Alternative Graphics Utilities for the Mac (Part 1)
One of the strengths of Macs is graphics. A wide range of programs is available for OS X installations over and above what users commonly consider. Many think that they cannot exist without Adobe Photoshop, but (like the full-featured Microsoft Office) this is overkill for most of us.
Photoshop is a Carbon application so does not run on OS X as a native application. The 64-bit version for Windows will be available first, as parts of the code for the Mac version need a complete rewrite. There are several alternatives for users who do not need industrial strength software. The alphabetical suggestions here are not exhaustive.
It can handle quite large images in several formats and has a small selection of tools that allow drawing and manipulation. Thai text can be used. Like some other programs it can capture an image (or layer) directly from the inbuilt iSight camera. The cost is $49.85 and the full-featured trial version has unlimited use but there is a watermark.
It is not cheap at $199 online, but if handling a lot of photographs, this is an aid to efficiency. Like much Apple software, it integrates well, including with iPods. I downloaded the trial version, then bought a licence via the Apple online shop in Hong Kong.
Art Rage 2 is a delightful drawing program out of New Zealand. As well as Art Rage at $25, there is a trimmed down "Starter" version as a free download. Particularly impressive are the brush effects: with oils selected, the brush strokes and colours bleed into each other giving a realistic textured appearance. JPEG images can be imported and painted over.
Input is from the Finder, the iPhoto Library (Aperture is coming soon) or direct from an iSight camera. Page sizes can be adjusted to fit regular paper or video sizes. Outputs include JPG, TIFF and QuickTime as well as web formats. The standard version is $24.95 (just under 800 baht) with a Deluxe version at $29.95. A 30-day trial version can be downloaded from the Plasq site.
The software is available for $89.99 (2800 baht) and there is a free trial. This has a nice clean interface, like that in Lightroom, and has many of the features of Photoshop making it a good alternative.
Early reports suggest this may only run in an Administrator account which is not very helpful if, like me, you work in an ordinary user account or if there are several users with accounts on the Mac.
Even More Graphica Applications for the Mac (3)
Single-page version of the Graphics applications text
Print-suitable version of the Graphics applications text
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