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Editorial Software

Dvorak on 'Rinky-Dink' Software Rant 468

DigitalDame2 writes "John C. Dvorak explores the trials and tribulations of photo editing software and why it's so difficult to use. Unless you are using these programs full-time, you spend a lot of time trying to figure things out. Is it too much to ask for a simple and powerful software program that can do the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop?"
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Dvorak on 'Rinky-Dink' Software Rant

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  • I agree. (Score:4, Funny)

    by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:33AM (#13869727) Journal
    Which is why I use MSPaint.

    • Parent is Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheStonepedo ( 885845 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:39AM (#13869757) Homepage Journal
      The comment is at least 100% funny. The fact that it makes fun of the subject of the article rather than making fun of Dvorak makes it even funnier and somewhat refreshing. MS Paint is an alternative for Photoshop, regardless of its simplicity and ugliness. Kids can use all of MS Paint's functions while many adults struggle to use Photoshop.
      • Yeah. Making fun of Dvorak is like shooting fish in a barrel.

        "There's an expression we do not use enough. Rinky-dink."

        I guess he hasn't heard what the girls say about him...
      • by gerardlt ( 529702 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @07:17AM (#13870488)
        Unfortunately, you forget that many kids can use Photoshop functions while many adults struggle to use MS Paint.
      • Tuxpaint? (Score:4, Informative)

        by matt me ( 850665 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @07:26AM (#13870507)
        Now compare Tuxpaint to MS Paint and you that these two programs are in no way equivalents. MS Paint is not for children, just an image editor preserved from 1995 that is so appalling by todays standards it is only used by children. Tuxpaint IS meant for children (and has the bright colours and gimmicks - I love that magic star brush). What Linux needs is a speedy lightweight photo viewer with the simplest, most handy photo editing facilities. No need for brushes or active editing, just the standard brightness/contrast/rotate/crop/resize/balance tools that are needed to touch up photos, and are lacked (or badly implemented) in MS paint. Similar to that Google Photo program. What I stress is important though, is this program must be speedy enough to be used as the standard photo viewer. It takes a moment for me to view a photo in GNOME, but then it takes 30 seconds to load the GIMP, when all I want to do is rotate it or adjust the balance. Yes I can use mogrify, but the average user just needs to quickly go through their 50 photos when they download them and then rotate and rebalance them individually in the most speedy way thewy can.
        • Re:Tuxpaint? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Asphixiat ( 451920 )
          Try digikam, very fast, made for quickly editing digital photos. The best thing is the quick, intuitive way of editing the red eye.

          you wont be sorry ;)
          • Re:Tuxpaint? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @09:17AM (#13870979) Homepage
            Yeah, digikam has some pretty good tools for photo management and touch ups. I saw a tutorial for removing red eye in gimp [], And it was way too complicated. Complaining about how difficult it is to use a high level professional tool is a little short sighted. Most people couldn't start up autocad and start drawing out a house. Most people couldn't start up visual studio, and program their own operating system. Why would anybody expect to be able to start up photoshop and instantly be transformed into a graphical genius.
      • Re:Parent is Funny (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 )
        Paint actually does a lot of what I want. I can hit Printscreen, open Paint, and then paste the image into a new file. After that, I can crop and then save as a bitmap ot jpeg.

        If they'd add some decent red-eye reduction in there, I'd never need PhotoShop.
    • by numbski ( 515011 ) * <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:58AM (#13869823) Homepage Journal
      It's called iPhoto.

      Affect the things you can, John. --Scorpy
      • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @08:12AM (#13870639) Homepage
        Dvforak is talking about personal photography. iPhoto, wich I use almost on a daily basis, does not fit the bill.

        What Dvorak wants (but was scared to name it because it's only a Mac thing), is Aperture [].
    • Re:I agree. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 )
      I actually find MSPaint a million times easier to use than fuckin' Photoshop or The Gimp. If I make a screenshot under Windows I'll always use MSPaint to crop and scale it, erase unwanted details, edit at a pixel by pixel level, etc. What's truely funny is that MSPaint could be simpler. For example, when you scale an image in MSPaint you have to enter a percentage of the current image size instead of being able to just enter the number of pixels you want it to be.
      • This is a good example of why some programs are better for certain tasks as others. From experience, I rarely use photoshop for simple tasks like cropping or resizing. Small things like that tend to be used in Paint Shop Pro, mostly because it takes a split second to load compared to photoshop. However, if I want to do long-term image manipulation; photoshop, gimp, and open canvas are normally my choice ( in that order ). If i'm working on something that involves drawings or painted art, I tend to use Open
  • whinge whinge (Score:3, Informative)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:34AM (#13869729)
    "we want simple complexity" - yes, when you can tell me how to do that i'll write you the program.
    • I don't think Dvorak expressed himself well but I think he saying he wants user flexibility. He didn't say how this would be achieved, but perhaps a UI that adapts/evolves to how you work instead you adapting to the interface. Also, he implied the "Are you sure you want to do this?" message boxes which I couldn't agree with more - for every 20 that pop up - I may want to cancel the action once. The way to fix

