledge within Picktorial. What is allowed however which is similar to a layer is that to during retouch you can click on a plus marker which allows doing a variety of areas in an image to accomplish a specific set of tasks. It is actually very efficient. Truthfully if I have been able to master it any one can.
This program is most certainly designed for all levels of photographers and it should be noted that it is not only for raw files. It works quite well on all types of files. I have even tested it with my Iphone files and it did an exceptional job. I will state again and again that a great deal of effort has gone into this software to work with Fuji X files which have been challenging for other software and Picktorial has truly perfected the processing of these types of files.
A final note is a compliment to the owner and staff of Pictorial for their ability to respond pretty much in one day or less to consumer questions and possible issues. Kudos to all of them.
Again simplicity. The root file system of the Mac handles your files. Using the built-in structure is something that all Mac users know how to use. You can import just one image or a folder of images and all you have to do is drag and drop it to the left side window of the program and all of your images will appear at the bottom of the program for fast easy selection. No magic here. It just works.
Raw files when saved have an .xmp file created with all of the changes made to an image and can travel along with images right in the same folders. If a jpeg is saved then all of the data is embedded in that jpeg file. So whenever you go back to an image all your changes are there.