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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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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Irfanview (Score:4, Informative)

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

    Weird name, useful utility.

  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:44AM (#13869769) Homepage
    Well, for quick touchups I use the free program [] from Washington State University. Quick, simple, some power under the hood (it does layers!) and has more features than I know how to use.

    I've downloaded GIMP... had no idea what to do with it so after a couple sessions of randomly pushing buttons left it sit to gather stray 0s and 1s that collect on my HDD much like the dust gathers on my Windows 95 MCP book.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:49AM (#13869789)
    Imagemagick is fast and good for cropping/resizing things from the command line. Simple to do one, simple for batch jobs.
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:50AM (#13869793)
    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).
  • 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.
  • by munpfazy ( 694689 ) * on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:53AM (#13869805)
    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.
  • by numbski ( 515011 ) * < minus poet> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:58AM (#13869823) Homepage Journal
    It's called iPhoto.

    Affect the things you can, John. --Scorpy
  • Re:Dear Dvorak (Score:2, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:00AM (#13869836) Homepage Journal
    Ya know, the unix philosophy suggests that each of these tasks should be a seperate tool.
  • 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.
  • 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 [].

  • again, iPhoto (Score:2, Informative)

    by deep44 ( 891922 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:24AM (#13869900)
    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 he has to say? I certainly don't.
  • Re:Irfanview (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nine99 ( 893150 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:25AM (#13869902) Homepage
    Try XnView, far better than IrfanView, IMHO. tml []
  • Re:Irfanview (Score:2, Informative)

    by Yeti.SSM ( 869826 ) <yeti DOT ssm AT atlas DOT cz> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:34AM (#13869926) Homepage
    It's named after the author - Irfan Skiljan. Is that weird?
    But yeah, it's a really great program. Too bad it's windoze-only and free-as-in-beer for personal use only.
  • by DeafByBeheading ( 881815 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:34AM (#13869927) Journal
    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.
  • 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.

  • Paint.NET (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @04:04AM (#13869998)
    He obviously hasn't used Paint.NET. []

    And does anyone even read his column when it's not on the front page of /. ?
  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@fredshom[ ]rg ['e.o' in gap]> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @05:37AM (#13870247) Homepage
    I already know iPhoto, I've got it on my laptop and I played with it for quite a while. The only way I found to display photos was to make a slideshow or to display them in the retouching dialog.

    I talked to other Unix people at a convention I was at, no other had found another way. Luckily, one of them pointed out Phoenix Slides to me which is a simple image browser which *does* display my photos.

    All in all I stick with my earlier comment, the only point of the program is to push the online services.
  • by robbieduncan ( 87240 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @05:49AM (#13870283) Homepage
    I was going to moderate on this discussion, but like, whatever! If you set Preview (or your favourite image viewer if it's not Preview) to be your external editor in preferences you can right click and choose "Edit in external editor". If you want you can use the preferences to set double click to open in external editor instead of the built in retouching screen and that pretty much you set.
  • 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
  • by Malenfrant ( 781088 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @06:52AM (#13870428)
    Curious. I too find Photoshop too difficult, as I am not an artist but a coder. However, I needed to touch up a photo for my parents, so downloaded the GIMP to give it a go. I found it incredibly easy to use, and managed to complete my task inside 10 minutes, and this after trying with Photoshop for nearly an hour. And yes, I am running windows (need to, as my job involves windows programming, and I need to keep up to date)
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @06:55AM (#13870439)

    The only way I found to display photos was to make a slideshow or to display them in the retouching dialog.

    You can also, um... DOUBLE CLICK THEM.

    You know, the way you view documents in their folders. Or the way you launch applications.

    Almost without exception:
    "Select an item" ==> single click
    "View/Edit an item" ==> double click

  • by allgood2 ( 226994 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @07:17AM (#13870487)
    Wow! See what happens when geeks try to overly exam things. The default view mode of iPhoto is "Browse" photos. Its the main thing that 90% of it's users do, with very little concept of editing or anything else.

    Basically you open up iPhoto, you'll see the little flash of text saying, loading photos if you have thousands of them like me (if you don't you probably won't see it). You'll see the photos for which over folder or album that you select in thumbnail mode. There's a slider, to make photos larger slide the bar to the right (the icons larger at that end), to make the photos smaller (so you can see more per page (slide the bar to the left (the icons smaller on that end).

    Photo navigation is handled by your arrow keys. You can go forward, backward, by using the left/right or the up/down arrows. If you want to see the photo even larger, you can click on the button that says "Desktop" and make it fit on your desktop. Though if your going through an entire row, obviously, slideshow mode in fullscreen display is far better.

    Sometimes when your looking for things to be complicated, simple is just too easy. I get a lot of people who switch from Windows to Macs who ask questions about how to do this or that. That's when you really start noticing how much software has trained people to do ill conceived work-arounds that become the standard way of thinking.

    I was just of this yesterday, when I was reading about this 10yr Windows user who just purchased one of the new thinner iMacs. He was discussing its grace, beauty, and overall ease of use, but then he rants about the lack of software. He wanted to load the machine up with anti-virus, spyware/malware, firewall and other security software. All perfectly fine, and available in the multitudes, for Windows. But for the Mac, you have your 5-10 main selections of anti-virus software, your built-in firewall or some UNIX base tools for those who want more control, but the category of spyware/malware software doesn't really exist.

    He went on and on about the lack of developers, without ever given consideration to the fact that the category is so under-developed because it doesn't need to exist on the Mac platform. At least not yet. Typically, pop-up blockers in Safari, Firefox and other major OS X browsers, is more than enough to prevent spyware/malware (at least the kinds that most PC users think of).

    Software doesn't self install on a Mac, it pops up a window requiring authentication and authorization. Which prevents the self-installation of most spyware that PC users experience. For those who want extra protection, they can block ads and banners, or purchase software like Little Snitch that will track outgoing communication from your computer, and a number of other little speciality tools. But they are specialty tools, because their for people who wish to knowingly esculate their security in specific manners.

    Some things aren't required, and even more things are just simplier than you believe on a Mac machine. Even I sometimes have to take a step back and look for the simple with some of Apple's tools, becauuse my brains cluttered with the 10 or 25 step process.
  • 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.
  • 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:PhotoStyler (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @08:18AM (#13870660)
    Photoshop can do each of the things you've mentioned, in some cases, there are multiple ways of doing each of those things.
  • Re:Tuxpaint? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Asphixiat ( 451920 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @08:39AM (#13870747)
    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:I agree. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Malawar ( 674186 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @09:53AM (#13871297)
    IrfanView [] does all the scaling/red eye removal/etc you could ever want. It has no actual brush tools, but a lot of processing stuff. Plus, it loads extremely fast, reads and saves like 150 image formats (pulled out of my arse), and is an excellent replacement for Microsoft's crappy default image viewer.
  • by zsmooth ( 12005 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @10:16AM (#13871480)

    how do you lock the screen NOW

    If you have fast user switching enabled, just choose "Login screen" from the fast user switching menu.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @10:18AM (#13871491)
    Well, there's always the menu item "Lock Screen" in the Keychain Access menu extra. It isn't even that hard to find. The Keychain Access icon looks like a set of keys. It is built in, and any power-user who has actually explored the included software would know that.

    Even if you can't find that, you can set a display corner to activate the screensaver, which can then lock the workstation.
  • Re:Parent is Funny (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @10:25AM (#13871564)
    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 Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @10:27AM (#13871586) Homepage Journal
    I don't think this is particularly fair or true. iPhoto isn't plugged into the .Mac service for anything but printing and web page uploads, and the second is only a default: I, for instance (as well as somebody further up in the thread) use Flickr through a very well-designed plugin. Select an album, hit "Export," choose the group and other settings, and away you go.

