I love Acorn! But I have a few suggestions that might help those who are new to it. I’m a longtime full time author and heavy user of graphic editors since I make all my illustrations and book covers. For the last 10 years I used Photoshop Elements with great success. I recently bought a MacBook Air and love it! But since I still have PSElements on my iMac and old Pro, I decided to go for Acorn this time. First, many kudos to Gus and Kirstin Mueller, who are the nicest people to ask for help you’ll ever want to meet. It turns out all my problems were because after 10 years of everyday use the workings of PSE were incised into the wrinkles of my brain! So when something would work differently in Acorn, I would panic! But I found, after using Acorn awhile, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Acorn. In fact, after becoming familiar with it, I realized it’s a much more elegant and powerful program than PSE. To those who are switching to Acorn from something else, take heed. You have to use it to know it. Don’t expect to jump into this process and that process without encountering a little confusion along the way. With use comes familiarity, and with familiarity comes confidence, which means you won’t have to whine to the Muellers all that often, if ever.
Here’s where I went waaaay south in the beginning. Every time you invoke an action, Acorn pops up a palette, allowing you to change attributes of the action. PSE handles this differently, hence my confusion. I wasn’t looking for a filters palette, for example, when I was trying to apply styles in Acorn. Once I found it, everything thereafter made total sense. Yes, I know this is clearly demonstrated by Kirstin in her superior tutorials. But PSE had quite a hold on me. Don’t let this happen to you. All the tutorials on Planet Earth won’t help you if you don’t use Acorn to discover these things for yourself.
Something apart from Acorn might be helpful. For 10 years I had been doing all my work on a big iMac screen. I bought a MacBook Air a couple of months ago, and the small screen made me nuts. The font sizes were so small I couldn’t read the Acorn screen. This isn’t a problem with Acorn, (which I thought at first was). It was the fault of a smaller higher resolution screen. It appears Apple sets the font size smaller, probably thinking that the higher resolution on this smaller size would still make things readable. That may be true for very young eyes. But go into System Prefs and try decreasing the screen resolution just one level. It makes a huge difference! I have mine set at 1280 x 800. You can go down two more levels, if you need a still larger image size. The lower the resolution, the larger the font size. Not intuitive, I know. Just try it. I ended my squinting problems instantly when I reset the resolution to just one level down.
Another way to solve the small font problem is to set up the zoom controls. These controls are independent of any app, including Acorn. This makes it possible to zoom in to a specific point on an image. It also hugely increases readability of the Acorn menus and palettes. In Acorn you can do this with Command - plus. But that’s a global zoom. The OS zoom control allows you to easily zoom into a specific spot on the image. First go back to System Prefs > Accessibility > Zoom (left menu window). Now choose Zoom Style as Fullscreen. It will show this already, so don’t change it. Choose the zoom defaults. Get out of System Prefs. To zoom in any app or on the desktop, or in your favorite browser, for that matter, hold down Option and Command, then repeatedly press the plus key to zoom up in increments. To instantly return to normal, press the minus key instead of the plus key. I’ve been spoiled on my big iMac screen and its easy readability, but I love my Air more because I can sit in my easy chair in front of the TV rather than sit on a cranky office chair in my home office.
Hope these suggestions help. In closing I have to say that Acorn is far and away the most powerful and elegant graphic editor I’ve ever used, and I’ve been at this for a good 20 years. Every time I change graphic editors I go through this nonsense with myself. Photoshop on my first Mac with its nine-inch screen, Super Paint, PaintShop Pro for the PC arghhhhh!, Enhance, Photoshop Elements, GIMP arghhh again!, and now Acorn. Acorn is the Mustang in the group while the rest are just Fords. Keep all this in mind when you start using Acorn. All graphic editors work pretty much the same, but it’s what’s under the hood that counts. Hmmm…. I wonder if Gus is thinking about developing a drivable version of Acorn.
Good luck with Acorn!