Acorn Is A Fine Image Editor For Everyone [50 Mac Essentials #46]

Acorn icon

Acorn describes itself as “an image editor for humans”, and that sums it up in a nutshell.

What you get inside Acorn are pretty much all the image editing features you’re ever going to need, for a fraction of the price of some of the competing apps.

If you’re into creating bitmap and vector graphics, Acorn’s got everything you need, including graphics tablet support so you can use it to draw. But it’s also a lovely photo editor too, whether you just want to tweak the colors and add a crop, or whether you want to mess around with an image, mix it with other graphic elements, and craft something new from the parts.

All this, and more, is presented inside an unexpectedly simple interface. Open it up, and you see little more than a simple floating tools palette. Don’t be fooled – there’s much more to Acorn than initially meets the eye.

So much, in fact, that you might want some help with finding it all. That’s cool, because there’s a whole bunch of online tutorials that guide you through all the basic features.

Acorn gets a place in the 50 Mac Essentials series because it’s yet another example of bargain software. For $50, you get a high quality product that’s been hand-crafted by an indie developer (Gus at Flying Meat) who cares a great deal about the software he’s making.

For many people, Apple’s own Preview will do all the simple image editing they need. But if your requirements ever start to stretch beyond what Preview can offer – and although it’s a fine application, they wouldn’t have to stretch very far – Acorn should be the app you need to take the next step up.

An apology: Yes, the band’s reformed. 50 Mac Essentials is back to wrap things up and finish the list. It was entirely my fault the series stalled – my apologies to everyone who’s been waiting for the final five essential apps to appear – GT

(You’re reading the 46th post in our series, 50 Essential Mac Applications: a list of the great Mac apps the team at Cult of Mac value most. Read more, or grab the RSS feed.)

  • Jerry Mac

    [Update] Ok I installed the latest version now that it’s available on the App store. I have to say what a remarkable improvement! I didn’t have to go read a manual to do something simple like draw a red square with no fill, or overlay text in green, etc. Although I did find the icons for gradients, clone, and shapes on the toolbox confusing.

    I still find even Acorn a pain in the a** to use. Its not intuitive and doing simple things are hard to figure out. Every paint program out for the Mac wants to compete with Adobe Photoshop. Why can’t we get something as easy, intuitive, and useful as MS Paint for the Mac?

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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