Graphics

GraphicConverter for Mac gains facial recognition, Collage, Picture Package and more

GraphicConverter by small Germany-based developer Lemkesoft has been dubbed the Swiss Army knife of Mac graphics programs, and for a very good reason: this app converts over 200 different graphic file formats into any of almost 80 graphic formats.

In its latest update, GraphicConverter for Mac was bumped to version 10 and enriched with a trio of major new features—facial recognition for your photos, Collage and Picture Package—along with refinements like support for converting Apple’s Live Photos format into an animated GIF.

Pixelmator for Mac gains precise selection tools, all-new Photos extension and more

My favorite Photoshop alternative, Pixelmator, was updated this morning on the Mac App Store with some notable new features, bug fixes and enhancements. Pixelmator 3.5 for Mac, a free update for those who own the app, includes the new Smart Selection and Magnetic Selection tools, a new Retouch extension for Photos which provides a full set of powerful retouching tools, and more.

Apple looking to buy troubled iPhone graphics provider Imagination Technologies

Ars Technica reported this morning that Apple is in “advanced talks” regarding a possible takeover of British fabless semiconductor maker Imagination Technologies. The chip designer develops GPU blueprints that other companies license and incorporate into their own chips.

Apple owns at least a 9.5 percent stake in Imagination and has long used their PowerVR line of graphics-processing units (GPU) inside its own A-series processors since the emergence of the A4 chip, which powered the original iPad, the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Adobe releases Post, an iPhone app for turning photos and text into share-worthy graphics

Photoshop maker Adobe on Thursday released Post for iPhone, a brand new application for turning text, photos and graphics into eye-candy illustrations for instant sharing on social media and elsewhere.

With professionally designed templates and filters, gorgeous typography with resizable fonts, one-tap color adjustments, a curated selection of fonts and shapes and more than half a million free photos, creating instant memes should be fun.

Sketchy rumor claims Apple’s been secretly working on its own GPU for years

Apple is making its own GPU to cut the cord from Imagination Technologies and has been secretly developing its own GPU in-house for a few years now. That’s what a sketchy rumor published Thursday by Fudzilla contends, citing sources in the graphics industry.

An in-house-designed GPU would let Apple reduce the cost of its own mobile chipsets further. More importantly, such a move would help it advance the iPhone and iPad’s graphics capabilities beyond what Imagination’s designs (that Apple licenses) permit.

For end users, this should result in an even smoother iOS and flashier graphics in games (the overhyped term “console-quality” comes to mind) with more realistic special effects.

Is your Mac able to take advantage of OS X El Capitan’s Metal?

When OS X 10.11 El Capitan launches this fall, it will feature Metal, a graphics framework Apple originally introduced for iPhones, iPads and iPods following the release of iOS 8 last fall. In addition to making El Capitan’s user interface and apps perform smoother than before, Metal for Mac is absolutely huge news for game developers and makers of graphics-intensive apps.

Like on iOS, El Capitan’s Metal significantly reduces the overhead of graphics frameworks such as OpenGL by enabling low-level access to your Mac’s graphics subsystem. Photo apps, games and video editing software like Adobe After Effects will experience up to ten times faster draw call performance by offloading certain tasks from the CPU onto the GPU.

But does your Mac sport modern hardware needed to support Metal’s features? It’s dead simple to determine this for yourself, here’s how.

Adobe retires Photoshop touch apps & previews Rigel, its new retouching solution for iPad

Photoshop maker Adobe said today it will be pulling Photoshop Touch apps for the iPhone and iPad from the App Store and other mobile platforms next Thursday, May 28. At the same time the company gave a sneak peek of its forthcoming new retouching solution for mobile, Rigel, which should be available later this year.

Adobe said it will sharpen focus on Creative Cloud mobile apps like Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC, Adobe Shape CC, Adobe Brush CC and Adobe Color CC.

Paper by FiftyThree now lets you create diagrams, charts and wireframes

Keeping true to its promise, developer FiftyThree today updated its iPad drawing application Paper with support for a new set of drawing tools collectively dubbed the Think Kit.

With Think Kit, Paper users can take advantage of brand new Diagram, Cut, and Fill tools to create diagrams, charts and wireframes with ease. Think Kit is entirely free and comes as an automatic update for existing users of the Paper app.

Pixelmator for Mac gains Photos app support, Force Touch drawing, enhanced Repair tool, more

Pixelmator for Mac received a sweet update last evening, adding a trio of noteworthy features and a plethora of bug fixes. A free update to existing users of the app, Pixelmator 3.3.2 brought out an even more remarkable — and way faster — Repair tool.

It also added support for pressure-sensitive drawing on Macs with the new Force Touch trackpad and importing photos from the Photos app on OS X Yosemite 10.10.3. In addition to these perks, the app contains other tweaks and bug fixes.

Specs of 13″ MacBook Air refresh leak as rumors of Retina Air intensify

Images of what appear to be the specifications of a 13-inch MacBook Air refresh have surfaced on the forums of Chinese website Feng.com.

The seemingly genuine screenshots suggest a minor hardware bump based on Intel’s latest Broadwell processors with more powerful Intel HD 6000 graphics, and a slightly bigger battery as well.

Although the source did not provide info related to the 11-inch MacBook Air model, Apple is likely to upgrade that machine with new Intel chips alongside the 13 incher.

In addition, a questionable report has suggested that a twelve-inch Air with a Retina screen is up for an announcement at Apple’s “Spring Forward” media event next Monday, thought to focus mostly (but not exclusively?) on the Apple Watch.

Unity 5 game engine launches with iOS Metal and 64-bit support and other improvements

Following its mid-2014 announcement and a beta release last October, the latest edition of the Unity graphics engine by Unity Technoologies is now available for download.

The all-new Unity 5, released at the 2015 Game Developers Conference, features upgraded animation and physics, a new lighting system, new audio options and many other improvements designed to make mobile games more gorgeous and shiny than ever before.

On the Apple side of things, Unity 5 offers support for 64-bit computing and Metal, Apple’s high-performance graphics framework aimed at game developers which can speed up graphics by a factor of ten compared to OpenGL.