      I often had the same gripe about rigid UI - where I wondered one way around this and invariably m
      • In my first paragraph were I trailed off, I wanted to say:

        "Also, he implied the "Are you sure you want to do this?" message boxes which I couldn't agree with more - for every 20 that pop up - I may want to cancel the action once. The way to fix that is to be able to undo more things. If an action can be undone, hardly any reason to stop and ask you if you are 'sure.'"
  • by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:35AM (#13869734)
    For the love of god, PLEASE stop posting articles from dvorak. It is just sadistic.
    • by Benwick ( 203287 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:46AM (#13869776) Journal
      No sheet! As a former college-level composition instructor, I wish I could get paid to write that badly.

      Even the author knows he's not even trying (e.g. "yes, this is a badly constructed rant!"). This isn't Slashdot-worthy. It's not even kindergarden-worthy. It's crap!

      Approximately 500 words; 0 coherent concepts expressed ("I want a whole bunch of stupid programs put together that don't add up to Photoshop.").

      Grade: F, for "Fired."

    • by lynzh ( 820948 )
      spend a lot of time trying to figure things out.
      Photoshop IS very easy to use, yet very powerful. What software is he using?
      • by vought ( 160908 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:57AM (#13869992)
        Photoshop IS very easy to use, yet very powerful. What software is he using?

        It's OK. I saw the same thing among a lot of middle-aged men when I taught digital imaging workshops. He's probably tearing his hair out, looking for the "make my blurry picture sharp" filter, then worndering why it looks like shit after he applies "Sharpen Edges" eighteen times.

        Photoshop is actually very easy to use, if you understand the basics of selecting, masking, and layering.

        • Select an area you want to affect, apply a change.
        • Mask areas you do not want to change - at different opacities, if necessary.
        • Layer changes to create different effects as desired.

        Photoshop is a professional's tool. Aperture is a professional's tool. Framemaker is a professional's tool.

        Word is rinky-dink software.

        TextEdit is a utility.

        It's time for Dvorak to retire. He's the cranky old man with hairy ears down the block of computer industry journalism.

  • Dear Dvorak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by katana ( 122232 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:35AM (#13869735) Homepage
    People may want only 12 things available, but each person may want a different 12 things. When you put several versions of the "45 things" list together, you get Photoshop. Or, uh, Microsoft Works. Except it doesn't, you see.
    • Re:Dear Dvorak (Score:2, Informative)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 )
      Ya know, the unix philosophy suggests that each of these tasks should be a seperate tool.
      • Re:Dear Dvorak (Score:3, Insightful)

        by utexaspunk ( 527541 )
        yes, and then once we have all these separate tools- one for resize, one for hue/saturation, one for cropping, one for brightness/contrast, one for sharpening, one for softening, one for despeckling, one for mosaic, one for posterizing, etc, etc, etc, we'll think- gee- wouldn't it be nice if there were a common interface for these programs? something that makes it easy to step forward and backward through the changes i've made to my original image? where i can easily, visually select a part of an image once
  • Gimp (Score:2, Insightful)

    I can't say that I have used Photoshop, but aren't script-fu etc in gimp what this bloke wishes were in Photoshop?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:36AM (#13869742)
    Christ if Picasa or iPhoto aren't good enough for simple photo enhancing editing then you -do- need to learn how to use professional editing programs like Gimp or Photoshop.

    I installed Picasa on a person's computer who is a novice at using machines but wanted to make his photo's look a bit better. He nearly fell of the chair when he saw he could simply drag slider bars for highlighting and colouring changes, as simple as it could be.

    Dvoark is a relic.
    • by Freexe ( 717562 ) <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @04:10AM (#13870011) Homepage

      What is he doing using a $600 professional software package to edit photos anyway! This is not a program for your parents to edit their home home holiday snaps on, but a design tool that is very good at what is does.

      I have very few compliants about how complex this software is to use and most of them involve finding and editing muliple layers which shouldn't be a concern if you are editing photos.

      Its sounds to me that Picasa would be more to his liking or even MSPaint (and I'm not joking)
  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:38AM (#13869748) Homepage Journal

    ...but then again, it's a Mac program, and you can't be a tech writer and like something Apple has produced unless you're biased [].


