Intensify is a powerful image editor for Mac OS

Intensify is a new Mac app designed to dramatically enhance your images without requiring you to have deep knowledge of editing and adjustments. I would put it solidly between the iPhoto's editing tools and Photoshop.

Open Intensify, then open an image and explore the presets designed by pro photographers. You'll find options that go way beyond iPhoto and other simple image editors, yet the changes are easy to apply. If you can't find a preset you like, there is a full range of adjustments that work in real time for things like contrast, exposure, vibrance, structure, details and shadow detail.

Like all image editors, you can be as subtle or as far out as you like. Intensify opens both RAW and 16-bit images. I found the app and its adjustments best suited for landscapes, where editing can make a powerful difference.

I tried some images taken on a recent trip to Bryce Canyon in Utah, and was pleased with the results. Supported file formats include RAW, TIFF 8- and 16-bit, PNG and JPEG. The app lets you see your changes side by side with the original as you work, and in every case I could really improve on my original. The structure slider gave the rocks more detail, and I painted a mask over the sky and reduced the exposure to bring out more sky colors without darkening the rest of the image. Intensify supports multiple layers so you can add effects on top of your original and easily enhance or remove them.

Brushes are adjustable, and there is an undo command. The shadow-recovery tool can help give you an HDR look with only one exposure. In fact, in some cases I preferred the Intensify output to my three-exposure HDR combinations.

There are two versions of Intensify. One is on sale for US$29.99 in the Mac app store. Intensify Pro adds the ability to function as a plug-in inside Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom or Elements. It also opens Adobe PSD files directly, and offers a few tools like micro-sharpness and a de-halo feature. The Pro version is only available through the MacPhun website and is on sale at $49.99. Both versions of the app worked fine under Mavericks and were stable in a couple hours of use.

One can't compare the results of Intensify to Photoshop directly. Intensify certainly is easier, but it lacks some tools like spot or dust removal. It's not intended to be a Photoshop replacement. Yet it has tools that can enhance an image equally to what you can do in Photoshop with a lot less work and a lot less know-how.

I have been impressed with Intensify, and I think the photographer who wants more out of his images without a large expenditure for software will like what Intensify achieves. Pros will appreciate the range of adjustments, while less-advanced photographers will love the variety of automatic settings.

The feature set is deep enough that it can't be covered in a brief review, so check out the Intensify website where there are several videos that will give you an idea just how powerful this app is.

Intensify requires Max OS X 10.7 or later, and a 64-bit processor.