Flare 2

Add ef­fects to your pho­tos quickly and sim­ply, and cre­ate your own

Mac Format - - RATED | MAC APPS - De­vel­oper The Icon­fac­tory, icon­fac­tory.com OS X 10.10 or later Good im­age qual­ity Broad range of ef­fects

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.

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