    • I don't understand why people like iPhoto. It's quirky and awkward. It organizes all your photos in some crazy scheme on the disk (like the iPod!), it can't do much besides crop, and its "magic button" approach to colour fixing generally produces worse pictures than what you started with. It can't recognize duplicate photos and it will stupidly re-download all your photos every time unless you delete them from the camera - HELLO! The only redeeming feature of this program is the ability to zoom in and o
      • by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @06:53AM (#13870432) Homepage Journal
        > It organizes all your photos in some crazy scheme on the disk

        By date? (the "2005" is not a random number... it's the year. The subfolders 01 02 03 ... are "months" -- and each month has "days" inside. This is the easiest way to organize things until you name the photos and add them to albums.)

        > It can't recognize duplicate photos and it will stupidly re-download all your photos every time unless you delete them from the camera

        I haven't had this problem. iPhoto says something like P12312312.jpg is a duplicate. Skip? [Yes, No, Yes To All]. Click Yes To All.

  • Picassa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adisakp ( 705706 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:38AM (#13869751) Journal []

    It's free and easy to use and doesn't install any crap / spyware.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:38AM (#13869754)
    He wants to do something that is fundamentally complex, which is edit photos. Okay, he wants to remove red eye? He's going to have to tell the program where to remove the red eye from. He wants to crop the photo? Is the program supposed to know how? What about rotating, changing the brightness, etc.

    Of course it's complex. What does he expect? A miracle? Artificial intelligence?

    The best, easiest software is Picasa. It's interface is pretty simple, and I recommend it to all my tech unsavvy friends, and it seems to work.
    • Agreed. Letting a one-size-fits-all tool try to remove red-eye in a photo is asking for a dead picture. Without the right catch light in the eyes people tend to look like they belong in a George Romero movie. If you haven't the skill to select the offending red, and balance it back to neutral, it doesn't seem that you've got the skill to even use the program.
    • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @04:41AM (#13870097) Journal
      The point is, software and hardware today are hard to use. The even more important part is: they're sold under the explicit _lie_ that they're oh-so-easy, and even your grandma could just plug one in and do everything right away.

      If I step out of the nerd "well, duh, of course it's complicated, and anyway you're an idiot if you can't write your own program to do that instead of bothering me" mentality, and try to use them myself, as a simple user... the fact is, most of these programs are a right pain in the butt.

      The user just has some seemingly simple concept, like "I want to remove the red eye" or "I want to recolor this red dress (e.g., a texture for The Sims 2) to blue, but FFS, leave the gold necklace alone. I don't want that turning purple." (I'm using that as an example, because that's one thing that _I_ got frustrated with in The Gimp. Anything short of manually tracing the outline myself, pixel-accurate, just didn't work right. The fuzzy select tool for example, just loved to go nuts and select the shoes too when I only wanted to change the dress, or and/or select random pixels from other parts of the texture.)

      From a non-technical person's point of view, as in, every-day casual conversation, it's as simple a request as it can be: "I want that dress in blue." If you went to a clothing store with your GF and asked the store assistant "is that one available in blue too?", the store assistant would understand _exactly_ what you mean. You wouldn't have to go through all the hoops that these programs make you go through.

      Tha problem is, yes, that it ends up, in your own words, "something that is fundamentally complex". And that's not what marketting told the user when they took his/her money. If they told the user "see, we have this fundamentally complex tool, and you need a college degree to use it", only then we'd really have the right to tell the user "well, duh, what did you expect?" At the moment he/she's led to expect the exact opposite.

      And, to answer your question, what the average user expects is just that a product he's bought actually fulfills those promises that marketroids made. No more. If they said photo editing would be easy and intuitive, he expects it to be easy and intuitive, not something fundamentally complex.

      And it's not an unreasonable expectation anyway. If I sold you any other product under explicit claims as to what it does and doesn't, you'd expect it to meet those claims.

      E.g., if I sold someone a bicycle under the claim that it's such a new and improved model that even someone completely untrained can use it, they'd have all the right in the world to expect just that: that if they put their untrained kid on it, that kid won't fall over. Asking then "well, duh, what did you expect? a miracle? AI?" is missing the whole point. It's not their business to know how a bycicle would stay up with someone untrained on it. It could involve gyroscopes, or a computer, or whatever. It's not their job to know that. They bought a product under an explicit claim, they expect it to live up to that claim. That's all.
      • by overunderunderdone ( 521462 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @09:22AM (#13871024)
        The problem with your argument is that the program he's taking to task is Photoshop. It's NEVER been sold as so easy to use "that even someone completely untrained can use it" but as a complex program for professionals. Photoshop may claim it can "turn the red dress blue" it even claims it is "easy". For the people it made that claim to: professional designers & photographers... it was.

