compose. design. create.

professional image editing toolbox

photo composition wunderkind

award winning layout designer

cf/x alpha

cf/x alpha

Professional photo composition, image editing and layout design

Not your usual image editor: unlike pixel editors, alpha is a powerful composition engine. You no longer edit individual pixels – you are now working with images. alpha’s tools are crafted accordingly, and using them may require you to re-think image composition. We mean that in a GOOD way. Finally you can compose images the way you always wanted.

cf/x alpha specializes in image transparency and blending, packaged in a powerful non-destructive object editor. Create perfect compositions from your images or take your digital scrapbooking to the next level – with just a few mouse clicks. At any resolution you like. Or take a bunch of pictures, and quickly create a beautiful collage with stunning blends and other effects. Render your work once for press, then again for your digital brochure. Then export your composition (complete with all complex transparency) to your web page – or use them as textures for your TV, movie or other production.

Templates, Templates, Templates
alpha 2.0 includes a wide array of professionally designed templates for ‘Composite-‘ or ‘Sed-Cards’, Posters, Yearbooks, Postcards, Collages, etc. Use them to jump-start your own designs.
Of course you can also create your own styles and add them to your templates at the touch of a button.

Blending Images
This is one of alpha’s signature features. It allows you to manipulate transparency like a text editor allows you to edit words: naturally. Use the built-in transparency managers to assemble images with complex transparency in real time.
Of course, cf/x alpha also natively supports external blend masks and transparency if you have them.

Image effects (f/x)
alpha features more than 80 non-destructive f/x that you can use to touch-up your source images, or apply to the myriad of different objects that alpha supports (e.g. text, panels, frames). All effects are high-quality, fully configurable, stackable, real-time, and buzzword-compliant.

Text Objects
cf/x alpha fully supports text. Unlike most other Apps, alpha lets you treat text as if it was any other image with complex alpha: add any f/x or blend to them. Here’s something to try: Type some text, apply the ‘Sculpt’ effect, then apply the ‘Curl’ blend to see the letters first transform into metal, and then lift off in 3D!

Smart Images
In alpha, image objects are ‘Smart’ – you can easily exchange the underlying image, but keep all effects and other properties. They interact with any other application, allowing you to change images simply by drag and drop. Image objects no longer need to actually have an image assigned – even if you add effects and blends to them.

Layout Generators
alpha’s collage generators can create an ‘Image Heap’, a ‘Scatter’ or an Image-‘Sweep’ and -‘Grid’ and assemble over 1000 images in a few seconds – it can also arrange the collage “by shape”. And of course it includes the crowd-pleasing advanced Mosaic (image-from-images) generator that is so popular that it spawned it’s own App.

High-Quality Render & Export your artwork
Once your composition is completed, render and export it (with transparency) to different dpi and file formats (PNG, JPG, PDF, BMP, TIFF, PSD, etc. – quality is only restricted by input sources).

alpha directly exports to iPhoto, Aperture, the desktop (background wallpaper) or the, and can share via eMail or upload to flickr.

Date: 2015-Jan-08

USD $229.99

A license can be purchased directly from within the trial version.
Also available from the Mac App Store.



Macintosh (Intel, 64 bit)
OSX 10.7

How to

To quickly get into alpha, follow these simple steps:

1. Getting images into alpha (Import)
Start by dragging one or more images or folders from iPhoto, Aperture, the media browser or the finder onto the canvas. alpha supports all common image file formats. Once you have some images on the canvas, start to resize, then try the ‘Restore Proportions’ and the killer-feature ‘Best Fit’ commands. See how you can get a perfect fit for any frame from your images with a single command.

2. Individual Image Composition
alpha’s strength lies in photo composition – both inside, and in-between frames. Lets begin with a common task: recomposing individual photographs. Select one image on the canvas. To

  • pan, by holding spacebar and then click-and-drag the mouse inside
  • zoom, use the command key and
  • crop, use the control key and any of the eight handles.

Notice the composition guides when you zoom or pan an image. Use them to perfect your composition. alpha has different guides that you can activate any time: ‘Rule-of-thirds’, and the advanced ‘Fibonacci Spiral approximation’.

Templates, Templates, Templates

alpha 2.0 comes with a full set of professional templates. Use any of the provided templates for ‘Composite-‘ or ‘Sed-Cards’, Posters, Yearbooks, Collages, Calendars etc.

