Analog is a new retro photo processing app from rockstar Mac developers Realmac Software. In just a few clicks you can apply cool effects and borders, crop, rotate and share photos on your favorite social networks.
As the little niche of retro photo apps grows, can Realmac jump into the fray and come out with a success or will Analog just be another lackluster entrant? Let’s take a look and find out!
What Is Analog?
In answering this question, the comparisons to Instagram for iPhone are unavoidable. Instagram is an extremely popular app that instantly and easily applies retro film effects to your digital photos. There’s no complicated setup or annoying multi-step process, you just tap on a preset and you’re done.
Analog brings this same type of photo editing to the Mac. It’s not in any way a scaled down version of Photoshop but something else entirely: a quick and easy way to add a little bit of fun to your images.
Like everything else that Realmac builds, Analog has a super sharp interface. The contrast between the dark canvas on the left and the brightly colored iOS-style icons on the right makes for a simple but sharp UI that you instantly understand how to use.
As the image below indicates, the first thing you’ll want to do is open Finder or iPhoto and drag in an image.
As a test, I grabbed a photo that I snapped of our own AppStorm Manager Joel Bankhead in front of a foggy Golden Gate bridge. From here all you have to do is click on the filters on the right. Each effect will be instantly applied, if you don’t like it, move along.
Analog is fully Lion compatible and makes use of the new fullscreen app mode. Just click the “+” button or the little arrows at the top right.
There are currently twenty built-in filters in Analog. Just like in Instagram, each filter’s icon conveniently shows a preview of the results you can expect to see. It’s shown with a generic photo but with the processing power available on a desktop I’d love to see these icons actually update with a preview of the image you’re editing.
After clicking around for a while, it’s obvious that there are some definite limitations to one-click filters. Some are better on landscapes, others on people, none are really adjustable in any way. If you click on a filter and it blows out your subject, you either deal with it or find something else. For this image I chose to go with the Redscale filter.
More like Camera+ in this respect than Instagram, Analog allows you to apply different borders to your photo, which gives you a good bit of variety when you combine these with the various filters.
The fourteen borders allow you to create a Polaroid effect, an old film look or even the illusion of looking through an old, grungy viewfinder.
Crop, Rotate and Share
If you hover over the image, you’ll see a little button strip pop up near the bottom. Here you can rotate the image, adjust the crop, toggle the effect and export it to the web.
The sharing menu has a few options that you would expect such as email, Facebook and Flickr, and some nice bonuses such as CloudApp. The obvious exclusion is Twitter, I’d be interested to hear why they skipped over this, it might just be some API limitation I’m not aware of.
If you want to check out what Analog can do, you can check out some images processed with Analog on this Flickr group.
Worth a Download?
I want to stress to potential buyers that this is a very simple app, and it’s meant to be. There aren’t a lot of options and features, for the most part you just drop in your photo, click on and effect and border, and you’re done.
The experience is a solid one, the UI is very comfortable and intuitive, even the subtle sound effects are well done. The quality of the interface here is definitely a strong point that you won’t easily find in competing apps.
Given that the app is currently on sale for $7.99 and therefore likely to go higher very soon, I think many users will wish for a little more functionality. For instance, it would be great to be able to fade the opacity of filters so you’re not stuck with the default settings. As a huge Instagram fan, I definitely miss the built-in social network aspect in competing apps whether on the iPhone or Mac. Facebook integration is nice, but having a dedicated stream of images from your friends is something that takes a quirky occasional-use app and makes it something to visit every day. However, having recently shut down its image sharing service Ember, I’d wager that Realmac isn’t about to jump into another similar venture.
Ultimately, if you’re not a frequent user of Photoshop and Lightroom actions, Analog provides an awesomely affordable and simple alternative for instantly adding creative effects to the photos on your Mac. I would say the biggest draw here will be for users who don’t have an iPhone and have been itching to get in on the retro photo craze.
To sum up, Analog is a great little app that allows you to apply retro film effects and borders to your photos in just a few clicks. If you’re looking for a solid way to make your boring photos more interesting, you should definitely give Analog a download.
Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of Analog. Have you tried it yet? Show us some of your photos!