        It's not akin to your magical bycical sold as so easy even the untrained can use it but an expensive racing bike that makes otherwise impossible feats "easy" for professionals.
  • Irfanview (Score:4, Informative)

    by BladeMelbourne ( 518866 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:40AM (#13869759) []

    Weird name, useful utility.

  • I'm no expert on image editing - I very rarely do it. When I do need to edit the size of a photo (for a web page or such), I often have problems finding a program that will let _me_ tell it the width, height and resolution - without using something like photoshop.
    Perhaps someone knows of something simple yet able to do just this?
    I'm sure photoshop is great, but it's hardly worth installing a large, expensive program just to have control over the size and resolution of your images.
    Perhaps a free (
    • I often use The Gimp [] for simpler web-oriented photo editing, and bash scripts using convert and various other utils for large batches of images. I believe Gimp supports CLI scripting, but I don't think it's very advanced.

      You must know about Gimp if you have a Slashdot account.

    • The GIMP [] does it just fine, of course. I don't know if you use Linux, but ImageMagick [] is a great command line tool which lets you do almost anything on a number of image file formats; it's a Godsend when you need to do batch processing.

      I also used to do simple image editing with ACDSee [] too (JPEG conversion, resizing, rotating, etc).
    • Image Alchemy [] still has the best resizing filter I've seen. It does a much better job on certain content (e.g., line art) than Photoshop's cubic resampler.

      Alchemy is also an awesome way to do batch processing on images. It really complements, rather than replaces, an app like Photoshop.
    • Imagemagick [] will do it quickly and easily. They're tools (mogrify and convert, especially) are perfect for that sort of job, and you have complete control over every parameter of the final image, without having to navigate a maze of checkboxes.

      Especially when converting from one format to another, I've found time and time again that imagemagick succeeds where other software fails.
    • Irfanview. It's free for personal use, easy to find, and easy to use. It even does batch conversions quite well.

      Open image. Click-drag a box to select an area to crop. Hit Menu-Something to crop. Then Menu-Something-Else to resize. I use it all the time for day to day work w/partial screen shots and other basic image tasks.

      Picassa is great too, but in many cases it's a little too invasive for a quick screenshot fix or image resize.
    • I have used Lview Pro [] for many many years..its lightweight yet very useful, simple to install, and easy to use. This program is perfect for quick and dirty image editing of medium complexity. Supports all of the usual options plus layering, transparency, a wealth of file formats, some plugins, a decent collection of filters, etc. check out the site for more features.
    • Look at post above yours, Nqdiddles: Irfanview [] rocks. It's more of a viewer than an editor, but has support for all sorts of basic editing, like crop, rotate, filter (a nice basic set built in, and I believe there are more through plugins), resizing (by percentage or by setting width/height in pixels/inches/cm, with option to preserve aspect ratio), and various other basic operations. And it's pretty damn fast.
  • A step up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Technician ( 215283 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:46AM (#13869780)
    I've seen these least common denominator programs bundled with cameras and PC's. Most of them are little more than a teaser to buy the full version.

    I bought a camera that came with a program from Arc-Soft. It's not photoshop and it's not megabucks in price.

    It does do all the simpler items needed for common photo editing and is not complicated. Red eye reduction, croping, changing size, changing resolution, adjusting contrast, brightness, saturation, etc are all not difficult. Stitching several photos together and adding text are also not difficult. Compressing for e-mail is also not hard.

    The program does not have advanced bells and whistles such as adding lens flare and beveled edges for web buttons, but this might be in line of the simple but not dummed down software he is looking for.

    It came bundled with my old Ricoh 3MP camera.
    • Re:A step up (Score:3, Informative)

      by Godeke ( 32895 ) *
      ArcSoft PhotoStudio (5.5 is the current version) came with my camera. This is actually a decent product that does the basics that a photographer (not a computer graphics wizard) would want to do. It even comes as a full install of the product in the camera box.

      This is so much better than then adware which came with my cheaper camera which made me spit in anger when it started spitting out "to use this feature, pull out your credit card and bend over". Note to manufacturers: either bundle something like ArcS
  • by ltmon ( 729486 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:48AM (#13869784)
    He should really try iPhoto.

    I think it matches the description perfectly.
  • If he's only wanting to do a few basic things, the software that comes with the camera -is- going to be sufficient for many users. On the other hand, if you want professional grade results, you have to learn to use a professional grade tool at a professional level. And that takes time. This guy's asking for a miracle, not a program.

