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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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  • 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 [pcmag.com].


  • by Nqdiddles ( 805995 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @02:41AM (#13869762) Homepage
    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 (Mmmm..beer) "Photoshop Lite"? Or have I missed a great little free program that's out there?
  • 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.
  • 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 [elfwood.com] (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.

  • by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:01AM (#13869838)
    Don't you get it? Dvorak hasn't written anything insightful or probably even factual for years. The reason why he's still a writer is simply cause he's so funny. Look at the articles slashdot has linked of his [google.com] and you'll see the top posts all either +5 funny or simply having fun trashing Dvorak.
  • Re:I agree. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @03:08AM (#13869858) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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.

    I recently bought my wife an Wacom Intuos 3 and I installed The Gimp on her Windows XP machine. Pressure sensitivity worked out of the box. What version did you use? I used 2.2.8. Still, my wife doesn't use The Gimp, she uses Corel Painter (or whatever came with the Wacom, I don't know... I suck at using tablets)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @04:52AM (#13870132)
    When I can't find anything useful in "Help", I use Google to find the answer, which with an image editor is often about a dozen arbitrary steps. Then what I would really like to do is paste the answer into the editor's "help" so I can find it quickly next time I search the help.

    Does anything allow me to do this? And if not why not? Currently I use favorites to store helpful URLs but that's not really what I want. (PS: in the unlikely event this this is a new idea, I claim prior art, so no patenting!)
    - Pete Austin
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> 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 [apple.com], 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.
  • 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.
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @08:00AM (#13870598)
    include a check box in preferences which says "filter photo editor jargon", which will replace anyt terms involving greek letters, scientists names, and photographic terms with easy to read plain layman's descriptors for what they do to the picture
  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @11:21AM (#13872037) Homepage
    No one mentioned PhotoShop killer.

    Aperture is a professional (not personal as I mis-wrote above) photographer tool. It's meant to bring whatever's useful in PhotoShop, take out anything else, use a better interface and provide additional tools wich are all geared at professional photography.

    Even the neutral gray background and interface is there to help you better visualise your images without distorsion and hue-skewing caused by otherwise too flashy UI (aka, Aqua). Just like FCP.
  • by gknoy ( 899301 ) <gknoy AT anasazisystems DOT com> on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @11:36AM (#13872160)
    I've used PSP since I believe version 3 or 4. My computer hs PSP 5 installed, and my wife has PSP 9 on hers.

    I cannot think of any large imrovements between the two -- but I can say that the experience of using PSP with PSP 9 was noticeably more enjoyable than on my copy. I was surprised by this, as I came at it expecting things to be just more bloat -- but there seemed to have been some minor UI tweaks.

    Though, I do miss that the 'L' key doesn't open the layers dialogue anymore... grrrrr ... :D

  • 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.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2005 @08:24PM (#13877044) Homepage Journal
    I don't know when it happened, but clearly, it happened.

    A couple of weeks back, I bought a copy to put on a friend's machine (he's an artist, I thought he'd enjoy the cool brushing features with tubes and so forth) and when I habitually went to jasc.com to buy it (I always try to buy direct from the manufacturer... they get the whole margin that way), I was forwarded to corel.com, and lo and behold, right there was PSP as a Corel product.

    We'll have to see how the product fares under Corel's umbrella. PSP has traditionally been a very user friendly product from a very user friendly company. I would class the support I saw JASC provide in newsgroups as somewhere between "poster-child for support how-to" and "legendary." Hopefully, we can look forward to more of the same from Corel.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein