Popular and inexpensive, one-trick image-editing applications let you transform a colour image into black and white, and then recolour selected portions of the photo. Already a hit on the iPhone and iPad, these applications are now filling up the Mac App Store. Here are the best Mac applications for selective hue editing on the Mac App Store.
It doesn’t get any simpler than iSplash, an incredibly intuitive application for restoring colour selectively (59p [sale price]; T-bone; isplash.t-boneapps.com). When you upload a colour photo to the application, it is automatically turned into black and white. If you want any portion of the uploaded photo to regain its colour, click the Color Splash button and highlight the desired areas with your mouse. If you highlight too much of the photo, you can click on the app’s Gray Splash button and desaturate the areas you overhighlighted.
The app lets you adjust the size of your brush so you can highlight even the smallest details in photos. It also lets you zoom in on parts of an image that are hard to reach with a brush.
iSplash ably handles the one task it promises to do, but unfortunately it won’t let you adjust the saturation level or tint of the colours you add back in.
iSplash is meant for 64-bit computers only, though a compatibility update is said to be on the way. The newer and nearly identical ColorWash app (59p [sale price]; Arkadiusz M?ynarczyk; arek.mlynarczyk.info) does exactly the same job, has the same set of controls, and works on older Macs.
The Colorize menu isn’t as well designed as the one in iSplash, so it’s a bit harder to use. It has the same features, however, and the results are of equal quality.
Like iSplash, Colorize first turns your colour photos black and white, then it lets you use your mouse to highlight the areas of the photos you want to recolour.
Colorize also has the same limitations as iSplash – it is compatible only with 64-bit Macs, and it lacks any colour-adjustment options. In addition, it’s not on sale and therefore triple the price (£1.79; iApe; www.iape.ch).
Tintii is different from the other colour-isolating applications. When you upload a photo, it breaks the photo’s colours apart and places them on their own individual layers.
You can then fine-tune the layers – make the reds more or less vibrant, or even turn them all blue. Then you can mix and match the layers until you create one photograph with only the colours you want included (£2.99; www.indii.org).
Tintii is more powerful than the other programs, but it’s not as intuitive. It takes a bit of practice to master. You can add additional colour layers by clicking the plus-sign (+) button. This will give you more detailed separation. Use the sliders in the post-processing pane to fine-tune the edges of the layers.
The biggest drawback of the app is that you can’t manually highlight specific objects in photos. If you want to colour a specific person’s face in a black and white photo, you have to spend time mixing and matching colour layers until you get the all the colours in the person’s face highlighted.