Photo crop PRO review: Automate basic photo-edits
Cropping is one of those tasks that always needs doing, yet receives little love from most photo-editing software. Photoshop CS6 finally put some effort into the process but in case you haven’t sold a kidney to pay for that, here’s a low cost alternative that represents the high water mark in cropping software. Well, that’s what cfx Software has to say anyway.
There’s two versions of this app, Photo crop PRO is the Pro version that adds automated features, the other version is even cheaper. The basic operation is to load a batch of photos into the content panel. These are your actual photos, not library representations. You can output versions at the other end with smart labelling so numbers are appended to the original filename, or they can be given a batch name and number. Or the files can overwrite the originals, though that’s at your own risk. Files can be saved in new formats, saved to iPhoto or Aperture albums and projects, mailed or uploaded to Flickr.
The basics of the cropping action are the horizontal and vertical guides. An image can be flipped 90 degrees or you can rotate it within the interface. This adds lots of small guides to help line things up. Of the main compositional guide, there are rule of thirds, Golden Rule, diagonals and spirals to work with. The cropping colour scheme can be set to grey, white or red to suit the colours of the images being cropped. There’s also a list of crop size presets and these are useful, especially as the crop box locks to the edges of the photo and doesn’t go past them.
When satisfied with a crop, simply click on Export & Next. To cancel a crop just click on Next. There’s two interesting things here. The first is that whatever crop size or rotation was set up – doesn’t even have to have been used – on the previous image, this is carried forward to the next one automatically. For cropping lots of images with the same requirements this can be a time saver though in practice few images ever require the same crop. However, a batch that needs rotating can be swiftly worked through. The other point is that it’s all sequential. You can’t decide to leave an image and come back to it, or jump to another image in the sequence to crop first. Clicking on Next removes an image whether it’s been cropped or not and you can’t move on to another image until Next is clicked. These are major flaws in the workflow.
One of the strong points of the app is the ability to set up automated functions like appending the file names so the originals aren’t overwritten.
With the recent improvements in CS6, there’s little need for this app if you already have Photoshop, but then with the low price it’s more aimed at those using Elements or a more basic photo editor. The batch processing is welcome, the cropping presets, guide lines and output options are all good features but the restricted workflow and lack of really advanced options tied in to the cropping process make this more limited.