App Review: Flare (Updated)

The fine folks over at the The Iconfactory and ARTIS Software have released their new baby app and it’s great! Flare [$9.99 on sale, normally $19.99] is described as a fast, easy, and beautiful darkroom for your Mac. Essentially it is an advanced version of the popular iOS app Instagram, only with way more customization and a wider range of effects. It is designed like any good Mac app should be; easy to use but with more advanced features for those that want them.

Launch Flare and drag your photo into it to start the process of adding some effects to your photo. Click the Presets button to browse and choose one of the 24 built in effects to start your image. Clicking on the effect preview will render the effect on your main image. Once you find an effect you like click apply and you’re done. Can’t find an effect you like for your particular image? Check out Flare’s website for some some free additional presets submitted by users.

After you have decided on a preset effect you can save it or you can go on and adjust some of the finer details in the editing section. Here you will be presented with a drop down that lists all the different effects that are currently applied to your image. You can adjust the opacity of each effect as well as adjust the blending mode and even pick from a number of masking options. You may also add additional effects like colorizing options or different blur and sharpening effects. You can also add borders or textures to your photo with each effect offering a good number of different options to choose from so you can get your image exactly how you want it.

As you work on getting the effect just right you may need to save your progress so you can come back later and finish. Flare has you covered by allowing you to save up to 16 snapshots, essentially allowing you to save your progress and come back later to finish playing with your photos. You can even save multiple snapshots of the same image so you can easily compare different effects on the same image.

If you have slaved over making a great effect you have the option to save it as a preset effect for future use and you can even export it to share with a friend so that can benefit from all your hard work. If you make a preset that is truly great you can send it to¬†flare@artissoftware.com and they may include it on flare’s website for the world to enjoy.

All your hard work can be saved to a file on your Mac or you can choose to upload your creating straight to Flickr or send it to Mail to send out. I would personally like to see an option to upload straight to some of the popular twitter photos sharing sites like TwitPic or yfrog. I guess until the option is built in I can choose to email the photo and send it to my twitpic account that way. Other then that little feature request I couldn’t be happier with Flare.

I am having a ton of fun adding flare to my photos with Flare and I think you will dig it too! Like always, you can grab your copy of Flare in the Mac App Store but act quick. For the first week Flare is only $9.99, after that it will be available for its normal price of $19.99.

(Update) I contacted The Iconfactory and they said twitter support is on the list of features to add!

Here are a few examples of photos I adjusted with Flare.

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About Brandon Mawhorter

Brandon Mawhorter is a tech enthusiast from Southern California with a B.S. in Finance. Working in IT at elementary schools is his day job which is great because he gets to play with Macs all day long.
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