Acorn 5 is an impressive image editor for the Mac. It allows you to use advanced editing tools at a comparatively lower price. It’s a good alternative to the expensive Photoshop app Acorn 5 is easy to use, with an interface that is not hard to get used to.
Pros / Acorn 5
- Firstly, a clean interface
- Secondly, non-destructive filters, curves, and levels.
- Thirdly, save filter presets for later use.
- Fourthly, Editable Exit data.
- Next, Photoshop Brush Import.
- Shape Processor lets you create, move, and refine shapes easily.
- Raw image import.
- Tons of effects.
- Must use native Acorn image format to save layers.
Acorn is available directly from Flying Meat Inc., as well as from the Mac App Store at the same price. Though there are some minor differences between the two versions. The most notable is that the direct version can create layers directly from your computer’s camera, letting you easily overlay an image on top of an existing one. You can find the rest of the differences outlined in Acorn’s FAQ.
The Mac App Store version is downloaded and installed automatically for you, while the direct version is downloaded to your Downloads folder, and must then be moved to the Applications folder.
Uninstalling Acorn is as easy as dragging the app to the trash.
Using Acorn – Features
Acorn launches with a default welcome screen, allowing you to choose to create a new image, open an existing image, or quickly pick from recently used images. You can also disable the welcome screen and allow the app to start with no image open.
Acorn uses a central window containing the image you’re working on, flanked by multiple floating palettes containing tools, inspectors, layers, and colors. The various palettes can be open or closed, depending on what you need for the image you’re working on. For most tasks, the tools and inspector palettes are the minimum floating windows you’re likely to have open.
The Tools palette contains the usual assortment of utilities for editing an image: cropping, magnifying, shapes, paint, pencils, brushes, gradients, text, and dodge and burn. Unlike in some other editing apps, the Tools palette doesn’t contain fly-out options; instead, you’ll find any tool options in the separate Inspector palette. This may take some getting used to if you’re moving from an app such as Photoshop, but it’s easy to learn.
The Inspector palette performs multiple functions; it shows information about the currently selected tool or object and provides information about layers, including the stacking order, how each layer interacts, and layer blending options. There are various types of layers that can be shown, including the normal image layers, in addition to shape layers, group layers, and layer masks.
The Shape processor is a set of filters and tools that allow you to create various shapes, move them around, and tweak them to additional shapes, such as circles, squares, and spirals. The Shape processor is fun to use, but it can also ease the process of creating complex geometric shapes within an image.
Additional Acorn Features
The crop tool allows you to save preset shapes that can then be scaled to the image you’re working with. If you need to produce images in a precise aspect ratio for your work, you’ll find this a very nice feature.
Snapping allows you to line things up quickly to grid lines, guides, shapes, even layers. No more guessing when you’re trying to get items to line up.
Brushes can be imported from Photoshop or any other app that uses the Photoshop brush format. If you need a new brush type, Acorn includes a brush creation tool to allow you to quickly create the brush shape and characteristics you need.
Raw image import lets you acquire images directly from your camera in all their high-resolution glory. Acorn supports importing 32-bit, 64-bit, and 128-bit images.