    As to photographers-professional ones that make their living that way-I'd venture a guess that they can do those "45 things" in their sleep. Because they took the time to LEARN

  • Paint Shop Pro 5 (Score:4, Informative)

    by koick ( 770435 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:52AM (#13869796)
    Actually, this is why for quick edits, I like to use Paint Shop Pro 5 (ca. 1998); logical, loads fast, most the tools I need, and no bloat. Of course Gimp rocks, but then I have to agree with his complaints.
  • Ha! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:52AM (#13869797)
    From the article
    "You want to make the picture more vibrant, get rid of red-eye, remove an object from the scene, and maybe swap the heads of the people in the picture" After all, all these things are easy to describe, so they must be easy to make as a one-click tool, right?
    As someone who uses Photoshop for a wide variety of things, the very thought of trying to boil down any one of these, with the possible exception of the red-eye, to a simple one or two step tool is ludicrous
    You want to make the picture more vibrant? Well, what type of colour range exists? What part of the picture are you trying to emphasize? What colour standard (RGB, CMYK, etc) is it in? These are a half dozen different tools for this for a reason, a different situation calls for a different tool.
    Remove an object from the scene? Well, what types of objects are around it? What is behind it? How do the shadows affect the rest of the image? The very thought of approaching this without a dozen different tools is silly. A half dozen selection tools alone. See, in Star Trek they can hit the 'delete things' button, the computer magically makes up background, but this is real life. Ditto for the 'let's swap heads'. After all, you saw a kid doing it in a computer commercial once, so it has to be easy. Almost all the same problems, and a couple more as well.
    Yes, it would be nice, but at some point the skills are necessary. If you want a more basic package Adobe and a handful of others make things like Adobe Elements which take care of a lot of this, but are still a more complex level of program. However, this is one of those things that where how complex the process is and how complicated the end result looks have nothing to do with each other. Get off it and learn the tools for the job.
    • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhoger ( 519683 )
      As much as I don't like Dvorak, he has a point about the 20 steps to something being a pain in the ass to keep track of.

      Every time I have to search google for a common sequence of steps it's a failure of the program or help in the program I am using. Half the time I can't remember immediately the magic Google incantation that finds me the 20 steps that it took me last time.

      Yes you're right, some actions a user might want to take are inherently complex. No, we cannot make macro keys or wizards for everything
  • by amelith ( 920455 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:53AM (#13869800) Homepage
    One thing that doesn't seem to need making any easier is to write ill-informed IT commentary columns.

    This sort of complaint would sound silly in another context. Imagine writing to a medical magazine about how "neurosurgery is too complicated" and they should make it easier to understand. Or rocket science? "They should make the 10 most common kinds of rockets easier to design".

    I'm all for cleaning up and improving some of the actively user-hostile interfaces you come across but this kind of complaint really does sound like "complicated things should be easy and require no thought or effort".

    Ironically, some of the programs that are aimed at newbies are very difficult to use because they're inflexible and patronisingly assume the user is a dolt. Better software will help people up the learning curve so they can do more complex things with their photos than they originally knew were possible.

    • "This sort of complaint would sound silly in another context. Imagine writing to a medical magazine about how "neurosurgery is too complicated" and they should make it easier to understand. Or rocket science? "They should make the 10 most common kinds of rockets easier to design"."

      Ok, if you want to make that analogy, let's take it all the way, shall we?

      Imagine a world where people sell you stuff like an iSurgeon kit for home use, or a "RocketMaker Pro 5" for home use. In fact, they'd even throw in a free t
  • by Hannah E. Davis ( 870669 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:53AM (#13869802) Journal
    I haven't used Photoshop much, but most of the commonly-used tools seem to be pretty easily accessible. I still wasn't very good with it, but that was due to my own lack of skill, not any problems with the UI or general program design.

    If anything, I kind of wish that certain "things photographers do most" were MORE difficult to find: I'm one of the art moderators on Elfwood [] (a big sci-fi/fantasy art web site), and let's just say that the world would be a better place if budding young artists did not immediately pull out the lens flare filter every time they needed a fairy or extra magical sparkle in their work.

    Personally, though, I prefer using Painter Classic for general digital art because I find it more comfortable to use. It's not exactly photo-oriented like Photoshop is, but it can still be used for photo manipulation. I use The GIMP occasionally as well, but I can't figure out how to make it recognize my tablet's pressure sensitivity, so I don't use it very often.

