Picktorial for macOS (RAW photo editor) – Review

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In the ever-growing list of photography apps available on macOS, there are only few that can be worthy of remaining in a photographer’s toolkit.

Among the fray is a relatively new software called Picktorial which brings its proprietary RAW development engine and clean interface exclusively to the macOS platform.

Picktorial is one of those keeper apps. It caters to the enthusiast and pro photography crowd while bringing some great and robust adjustment options and features to any photographer’s app arsenal.

Feature set:

Here is the bullet list of features found within Picktorial (as seen on their official website)

picktorial-featurespicktorial-features-2

Also of note is the ability to use Picktorial as a full featured Photos app extension. This provides all the editing tools found in the standalone app to be used directly inside Photos for macOS.

Aperture Library support: 

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Picktorial brings with it a whole slew of features that will please many photo editing enthusiasts. One feature that stood out for me and that can be of great value to any former or current Apple Aperture user is the ability to view any Aperture Library directly in app without any need for migrating or merging. All you have to do is open up Picktorial and it will automatically detect any Aperture Library you may have in your default Pictures folder.

In Picktorial’s sidebar, you can now see all your projects as created in Aperture. All ratings and keywords are retained.

This allows you to keep the organization from Aperture yet unlock awesome editing capabilities that Aperture can sadly no longer provide.

Camera Profiles with a twist:

The developer of Picktorial mentioned in a video Interview with TWIP Apps that Picktorial’s RAW decode engine has already support for over 500 cameras. If there is a new camera that has been released, and Picktorial has not yet been updated for it, the software can intelligently switch to using Apple’s RAW camera engine transparent to the end user.

I find this quite interesting and a feature I have not yet seen in other apps of this kind.

I would have loved a way for users to be able to manually select which decode engine they want to use for a given photo. It could provide more flexibility if you want to see what result a given decode engine is giving compared to the other. Hopefully this can be added in a future update.

The interface: 

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Picktorial’s interface design is quite clean and presents its diverse options in a well structured way.

A visual histogram is one commonly used interface option that is not currently present in Picktorial. The developer informs me that it is a planned feature for an upcoming update but I do not have an ETA as of yet.

The folowing screenshots will show different tools within their respective categories:

picktorial-lightpicktorial-colorpicktorial-curvespicktorial-info

Local Adjustments:

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Picktorial has tools to allow for localised edits using a brushing system and even gradient tools.

The developer mentions that in the background, Picktorial is essentially using its own layering system so all edits done locally are totally non destructive.

Retouching tools:

picktorial-denoise

The patch tools are great in Picktorial. You can sport heal and clone stamp with ease and have been using this tool more and more. I find it more granular and precise compared to  the in-paint patching engine found in other tools.

I plan on doing a separate article comparing the Patch tool in Picktorial with Pixelmator’s Retouching brush in the near future. Stay tuned for that.

My only gripe in the retouch section is the de-noise option. I does a great job in itself but  I feel it should have been moved to another category. Also, to allow de-noise of full image, you must make sure to select “fill” option in the toolbar in bottom right of the interface (see screenshot in local adjustment section of review). I personally feel that this should be streamlined and more intuitive.

Watermarking:

picktorial-watermark

 

As expected, watermarking tools are also present in the app but only in the form of image file watermark. This entails that if you want to create a text based watermark, you must do so in another pixel editor and then export it as a PNG file to then import into Picktorial.

I would have liked to be able to have the ability to directly create text based watermarks.

 

Export options:

picktorial-export

Once editing is completed, Picktorial allows for 2 file formats to export as (JPEG or TIFF)

My go-to export option is TIFF (uncompressed) which provides a 16bit TIFF file that retains all the quality of the image and can be easily imported in another photo editing app to further manipulate the photo without fear of losing quality. something JPEG option can not provide. The only downside to TIFF is that it generates a large file (sometimes it can be 3 times as large as the original RAW file). This might be fill up you internal drive quite fast. As such, I recommend an external drive solution to store those exported TIFFs in order to archive them and leave some room on your Mac’s drive.

Final Thoughts:

I plan to use Picktorial extensively in more and more shoots as it provides a quick way to edit photos in a powerful way. The option of seeing all my photos from my Aperture Library and also photos from my macOS Finder is a great addition.

There are some kinks I wish were resolved like a histogram view and text watermarking options but these do not keep me from recommending this great RAW editor to all photographers who edit on macOS.

Picktorial can be purchased at a special introductory price of US$24.99 (50% off the regular price). In a world of subscription based photo editing solutions, this is a standout price for the features Picktorial is packing.

To learn more about Picktorial visit the official website.

There is an unofficial support forum on the Photoapps.expert website where users can send feedback and requests along with question regarding the app. The developer is quick to respond and is always willing to listen to feedback.

You can also Follow Picktorial on Facebook and Twitter.

I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for Picktorial and will keep you posted on all the latest updates when they are released. Be sure to follow my blog to be notified!