A a few years back I had the pleasure of demoing a program nicknamed Houston by the folks at Macphun. Houston, which later became known as Tonality, had a very successful launch (pun intended) by some of the very same people that made Nik Software so great. I’ve been working with Tonality for a while now and I think it’s safe to say it’s a real player in the black and white conversion world. Here is my review of Macphun Tonality.
The tools I love
Tonality has a host of tools that I love and which have become the backbone of my workflow. These include basic tone adjustments (exposure, contrast), clarity and structure sliders, and tone curve and color slider adjustments.
The user interface is very similar to most image editing software programs with an easy to follow, top-down approach to editing. If you’re familiar with Lightroom or Silver Efex Pro then this workflow will feel very natural. But, what’s great about Tonality is they didn’t stop with the basics. They have provided us with a host of other creative editing tools including lens blur, glow, texture overlay, and more for artists who want to create a very unique style.
For the preset lovers out there, Tonality comes with a ton of presets already loaded. If you’d like more you can visit their Tonality Preset Page and download presets from some of your favorite artists, including your’s truly. I created a Travel preset series while on our Italy workshop, pulling inspiration from my amazing surroundings while fueled by good food. I’d like to say that these presets are sponsored by Italian pizza and gelato. 🙂 The Presets are incredibly easy to install: simply sign up and download them, then drag the file onto the Tonality icon at the bottom of your screen and the presets install themselves.
Another cool feature is the ability to dial back the opacity of a preset’s effects simply by moving a slider. You can also stack presets and effects in layers.
What about Silver Efex Pro 2?
I love Silver Efex Pro 2, and while the program is still functioning on most operating systems, it’s been made clear by Google that future developments will be limited to updates to guarantee compatibility with the latest operating systems. Frankly, this isn’t news and is simply a confirmation of what many of us had suspected for years. Google needed Nik’s algorithms and technology for other projects (e.g. Google Plus and Snapseed). PC users: Nik is still is probably one of your best bets outside of Lightroom because Tonality only works on Macintosh computers.
If I had to envision a future for Silver Efex Pro then Tonality would be it with only one caveat: I wish it was available for PC users as well. However, I respect a company that sticks to its core competency and creates great products. Tonality has a rich feature set that perfectly melds the tools we love in Photoshop with a user friendly interface that is intuitive too.
Here are a few images processed using one click of my Travel presets for Tonality
My nit picks
An honest review of Macphun Tonality wouldn’t be complete without a few constructive criticisms, so I have some small complaints, but they really are nit picking if anything. There is a small lag in rendering the after-image when you resize the screen. Importing presets is extremely easy — simply drag the presets onto the Tonality Icon and they’re installed — however, adding presets to already established categories (or folders) is less intuitive and appears to be done at the system folder level. But, these are far from deal killers and if anything they’re just fixes to look forward to in future releases.
For Macintosh users, Tonality is the future of black and white processing. Its algorithm creates beautiful black and white images and is supported by a strong suite of tools. But, like with anything, I always recommend kicking the tires first. You can download Tonality for free HERE to try it on for size. Check it out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment here on the blog. I have a feeling you’re going to truly enjoy it.