August 17, 2016
For years we've had people ask for Acorn's documentation in PDF form, and as a response to that we created the Acorn 5 Basics PDF which you can download from the main documentation page. It was only ever a subset of the entire documentation however.
Ever since the iPad came out, and with it iBooks, we've been wanting to turn Acorn's online documentation into a downloadable ePub. In theory this is pretty easy to do- all of our online documentation is pushed up as HTML, and that's the native format of ePubs. But ePub readers don't support the full range of HTML that web browsers do, so there were a ton of little things to clean up and organize.
Anyway, this is a long way of saying we have the Acorn 5 documentation available as an ePub for you: Acorn 5.epub. You can download all 1100+ pages of Acorn's documentation and read it in iBooks either on your Macintosh or iOS device.
It's pretty awesome. And since this is a first run of it, we're calling this a beta. We'll clean up things in future releases of the ePub. And if you find any problems in it, please let us know.
August 2, 2016
Earlier today I typed in the magic commands which perform the Acorn release song and dance, which means Acorn 5.5 has been released for everyone. It's available via direct update as well as the Mac App Store, so go grab it when you get a second.
What's new and interesting in 5.5? For starters, I've rewritten the color picker loupe tool so that it Does The Right Thing (tm) regarding display color profiles and sampling colors from anywhere on the screen. We've also given it a few new tricks for zooming in and out when sampling colors as well. It also looks better than the standard system one Acorn used previously.
We've also added new dithering filters, new layer alignment options, and additional information about your image in the Metadata window.
Changes in Acorn 5.5 include various color profile improvements including reworking how colors are matched to the your image's profile before they hit the display, as well converting incoming colors from the color picker to the right color space. Cleaning up these seemingly little things really make a difference now that wide gamut displays are showing up everywhere these days.
And as I always do, I close up bugs that we find along the way. The full release notes are available on our website. And while you're reading about what's new, make sure to scroll down and see what else we've changed since Acorn 5 was released. We've put out 10 updates to Acorn 5 in just under a year with over 100 new things and tweaks, so I won't fault you if you might have missed one or two.
Acorn 5.5 is a free update for anyone who has already purchased Acorn 5 and it runs on macOS 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, and 10.12 Sierra.
July 22, 2016
macOS Sierra is just around the corner, and if you're running the beta or developer seeds of it you're of course going to want to know if your favorite application, Acorn 5, is compatible with it.
And it is of course.
There is at least one Sierra issue we are aware of (in beta 3, and it's totally Apple's fault). Exporting deep images (aka, 16 bits per component) is currently broken in the developer and public betas. I've filed a radar with Apple and this is such a serious oversight on their part, that I'm sure it'll be fixed pretty soon (#27285115 ImageIO problemo).
Update August 1st, 2016: Apple has fixed this bug in beta 4, and we are no longer aware of any issues with Acorn and 10.12 Sierra.
If you're running the Sierra betas and you encounter any crashes, bugs, or other issues let us know right away! We want to make sure we don't miss anything.
September 29, 2015
It doesn't happen very often, but I'm releasing two updates to Acorn today: 5.1 as well as 4.5.6. If you're running the direct version, you can use the Acorn ▸ Check for Updates… menu item to grab the latest version. If you're using the App Store version, you're going to have to wait a bit for Apple to review and approve it.
First up- what's new in Acorn 5.1?
Some bug fixes, as well as minor compatibility fixes for OS X 10.11 El Capitan (most of the 10.11 fixes were in Acorn 5.0.1 already). But there are also some neat new features if you'd like to script Acorn from the command line, as well as Taptic feedback when aligning things to guides or canvas edges (this is available on 10.11+).
And another slightly big thing- basic SVG support. This has been a huge request for a number of years, and I'm happy to finally have something started for you in Acorn 5.1. Acorn doesn't support all the features that SVG provides (nor should it)- but it does a pretty decent job of getting vector objects and layers out of Acorn in a scalable format that'll be around for years to come. Look for more SVG improvements in future releases of Acorn as well.
And what's new in Acorn 4.5.6?
Compatiblity with OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and other bug fixes. Acorn 4 is still a great usable app- and we'd like to keep it that way.
We've also submitted Acorn 4.5.6 to the App Store- though it's been removed from sale. I've never tried updating an app that's been removed from sale, but hopefully it'll sail right through review without any problems.
August 21, 2015
Apple's yearly Mac OS release is coming down the tracks, scheduled to crash into everybody sometime this fall. One of the great new features of El Capitan is a completely new "modern" version of the Core Image framework. Acorn uses the heck out of this framework, and does some interesting things with it.
