Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon review: Better selective editing and a new Apple Photos extension

As you start moving beyond the basics of editing images—past general exposure and color adjustments—you’ll discover a semi-secret truth: a lot of your time is spent selecting specific areas for editing. Making a foreground object brighter, for instance, can reveal a telltale halo if the selection doesn’t match well with the object.

Selections have traditionally been a strength of Adobe Photoshop, but the granddaddy editor is overkill for many people who don’t need its extensive feature set, or don’t want to pay a Creative Cloud subscription fee (which starts at $10 a month with an annual plan, and can cost up to $80 a month for the full CC suite).

Instead, Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon (Mac App Store link) has been a popular and inexpensive ($30) Photoshop alternative. The main improvements in version 3.5 make it easier and less time-consuming to create good selections. This version also brings selective editing to Apple’s Photos app by introducing a new Photos Editing Extension, Pixelmator Retouch, that brings many of its retouching tools to images in your Photos library.

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VideoTweet review: Sharing Mac videos on Twitter just got a whole lot easier

Twitter is great for sharing short bursts of information with followers, but the official Mac app is restrictive when it comes to videos—files must be progressive, no larger than 15MB in size, and on it goes. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just open a video, select the best part, and tweet without having to worry about all those specifications?

videotweet app

VideoTweet makes it easy to share up to 30 seconds from any QuickTime-compatible video directly to Twitter in as little as three steps.

On the count of four

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MailButler review: The supercharged personal assistant for Apple Mail

Critics are quick to dismiss Apple’s built-in Mail app on OS X, but I prefer Mail over the new kids on the block, simply because it works and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some features in those rival apps I’d like to see make their way into Mail; the ability to schedule outgoing emails for a later date or save messages to Evernote, for example. As it turns out, I don’t have to abandon an old favorite for greener pastures to get these cool features.

At your service

Billed as “your personal assistant for Apple Mail,” MailButler is a bundle of plugins that extend the capabilities of Apple’s email client. I’m talking about new features like uploading attachments to cloud services other than iCloud Drive, following up on sent emails that have gone unanswered, and both of my wish list features noted above.

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External Editors for Photos review: Every image editor is now an extension

While many Mac shutterbugs cling desperately to Aperture in the wake of Apple’s abandonment, I’ve been quite content since moving to OS X Photos. The only feature I do miss is editing library images from external applications without extension support, like Adobe Photoshop CC. But now there’s a clever workaround to enable this feature.

Infinite editors

External Editors for Photos (EEFP; $1 on the Mac App Store) allows OS X Photos users to seamlessly edit images using any Mac image editor, no export/import required. EEFP works like other Photos extensions, but hands the actual editing duties off to standalone applications already installed on your system.

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Priime Styles review: Pro photo presets jump from iPhone to Mac, minus editing

It’s not hard to spice up photographs in just a few clicks of the mouse these days. The more difficult part of the process is finding an app with quality filters worth using—and one of the better mobile solutions around has finally made the leap to the desktop.

101 styles

Priime Styles ($30 on the Mac App Store) is a Mac version of the popular Priime photo editor for iPhone. The two apps share the same impressive catalog of “styles,” what we typically refer to as one-click image filters or presets. Created by dozens of the world’s top photographers, there are over a hundred styles to choose from—101 to be exact, although the apps offer them up in different ways.

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Gemini 2 review: First line of defense against duplicate files on your Mac

If you’ve bought a new Mac in recent years, chances are it arrived with flash storage in place of a traditional hard drive. In terms of reliability and rapid-fire boot times, flash storage is awesome, but it’s expensive. So to make it more affordable, you don’t get the capacity you see with hard drives.

There are a lot of ways to work around the built-in limited flash storage, but there’s another method for eking out a little more space: Purging duplicate files. Few of us bother doing it, because weeding out extra copies of photos, documents, and other media simply takes too much time and energy.

gemini 2 launch screen

Gemini 2 offers a minimalist user interface for adding or dropping files and folders you want to examine for duplicates.

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Vivaldi 1.0 review: Browser offers innovative ideas, some more polished than others

Vivaldi (free), the new browser from some of the creators of Opera, blends appealing looks with clever innovations. But while Vivaldi deserves applause for trying new things and getting many of them right, it still strikes a few sour notes.

Many browsers trade off between ease of use and customization, sacrificing one for the other’s sake. Vivaldi doesn’t. You can move and change nearly every element in the interface, but upon first opening, Vivaldi walks you through that process with easy, elegant setup screens. Want tabs on the bottom of the window, and the URL bar up top? No problem. (If you change your mind, you can adjust all these elements, with only slightly more difficulty, in Vivaldi’s clean and well-organized Preferences.)

vivaldi screenshot1

Vivaldi’s clean, colorful interface goes easy on the eyes.

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