I had a chance to see the new release Intensify from Macphun live in New York recently. I must say that the application does exactly what it promises to help you “discover the beauty in the details.”

The app is designed as a way to quickly improve tone, color and contrast. There are two versions of the application (available only for Mac users). I am reviewing the standard edition from the Mac App store.


  • Intensify — Available only in the Mac App store for $29.99. It runs as a standalone app. This is an introductory price and it will switch to $39.99 in the future.
  • Intensify Pro — Available only from the company website for $59.99. The pro edition offers some extra features like the ability to use it as a Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture plug-in. Many of the controls also offer detailed refinement features for Sharpness, Structure, and Vignettes. Important for those who need to print, you can also see Histograms to check for tonal range clipping and pixel saturation.

What It Can Open

The application works best with 16-bit images. In fact its raw decoder is quite good.

  • RAW images 8-bit, 16-bit (Including .NEF for Nikon and .CRW2 for Canon)
  • TIFF 8-bit, 16-bit
  • PNG
  • JPEG
  • RGB 8- and 16-bit
  • PSD (Intensify Pro)

What it Does

The application is very easy to use and to get results. It’s all about adding detail to images with precise control over contrast, structure, detail and sharpening. What I like is that you can apply different values across different tonal ranges and even use masking within the application to brush in effects or layers to stack effects.

The application is very good at getting results. With almost 70 easy presets (sorted into logical categories) you can quickly explore what each can do. You can also create your own presets and share with others to expand your collection.


I find the Compare view quite useful to see where my image started and where it currently stands. The application is very good at avoiding image artifacts (particularly if you give it a raw image).


I use presets to get a starting point, then click the Adjust button next to each name to see the settings used in the Adjust tab.  Now you can take total control over the development of the image.


Notable Adjustments

There are some really good controls here. I love how much detail the application can pull out of single images.  This is a truly impressive application that rewards the user with great results with minimal effort. The application is also quite snappy and showing changes as you adjust sliders.


  • Structure. Emphasize details (especially fine details).  This works best in smooth areas or low contrast areas. The adjustment can be selectively applied to highlights, midtones and shadows to create more natural result.
  • Details. Bring out hidden details (especially in clouds) without adding artifacts or noise. Details can be controlled separately for the Shadows and Highlights the image. Precisely adjust highlights, midtones and shadows and refine using the Offset controls to redefine which area is affected.
  • Micro Sharpness. Can add details to the image without noise or artifacts.

Things to Note

Just a few things to point out.

  • There is no visible upgrade path. So make sure you choose between the Mac App store version and the Pro version. Macphun says owners of  the standard version can contact the company through their website to crossgrade to the pro version.
  • It’s a Mac only product (but that’s the case with everything from a company called Macphun).
  • The Help menu doesn’t work (but there are some tutorials on the company’s website). You can also visit this link –


System Requirements

  • Mac OS 10.7 and above
  • Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor
  • 4GB RAM and more
  • Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS5, CS6 or CC; Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, 5 or later; Apple Aperture 3.2 or later, Photoshop Elements 10 -12 (App Store version is not supported due to Apple Sandboxing)


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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. So is it of real value to those who use LR and PS with Nik, Topaz and onOne plug-ins? (Please note: this is a serious question.)

  2. Hi Richard – Thanks for the review – a good thorough one by the way! ;-)

    Re: your “Things to Note” section – upgrades: Folks who purchase Intensify on the Mac App Store can now easily upgrade to the Pro version from our website w/o calling the Support team. > then click the “Upgrade to Pro from Standard” text link below the Buy button on that page. Purchasers of the Upgrade must have the App Store version installed on their system when installing the Upgrade.

    Kevin (from Macphun Software)

    • I’ve been using Intensify Pro and it is terrific. MUCH better than Apple’s Aperture. Powerful editing, logical intuitive interface, clear instructional videos. It can lighten the darks without ruining your contrast and can recover the blownout areas better. Support is great.


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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


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