  • Now with Photoshop, most photographers only want to do perhaps a dozen or so functions. You want to make the picture more vibrant, get rid of red-eye, remove an object from the scene, and maybe swap the heads of the people in the picture. Oh, yes, and you want to crop. Essentially, you want to optimize the photo.

    What are we talking about here? A button for each one of those? Because that kind of operations are often hard enough to do with full-fledged image editing software (do well, atleast)
  • I'm assuming he's using MS Windows. I'm also assuming he hasn't heard of Picasa []. I guess he also hasn't heard of Aperture [], by Apple. Personally, I'm more of an iPhoto [] kinda of guy, since my personal foto lib is about 3K (I like to take pictures), it does a good enough job.

    Now, one thing I do remember about Dvorak is that he's almost as bad of a MS Apologist as Paul Thurrott [], so in his mind, decent PC freeware and Apple solutions are probabally out of the question for him. Shame, he's mising out.
    • Amen, Brother!

      He picked a poor time to have his petty rant with Aperture just now hitting the news sites. Worse still there are (and have been for a long while) dozens & dozens of people posting stunning pictures on Flickr using nothing but an 80 Euro camera and Picasa or this 5 Euro toy plastic "Medium Format Film Camera" made in China and the Gimp.

      Man if you're gonna whine at least do a little research to make sure what you whining about is remotely valid.

      An Aside question... How do you get the Euro

  • Why oh why?... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TLLOTS ( 827806 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:58AM (#13869819)
    ...are articles like this getting posted on the frontpage (or at all)? All the article comes down to is a rant from an idiot who appears frustrated with their ineptness at being able to use image editing programs.
  • Is it too much to ask for a simple and powerful software program that can do the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop?"

    You could use The Gimp. And download the 45 plugins that have probably already been written because it's very easy to write a gimp plugin.
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:09AM (#13869859) Homepage
    I dare bet using Notepad to write some text is hard too if you can't read or write.

    Why is he expecting graphics applications to be any easier if he doesn't understand the basics of computer graphics?

    And using PhotoShop as an example... Why would somebody who just wants to remove red-eye or crop a picture buy a $600 program? PhotoShop is complex because it is meant for professionals. Adobe also has Elements at $90, which DOES have the red-eye and easy cropping he want (and which is NOT an older version of Photoshop with name changed (apparently dvorak never even tried using it, since it blatently ovbious NOT what he describes it to be), but rather a recent version with drastically cut functionality and a "workflow"-like interface).

    But apparently he wants something which only requires one button to read his mind and alter the photo accordingly. With great power comes great responsibility. Don't want the responsibility? Then don't demand the power!

    But just to quote from the article:
    "These programs assume that you are a dolt."
    Dvorak... you ARE a dolt.
  • ...the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop...

    Would that be snapshot photographers (red-eye removal, tilt correction, silly filters), amateur photographers (not sure here, maybe a little bit of colour/curves adjustment, retouching), professional photographers (pretty much everything), or non-photographers (lots of artists use PS and never touch a camera)?

    Not everyone needs Photoshop, it's complicated for a reason. Most snapshot-takers would be fine with Picasa/iPhoto.
  • by pookemon ( 909195 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:14AM (#13869868) Homepage
    Now with Photoshop, most photographers only want to do perhaps a dozen or so functions. You want to make the picture more vibrant, get rid of red-eye, remove an object from the scene, and maybe swap the heads of the people in the picture.

    This guys level of expertise is showing. Users just want to remove an object from the scene? One of the hardest things to do in ANY package - I suppose he expects to just click a button, then click the object and voila! It's gone! The closest thing to that function is the selection wizard - and those that use it know how prone to "error" it can be.

    Oh, yes, and you want to crop.

    What a numpty - it's right there on the toolbar in Photoshop, on the left, third one down. RTFM! And it's one of the easiest tools to use. What do you want? Auto crop? Click a button and the software crops the image for you. Exactly how you want it?

    Essentially, you want to optimize the photo.

    Start with Ctrl-Shift-L.

    Then you can try this [].

  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:14AM (#13869869) Homepage
    Because they're hard to do and take skill. Someone who's never used a keyboard before might think it's "overly complex". "Unless you are using the keyboard full time, you spend a lot of time figuring it out".

    Here's a clue Dvorak, doing complex things requires you to learn how to do them. Why do you make this assumption that doing everything is simple?
  • From ignorance... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by venomkid ( 624425 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:14AM (#13869870)
    ...yeah, why can't I cure cancer? I mean, we know it's caused by *cells* and it's in the *body*. Why hasn't science made a pill to cure it yet?

