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Keep All Of Your Design Inspirations In One Place On Your Mac With Ember

Keep All Of Your Design Inspirations In One Place On Your Mac With Ember

July 23, 2013

Realmac Software, those fine guys behind great apps like Clear and Analog Camera, have just released Ember for Mac ($49), which aims to be your digital scrapbook.

For those who are unaware, Ember used to be a webapp that allowed users to browse images and add them to their own collection for some inspiration later, when they needed it. This was in the days before Dribbble. Realmac also had an app called LittleSnapper (no longer available), which is what this app has replaced. However, Ember is proving to be a great replacement, and well worth the money.

For those who already have LittleSnapper (and running the latest version v1.8.5), your entire library (or multiple libraries) can be imported into Ember upon launch, so the process is quite painless.

So what is Ember all about? It’s an app that allows you to store photos, images, drawings and sketches, screenshots, websites, and basically any other image you could get inspired by. The left pane will feature three tabs: Your Collection, Subscriptions, and Browser.

With Your Collection, Ember already has several Smart Collections set up, like Screen, so that any screenshot you add in the app will be found here first. The app can also detect when you are adding screenshots from your iPhone or iPad, so there are Smart Collections for those set up as well. You can create your own manual collections or even a Smart Collection, with parameters that you control. To help you organize your collection, Ember has support for tags, which you can create and then drag onto the image you want.

To capture images, you can use the provided in-app browser in Ember, which has the option to be in full-width for your monitor, or you can even choose between iPad (landscape and portrait) or iPhone optimizations. Or, the easier option is to use Ember’s system menubar option, where it will sit, tucked away, ready for you when you need it. Click on it, and it provides users with the option for a fullscreen, timed fullscreen, area, or window snap. Each snap will be saved appropriately in your collection, ready for further action.

You can view thumbnails of all of your snaps in the Collections view. Additionally, each image can be further annotated if need be, thanks to Ember’s nifty image editor. This editor mode provides users with text and drawing tools, and even a cropper and rotate tool for further tweaking. Users can also view information about each selected snap, which includes the title (can be renamed), type of snap, tags, descriptions, URL links, and even star ratings.

Images can be shared with others through AirDrop, email, iMessage, export, Facebook, Twitter, CloudApp, Flickr, and Tumblr. This is great if you want to share your inspiration with others, or are just looking for a second opinion.

Ember’s Subscriptions feature is pretty nifty, as you can add from a pre-made selection of inspirational feeds, or you can add your own via RSS/Atom. In these subscriptions, you are able to view images in a viewer, with all of the thumbnails appearing at the bottom, where you can scroll through horizontally. Double-clicking will add it to your collection, so you can annotate and share. There’s a button to take you to the webpage as well, if you want to view the original in all its glory.

I’ve been playing with the app for the past couple of days and have to say that I am thoroughly impressed. It has powerful features for snaps, and I love the small little design touches, especially the transitions when switching views and the animations for other options, such as the crop. There’s a lot of polish to the app, and it’s quite a delight to use.

If you want to keep your own digital scrapbook of inspiration for reference later, or just to have a collection of encouragement, then you’ll want to check out Ember for Mac. It’s available in the Mac App Store for $49.

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