I’m about to embark on another calendar production project in iPhoto, and although I generally don’t do much editing of the images I choose, apart from cropping and the basic adjustments iPhoto can make, I’m really tempted to do some additional work in a tool I just learned about, cf/x Software’s cf/x alpha. It’s an image processing tool tweaked toward transparency and blending, enabling a variety of effects that might be difficult to replicate in other programs, ranging from blended collages to mosaics.
In essence, cf/x alpha lets you take one or more images and arrange them into a single new image, using cropping, scaling, zooming, and blending to create a pleasing composition. The software doesn’t just provide basic tools, but has more than 20 customizable blend generators and 70 configurable effects, and it even offers professional composing tools that internalize ways of maximizing impact like the Rule of Thirds and the Fibonacci Spiral. Once you’re done, you can export to many file formats, send images via email, or upload to Flickr.
For instance, the image below is something I created almost accidentally while fiddling with the free calendar templates cf/x Software has available for download; it’s far from polished, but gives a sense of how easy it would be to generate a compelling image. If you’re thinking you might like to spend some of your holiday downtime playing with images, check out the free trial version of cf/x alpha to see what you can do.
There are actually three versions of the software: the $89 entry-level cf/x alpha home that has basic features, the $229 standard edition cf/x alpha that has all the capabilities most people could want, and the $389 cf/x alpha pro with added workflow and automation features.