Intensify Pro by MacPhun Software
In 2012, Kevin of Nik Software contacted me to be part of its community, and as a happy user of the Nik plug-ins for years, I was honored to be approached. A few months later, Google bought the company, and the Nik products became the Google Collection. I continued to test the plug ins, did some webinars about them, and have been very active on Google Plus community promoting their products.
A few months ago, the same Kevin contacted me to be part of MacPhun’s community, et voilà… here is my first article regarding Intensify Pro, and I plan to give my first webinar about it for this month.
Intensify Pro is a powerful photo editor for professional photographers, but since it has a very easy-to-use interface even amateurs can use it to bring out all the detail from their photos. Intensify has a nice selection of presets that MacPhun says are created by professional photographers, and also allows you to precisely control each element of the photo from a more fine-tuned Adjustments pane. The interface is similar to Nik Software’s interface, but Intensify Pro definitely has some unique tools.
The goal with Intensify is to reveal details in darkness, bring colors to light without damaging image integrity, and accentuate the details. Like any editor, you can push it too far with some of your photos if you’re not careful. That said, Intensify is uniquely vivid with its color and detail enhancements.
Intensify Pro Interface
When you launch Intensify Pro either directly or from Lightroom, Aperture or even Photoshop, you will see a clean editing interface. On the top there is a navigation bar with classic zooming tools, a pop-up navigation window and before/after buttons. On the top right there are undo/redo buttons, and a set of four tools: the Hand Tool for moving your entire image within a window, the Draw Mode, the Erase Mask and the Gradient Tool.
That’s the first part of this software that impressed me, you can make effects like Photoshop. Using the Draw Mode and the Erase Mask, you can build masks using brushes. You can set brush size, opacity and softness, and you can clear and invert the mask. Like Lightroom, you have a Gradient Tool allows you to create, well, gradients in your masks. It’s amazing to have this capacity without having to go into Photoshop.
On the right column of the interface there is the “creativity part” of the software. On the top there is a layers panel where you can add and remove layers, set their opacity and toggle their visibility. That means each preset you apply has it own effects with opacity, mask and gradient, and you can stack effects on your image and control the different masks.
Under the layers panel there are two buttons to switch between the presets view and the adjust view.
When pressing “Presets” we find bunch of presets organized in folders and themes. My advice is open a new layer by clicking on + and apply one of your favorite presets, then change the name of this layer to match the name of this preset: I like to keep my files organized. I find I get results quickly. I shoot with my 5D Mark II and edit from the RAW file on my MacBook Pro; and the results were applied instantly. Just as I did with Nik Software, I always build my own presets, so as soon as you are happy with a result, click on the Adjust button, to the right of Presets, and at the bottom of the panel, you can click Create Preset and a pop up window will appear to give it a name.
The Adjust view is behind the presets controls. What MacPhun offers is just amazing!
For people who use Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom, the upper panel interface will look familiar: color temperature, exposure, overall contrast, highlights and shadows, vibrance and saturation. Definitely like Lightroom’s Basic panel in the Develop module. It’s strange that there isn’t color picker to set the white balance — it’s something that should be there.
After this Basic Tune panel, are the Pro Contrast, Structure and Details panels.
In Pro Contrast you can set the contrast for highlights, midtones and shadows. Under each slider there’s an offset slider to adjust the median value for the contrast tonal range. This offset slider, which is not found in Color Efex Pro by Nik, gives me a better control of the contrast: play with it and you will be amazed by the results.
Structure and Details
Structure allows you to improve low contrast areas of the image, bringing out texture and details. You have the option to work on global or micro to target small or really small elements of the image.
You can control it separately for highlights, midtones and shadows (like Google Silver Efex Pro). A softness slider allows you to set how soft or crisp this details will be at the end, which gives you more creativity.
Details allows you to make the image sharper. This tool is very powerful to bring out crispy detail on your highlights, shadows (small, medium and large details). I would suggest playing with small numbers to keep a natural look and feel of your image.
Intensify Pro also gives you more possibility to sharpen your image with Micro Sharpness panel that allows you to sharpen the image, and a classic Vignette panel similar to Lightroom’s.
Intensify Pro is a really a cool piece of software. Even though I have used Nik Software for many years, this new plug-in will now be part of my workflow. I do like the layers option: that’s something I wished for in Color Efex Pro. This software is very impressive in the depth of the controls in Pro Contrast, Structure and Details. There’s one suggestion I would like to share with the engineers at MacPhun: I can not use Intensify Pro to work with Smart Objects in Photoshop like I always do with Nik plug-ins. I really hope they will add this feature.
Have fun with this software and I hope you will get some great results. Use it carefully, however, to maintain the integrity of the original images. I always use tools like Intensify to bring some depth and details to the images, remembering that the real creation happened I am took the photos.
MacPhun Software is established in 2008 by a team passionate about photography. MacPhun creates apps on the iTunes App and Mac App Stores such as ColorStrokes, Snapheal, and FX Photo Studio, beloved by hundreds of thousands of photographers worldwide. For more information, please visit www.macphun.com.