digital graphics

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.

Photoshop

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

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)

I guess this one is in every UNIX/Linux/Mac OS X users' toolkit.

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

There are some useful tip, links, and comparisons with other graphics editing tools under: GIMP graphics tool zone

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