New App and Plugin Tonality Brings Black & White Darkroom Magic to OSX

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From the creators of photo-editing apps, Intensify, Focus and FX Photo Studio comes a new black and white image editor for Mac called Tonality. Both a standalone app and plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, Tonality is versatile in its implementation into your workflow.

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Macphun deems it ‘the next frontier in black & white photography,’ taking a great deal of inspiration from the wet darkroom era of yesteryear and bringing it into the digital realm. As you can see in the preview below, its 16-bit RAW processing capabilities and thorough, but fairly streamlined interface offers up both power where you need it and simplicity where it’s called for.

The app comes in two editions: Tonality and Tonality Pro. The standard edition features all of the features shown off in the above video, while the Pro edition offers up plug-in support, advance layer-editing capabilities, an integrated Zone System, tonal histograms and more shortcuts for a faster workflow. As could probably be deduced, the standard edition is aimed for the hobbyist and enthusiast crowd, while the Pro version is meant for…well…professionals.

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Tonality was released just two days ago, so if you’re looking to give it a try, you can give the trial a download on Macphun’s website. If you’ve decided you’d like to purchase it, you can download it in the Mac App Store.

The standard edition is only $25, while the Pro edition comes in at $70. If you’d like to dip your toes in the water before committing to the Pro version, you can download the standard edition first and later upgrade to the Pro version, here.

  • Warren

    How is this better then Silver Effects?

  • Warren


  • Chang

    My question exactly. The one thing I see that is clearly different is that it edits in RAW, Silver FX edits in TIFF. How much that matters if you’re desaturating and adding enough grain to make the picture look like ISO 400, 35mm film, I don’t know.

  • Alex @ Macphun Software

    Hey Chang, Warren, NIK’s Silver Efex has really been the best B&W app on the market, but things are changing) I suggest you get a free trial and check Tonality to see the difference. Chang mentioned RAW support already (and it may not matter for film emulation, but b&w photography is much more than that). Tonality brings more than that:)

  • Jaleel King

    While I know Apple is an important market, I feel that far too many developers forget just how many photographers actually use Windows, like myself, as their primary OS. Nik’s is cross platform which makes it better by default. I can use it on both my Win7 machine or my Macbook, if needed. I do 99% of my workload on my Windows machine.

    This is the reason I got Fundy Album Builder over Smart Albums. The same goes for apps that are only on iOS, I avoid them as much as possible. It doesn’t matter what’s better if I can’t use it. Either way I way I wish the dev all the best!

  • Alex Teo

    How can I download the trial? The email received is having only one link, heading to the same page where I registered for the trial (and another link for facebook, eh).

  • Matt Gibson

    Well, for starters, I looked into buying Silver Efex last week, and unless I’m missing something, you can only buy it as part of the whole Nik collection for $149. So even the Pro version of Tonality is less than half the price of buying Silver Efex.

    I know you get a lot of stuff with the whole Nik collection, but I was only interested in Silver Efex, and the $149 price tag put me off. Whereas the basic version of Tonality is so cheap that I bought it within five minutes of reading this article without thinking too hard about it.

    So it’s certainly better in that respect. Obviously I’ll have to have a decent play with it to find out if it fits my needs as a dedicated black-and-white processor, and that’ll take some time.

  • Doc Pixel

    I couldn’t disagree more with your choice or statement. A great developer creates great software using the tools and built in functionalities and frameworks of it’s intended OS, whether Windows, Mac, iOS or Android.

    I personally loath “ported” software, which in many cases doesn’t work correctly on either platform well and is often a mix-match of “lowest common denominator” programming languages like Java. Nikon Capture NX-D is a good example of this kind of lazy programming. Even Adobe is at fault for trying this approach over the years by using Flash/Air as a multi-platform installer. No other word for it than: trash!

  • FB

    Well, the video seminars they posted on vimeo show the software working on TIFF copies from raw, exactly like Silver FX. So it’s really the same thing. The only difference I can see it’s layers, and the fact that you prepare the color picture in Tonality instead of doing it in Aperture/Lightroom, to get the biggest amount of image information to work with once you move to b/w toning. So maybe Tonality is an interesting option for those who are looking for a dedicated b/w toning software/plugin, but if you have already invested in Nik, I don’t think there’s a reason to change. My 2 cents, anyway

  • Chang

    Thanks for the update. I am curious how you differentiate yourself from the competition, but I am not really your target market, since I’ve largely gone back to (real) film. I’ll keep it in mind should digital call me back. All the best.

  • anonymous322

    So I downloaded the trial. It appears to be Silver Efex, with less control and more halos. What am I missing?