All templates are instantly available from the new template browser.

Of course you can also create your own styles and add them to your templates at the touch of a button. Create and use templates to greatly accelerate your workflow. 

Create contact sheets, designs, pixel accurate Web-layouts, CI branded documents or scrapbooks in record time.

Blending Images

You get a first glimpse of alpha’s composition power when you put images on top of each other. Here’s how:

Select an image. On the Composition palette switch to ‘Blend’ and choose one of the 30+ blends (e.g. Left/Right, Gradient, Oval or 3D).

Observe how alpha blends the image in realtime with anything below it. Move the object on top of another, then play with the blend controls (you may also want to try different blend methods (e.g. ‘Difference’, ‘Overlay’ or’Multiply’). 

You can stack blends per image and groups, creating intricate blend effects (it’s these blend capabilities that some of our clients claim they would have killed for before alpha was available).

Of course, cf/x alpha also natively supports external blend masks and transparency if you have them.

Applying effects (f/x)

Built-in non-destructive f/x can touch-up your source images

Although alpha is not a pixel editor, it features 80+ stackable realtime f/x. To add an effect, select an image. Look at the Composition palette, and switch to the ‘f/x’ tab. Select any effect from the pop-up menu. That effect will be added to the image. f/x are individually configurable with the sliders that appear below the effect list.

cf/x alpha currently sports over eighty real-time effects that run the gamut from color correction over stylize effects to annotation. Just try to remember that alpha is not an image editor…?

Text Objects

cf/x alpha introduces ‘First Class’ text objects. These are normal text objects as you know them from lesser applications – except that in alpha 2.0 you can apply any blend and f/x to them: Try the ‘Sculpt’ effect, then apply the ‘Curl’ blend to see the letters first transform into metal, and then lift off into 3D!

And if that is not enough: 

  • Font size can either be set manually or have it adjusted automatically based on the objects frame or relative to the canvas size.
  • Unicode and all standard scripts are supported (e.g. Kanji)
  • Text can be linked to Images (and access their properties) and supports ‘Autotext’ like date, document name etc.

Smart Objects

In alpha, objects are ‘Smart’ – you  can easily exchange the images, but retain all effects and other properties. They interact with any other application, allowing you to change images simply by drag and drop. Image objects no longer need to actually have an image assigned – even if you add effects and blends to them.

Use this to build stunning, easy-to-use templates. 

Or reverse the process – use any complete composition, ‘clear’ the frames – and you have a template. All settings, f/x and blends are preserved.

Shapes, Light, Gradients…

alpha sports a palette with additional objects – such as shapes and gradients. Like all other object in alpha, they are fully configurable, and support all f/x and blends applied to them.

Use a red-to-yellow gradient, and blend it into an existing image to quickly (and in high quality) simulate a color lens filter. Do the same with a radial blend to simulate vignetting. Use the rectangular and round frames to add beautiful frames around your images – then use the ‘Sculpt’ f/x to turn them into metal. Use one of the many shapes to create the perfect drop-shadow. 

Or insert any of the fully configurable lighting objects (flash, lens flare, starburst) into your image – after the fact.
The possibilities are limitless.

Once you have completed the basic tour, lets proceed with some crowd pleasers:

Collage Generators: alpha’s collage generators can create an ‘Image Heap’, a ‘Scatter’ or an Image-‘Sweep’ and -‘Grid’ and assemble over 1000 images in a few seconds. While impressive and a boon to many artists, the killer generator is alpha’s “arrange by shape”.
Fill canvas: Use this functionality to have alpha automatically compose a collage with all items from the canvas (all remain fully editable).

Mosaic: The final attraction is the mosaic generator. It’s significantly more advanced than most other mosaic generators in many ways. For example, it allows for variably sized images, it can ‘wiggle’ tiles during assembly etc.

Render and Export your artwork

Once your composition is completed, render and export it (with transparency) to different dpi and file formats (PNG, JPG, PDF, BMP, PICT, PSD – quality is only restricted by input sources). Enter the export module simply by clicking on the ‘Export’ tool or use the respective icons from the toolbar.

In addition to exporting to file, alpha directly exports to iPhoto, Aperture, the desktop (background wallpaper) or the, and can share via eMail or upload to flickr.

Detailed documentation is available from the Help Menu inside the application.

Other cf/x applications