    I agree with you that it isn't exactly obvious how to perform some tasks that ought to be simple, but there's nothing in the core abilities of iPhoto -- storing, sorting, and editing digital photos -- that requires .Mac. It's only if you want to upload them to Apple's web space that you need an account, and it's only if you want one-click printing or book-making that you need to use their printing services.

    Using iPhoto without .Mac or the built-in printing services is no more complicated than any other application, where you'd have to just save the photos as files and upload or send them to be printed manually. I've never used the built-in photo printing (although it's not a terribly bad deal cost-wise) because I'm impatient and prefer just to put them on a thumb drive and take them down to Sam's Club to be printed on a Frontier.

    IMO the only thing iPhoto is missing is color profiling and color space conversion. If I could just have the ability to choose a different color profile when I went to Export (for the Fuji Frontier, for example), I'd probably never have to launch Photoshop.
  • by allgood2 ( 226994 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @10:33AM (#13871630)
    Nothing to do with Apple's utopian vision; but also nothing to do with saying things that aren't really true. But totally proves my point of users not looking past how they've been trained to view things. If you don't want someone to see your desktop, switch out of it. You have three options: 1) Fully log-out (this will force you to close all open items); 2) Partial log-out/Fast Switch (this will keep all your documents and files that are open, open, and show a login screen; 3) Add a password to your screensaver. These items work for probably 90% of the people 90% of the time. personally, I've been working on computers since 1987, and can only recall three or four times where I've ever tried to lock the computer verses logging out.

    With Mac OS X, and fast user switching, those times though rare are exceedingly easy. That said, if I wanted them easier, I could just pick up a small specialty application to do it for me, or go in and tweak the preferences. Personally, I'd use a specialty app cause that's what they excel at, customizing your environment for you. I have a slew of them running to make my computer, my computer.

    Also, you can activate sleep immediately with a command key or the use of sleep corners (drag your mouse to the upper right or lower left corner, depending on how you set the functionality up. And there are probably other options, as well, but since its rarely a concern for me, I've never bothered to find out what works best.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @11:00AM (#13871858)
    When I could not find my Photoshop installation CD's, I got very cross and met my deadline using Digital Image Suite from Microsoft and guess what - I prefer it over Photoshop. Sure Photoshop has some nice deep stuff but for personal photography the usability of Digital Image Suite was just more appropriate.
  • Re:A step up (Score:3, Informative)

    by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @11:42AM (#13872222)
    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 ArcSoft PhotoStudio or don't bother wasting space on my drive. I don't mind paying for the bundle *if* I get something I can actually use. Pretending I got something I can use and then "timing out" in 15 days or disabling random menu items is a sure way to the bit bucket and unending hatred for your company.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @12:02PM (#13872392) Homepage Journal
    Dvorak's just not paying attention to the extremely powerful and low cost tools that are out there. They've been tailored for image editing for years, like the justly popular Paint Shop Pro [] and our own WinImages [].

    As the maker of WinImages, as you can imagine I'm rather biased towards it, but either of these would more than satisfy the needs of the vast majority of photo editing folk. Not only can one find the basic features one needs to edit photos, there are other features available you can't get in Photoshop — and they are useful, to the point, and powerful in the context of photo editing. Some examples include PSP's handling of brushes, which is vastly superior to Photoshop's, and WinImage's approach to area selection, which likewise makes Photoshop look like a horse and buggy.

    You have to keep in mind that Dvorak is paid to rant. He takes advantage of the ignorance of his readers by asserting that the market is free of tools, when that is in fact not the case at all.

  • Simple to do (Score:2, Informative)

    by feyd.rm ( 925643 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @12:22PM (#13872550)
    1. Open Keychain Access 2. Goto Keychain -> Preferences -> check "Show Status in Menu Bar" 3. A padlock appears in menu bar click on it to lock screen and to lock keychains if you so desire

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein