Sunday, October 04, 2009

More like "Grotoshop" am I right?

Are you familiar with Adobe Photoshop? It is the most popular of Adobe's out-of-control bloated products. Now I know that the programmers at Adobe work hard, they are good eggs. Ten years ago, Photoshop 4 was about as good as we ever needed a piece of software to be.

Let me posit a theory: had Photoshop 4 had the "save for web" feature, no one would be sitting in their studio crying right now. They would be laughing and throwing all the money they had saved in the intervening decade up in the air. But of course each new version of Photoshop breaks like a butterfly on a wheel following an OS upgrade and it is time to pony up some cash once more. I've no reason not to be using Photoshop CS1 but for the fact that it bombs out without warning on Intel Macs.

So I have a question for savvy readers. Here are the only tools I ever use on Photoshop:

Lasso and marquee
Magic wand
Paint bucket
Raster shape tool (to draw rectangles and the occasional line or circle)
Pencil tool
CMYK sliders on colour picker
Palette
Layers

Can anyone suggest a light application that has all these features (maybe except CMYK sliders) for the Mac? I've tried Acorn, Pixelmator and Gimp for Mac but they all came up short - Gimp in particular is a usability basket case, although there is something Herculean about its efforts to be all things to all people.

25 comments:

Trebor said...

How about Pixen?

http://opensword.org/Pixen/

HouseWench said...

I used Pixia for a while. It takes a lot of getting used to, but it has some pretty neat features. :3

doktorjung said...

Paint.NET?

http://www.getpaint.net/

David said...

When was the last time you tried Acorn? Not knowing what your original issues with it were, v. 2 has a slew of new features and has been pretty well received.

John A said...

David:

I think Acorn is pretty great but I use the rectangle tool in photoshop to fill multiple selected areas at once and Acorn's rectangle tool isn't restricted by selections. I used it at 1.27pm today which I consider relatively recently.

John A said...

Oh and the magic wand on Acorn crashes the program when I use it on one of my 4000 x 7000px comics. It may just be that I am a power user who needs a power app. Or a big great eejit.

Dougie said...

Out of curiosity, what makes Pixelmator ucome up short? It seems like it has all the features in your list, except for an explicit raster shape tool. You can always draw rectangles by holding shift and clicking with the pencil tool. For circles, use the elliptical marquee tool and then stroke it.

Dave Jacob Hoffman said...

How about Aviary?

http://aviary.com/

Alex Hughes said...

Have you tried giving Manga Studio a go. It is, after all, designed for comics...

sarahmojoh said...

I recommend Manga Studio. As well as this comic: http://gunshowcomic.com/d/20090930.html

Allen said...

Paint.NET is fantastic and without a doubt my favorite image editing program but since it is a .NET program it only works on Windows. I suppose you could use boot camp, but you may consider that more hassle then it is worth.

Ben said...

How about Photoshop's little sister, Photoshop Elements? It's a pared-down version of Photoshop designed for tweaking digital photos, but in "full edit" mode it has most of the goodies you've asked for (it doesn't have CMYK support, but I hear there are third-party plugins for that).

There's a new version coming out later this month.

Simon said...

Gina Trapani asked a similar question the other day - not sure it will solve your problem but certainly it has a few options

http://smarterware.org/3512/free-or-cheap-image-editors-for-mac-more-than-preview-less-than-photoshop

Rob E said...

I agree with Ben... in fact I think even photoshop elements 4 does all that.. mine was bundled free with my weedy wacom, and seems to have survived the upgrade to snow leopard.

Louisa said...

Jasc Paint Shop Pro?

Glenatron said...

When did you last try Gimp? I used it a few years back and it was the worst thing ever, the usability just made it abjectly baffling, but lately it seems a lot better and it's the main graphics thing I use these days, although I'm not a professional drawer or painter so my needs may be absolutely different.

Erik K said...

I'd second Photoshop Elements, especially as you made CMYK "optional". A smaller learning curve as you're familiar with Photoshop. I just checked: apparently 5 and 6 of the program support 30,000 pixels by 30,000 pixels in editor mode (which you'd be using). So you could bring in those pixel-laden Manga Studio files.

