Even though it’s known as “black and white photography,” balanced grays are what make monochrome images striking or flat. Today, MacPhun released Tonality 1.2 ($18) and Tonality Pro 1.2 ($70), tools designed specifically for making the best possible black and white images from color photos. Both versions work with popular photo library management tools, newly including the Mac version of Apple Photos. The Pro version now plugs into Adobe’s new Lightroom CC, and adds RAW support for both new cameras and Lightroom.

Like MacPhun’s excellent noise-removing app Noiseless, Tonality uses a super-simple interface to let you preview potential changes to your images. The window’s bottom initially scrolls across 13 “Basic” presets, ranging from the intelligent “Adaptive Exposure” to the simpler “Underexposed;” 10 different categories collectively contain 150 different presets. Each preset effect starts at maximum, but can be muted using a single slider. Power users can access a right-side pane with controls for exposure, contrast, clarity, structure/micro-structure, color and tone filters, split-toning, glow, blur, vignette, and grain. Additionally, masking tools and a gradient filter let you alter specific areas of your images while leaving others untouched. The differences are so dramatic that you’ll never feel satisfied with a one-step “apply B&W filter” button again.

Tonality is currently being offered at an introductory price of $13 through the Mac App Store, with Tonality Pro at $60 through the company’s web site. Additional photo galleries of the app in action are below…

Preset usage examples are above, with more shots of the manual controls and layers below.

This gallery of images shows how various black and white effects can radically impact the look of an image with only a few easy clicks.

Tonality and Tonality Pro are killer tools, and certainly worth checking out if you appreciate the beauty of monochromatic photography.

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