Mon, 18 Feb 2013 Snapheal 2.2 review: Fix photo flaws
Fix flaws and remove messy objects from your photos
- Manufacturer: MacPhun
- Pros: Can mask areas for removal with brush or selection tool, local adjustments or global ones, works well for small area, imperfections or objects to remove, very cheap system for image correction.
- Cons: Still not very quick, large objects produce less-satisfying results unless surrounded by complete uniform backgrounds.
- Min specs: Requirements: Mac OS X 10.7+
- Price: £5.99
- Star rating:
The previous version of Snapheal was all show and no tell so to speak. It claimed to be able to effortlessly remove unwanted background objects with a simple marker pen process. It could also remove pimples and spots from faces – though that’s easy enough to do yourself in any photo-editing package with a Clone tool. The problem with the original Snapheal was that only photos with a consistent pattern around the object being removed produced acceptable result and sometimes not even then. You could still have strange patterns and shadows left behind. It was also painfully slow.
So here’s the new version and it’s twice as fast as before. Now it works at a modest speed, with a few seconds to remove objects. It still isn’t what you might call fast though. The RAW file processing has been fixed as there was a bug in the last version, the actual object removal process has been improved and there’s new tools for Clarity and Hue.
Using the Twister method of object removal, the app was able to remove two annoying background lights that the previous version failed to tackle.
In practice what Snapheal now offers is a more rounded image-fixing package for a very low price. It has three sections: Erase, Retouch and Adjust. The Retouch section uses brushes and masks to mark specific areas and then can adjust the Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Clarity, Saturation, Hue, RGB channels or sharpen it. Or you could just apply those to the entire image by using much the same controls, plus a Denoise routine, in the Adjust section.
The Erase section is where the main functions are housed. There’s a pen and freehand selection tool for marking areas and an eraser for removing the marking. The brush has adjustable diameter control to help make more precise selections. It’s a little like using the QuickMask in Photoshop. Once an area has been marked, there are three Erasing Modes. The Twister is best for small objects, the Shapeshift is better for large ones and the Wormhole is the one to use for facial blemishes. Then there’s a choice of precision ratings for the process. This can be normal, high or highest with the latter offering the best results but taking correspondingly longer to process. Click on Erase and wait for the app to perform its magic. As mentioned, this is definitely quicker than before, but it isn’t fast and the larger the area for removal, the longer it takes. The three different erasing modes also play a significant factor in the quality of the result. What one mode will make a mess of, another may completely fix. What’s interesting is that an image it failed to correct when tested previously was able to be fixed with this version. It also does a good job of removing small objects and the Clone tool is obviously a great alternate to the automated process. However, it still requires a simple surround environment to remove large objects and where the object is large and the surrounding is complex or limited in space, the result is usually unusable.
Using a small brush and the Wormhole method is akin to the Healing Brush in Photoshop where the affected areas can be marked and then processed.