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iResizer for OS X Review

Sections: Graphics / Design, Mac Software, Reviews

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iResizer is a lightweight, single-purpose app that lets you resize a photo without distorting the subjects. Traditionally, you had two options to resize an image—crop it and run the risk of losing part of your image’s subject due to pixels being cut, or resize it and distort the image like a funhouse mirror. iResizer is one of a new breed of image resizers that is what’s known as content-aware (see Wikipedia for all the nerdy scientific details).

iResizer

This technology can be useful when resizing your pictures to fit a given size—like Instagram’s 1×1 square format—without requiring cropping or distortion.

How Do You Do It?

Resizing an image is actually pretty simple. You open it by either clicking the Open button or by dragging an image into the main window (more on the limitations of opening images below). You’ve then got three basic tools: marker (brush), Lasso, and polygon tools let you draw selections on the image. These selections allow you mark important features in green (which should be preserved when resizing), and unimportant features in red (which the app will discard/ignore). Then you just click the Resize button and the app takes over, resizing the image while preserving a natural appearance for the objects you highlighted in green (no more tall-and-pinched or short-and-squat photo subjects).

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The quality of scaled images is great, with the subjects well-preserved and background details that aren’t too badly distorted. It helps to know what size you’d ultimately like the photo to be, so you can paint an area of unimportant features which the app can discard (i.e. letter boxing the top and bottom of an image you intend to make 16×9, so the app can crop those rather than trying to stretch them).

iResizer

Is it Worth It?

Despite an easy-to-use interface, I’m having a really hard time building a case in which iResizer is truly worth its $20 price tag. There are just too many rough edges in the app to justify the price, starting with its inability to handle drag-and-drop file launching from the Dock. You can’t drag an image onto the iResizer Dock icon, which also means you can’t use iResizer via iPhoto or Aperture’s “Open In” command. If you want to resize an image from your iPhoto library you can drag it to the main iResizer window, but after resizing you must save the image and then reimport it to iPhoto (or ApertureLightroom, etc.).

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I routinely format pictures to fit either print or digital frames, so a content-aware resizing to 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 would be an asset to my photo editing process. iResizer strikes out here again, offering only 16 x 9, 16 x 10, 4 x 3, and 1 x 1 presets for resizing. You do have a custom option, but it wants discrete width/height pixel measurements like 1,920 x 1,080 and not a ratio like 8 x 10. Even worse, the boxes where the pictures dimensions are displayed barely show 2.5 characters, which makes it difficult to even see your picture’s dimensions!

The lack of roundtrip image editing support from iPhoto would be mildly forgivable if iResizer offered some sharing options, but those are missing as well. What’s the point of being able to scale an image to the square format so popular on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook if you can’t share your photo directly? Once again you’d have to save the picture after resizing, then navigate to your sharing service to upload it. Too many steps for something that should honestly be quite simple.

Overall, iResizer feels like a partially finished photo editing app. It could be genuinely useful, but it just needs a little more work to make it worth $20. The developer has been continually improving iResizer, which is currently at version 2.4, so hopefully these issues will be addressed in a future update.

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Buy iResizer

Category: Photography
Developer: Maxim Gapchenko
Minimum System Requirements: OS X v10.7, 64 bit Intel Processor
Price: $19.99
Availability: Out now

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