Healed in a Snap!

When MacPhun came out with the first version of Snapheal last fall, I immediately got it from the Mac App Store.  Snapheal works similar to Adobe Photoshop’s Content Aware which easily removes unwanted objects from a photo image but at a fraction of the cost.  Well, it did work but was very buggy, it would stop working and take a very long time to do its magic as MacPhun coined it.  I soon stopped using it.  This past week, Snapheal 1.1 was released and I am happy to say it is much improved.  The app is stable and I have not had it freeze up once in very extensive use over the last few days.  It is much faster.  I estimate it to be 50% faster over version 1.0 on my MacBook Pro.

I am going to show you a series of photos I was able to improve using MacPhun’s newest version of Snapheal instead of a full review.  I am more interested in how I can use it versus finding the worst photo I can throw at it.  Chances are those photos would never make it through my selection process.  If you are interested in a detailed review of Snapheal, a Google Search will find plenty for you along with videos demonstrating how to use the program.  Make sure it is about version 1.1 and not 1.0.

Keep in mind Snapheal is a $14.99 app and not a $700 version of Adobe Photoshop.  For Mac users who are comfortable with iPhoto or Aperture 3, Snapheal adds a first class tool for cleaning up photos.  In my case, Aperture 3’s Retouch or Healing brush is limited in its capacity of removing detailed objects especially near the edges of other objects.

This was the problem I found with my favorite timber wolf photo you see below.  While Aperture had no problem with branches above the wolf, the branches that intersected with the wolf would cause ugly artifacts along the wolf’s fur.  Snapheal had no trouble at all and was an easy selection process.

Click Photo to See Larger Version

Click Photo to See Larger Version

Snapheal has three different algorithms one can select to do its magic called Wormhole, Shapeshift and Twister.  Wormhole copies surrounding pixels from all directions and is designed for erasing skin blemishes or small objects. Shapeshift is designed for the removal of larger objects and seems to borrow a large amount of visual data from one particular direction. Twister is designed for sky, clouds or multiple small objects. It is very easy to try each one to see which works for the particular areas in the photo being worked on.

The photo below is a great example of a photo that needed some background elements removed.  In fact, it was a request by a customer who needed it for a magazine article.  Snapheal paid for itself five times over with this project. Shapeshift was the algorithm which did the clean up work best.

Click Photo to See Larger Version

Click Photo to See Larger Version

The next photo is another favorite of mine taken from the Resort Monorail at Walt Disney World with one blemish Aperture 3 could not fix to my satisfaction.  The arrow is pointing out the monorail window reflection (click photo to see larger version) in the Before image. Snapheal’s Twister algorithm made fast work of the reflection which blended in very well with the clouds.

Click Photo to See Larger Version

Click Photo to See Larger Version

This last one was impressive in how it not only cleaned up the fencing behind the woodchuck sunning itself on a rock but kept the wildflower mostly intact.  The selection process is very easy and not as time consuming as Aperture 3’s retouch and cloning tools would be.  This fix took about a minute from selection to final processing with the Wormhole algorithm.

Click Photo to See Larger Version

Click Photo to See Larger Version

Even if I had other photo editors which could do this work, Snapheal is so easy and fast, I would not use them.  As you can tell, I probably will not use Aperture 3 as much for this kind of editing in the future.  MacPhun did it again.  Now, about a mapping app…

To see other reviews of MacPhun apps, click here.

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7 Responses to Healed in a Snap!

  1. milkayphoto says:

    Interesting software…still not perfect, but probably has some merit for snapshots (not fine images). There is definitely some detail loss in more complicated fixes (such as the otter/beaver(??) especially aroudn the animals head/face). Do you find it works better if you combine it with manual healing/cloning?


    • It does seem to lose some contrast. The app does have adjustment tools I did not play with. My main goal was to test out it’s ability to remove objects. I am still experimenting. Thankfully, it did it good enough to make a sale!

      The woodchuck (as we call them in upstate NY) is not the sharpest photo to begin with. I think what you are noticing is, without the fence behind him, you see him better and thus the poor quality of the image I started with. Needs a bit more work. Still, not bad for a $14.99 investment for people not needing something like PhotoShop.


      • milkayphoto says:

        Ah, woodchuck – that’s what thast little guy is! 🙂

        Actually, what I was noticing is the loss of detail around the woodchicks’s face, particularly undetr the chin where the hairs were lost. I just know as a printer that would not print well and would be noticeable.

        But I agree that this software seems to do a fairly good job and I bet using the adjustment tools would help. As we all know….it is best to take the shot without the distracting elements in the first place but always nice to have a tool in your back pocket for the unavoidable.


  2. Donna says:

    Does it work for RAW photo files?


  3. cindydyer says:

    Great post! I hadn’t heard of this app.


  4. Boris Beckert says:

    Hey Scott, thanks to your pointing this out, I bought the app and am quite impressed. Its like a mini version of photoshop. It makes editing out the little unwanted things quite simple. Very nice for touching up vacation photos — probably not (as milkayphoto points out) for high end images. When I get some high end images, I’ll learn photoshop :-).




  5. Pingback: Using Snapheal PRO | Views Infinitum

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