    Seriously, I haven't consumed a more ignorant piece of media since the last time I watched the O'Reilly Factor.

    Information isn't that simple, mister Dvorak. How are you going to tell a computer to do you want it to do when you haven't even defined it? And when you do try to define it, it's so nebulous as to be irrelevant.

    You want to be able to do something skillful while lacking skills? And at the same time, you criticize programs that try to lead you through the process? That sounds pretty "rinky dink" to me.

  • again, iPhoto (Score:2, Informative)

    by deep44 ( 891922 )
    He directly/indirectly bashes Apple at least once a month, yet.. as previously stated, iPhoto fits his vision of a utopian photo editor *perfectly*. I use it; it's simple, and just powerful enough to cover the basics of home photo management/editing.

    I also agree that Slashdot should stop posting the trash he writes.. he complains about Windows, hates Apple, and is nowhere near smart enough to even *try* using Linux (imagine the articles that would come out of that experience). Why should people care what
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:43AM (#13869948) Homepage
    The reason photo editing is difficult to use, is because photo editing is difficult to do.

    The fundamental problem with photo software is that computers don't have a clue about what they are doing so they can't help you. You may just wan't to make the subject stand out from the background, but the computer can't tell the difference between a cat and an orange so you have to describe exactly where the subject is. Magic wand tools are a help, but there not that good because even when you've defined the outline of an object accurately the computer doesn't have a clue what it is so you still have to describe exactly what you want to do with it.

    In this respect photo editors are tools, not aids and must require training.

    Compare this to a PIM tool where the defining a data object is as easy as typing text into a text box. The computer knows what you mean when you gesture to remove an ex-girlfriend from an address book because you have told it what an entry is and how to delete it. We're many years from being able to say "remove my ex-girlfriend from all of my old photos" and have it work as effectively.

    One of the best rules of thumb in computer science is if its hard from computers its easy for humans, and vice versa. Nothing emphasises this more than dealing with images and objects.
  • by miyako ( 632510 ) <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:52AM (#13869975) Homepage Journal
    Having helped a lot of friends out with Photoshop, it seems to me that the biggest problem that people face when trying to do things is translating what they want to do into "photoshop" speak. Really I think this is perhaps the most common type of usability problems in software today.
    The vast majority of the time when someone asks me for help with Photoshop the conversation usually goes along the lines of: "Hey, how can I remove a blemish in photoshop" "Use the Clone-Brush tool" or "Hey, how can I fix the color on this old photo I scaned" "Adjust the color balance", or "How can I darken this bit of the image to make a shadow" "burn tool" etc.
    It's not that these people are stupid, it's just that photoshop uses a lot of jargon that people aren't really familiar with.
    The second biggest problem I think is that people who haven't done a lot of digital editing don't tend to think in terms of things like layers, fill, opacity, etc. Instead people have the tendancy to see the image like a sheet of paper.
    Aside from these two big problems, the most common thing I see people have trouble with is selecting things out of an image- mainly because people spend an hour meticulously trying to select what they want to cut out instead of using the magic wand to select the background- invert selection and be done with it. Doing so is simply non-obvious to people.
    • I really don't think it helps that some of the terms used for the tools, such as Dodge and Burn, are artifacts from analog darkroom photo processing techniques. These were introduced to ease the transition for photographers from film based to digital photography. At this point they could probably be renamed to something that makes a bit more sense. It could be a configuration choice which labels/buttons/flyouts you wanted to see.

      On a different subtopic, Photoshop is a high level and very powerful tool,

    • by winchester ( 265873 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @09:35AM (#13871131)
      Photoshop is modelled after the old analogue darkroom and film technologies. Dodging and burning comes easy to people who worked in the dark room. And once you understand channels and how they map to the analogue medium, you can do so much powerful things in photoshop. Pixel-accurate selections for instance. Unsharp masks may seem to work like magic (how can you sharpen something by using the unsharp mask?), but it all maps to analogue processes.

      For analogue photograpers like me, this is wonderful, as I can apply everything I know from the dark room directly to photoshop, and obtain similar results. I still use slide film, and scan the slides. Works wonders. Photograpers who have a digital workflow still understand very well what is going on.

      Poeple who just wish to do simple image ajustments, red eye reduction, cropping and so on, Photoshop is not the tool for them. They never were able to make those corrections, now they can, but Photoshop expects too much of a analogue background. You will leave 90% of the power of Photoshop untouched. (the digital dark room bit, that is). In that respect, Photoshop is just the wrong tool for them. Please note that this doesn't say anything about the inteligence of these people or the capabilities of the tool.

