There are basically two categories of photo editing software solutions out there. Standalone packages that are complete photo editor and those designed to work within another photo editor as a plugin. Macphun’s Intensify Pro is a image editor that works as a standalone app and with Photoshop (and other host applications) to help bring additional tonal control to your photographs. Its tonal mapping controls are much like an HDR program, however, you are working with a single image. It works with 16 bit image files, which a modest way of stating it's a RAW file converter. However there’s nothing modest about the power that MacPhun has packed into this Mac only application. Here a quick overview of what Intensify Pro offers.
As with most photo editing apps you have a choice of using presets or working manually. In Intensify Pro, there’s a Preset tab and an Adjust tab. The presets are options presented by the developers of the software. They are a great introduction to what can be achieved with the application. Intensify Pro has a deep pool of presets that are setup in categories. Be sure to look at all of them. Just because a preset’s in the Landscape category doesn't mean it can't be used for a portrait. So, when presented with a preset, the Amount Slider will allow you to adjust how much of the preset you want to use on that image. Click on the Adjust tab, and you'll see what Intensify Pro is doing under the hood.
The Adjust tab provides you with a wealth of tonal controls offered as dropdown menus. There’s the usual Histogram, Color Temperature, and Basic Tune. The Histogram shows what’s being “clipped”, Color Temperature will correct the color and tint of light in a scene, and Basic Tune is for standard exposure controls of contrast and brightness. The next four controls, Structure, Detail, Pro Contrast, and Micro Sharpening, are the power settings of the application. Each one of these settings will affect the contrast of an image differently. They all effect their settings globally and selectively usually by highlight, midtone, and shadow detail. Keep in mind that what we normally consider “detail” or “sharpness” is contrast along the edges of the object in a scene. It's this edge contrast that these controls are adjusting. Finally, at the bottom of the Adjust Panel are the finishing adjustments of Vignette, and Opacity.
What’s special about Intensify Pro as a 16 bit file editor is Layers. These aren't layers as in Photoshop, but layer mask for the application of adjustment controls. In other words, you can apply Intensify Pro’s effects to different parts of a photo by using adjustment layers for each different effect. For example, you can apply an effect to the whole image, then use the Brush and the Eraser tool to add or remove that effect by painting on that layer’s mask. When working with Intensify as a standalone app, you can save an image as a Macphun .mpi file. This will save all adjustments made to that image, and you can later open that file again and continue working on the file or make new changes to it. When using Intensify Pro as a plugin, all applied effects are brought back into the host application. For example, with Photoshop, the image comes back as a layer.
Once you're finished editing your photo, you can use Macphun’s Print Lab, powered by MILK Books, to create postcards, gallery warps or photo books. You can also export your image to a SmugMug account. Share your images via your social media networks too. Macphun makes several other photo editing packages with special capabilities, such as focus effects and object removal. So Intensify Pro can export out to these apps if you have them on your computer. Macphun packs in a lot for the buck. The standalone is $19.99 and the plugin “Pro” version is $59.00.