Iris 1.0

Barrie Smith
6 August, 2008
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If you listened to Podcast 32, you’d have heard me and MJCP  talking with Matthew Drayton, of the Perth company Nolobe that developed Iris specifically for the Mac. It will run at full speed on both Intel- and PowerPC- based Macs using OS X 10.5 Leopard (and nothing lower). It makes heavy use of Leopard’s Core Image capabilities.

It’s far from a fat app — 8.4 MB installed — and getting it up and running is a snap, with a fairly familiar GUI to make you feel at home. A bit like Photoshop? Definitely, with a PSD-like toolbar.
Unfortunately, there’s no online Help; the developers have already apologised, explaining that the initial build removed it. Help will be restored with version 1.01. Can’t wait!

Opening a file, the first thing I normally do, after sizing the image, is set Levels. Uh uh! With Iris you begin by selecting the White Point and place the picture’s colour either in a neutral full white zone or somewhere amongst an RGB/CMYK rainbow; this will suit non-techy people but annoy the colour-wise.

Iris has a one-window interface with no clutter from multiple palettes and there’s much to enjoy: you can Auto Levels and Auto Contrast an image, then move on to select its Gamma, colourise it, alter the saturation, exposure, invert colours, posterise and more. Image size is handled very simply as are changes to the size of the canvas itself. All the nice things that Photoshop does — but much simpler to deal with.

There’s Layers! You can paint and dabble with the image. Clone, erase and select sections of an image. Use an eye dropper. Add coloured text.

When you get to the Filters department, not much that is useful is absent and there’s quite a bit you can do without: most of the Blurs are there: Gaussian, Motion, Noise Reduction etc; there’s a quite a group of halftone screen options that will be useful for those who insert images into school newsletters and the like; there are only two sharpen options — but I figure they will be enough for most people.

And, to be honest, that’s about as far as I could go, thanks to the absence of the Help. There’s a couple more intriguing functions waiting for you to explore.

Australian Macworld’s buying advice. From a ramble around Iris’s attractions, I presume the software is sharply aimed at non-techies — and all the better for it. Photoshop wannabes with neither the cash nor the inclination to be bamboozled by arguably the greatest but most complex image editing app on the planet will like it.

Iris 1.0

Cons A little edgy in version 1.0; needs online Help
Publisher Nolobe
Rating 3.5
Pros Simpler GUI than Photoshop or even Photoshop Elements
Price US$79 (free demo available)
Type Image editing software

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