ToyViewer free image editor/viewer for OS X review

Sections: Graphics / Design, Mac Software, Reviews

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Provides: Imagine viewing, editing and resizing
Developer: Takeshi Ogihara
Minimum Requirements: OS X v10.6.6
Price: Free
Availability: Out Now

I don’t know whether I could say it’s my favorite OS X app, or even my favorite image editing app, but ToyViewer is a superb lightweight image editor/resizer that I use more than any other graphics program, and that I really wouldn’t want to be without, especially during the holiday season when one is usually dealing with more image oriented tasks than usual. And did I mention that it’s a free download from the Mac App Store?

ToyViewer also has a polished and professional-looking user interface that puts many a commercial software application UI to shame.

ToyViewer is basically a quick and nimble image viewer, but is much more than a slideshow app. It’s the slickest image resizer and format converter I’ve ever used on any platform, and also supports various basic image editing and correction functions.

Quick startups are another delightful Toyviewer attribute.

ToyViewer can display many kinds of image formats, and can save in some formats. Image files in a folder or a ZIP archive can be displayed one by one in full-screen. With ToyViewer installed in your Mac, you can read and display image files in tiff, jpg, pdf, png, gif, bmp, pict, JPEG2000(jp2, jpc, j2k), and eps formats. ToyViewer can also deal with svg, jbig(bie), pcx, pcd, pnm(ppm, pbm, pgm), xbm, mag, and SUN Rasterfile formats, and can display Photoshop psd files. You can set ToyViewer to display any image format if there is a filter program to ppm format. Sujpported save formats include: tiff, pdf, gif, bmp, png, jpg, JPEG2000, jbig, pnm, and xbm. Vector images such as PDF can be converted into bitmap images such as jpg or tiff.

ToyViewer can display image files in a folder sequentially in full-screen mode. You can also mark images to move, or to delete them. ToyViewer can also display image files in zipped archives one by one in full-screen and retrieve marked images individually from the archive, as well as display them full-screen in front of all other windows, or convert an image into the Desktop picture for your Mac. The program supports a simple animation player for animated GIFs and TIFF Stacks, with each frame of these formats and of PDF files viewable as a single image. A floating PDF control palette supports navigation of multi-page PDFs.

ToyViewer isn’t represented as being a challenger to full-fledged image editing applications (for example, it doesn’t support cut and paste image modification), but you can select and copy, crop, rotate, and flip, images, enlarge or shrink images, adjust brightness, contrast, and color tone, replace a specified color with another color or transparent color, apply effects like blur, mosaic, embossment, and so on.

ToyViewer can display images in full-screen and in front of all other windows. If you like a displayed image, you can make it the Desktop picture (wallpaper) of your Mac.

You can make Aqua-button-like images, poster-like images, and more.

When the “Auto Fix” button is clicked, ToyViewer examines the overall balance of the image, and sets the adjustment sliders at its best-guess combination for the values of brightness, contrast, and gamma. Clicking “Brightness” button, you can preview any changes. However, if the-newly displayed version doesn’t provide the result desired, you can adjust the sliders manually and preview each change until it does. You can also tune color tone (saturation and hue) of images. If you click “Effect / Enhance Color Tone…” in the menu, a panel is displayed, on which you can set the degree of enhancement. Large values of “Saturation” make images brilliant and vice versa for subdued. You can also control the hue of images. This operation cannot be applied to vector images (e.g. PDF), however. Full color images can be reduced into 256, 64, or 8 colors. Also, each color value of images can be cut down to 4, 2, or 1 bit. ToyViewer can make images monochrome (8bit gray, 2bit gray, or bilevel).

To resize an image, select “Resize” from the Tool Panel palette’s pull-down menu, Then drag the slider to the desired percentage which reads in the field on the right, along with the new resolution in pixels and the aspect ratio. Choose Bitmap, Vector, or just let the program Auto-Select, and hit the OK button. A new window will appear with your resized image, which you can save in supported image formats.

It takes a lot longer to explain than it does to do, and it’s the slickest, fastest tool for resizing I’ve yet encountered, with its lively responsiveness and virtually instantaneous startup. Indeed, I find that for about 80% of the stuff I do with images, Toyviewer is the fastest, most user-friendly tool I have on my hard drive. Even if I have Photoshop Elements or Pixelmator up and running, I find ToyViewer indispensable for quick, slick image viewing and basic editing, resizing, and file format conversions.

ToyViewer can attach a custom icon to any file as well as the newly saved image file. Images can be printed, automatically shrunk to be printed on a sheet, or divided into several pages. But Toyviewer isn’t a perfect image editing solution; it can’t create new images from scratch, and you can’t cut, erase, or otherwise structurally change the content of a file.

However, within its limitations, I’m happy to give Toyviewer a 5 out of 5 rating, with the qualifier that there’s always room for improvement.

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ToyViewer for OS X Review
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