  • anonymous322

    If you’re doing any printing, you should be interested in Sharpener Pro as well. I haven’t found anything that sharpens for printing as well.

  • Marcelo Teson

    Thank you for coming in. Quick question, have you considered making this material available as a plugin for video? I would totally use this in my RAW workflow with my Blackmagic cameras. I can do it through Lightroom but I’d rather go through my video stuff like Resolve or even FCPX. I’m sure that’s a whole other headache, but just so you know, there is a market for it :)

  • vivanteco

    “A great developer creates great software using the tools and built in functionalities…”

    Really? Did you just make this up or is there a list somewhere that we should all be measuring ourselves against?

    I think you’re confusing “ported” software with poorly done ports. There are numerous examples of great multi-platform applications; Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop & LIghtroom, DXO Optics, Nik Suite are a few examples of software that I personally use on both Windows and Macintosh.

  • Alex @ Macphun Software
  • Alex @ Macphun Software
  • Alex @ Macphun Software

    Video products are part of the future roadmap, so stay tuned.

  • Alex @ Macphun Software

    What’s your name anonymous322?

  • Doc Pixel

    “…great multi-platform applications; Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop & LIghtroom, DXO Optics, Nik Suite”

    I find it interesting that you chose large software developers with immense budgets to critique my post. Also, thanks for supporting my argument with your choices.

    Because most anyone will tell you that MS Office obviously works better and is only feature complete when used on Windows. You should know that if your using them both (how’s Outlook or VB Script on the Mac for example). While iOS MS Office is a great suite because MS was forced as every other dev is to use Xcode (the point I was trying to make).

    As for Adobe: I may get seriously down-voted here for saying it, but PS was developed on and for a Mac originally, and Macs are very prominent today in all of the sales tools, tutorials, and used by AdobeTV/YouTube evangelists. There’s a hint there. While Adobe did decide in the early ’00’s to pointedly start dev’ing with Windows first in mind when Apple itself was on shaky ground, the portions before CC that made PS “cross-platform” for Adobe, was mostly a nuisance and hack job for both Windows and Mac users alike (i.e. the installers and control panels using Flash).

    As for Lightroom, I admit to guessing here, but a certain amount of logic points to LR being developed on separate dev trees (not a port), so that Adobe can leverage and sync their recent Lightroom for iOS with the OSX version easier and more efficiently.

    At the end of the day, there are definitely compromises to “ports” of all kinds whether from big name or small software houses. I personally tend to prefer using software that doesn’t make compromises for the sake of marketing “cross-platform”, and use the “first host” OS version instead (ACDSee comes to mind for example).

    For small developers like macPhun, I think it’s better for them to stick to the platform they’re comfortable with and strive to make the software ever better within the OS Core frameworks before… or if they ever decide to… venture into “cross-platform compatibility”, which IMHO is spelled: compromise.

  • imajez

    Same issue here.

  • Alex @ Macphun Software
  • OaklandWasp

    I know somebody mentioned a comparison with Silver Efex; I downloaded the demo and started comparing side by side.

    A couple things I like right off are that Tonality can act alone; Efex can run as a stand alone application, but rather badly. I use LR and both work fine as plugins. I also like layers; I can already see a lot of stuff to do with those. Looks like this is gonna be interesting. The adaptive exposure control was very cool; I got some great effects with it faster than fiddling with changes in mid range with Efex.

    I liked the brush tool. Efex’s control points are wonderful and very intelligent, but sometimes it’s nice to just use a tool like a brush; more intuitive at times.

    And someone mentioned that Google/Nik bundle. Macphun also has one, although I don’t think this application is in it. I own Snapheal Pro and Intensify Pro, and like both. I really wish that in addition to the bundles, or instead of, Macphun offered a discount to those that already have some of the other Pro applications, since many, like me, probably bought them as they came out. Hint, hint.

  • Rick

    How many downloads are provided per single purchase? Is there just a single download per computer or is it like my Lightroom software (LR comes with two downloads per purchase…one download for my Mac Pro laptop and another for my larger Mac desktop for a desk top.)

  • OaklandWasp

    I assume you are asking about the terms of the license, not downloads, and how many computers you can use it on. I read their EULA and it seems to allow you, the authorized user, to use it on any computer you work on. In other words, if it’s only you using it you’re OK on more than one computer. The non-Pro versions you get at the Mac App Store are covered by the Apple terms for stuff sold there, which I seem to recall is five computers.

  • Rick

    Yes, I was asking about the terms of the license. Thanks for the information!