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Review update – Tonality Pro v1.2

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Review update – Tonality Pro 1.2

Software from Macphun to create black and white images

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Macphun have just released an update to their Apple Mac software package that produces black and white (monochrome) images from colour source images.

It even offers layers for combining and masking adjustments – normally associated with advanced image processing, such as in Photoshop, where it’s been a key element of Keith’s image editing workflow for many years.

Note: Keith has produced a free set of ‘City Lights’ presets for Tonality


I’m looking at the software working as a Photoshop plugin here – this needs the Pro version. The Pro version does add several other refinements to functionality. This also refers to the CK (Creative Kit) version. There is much more detail in my original Tonality Pro review, including many more examples of just what you can do with this versatile package.

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April 2016 V1.4.1 Tonality is further updated with improved RAW support and a large collection of new preset photo editing options. “Preset Packs from World­Famous Photographers -Tonality users will now have access to a free preset library, created by professional photographers from around the world. To access the library, users simply need to click “Get more presets” from inside the software.”
Tonality Pro – latest update details

New for V1.2

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There are a few layout changes to the screen design, but nothing new to catch you out.

The software runs noticeably faster during my testing on my Mac Pro – not necessarily the overall processing time, but the interface feels snappier to use.

A new luminosity slider has been added and there are many more presets to experiment with. I find they make great starting points for exploring just what all the sliders do, and how you can change them for images of your own. The start-up screen is virtually the same – the red ‘M’ takes you to other Macphun applications.

Macphun Tonality Pro V1.2 startup

The initial image is always the most basic conversion from your colour image to B&W

Tonality Pro – What do you get?

The software will install as a trial version. This needs activating once you have purchased a copyist software installs as a stand-alone application.

To use it as a plugin for other image editing programs, you’ll need to install the plugin options. The software finds any relevant software and will install as needed.

Using Tonality Pro

I’ll show some examples with this shot of the old Pfister and Vogel warehouse in Leicester (Grade 2 listed)

Pfister and Vogel warehouse, Leicester

As you can see, there are a lot of adjustments available.

Don’t worry though – the presets at the bottom right are a good place to start if you’re new to the software…

basic colour to B&W conversion

I’ll use a split view to show different processing options, but most of the time I’d be working with just a single view of the image.

In the view below, the right hand image has had a slight contrast boost. Move your mouse over the image and you’ll see the different type of ‘Smart’ contrast – the effect of this is much more dependent on image content.

Original ImageHover Image

An adjustment that is more content based is found in the Clarity and Structure section.

The three settings apply to different scales of image detail.

Move your mouse over the image below to see

Original ImageHover Image

It’s this style of adjustment that can easily produce halos and artefacts, that for me can effectively ruin an image.

Fortunately there is a protection slider too.

Fine detail is something to turn up sparingly – move your mouse over the image below, although when looking at adjustments like this you’d likely want to zoom in a bit more.

Original ImageHover Image

When colour matters

The basic conversion from colour to B&W can be tweaked to change the overall tonality of the image.

In the scene from The Great Sand Dunes NP (Colorado) below, turning down the blues a bit darkens the blue sky.

clarity structure and filter

See some of my other articles directed at black and white photography for some discussions about how much you might want to do in a plugin like Tonality and how much is best left to Photoshop.

The colour controls can be used for partial colour desaturation.

selective colour

With split toning, I’ve added a bit of ‘Glow’ to the image.

adding a glow

Textures can be added, such as this crunched up paper.

Add a texture

Here’s a 100% crop, where I’ve added some grain as well.

texture and grain

How about a frame effect?

Note that the frame cuts into the image, so you might want to increase the canvas size beforehand, if there is important detail around the edges.

Frames added to images

Preset adjustments

There are masses of preset options to experiment with – give them a try?

To my taste many are awful and I can think of no reason I’d use them, but tastes differ!

range of preset adjustment styles

I tried out a number of the ‘HDR’ style presets…

An HDR style image

As any regular reader will know, I have a hearty dislike for a lot of ‘tone mapped’ and HDR style images I see, but here’s an example, of the Pfister and Vogel building.

Note how few obvious halo effects there are…

Pfister and Vogel, Leicester. faded image

Masking and Layers

What about if you only want to apply an effect to part of the image? There’s more about the masking and layering capabilities of Tonality in the original review, but it’s a feature of the plugin that reflects one of the key elements of my photo editing in Photoshop (and one reason Lightroom fails for me)

Take this view of a building near my home. This is the ‘basic’ conversion.

Move your mouse over the image to see a second layer, with a very different range of settings.

Original ImageHover Image

The second version brings out much more contrast in the building, but over-processes the sky.

By masking the second layer, I can ‘paint in’ the higher contrast layer – this is the same as reversing the process and painting out the areas where you don’t want the effect. Which approach works best depends on what you are doing.

Move your mouse over to see the effect just applied to the building.

Original ImageHover Image

The way the second layer is mixed with the first is given through a choice of blending mode.

This enables all kinds of subtle and conditional applications of one layer to another.

The mask in this example has just been painted in, but could be based on the luminosity of the image. Check out Macphun’s site for lots of examples and tutorials covering the quite advanced features found in Tonality Pro.

blending modes


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Tonality Pro works well, and the latest update refines its functionality further, with an added bump in responsiveness.

If you’re careful not to push all sliders too far, it’s also very good at avoiding some of the sharpening artefacts and halos that can all too easily give an ‘overcooked’ or over-processed look to your images.

Have a look at the original full review for many more details and examples.

I’ve also written a lengthy review of Macphun’s Intensify Pro software, which works in similar ways to Tonality. It includes quite a few black and white examples too.


Black and white image processing with masking and layers support. Simpler preset options give easy way into using the software

Works as a standalone or plugin application.

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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)
Image formats handled
  • RAW images 8-bit, 16-bit (Including .NEF for Nikon and .CRW2 for Canon)
  • PSD (Intensify Pro)
  • TIFF 8-bit, 16-bit
  • PNG
  • JPEG
  • Possibility to save progress (.MPI)
  • RGB 8- and 16-bit
Tonality Pro features

Works as a plug-in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements and Apple Aperture

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