Which is to say that there's some interesting bugs associated with Acorn and 10.11.
I've spent a good amount of time this summer finding bugs and reporting them to Apple when I can create a reproducible case. Apple has been good at fixing some of these as well, and I've been cleaning up places where Acorn was playing fast and loose with the Core Image in ways it probably shouldn't have been.
Acorn 5 shipped with a bunch of these fixes, and Acorn 4.5.6 is currently being worked on as well (we didn't forget about Acorn 4 just because 5 is out the door!).
So the current status is: there are a couple of known issues (like auto levels crashing), but both Acorn 4.5.6 and Acorn 5.0 are working pretty good on 10.11. However- if you encounter any bugs with it, we'd love to know about them. Let us know if you find any: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 20, 2015
Acorn 5 is out now, and it even comes with a 14 day trial so you have no excuse not to try it.
We worked hard on it, and we think it's pretty awesome. We're biased of course, and you can check the release notes for the full details, but here are three of my favorite new features:
New Thing: The Shape Processor. It's a collection of non destructive filters that work on vector shapes instead of pixels.
In the example above we start with the white shape on the left, and then combining four filters together to make the flower on the right. Here's what the settings look like:
If this looks a lot like the filter that Acorn already has… well, that's on purpose. Shape processors are of course non-destructive and save along with Acorn's native file format. So you can save your image, open it back up, and tweak the settings as you'd like. You can make some really fun stuff with it and it turns out to be super useful for lots of things.
New Filters: Curves and Levels. But wait - Acorn already has Curves and Levels, right? Yes, but in Acorn 5 they are baked into the existing filter chain. So now you can add Levels to your Curves and then a blur and then why not add Curves again after that and finish with a Drop Shadow filter? Then save the file and open it upagain and remove the second Curves because that's just too much what were you thinking? And then you realize Curves and Levels are now non-destructive and that's amazing.
Hundreds of Little Things: We fixed hundreds of minor bugs and annoyances. Little things that built up over the years that very few people ever encountered, like "the shortcut key for zooming in doesn't work when the keyboard layout is set to Dvorak - Qwerty ⌘". So we fixed pretty much all of those. It took months and months of work, it was super boring and mind numbing and it was really hard to justify, and it made Acorn 5 super late. But we did it anyway, because something in us felt that software quality has been going downhill in general, and we sure as heck weren't going to let that happen to Acorn. So we took a long break from adding features and just fixed stuff.
There's lots more of course (snapping, crop improvements, soft brushes for clone/burn/etc, shape tool improvements, more blend modes, image meta-data editing, Photoshop brush support, etc). So grab Acorn and start playing with it right now.
And I'll go back to answering emails and helping people out.
July 9, 2015
Apple is pushing out a public beta of OS X El Cap (10.11) today for folks. There's always bugs in beta software (otherwise it'd be a final release, right?), so expect to see them if you play with these new bits.
How does Acorn run on 10.11? Pretty good! We've found some issues though, and we've got them fixed in the latest builds (which will be 4.5.6 eventually). So if you're playing with 10.11, please grab that version of Acorn.
And of course- if you find any issues we don't know about, let us know!
June 15, 2015
We've just pushed up Acorn 4.5.5 for direct customers, and the App Store version will be on its way in a couple of weeks (hopefully sooner though - maybe it'll fly through the Apple app review process?).
This release is mostly bug fixes, but it also includes a sharing extension which will work on 10.10 Yosemite. This extension works great with the Photos app, which doesn't have the ability to work with other applications via an "Edit In…" (which its older siblings iPhoto and Aperture had). The sharing solution isn't perfect, but it's the best solution for the time being.
You might have also noticed things have been very quiet around here lately. We've been heads down, working hard on some great new stuff for Acorn. And we hope to show it off sometime in the near future.
January 30, 2015
We've just pushed out Acorn 4.5.4 for direct customers (ie, customers who purchased Acorn from our online store). We submitted Acorn 4.5.4 to the App Store yesterday, but because of the usual delays at Apple, it'll probably take a week or more for it to show up there.
So hang tight, it's coming.
This release includes a handful of bug fixes, so make sure to update when you get a chance.
The release notes are available as always.
January 26, 2015
Jason Snell on Six Colors: Resize and upload images with Acorn and Transmit
"The script loops through every file selected in the Finder, opens them in Acorn, resizes them to the two sizes (or their equivalent sizes if they’re vertical rather than horizontal images) and saves out JPEG files, then uploads them via Transmit. It’s quick and dirty—if anything in the file’s name or path contains a period (other than the filename itself), it won’t work."