If you’re not already using Acorn for Mac OS X, now might be the time to give this Photoshop alternative a look. The newest version, Acorn 4, just hit developer Flying Meat’s web page, coming in at an affordable thirty bucks and a host of improvements, tweaks, and additional features.
According to the site, Acorn 4 is tons faster than earlier versions, making selecting portions of images and applying filters to large bitmap files super usable. There are new non-destructive filters that will let you try before you render, new color channel curves to better tweak the midtones, shadows, highlights, and contrast in images, and the ability to select multiple layers of an image to move, reposition, and delete them all in one fell swoop.
There are some great new Boolean Shape operations, letting you combine and exclude bits of vector shapes to make even more complex shapes easier and quicker to create, a la Fireworks or Illustrator. New shape tools will help you create and modify stars, arrows and triangles quickly and easily. There’s also a new heads up display called Merlin, which lets you directly mess with the radius and center points for your filters on the canvas itself, a huge time saver.
Acorn 4 comes with a ton of other improved interface features, like an expanded tool palette that now exists in its own separate window. The windows themselves have been upgraded graphically, making everything look just a bit more polished and pro. Acorn 4 supports retina displays and will let you import and export Photoshop (PSD) files with ease.
This new version of Acorn continues to prove that bigger and more expensive isn’t necessarily better. The smaller footprint and less complicated toolset has made Acorn 4 a solid alternative to Photoshop for those of us who don’t need all the complicated bells and whistles of Adobe’s bigger industry standard.
If you’re in the market for such a highly polished and now even better image editing program, head on over to the Acorn 4 website and grab your copy for an introductory price of $29.99 right now.