graphics editing

Pixelmator

For information, tips, and examples of use of this very handy image editing tool please visit: Pixelmator graphics tool zone.


A printer-friendly 300dpi version of the Webel IT Australia logo for business cards was composed in Pixelmator, with very slight bevel effect, and slightly more pastel coloured letters than in the original web version:

ImageMagick (convert)

From ImageMagick®:

ImageMagick® is a software suite to create, edit, compose, or convert bitmap images. It can read and write images in a variety of formats (over 100) including DPX, EXR, GIF, JPEG, JPEG-2000, PDF, PNG, Postscript, SVG, and TIFF. Use ImageMagick to resize, flip, mirror, rotate, distort, shear and transform images, adjust image colors, apply various special effects, or draw text, lines, polygons, ellipses and Bézier curves.

The functionality of ImageMagick is typically utilized from the command line or you can use the features from programs written in your favorite language. Choose from these interfaces: G2F (Ada), MagickCore (C), MagickWand (C), ChMagick (Ch), ImageMagickObject (COM+), Magick++ (C++), JMagick (Java), L-Magick (Lisp), Lua, NMagick (Neko/haXe), Magick.NET (.NET), PascalMagick (Pascal), PerlMagick (Perl), MagickWand for PHP (PHP), IMagick (PHP), PythonMagick (Python), RMagick (Ruby), or TclMagick (Tcl/TK). With a language interface, use ImageMagick to modify or create images dynamically and automagically.


Although the user interfaces for ImageMagick are rather clunky compared with other image editing tools, there are time when it is very useful to have its command line capabilities to manipulate an image or sets of images - such as command-line driven batch processing - and this is where ImageMagick really shines. It can sometimes offer a quick command-line rescue for a task that another tool can't handle.

It is sometimes simply known as convert, because that's the best known of the command line commandsit offers.

It is also handy to have programming language interfaces to it, so that, for example, images can be manipulated on-the-fly on a web server in the PHP language.

The easiest way to install it on Mac OS X is as a MacPort:

sudo port install ImageMagick

GraphicConverter tool for Mac

GraphicConverter is a must have for anybody working with graphics on Mac OS X, no matter what other tools you use for graphics editing, drawing, or image manipulation. It is a "Swiss Army Knife" for graphics manipulation and conversion, as well as basic editing, but it's strength is in conversion.

It can, for example, apply color conversion from RGB screen color to CMYK for printing, and it can even import color profiles, and it can display CMYK separations !

TIP: Adobe offers ZIP bundles of ICC color profiles for Mac and Windows, which include the popular USWebCoatedSwop.icc color profile.

OpenOffice Draw (Apache)

Over the years I have found Apache OpenOffice Draw to be an extremely handy drawing and illustration tool, and it is far more stable than it was in the past.

Given that it is free and that Adobe Illustrator is very expensive, this is a serious alternative for a wide range of drawing and illustration tasks. It is perfectly well suited to composition of business cards, brochures, posters etc. (as long as you are composing the more complex graphic elements in another tool). It can even handle SVG vector image import.

It is particularly good as far as text manipulation and precise page layout, layering, and element selection, positioning, and sizing are concerned, and in this respect it is much easier to use than say Pixelmator and The GIMP, which are really overgrown image manipulation tools, not drawing tools.


The Webel IT Australia technology services business cards were composed using OpenOffice Draw:

GIMP graphics tool zone

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a free, open source image and graphics editing tool with a flexible scripting facility. It is available for Linux, Mac and Windows.

The original 72dpi Webel animated GIF logo from about 2000 was developed
using some (rather keen) GIMP/Perl scripting. Watch out PIXAR !

The GIMP is not as full-featured as Adobe Photoshop, and not as easy to use as Pixelmator for Mac, and the interaction is not very Mac-like, but if you have patience you can certainly generate high quality graphics with it. It is definitely not very convenient as a drawing tool (it is not as handy as Adobe Illustrator or even OpenOffice Draw), it definitely belongs in the image manipulation family, although it has some handy pattern generators and some plugins that do help with drawing.

One of the best comparison articles I've found is GIMP vs Photoshop vs Pixelmator - Graphics Editor Shootout (Feb 2012) by Nathan Greenstein with some comparison tests and score tables.

I have found it over the years to be less than robust on Mac.

If you are going to install it on Mac, I highly recommend the extended bundles (offered per Mac OS X version) at GIMP on OS X rather than the stock GIMP builds at the main GIMP for Mac downloads area.

Pixelmator graphics tool zone

Pixelmator is a handy competitor to Adobe Photoshop. While not as full-featured, it is massively cheaper, and the feature gap is closing.

Certainly it seems to be more robust and easier to use in many respects than the free GIMP, although GIMP does seem to have more plugins and FX (like text-bevelling and bump-mapping).

One of the best comparison articles I've found is GIMP vs Photoshop vs Pixelmator - Graphics Editor Shootout (Feb 2012) by Nathan Greenstein with some comparison tests and score tables.

A printer-friendly 300dpi version of the Webel IT Australia logo for business cards was composed in Pixelmator, with very slight bevel effect, and slightly more pastel coloured letters than in the original web version:

Graphics tools zone

Some information on some useful graphics tools, Mac-centric, with examples of their use for Webel IT Australia projects. Since the Adobe tools like Photoshop and Illustrator are already so well known, the emphasis here is on professionally usable much cheaper and free alternatives.

OpenOffice.org (Apache)

Despite my many attempts to learn to love Mac iWorks' Numbers (pretty, but mostly useless when it comes to calculations and easily formatting them) and Mac Pages (which has simply dreadfully useless import and export filters), and even the MS Office suite (noting that MS Office 2011 for Mac OS X is extremely buggy), Apache OpenOffice.org remains my office application of choice.

In the earliest days as StarOffice from StarDivision in 1999 this tool was almost completely unusable for any professional work. It has however made major strides over the years. I had some mixed results with stability of OpenOffice.org 3.0 on Mac OS X Leopard, but OpenOffice 3.4.0 seems to be far more stable on Mac OS X Mountain Lion.

There are still some serious limitations on its ability to export reliably to MS Word formats, so it is not suitable for editing some documents like CVs if certain people (like some recruiters) absolutely insist that you send them CVs in an MS Word format instead of as PDF, because they simply don't get that PDF is a publication format and MS Word is not, or because they insist on editing your CV to remove your identity before forwarding it to job clients because they are paranoid that their clients will then contact you directly, or because they insist on feeding your CV into certain keyword-matching programs that only accept DOC and that then send you automated job emails.

Otherwise, for all internal word processing, I use OpenOffice.org, not MS Word, and I use Open Office Calc, not Excel, for all of my internal spreadsheet work.

Visit also my remarks on OpenOffice Draw (Apache), which is a very handy drawing and illustration tool.

Photoshop

Is there anybody with a computer who has not used Photoshop ?

Syndicate content