John A said...

Alex:

I have been giving Manga Studio a try every day for almost two years! It is what I us to draw the comic. But its colouring tools are not up to scratch.

Pixelmator doesn't run well on my machine at all. It's super laggy. Pen strokes take a couple of seconds to render though Lord alone knows why! Harnessing the power of the GPU is patently a tough business. Maybe I should install a 3DFX card, that was the way we rolled in 1997.

sleek said...

I know this is going to sound like heresy...but for about $0 you can get a...PeeCee with winXp on it. It will run versions of Potatoshop going back into the dim past when they just had numbers (like "7") and "CS" had yet to be invented.

Wait. Aren't you on some sort of tablet PeeCee? I'm confused. PeeCees tend to have more backards compatability...

You could also do something radical...I have one computer that runs win98se specifically for some beloved 10 year-old recording software I have. It's pretty cool, because even though the computer itself is a bit out-dated now, it would have been the fastest computer in the world 10 years ago.

You could litarally run Photoshop 4 under win 98! Throw in 2gig of ram, and you would have a supercomputer.

John A said...

No, I've never said I drew Scary Go Round on a tablet pc, I draw it on a Mac with a Cintiq. I do own some tablet PCs, almost every one has had some outrageous quirk that made drawing on it infuriating.

It's all very well keeping lots of different computers round the home in order to run Windows 3.1 and Windows ME and BeOS but it doesn't make for practical workflow when you are, like me, an efficiency machine. Also you have to dust them.

Paul said...

Corel Photo-paint does all that stuff I believe. It comes with Corel Draw, together they're an all-round poor man's Illustrator and Pagemaker substitute, and I've never needed to look elsewhere.

fingle said...

I'm going to jump in here with the Canadian Corel product line. I've been using CorelDRAW, (with Corel PhotoPaint as an automatic bonus app) since version 3, over ten years. They are now up to version X4 (or 'fourteen' as we like to say) and the program just keeps getting better.

I mostly use Corel PhotoPaint for editing photos, as opposed to working in layers, but it does support many features that seem identical to PhotoShop's feature set.

I use CorelDRAW for vector graphics and all other sorts of graphic desing and page layout.

I find PhotoPaint's interface to be strikingly clean, compared to Photoshop CS3 (or any prior version of PhotoShop, actually. I hate all the fiddly little windows that take up so much screen acreage.)

I do run all my apps on a Windows XP Pro PC, and the prior versions were all either Windows 98 or whatever came before that... The small city for which I work cannot support both Macs and PC's, so we get PC's in the print shop.

I have both Adobe and Corel's major apps on my machine, but I tend to reach for Corel first. Might just be a case of 'that's the hammer I'm accustomed to', but I have been comparing the two products side-by-side ever since the PhotoShop became available for Windows...

Good luck!
- Patrick

James said...

I'm surprised that no-one's suggested Fireworks yet. The only things missing from your list are CMYK sliders and raster shapes (you'd have to draw vector shapes then rasterise them). There again it is now a product of the Greater Adobe Co-Prosperity Sphere so it may well share the same dislike of the future as Photoshop.

sleek said...

Actually, having the music software on a seperate machine helped me quite a lot with productivity, because all that machine was for was work.

It has no games, no intrawubs, even.

...think of it more as a pencil. The pencil just works. You do not upgrade it. It is a dedicated tool that does its appointed task, and always will.

You do not upgrade the OS because it doesn't matter to the only app you need it to run.

You could even do it with a Mac.

Just get an old-yet-tricked-out-machine running early-yet-stable-OSX and olde photoshop, and never change it.

It would be cheap, and the *formerly* high-end periripherals you could never afford when they were new (Graphics accelerator cards? Huge drawing tablets?) will be too.

...then keep a seperate Mac so you can do that curious Mac habit of continual OS upgrades.(Puma? Ocelot? Marmot? Stoat?)

Doogie said...

I'm keen on PaintShop Pro. Been using it for 10+ years as a technical writer to help with my graphics manipulation etc.