Two Alternatives for Editing Photos for Newspapers
by Kevin Slimp, January 2007
Quite often, when Iím speaking about new technology at a newspaper conference, someone will ask how I feel about some of the open source software available in OS X. I decided to take a look at one of the most popular open source applications, GIMP.
GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program for Mac OS X. Freely distributed, GIMP is also available for Windows-based machines. First released by two Berkeley students in 1996, GIMP has since grown into a powerful image editor since that time.
While not as feature-filled as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP includes many of the tools newspapers and photographers use in their daily work. GIMP offers the ability to adjust levels, hue & saturation, color mode, size and many other features used to edit photos for newspapers.
Iíve spent some time editing photos in GIMP, and the process is very similar to the method I use in Photoshop. I did run into a couple of issues. One, while attempting to save a file as EPS with a preview, I continually received an error message and no file was created. I was able to create EPS files without previews, however. I was also unable to open Camera Raw images. GIMP saves files in most formats including eps, tiff, jpeg and even PSD (Photoshop format).
Because GIMP is an open source application, it is designed to be reinforced with plug-ins and scripts to increase its capabilities. Some of its built-in features include: editable text layers, alpha channel support, layers and channels, text layers, several transformation tools, a full suite of painting tools and more.
While not a replacement for Photoshop, GIMP is worthwhile for designers who wouldnít normally have Photoshop available on their computers.
To download GIMP or learn more about the various versions of the application, visit www.gimp.org.
Adobe Offers Christmas Present to Photoshop Users
Adobe played Santa over the holidays by offering users of Photoshop CS2 a free copy of the beta version of Photoshop CS3. A beta is a version of software used by software companies before it actually makes its way to the marketplace.
This release is especially valuable to Mac users who have recently purchased Intel-based computers, only to watch Photoshop suffer, compared to applications created to run on Intel-based Macs. Many Mac users, myself included, have held off purchasing a Macbook (Mac laptop) until the new version of Photoshop became available.
Iím guessing that Adobe took a nod from the very popular public release of its new Lightroom software beta in 2006.
I plan to write a detailed review of Photoshop CS3 when it makes its way to the shelves sometime in mid 2007. Till then, let me tell you what impressed me most about the beta. The first thing I noticed was how much faster Photoshop and the Bridge run, compared to the CS2 versions. Raw images, which used to crawl to the screen in earlier versions of the Bridge and Browser, now pop up quickly on my screen. This increase in speed makes it realistic to shoot most of my photos in RAW format rather than in JPEG. In addition, many functions happen much faster.
A new tool, the Quick Selection Brush, is very impressive. With it, I can make a very quick selection. For instance, I used the new tool to click and drag on an area of my sonís face in a photo. Immediately, his entire face was selected. I dragged the brush over a red plate with food, and Photoshop created a perfect selection of the plate and the food. Users will love this one.
Adobe further improved the program by adding a couple of Lightroom features to Photoshopís RAW image editor. Combine this with several non-destructive filters and interface changes, and Photoshop users are sure to flock to the new version.
And for my Christmas present to myself, I purchased a 15Ē MacBook Pro. It works great with the Photoshop beta.
Anyone with a valid copy of Photoshop CS2 can download and install the new beta from http://labs.adobe.com.