Add effects to your photos quickly and simply, and create your own
Apps that apply effects to your pictures are getting rather common in today’s marketplace. Some are even free, and the struggle to stand out is tougher than ever. What Flare offers is a variety of built-in effects plus the ability to create your own, some film simulation settings and iCloud awareness to sync custom settings to a free iOS app or other Macs.
Flare will open JPEGs or raw images and allows you to choose effects from a selection of 36 – including frames, monochrome, light leaks and some weirder ones – before tweaking the result to your liking and sharing to social media. Your new effects can be saved and effects applied to multiple images.
Unfortunately, the app can be a little obtuse. Who would know that the icon of three squares at the topright, next to the box-and-arrow icon that’s surely Share (it’s Export, Share is on the File menu) would open up the Effects palette without being told? It’s not labelled. The button to manually edit an effect is at the bottom-left, and the editing sliders open at the left, closing the Effects palette on the right and sliding the entire image across.
Keyboard shortcuts will flip between them, but there’s no Photoshop-like toolbar, and the implementation of Snapshots is clever but counterintuitive.
A button pressed in the Edit palette adds a snapshot of the current image to part of the Effects palette, which is hidden, from where it can be saved or deleted after you’ve finished working.
Happily, the app will walk you through its functions on launch, if you want it to.
Flare has a broad range of filters on offer; some of them very fine looking, and the ability to use them as a starting point and create your own effects is a powerful one. If, that is, you can get to grips with the interface. Ian Evenden
Flare 2 is a decent image-filtering app, but it’s let down by an interface that's tricky to get the hang of. Adequate.
Advanced Edit lets you tinker with applied effects and create your own through Snapshots.