Moving forward with Photos app on Mac OS X
I was delighted yesterday, to see some of my favourite photo applications from MacPhun have all been updated to work in Photos App as extensions. When I was an Aperture user I had this sort of capability with many of my applications including the favourite I used for HDR photos. With the demise of Aperture and the change to Photos App, Apple promised third parties would be able to use an extensions API letting us work with our photos easily. In Aperture, the way that worked was to follow the link through and it would open up the other application. You would all of your editing and when you clicked on save it would close and take it back into Aperture. When it did this the updated photo would be a new photo within Aperture. It all worked pretty well indeed. In Photos application you go into edit mode for a photo and at the bottom of the list you will see Extensions and a little round circle with three dots on it. Now when you click on that little icon you’ll see a list of available extensions. The ones I have now are Snapheal, Noiseless and Tonality. I have other applications from the same software developer – Intensify Pro and I expect there will be updates to those in time too.
How it works
So you click on the extension you want to use and the application opens up within the same space. In the Title bar at the top of the application you will see, for example Photos – Snapheal. The menu bar at the top of the screen still shows the menus for Photos. For applications that don’t require you to use items from its own menus this will work quite nicely. All of the controls I need for Snapheal are contained within the working area of the application window.
Here I’m using Snapheal, which is amazing almost to the point of being magical in the way you can use it to remove items from within your image. It is much better than using the similar tool within Photos. The only other application that does as good a job with regards removing unwanted items in a photo that I have available on my computer is Affinity Photo.
So you’ve made all your changes, perhaps using Tonality to get a better conversion to black-and-white and you click the button – Save Changes. This takes you back into the editing mode within Photos app . At this point you can click on the yellow button for Done or you can Revert to Original. If you revert to original you will lose all of the changes you have just made. If you click on Done it takes you out of the editing mode and your photo is showing in the Photos application in its new changed state. Photos does not make a copy of the photo you are working on during this process so you can compare the previous version with the new version. If you want to do that, you’ll need to make a duplicate of the photo before you start and then go off and do your editing.
All is not lost with your photo
Even if you’ve made changes to your photos using the extensions provided by other third-party applications you can still go back to the original. You can do this at any time by going back into the edit mode with a photo you have selected. If you have made any changes to it at all you can use the Revert to Original button in the top right-hand corner next to the Done button. It all works pretty well and the only thing I’ve noticed so far is that the thumbnail for a picture I’ve made some changes to, remained as a black-and-white image even though I have changed it back. It wasn’t a problem as all I needed to do to fix it, was to change the view in the application. After that it began to show with the correct thumbnail image.
A great way of working with Photos
I like the way this works in the Photos App in El Capitan. It gives me another reason not to miss using Aperture. We were able to get the benefit from our third-party applications directly from within Photos. There will be one or two professionals who will still feel the need for applications like Aperture or Lightroom and that’s fair enough. For what I do with my photos and for most users we’re going to be very happy with what we can do with Apples Photos app.