Some reviews might begin by telling you how like Photoshop Acorn 2 is; not this one. The inspiration is clear, with similar basic tools in the toolbox, a familiar set of filters and even an implementation of layers. But Photoshop has long since passed the stage where it can just be labelled an image editor. That’s where Acorn’s strength lies. It’s a bitmap image editor and production tool, and that’s all.
The bundled tools are all familiar and simply presented, from Bezier curves to brushes and selection tools – so we’ll pick out our favourite parts of Acorn 2.2. You can take full-screen grabs while Acorn is running. You don’t even need it in the foreground. The really cool part is that it can put separate windows into layers, allowing you to select which parts of the screen to use.
We’re also fond of the brush editor, a simple and intuitive tool for creating strokes from any image you have to hand – no need to convert it into a pattern. Acorn ships with a decent range of brushes to begin with – and tablet sensitivity is taken into account, making it ideal for natural media image creation.
One of the best things about Acorn is its interface. There’s no hunting around for palettes or panels. The toolbox has just about everything you need, changing contextually to reflect the selected feature.
Acorn is available as a free download which functions fully for 14 days. After that, some features disappear but you’re still able to use most of the drawing tools and filters and save images. At $49.95 (£31.95) though, it’s a bit of a bargain.