If you are a Mac user, there’s a new program available for photographers that does a fairly decent job of removing objects from photographs you don’t want in the image. While this has been a feature in many photo processing programs like Photoshop, this may be the only example of a stand-alone program to accomplish this for just $15 (and 60% off for a limited time). Granted, it’s not Photoshop and has some limitations, for the price, it’s a pretty cool product. Take a look at these examples and judge for yourself!
- The software is Mac Only at this time
- It occupies 10.6MB of hard disk space
- It is available only from the App Store
Test System for this review
- MacPro Quad Xenon 2.66 with 16 gb Memory, 240 gb SSD and 6 TB of spinning storage.
- 1 – NEC MultiSync P121W 22″ Monitor
- 2 – Samsung SyncMaster 204B’s 22″ Monitors
When you first start up the program, you get a choice of loading images from your hard drive, importing images from your Aperture or Lightroom catalog, or opening the last image you were working on. It appears to work with raw files but the output is jpg’s.
I loaded a photo which I thought would be an easy challenge for Snapheal: a doorway with an electrical panel in the image area. Notice the electrical panel on the lower left part of the image. It’s pretty obvious, and for this reason I never did like this photo. But maybe Snapheal can help. Let’s see what happens next.
The image I chose was a JPG image about 3MB. It had received almost no artistic adjustments and probably wouldn’t have received any attention at all.
Notice the pink spot over the electrical panel that I painted onto the screen with an adjustable size brush. The next step was to choose an eraser mode. There’s three “eraser” modes types: Wormhole, Shapeshift and Twister, all with simple instructions on what type of imperfection it best repairs. I chose “Shapeshifter” because it says it does well with big objects. I had tried the others, and this mode worked the best out of the three. The final step is to press the “Erase” button and then a strange thing happens.
Voila! The imperfection is gone like magic! SnapHeal was very fast, it did a great job of making unsightly objects disappear, and worked well since the colors and lighting are even. Feeling like this might become a permanent weapon in my arsenal, I decided to try a more challenging image.
This time I chose an image of a 1950’s style kitchen. I thought the small framed poster hung over the wall-light could be erased. It had some uniform background and the pattern was consistent. There was no glare inside the frame, but I suspected that there wasn’t enough wall to sample. Let’s see what happens when Snapheal is presented with a challenge.
Notice once again how I used the brush to color the small framed poster over the lamp. The image darkens, indicating that it’s working. The program started and it took about 50 seconds to process. While it’s processing, the program becomes a desktop entertainment system, offering trivia tidbits to pass the time. Truthfully, did you know that about Alexander the Great and Julius Casear?
And then…. disappointment. No cigar this time, Snapheal decided to chop a piece of door frame off and drop it in that very spot. Artistically, I am not sure I would agree with it’s judgement, but it’s certainly not what I expected!
At $15 it’s certainly worth the price of admission. For the casual photographer and family snap shooter this product is a dream. It does what it says and if you don’t need critical results, it more than fits the bill. My daughter thought it was a wonderful program for erasing old boyfriends in summer beach photos. I agree, it’s perfect for those type of tasks.
But for any kind of serious work, I would suggest relying on your standard tools like Photoshop, it’s just not what Snapheal is. Maybe someday as the software progresses, but for now critical work is best left to more professional software. Why not download a 14 day trial version yourself and see what it can do.
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