Just a couple of days ago PhotoLine version 17 for Mac and Windows had been released. Summary in one word: Wow. This time the focus had been on the image editing part of the package as well as the responsiveness and speed, which made PhotoLine even better then ever before.
Before you will aks: yes, PL does handle PS plug-ins, but not all of them. This is not the fault of the PL developers, it’s the lousy coding quality of the plug-in developers who are somewhat dependent from Adobe…
As you know, I am pretty straight forward and prefer to have a perfect image when I press the shutter. And I am pretty straight forward when it comes to tools in my box. I don’t want bloatware or monster apps on my Mac. PhotoLine is just a 30 MB download for the Mac and even smaller for Windows. It is a fully fledged 64 bit application without gimmicks. Very small footprint on the HD, very fast and responsive. In addition it gives you the freedom to configure the tool palettes the way you want them. Being a right handed person, I enjoy it to have my tools on the right side of the screen, which avoids long mouse travels to a fixed menu at the left side of the huge monitor.
While Adobe Photoshop forces you to learn their weird logic, PhotoLine features a more natural and logical approach. Example: Draw a selection and modify it, i.e. rotate it without being forced to ‘change tools’. Another indicator for the natural logic of the software: a small user forum. When I browse the net, very often I stumble upon Adobe forums with post starting like ‘How can I…’. This clearly shows how weird the Adobe products really are. On the other hand: if you happen to have a problem with PL, just join their forum and get all the help you need. But chances are high that you won’t need any help at all.
Last but not least Adobe’s current update policy is lousy. They try to squeeze as much money out of your pockets as they can. If you want CS 6 you need to update to CS 5 now, or you won’t be able to update from CS 4 to CS 6 anymore. That’s a bad rip off!
A Photoline update is just 29 Euro, for almost the same power as the (far too big and memory hungry) competitor. Rest assured, you will get much more with PhotoLine than what you pay for. I’ve had endless discussions with people who wanted to tell me that a TIFF created with an Adobe product is ‘better’ or ‘different’ than a TIFF created with PhotoLine. It is NOT. A TIFF is a TIFF is a TIFF. Don’t get fooled – with PhotoLine you can embed the same color profiles as with Adobes children. I’ve used PhotoLine for many commercial projects, even for high quality offset and large format printing. PL is stable, robust, fast and precise as you expect it from a professional tool. It just doesn’t have the expensive marketing department as the competitor
PhotoLine v 17 on a Mac featuring unlimited customization
The new features:
This allows you to open a tiny, customizable window to browse your files without having to open the standard image browser. Configure it to show just a film strip with one or more rows or columns.
Sometimes you copy a part of an image and paste it into a blank document, which is slightly larger than the snippet you’ve pasted. Use Trim Image to remove the transparent space around the image without selecting and cropping the desired part. Neat!
Export Color Profile:
Sometimes it’s good to have it on hand, just in case you have to re-apply it later
Selective Color Correction:
A great tool for the print oriented users. It lets you correct colors of a CMYK image to fine tune images for the printing process.
Finally this feature found its way into PhotoLine. If you want to convert an image for graphical effects into (1 bit) line art, this is the way to go. Comes with a slider to define the threshold point.
Remove Brush and Remove Object:
Hell, these two are the ones I’ve been waiting for, really. Similar to the ‘healing’ in PS, but with the ‘Remove Object’ an absolut killer. No need to dig deep into the manuals, these tools are as natural and simple as you expect it from PhotoLine.
With the Remove Brush tool you can remove dirt spots, speckles, pimples, scratches, tiny disturbing birds in the sky, etc. Just select the tool, set the brush size with the up or down arrow so it is slightly larger than the object you want to iron out, brush over it and you are done.
The Remove Object is even more powerful. It allows you to remove large parts of an image after using the mask (lasso) tool first. It’s like magic. To get acquainted with this tool, you should read the release notes.
Note that this tool features a very powerful option as soon as you have selected the object or area to be removed: with a simple line you can select a different part of an image to replace the object:
Enhance Edge: modify the edge
Remove Object: delete it and let the app replace it
The crop tool at the lower left lets you define the neighborhood, the gradient lets you define the image structure which shall replace the object. Use each or both of them to your gusto and experiment with the options. The results are truly amazing.
Just one sample:
I mean I don’t need it, but I know that many digital photographers want it.
Liquid Layer Scale:
Well, I really don’t know why any photographer should be in need for this tool, but now they’ll have it in PhotoLine as well. It lets you scale an image with a content aware algorithm, meaning that the ‘important’ and dominant parts in an image won’t be distorted if you want to squeeze the width or height of an image. The technique looks great, but as I said, I never needed to squeeze an image for any reason, but maybe it is a great tool for image editors in magazine production.
Quick Selection Tool:
Well, this one is not so simple, but extremely powerful. It lets you select an object in an image with a powerful fine tuning, giving you more precise control of the selection to ‘cut’ or ‘isolate’ an object from the background. Together with the
Border Matting Tool
you can define even the finest and tiniest parts of an image to be knocked out and selected. It’s like applying a feathering to the edges of fine detail like hair or branches of bushes and trees. The flexing muscle icon is an excellent depiction of its function…
Magnifier in the View Window:
Until now you only had some sort of navigation window if you’ve zoomed into your image. Now you can select Page Map, Magnifier, Documents or Pages, while the last two are for documents only. Assuming you are working with huge scans, zooming in and out can be a real pain. Selecting the Magnifier lets you exactly see (with a selectable magnification) the area you are working on. A real nice addition for the film enthusiasts among us.
Copy Without Colored Edge:
Well, to be honest, until today I simply couldn’t get what this function means, but I guess this is because I don’t need to copy image parts <sigh>.
Another great tool for people who need to copy or replace objects in images.
The edge of the selection always contains colors of the background, too. If you have selected an object, you’ll end up with tiny bits of the background included in your selection. These are disturbing if the selection is copied to another picture. Therefore they optionally can be removed with this tool, which features 3 tool options or subsets.
As always, the modification of the color depth is a snap:
A nice new feature is the clock icon, which shows the progress of longer operations:
The freely configurable tool box:
And of course the freely configurable palettes:
In short words: For 60 Euro (full version) or 30 Euro (update) you get the best tool currently available. Go for it and say ‘Adios Adobe’!
To test drive PhotoLine, visit their web site here, or go straight to the download page here. PhotoLine is available for Mac and Windows.
Wow & geez, I just received a nice comment in the PhotoLine International forum: http://www.pl32.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2984 - thanks guys for your kind words!