Adva Soft TouchRetouch review - Easily remove unwanted elements from your photos
There’s no shortage of photo-editing programs available for the Mac, and TouchRetouch certainly isn’t going to replace more powerful programs such as Photoshop or even Adobe’s Photoshop Elements version. However, it’s an affordable and easy-to-use program that provides a little more retouching power than you’ll find in iPhoto.
As the name implies, TouchRetouch concentrates on retouching and removing blemishes from your photos. There’s already a version available for iOS devices that costs just 69p and provides one primary retouching tool, but this Mac version includes a few additional features to justify its still- modest £6.99 price-tag.
The core of the program on both Mac and iOS devices is the Retouch tool, which allows you to remove blemishes or other unwanted elements from images. Most of the time you can use a basic brush to paint over smaller details, such as a shadow falling in the wrong place. However, there’s also a Lasso option that can be used to trace around the edges of larger elements, or those that have more irregular outlines.
Of course, iPhoto already has its own Retouch tool that does the same thing, but in our tests with a number of photos we found that TouchRetouch produced better results. The Retouch tool in iPhoto works well enough with small marks and blemishes, but when we tried to remove larger image elements – such as an unwanted passerby – iPhoto left a rather untidy fuzzy blur in their place. In contrast, TouchRetouch generally left a cleaner, smoother image behind.
When the basic Retouch tool isn’t enough, the Mac version of TouchRetouch also includes a Clone tool that allows you to finesse the image by brushing over with details sampled from another area in the image. The results aren’t always perfect, and we found that TouchRetouch struggles if the unwanted detail overlaps the outline of a major part of the main image (such as a head popping up behind someone’s shoulder). For the most part, though, the Retouch and Clone tools produced good results with very little effort.
Our main complaint is that the Retouch tool was a little too sensitive to our finger movements. When we varied our finger pressure while tracing the outline of part of an image the program sometimes seemed to think that we’d taken our finger off the mouse and finished our selection. It then paused to process the image before allowing us to continue, which proved annoying. There should be some way to simply click on the image once more and continue your selection rather than having to wait and start all over again.
The Mac version of Touch Retouch also includes a Crop tool as well as options for adjusting brightness, contrast, shadows/highlights and colour saturation. These are similar to the adjustment tools in iPhoto, but they’re aided by a preview option that creates a kind of negative image that shows you the highlight and shadow areas within an image so that you can try and tweak just those areas. We also like the Original button, which gives you an instant Before/After comparison of your editing changes.
TouchRetouch is limited in scope, and certainly isn’t attempting to compete with all-round editing tools such as Photoshop Elements. However, the program does do a better job than iPhoto when it comes to the specific task of removing blemishes and other unwanted details from photos. There’s also a free demo available for iOS devices if you want to get an idea of how it works before paying for the full version for either platform.