Acorn 3 for Mac from the guys at FlyingMeat, proposes the idea of a simplified image and photo editor, that doesn't come with the price tag and the training required to use the more established software packages currently available. This photo editing application is aimed at Mac users, who have neither the time, nor the money to be dealing with applications such as Adobe's Photoshop, and in creating Acorn, really have developed an alternate way to edit our favourite photos, as well as create stunning-looking 3D effects, wallpapers, and text.

Interface

Acorn looks great, with a look and feel similar to that of Apple's iLife suite. The well designed buttons look great and are easily identifiable, even though there aren't many others to distinguish from. The overall effect created is a light atmosphere to work in, and the lack of complex menus and values you do not what to do with, further make it easier for you to focus on the image and what you would like it to look like, rather than trying to figure out how to obtain a certain effect. To further this, easily adjustable sliders are used to edit specific properties of the image and the effects are updated on the original as you would expect. All of the tools you will need come on one, easily adjustable palette, that can be moved around the screen, allowing you to keep the picture you are working on full-screen, while not obstructing vital parts of the image. Layer styles and a view of different text effects

Features

As you would expect there is an abundance of features for you to get your hands on in Acorn 3. Everything is there: layers (including their styles, blending modes and layer masks), fully featured text editor, drawing tools, eraser, filters and gradients to name a few. You can use any number of these to obtained your desired effect, be it editing a photo from one of your albums, or creating a new image from scratch. Acorn 3 expends upon its previous builds, adding in new features, for which a few of the main ones are explained below:

  • Layer Styles
    Apply non-destructive effects to your layers. Try things out knowing you can always change your mind later on.
  • Multistop Live Gradients
    Are two color gradients not enough for you? With Acorn's multistop gradients, you have infinite rainbows at your fingertips.
  • Rotating Text and Shapes
    Ask and you shall receive. Turn your text and shapes upside down and every which way. You've got it in Acorn 3.
  • Quickmask
    Make your selections like a pro. Quickmask will allow you to zoom in and edit your selections like never before.
  • Instant Alpha
    Remove backgrounds and other unwanted pixels from your image with a flick of the wrist.
  • New Filters
    Inner shadow, emboss, circles and lines, we've got some great new filters in Acorn you're sure to enjoy.

Applying filters to a photo

  • Vector Chops
    In addition to being able to rotate your shapes, you can now convert text to bezier paths, add and subtract points, and have your edges snap to pixel boundaries.
  • PSD Import and Export
    Improved support for loading PSD images, and for exporting your images as layered Photoshop files.

The PSD import and export feature is a great addition, because if you do have Photoshop, you can easily switch between the two applications depending on the complexity of work you are doing. Acorn also has a great built-in brush designer, where you can edit the look of your strokes to create some unique artwork, and the best bit is, how simple everything is to do. It has an out-of-the-box feeling to it, and even those with minimal graphics skills can produce something that looks great in a short period of time. Brush designer window in Acorn 3 As well as the above features, Acorn 3 for Mac can also do:

  • Web Export
    Export your images as Optimized PNGs, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, and even Google's WebP format.
  • Vector Tools
    Add ovals, lines, rectangles, or even custom bezier paths. Pixels and vectors- two great tastes that taste great together!
  • Scriptable and Automat-able
    You can script Acorn using AppleScript, Automator, or even JavaScript.
  • Filters Filters Filters!
    Seriously- have you seen the filter panel? It's pretty amazing. Combine filters together in endless combinations and customize your own presets.
  • Screenshots
    Acorn can create layered screenshots of every window you have open on your computer. Even the dock and menu bar, yep, they are imported as separate layers too.
  • Selections
    Create different shaped selections, invert, feather, and even add a corner radius. Or, if you're looking to quickly select an entire color, try using the Magic Wand.
  • Layer Masks
    Use layer masks in your image to block out unwanted areas of your image or to expose layers below.

Conclusion

Acorn 3 for Mac is a great application, which offers the more inexperienced designer simple tools which can be combined together in unique ways to produce great looking images. But at the same time can offer some features that the professionals pay hundreds of dollars for. The great pricing point for Acorn really is another selling point, that means it is a great competitor for the more expensive, mainstream graphic design applications.