  • by dunstan ( 97493 ) <dvavasour@iee. o r g> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @05:13AM (#13870196) Homepage
    Everyone is hung up on his, perhaps, ill advised comments on Photoshop. But his comments on Palm Desktop versus Outlook are spot on. Too often user interfaces are designed by techies, for techies, without regard for how it will actually be used by knowledgeable users. Interestingly, it is the same argument which the commercial software lobby use to beat FOSS, ignoring how poor their own products usually are in the same way.

    So rather than getting bogged down in photo editing software, I'd be far more interested in people citing examples of software which has a well thought out UI, which allows simple things to be done without either having to master a lot of complexity or have the software use a condescending tone (the "rinky-dink" Dvorak talks about).

    I'll start with Noteworthy Composer []: for fine output I'll work with Lilypond, but for quickly jotting down a bit of music and preparing a presentable printout and midi stream it "does exactly what it says on the tin."
  • The Perfect Troll (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @05:27AM (#13870228)
    This guy Dvorak is good - he's like the king of trolls. He includes just enough sense to keep people reading, brings up several age-old arguments and leaves enough obvious gaps and errors in his articles for Slashdotters to leap on.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @05:34AM (#13870242)
    This article has "shady marketing ploy" written all over it. A few days after Apple releases Aperture [], we have Dvorak ranting about the current state of Photo Editing tools. I bet in his next column he's gonna write about Aperture and how cool it is. It IS cool, mind you, but this is a marketing ploy none the less.
    Fits the image Dvorak has in public too.
  • by ExoticMandibles ( 582264 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @06:02AM (#13870312)
    The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse.' There is no evidence that people want to use these things. What businessman knows about point sizes on typefaces or the value of variable point sizes? Who out there in the general marketplace even knows what a 'font' is?

    The whole concept and attitude towards icons and hieroglyphs is actually counterrevolutionary - it's a language that is hardly 'user friendly.' This type of machine was developed by hardware hackers working out of Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. It has yet to find popular success. There seems to be some mysterious user resistance to this type of machine.

    --John C. Dvorak on why the Macintosh would fail, San Francisco Examiner, February 19, 1984
  • PhotoStyler (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Impavide ( 918579 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @07:12AM (#13870471)
    PhotoShop is an arrogant software lacking competition. In 1995, I was a working professionnaly for a printshop and using a software called Aldus PhotoStyler. This software was absolutely outstanding with many simple features that Photoshop still does not have today:

    - Magic wand that can select based on hue (perfect for green screen)
    - Magic wand with a threshold that you can adjust AFTER you have clicked.
    - A color picker that can average a region.
    - A pixel accurate crop box.

    Those were really useful features that I still lack today. PhotoStyler was a professionnal tool costing more than 800$ and worth every penny. PhotoStyler was that feature rich. I was doing only the basic things but it was doing it well. It didn't had the fancy swirl effect but I never had a customer who required a swirl.

    What happened to PhotoStyler? I was bought by Adobe and discontinued. It was a superior software at that time and it was the only way for Adobe to continue selling PhotoShop.

    The guys who coded PhotoStyler decided to restart again and came up with Ulead PhotoImpact but that product not as good as the original PhotoStyler. They decided to target home users instead of professionals because of PhotoShop dominance and removed important features like CMYK support and added tons of useless features (for professionals) like a button makers and ... the swirl.
  • Real men (Score:4, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @07:37AM (#13870537) Homepage
    Real men edit their .jpgs from the command line by feeding hex values and pixel coordinates. EVERYTHING else is rinky-dink.
  • by fzammett ( 255288 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @11:37AM (#13872161) Homepage
    Ok, let's put any (probably legitimate) criticism of Photoshop aside for a moment... no one has ever claimed it was a product designed for anyone but grahics professionals.

    I don't go around complaining that the emissions test computers they use on your car is too complex for the shadetree mechanic. I don't go around saying that the tools they use at the optometrist to measure occular aberations is too complicated for my wife to use to test my kids.

    These are professional tools, meant to be used by professionals who will have the necessary training and time invested to learn to use them. That the everyman finds them complex shouldn't be surprising or criticised.

    Paint Shop Pro, until the most recent versions anyway, was always nearly as powerful as Photoshop and considerably less complex. For someone like me who does some occasional graphics work, but is far from a professional, it was nirvana. Why Dvorak can't see that is beyond me.

    Ah, sorry, of course I can see why... he's a writer, and he's gotta write, and when you read anything by Dvorak you have to ask whether it's something legitimate (sometimes) or just a fluff piece to meet his required allotment of columns for the week (frequently). This one falls in the later category as far as I'm concerned.

System checkpoint complete.