Friday, September 19, 2008

Alternative to Photoshop

Blog Post: Alternative to Photoshop

I've made no secret of the fact I hate Photoshop. Using PS for typesetting is like using a sledgehammer to crack walnuts. Whenever possible I use a very nice vector editor called "Inkscape." I realize PS is a necessary evil in the scanlation community and I certainly don't advocate getting rid of it. (At least not yet.)

Yes, PS is versatile--but at the cost of a steep learning curve, cluttered UI, labor-intensive and s-l-o-w. 

But I found something that may break the stranglehold PS has. Allow me to present a possible alternative: Photoscape.

This free image editor was developed by a Korean consortium. It has the advantages of being fast, simple and very, very useful. Many of the common needs for the scan community--levelling, brightness, contrast, gamma and so forth are push-button and slider-bars. Also commonly used settings can be saved as profiles. Here are screen shots so you can look for yourself. The editor functions I speak of are on the 3rd screen-shot down. 

I use Photoscape where I work, an electronics manufacturing company, to help develop visual aids for assembly and inspection. I use a digital camera to document processes under far from ideal lighting conditions. With Photoscape I prep the imagery before importing it into Open Office Draw to create the visual aids. 

Could this replace PS? Of course not, especially dealing with "noise" and other cleaning issues. I recommend this as another tool editors can use. If your scans are good quality and just need leveling and contrast adjusted, you can fire up Photoscape and do so with just a few clicks. If scan groups have editors who want to help but are challenged by time--or older PC's--they can help do the initial steps with Photoscape before the imagery is cleaned and tweaked in PS. 

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