I went to a "misconceptions of the big bang theory" talk held here in Vancouver (MacMillan Space Centre), and it re-ignited my interest in astronomy and cosmology. The observatory is open to the public on Saturday evenings, and I plan on going as well. Anyway, while browsing for deep sky objects, telescopes, BB and alternatives, Halton Arp, and so on, I stumbled on this forum, and I am always interested in software, visited that section and noticed this post.
Ordinarily I would never sign up for a forum merely to respond to a post, but this is just asking for a rebuttal :-) You could not be further from the truth. Honestly. * warning: long post ;-) * Photoshop has been my weapon of choice as a professional user since v4, and three months ago I stumbled upon Photoline while browsing. Up to that point I had never heard of it before - and I've worked with just about every image editor that exist(s)/(ed) on multiple platforms, starting with Deluxe Paint on the Amiga. In the last two years I'd been on the lookout for a true Photoshop alternative in regards to professional image editing. I grew tired of Adobe's strategy for Photoshop: instead of improving the core image editing functionality, they only seem to be interested in bolting on more fluff to justify the high upkeep. Over the years I tried all potential alternatives, free, commercial, open source, and what not, and quickly realized nothing came close to replacing my 'beloved' Photoshop. Enter Photoline. Had never heard of it, and just pure chance landed me on their web pages. First thought: absolutely dismal website, horrible campy looking examples, tutorials with neon disco effects... Your first reaction equalled mine: "This cannot be any good, it looks rubbish", and I almost closed the browser window. But I thought, "What the heck, I've tried everything by now, let's at least give it a quick look." I was gobsmacked the first time I loaded it up. Thoughts running through my mind: How could I have missed this gem? It's been on the market for a very long time Why does almost no-one mention - and is unaware of - Photoline? Why is the website so excruciatingly unprofessional looking? Honestly, I do not know - I only know Photoline has opened up a new approach of image editing for me. I haven't touched Photoshop in two months, or so: I now do my main jobs in Photoline. This coming from someone who has been an Adobe Certified Expert, and is an Adobe software instructor teaching image editing professionals these last 12 years. I am not impressed easily. And you know what: biggest (pleasant) surprise! The image editing tools are, for the most part, on par with Photoshop, and in a number of very crucial areas, actually outperform Photoshop by a fair margin - yes, you read that right. Some of the things that wow'ed me are: - full 8/16/32bit per channel support. Full HDR support. - each layer can be set to its own image mode in the same document! Read the previous line again, and understand its implications. That means: you may freely combine monochrome. greyscale, rgb, cmyk and lab(!) layers simultaneously in the same layer stack. And at the same time RGB/CMYK/LAB layers can be set to 8/16/32 bit per channel as well. Any combination! Far superior to any other image editing app I have encountered so far. No more switching between image modes to attain a certain effect. No more silly smart objects as a work-around. A simple palette with a drop down menu is all you need to convert individual layers to any other image mode and any bit-depth. - virtual layers: instanced clones of a layer. - full layer management (layer groups, etc.). - curves can be applied to rgb and cmyk layers in Lab mode without switching that layer to lab mode. More advanced users will appreciate the meaning of this. Far superior to Photoshop. - filters and adjustments function in all bit-depths for the most part (newest beta versions have improved this even further). - the opacity slider for a layer can be set from a range starting at -200 up to +200. Yes, you read that correct. Photoshop feels incredibly limited in comparison, This also applies to adjustment and filter layers! It opens up a whole new workflow. - in photoshop we are limited to only one layer mask per layer. This artificial limitation forces one to use work-arounds for more complex masking, but Photoline sets no limit to the number of layer masks we wish to add! Very liberating. - Multi page support. Import as many pdf pages as you like. Document mode and DTP like features for layouts. Full vector support. - full colour management. - Non-destructive adjustment layers like Photoshop, and filter layers without the need to resort to arbitrary smart objects which are awkward to work with. - control of anti-aliasing on a per layer basis! - layer effects and advanced "blend if" for layers like Photoshop - bitmap scaling & rotation with Lanczos 8! - non-destructive scaling and rotation. - scales with multiple CPUs/cores. - no Adobe drm nonsense. - full 64bit and 32bit version for both mac and pc. Mac Retina support (beta version). - less than 20mb(!) installation file. Kinda refreshing after 1.5gb of Photoshop installation files. ;-) - portable if you so wish. ...and the list goes on and on. I am now on the beta list, and developers are extremely sensitive to the wishes of their user base. For example, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned to them how useful it would be to have the middle mouse button to act as the hand tool (like Gimp, Inkscape or Blender), as well as ctrl-clicking a layer to load up a mask based on transparency (Photoshop) And just last week I wished for a function to save all layers to individual files. All of it now implemented in the newest beta, as well as a bonus option to load up the luminance values as a mask. Their support is brilliant, and they are very open to (rational) suggestions to improve Photoline. Anyway, I am starting to rave a bit here. Before I sound like a religious zealot, I should mention its drawbacks: - the English documentation is lacking, and almost nothing can be found online in regards to tutorlals or other support. No books either :-(. - The painting tools are at a PS cs3 or before level - not bad, but hardly comparable to the current PS version. - The interface lags behing the functionality in places, and the default interface just looks... bad, with those colourful icons (which can be changed though to better looking ones). The look of the interface deters some people from using it in my experience, and writing it off as "unprofessional". - And some of the terminology and English translations are hair-raisingly odd/bad (levels --> "Histogram Correction", Selections are "Lassos"). - Complex projects with a high number of layers will slow down Photoline operation more than Photoshop currently. - Coming from Photoshop some dialogs are inefficient. (But this is balanced out by many dialogs in Photoline being better designed than Photoshop's equivalents, so it varies. - The channel palette is not nearly as useful as Photoshop's version. The workflow is quite different in Photoline. - Saving selections/masks to a channel is an option that is lacking as well. They can be saved in the layer palette, which is an advantage or drawback, depending on your viewpoint. - And the workflow is quite different in places compared to Photoshop - sometimes (much) easier, and at times almost frustrating (to a long time PH user set in his ways ;-). - There is also no video or 3d support - for advanced image editing no-one will miss these (on the contrary: students of mine tend to complain about all the fluff that's been added to Photoshop's core these last couple of years). I work in 3d myself, and even I hardly understand why Adobe got sidetracked by the half-hearted 3d painting tools. I never use them: cumbersome and slow. Nevertheless, other people seem to like them, so if you are looking for this type of functionality you are out of luck. - no perspective editing filter. - some of Photoshop's CS6 new layer management features are very nice, like filtering and a search. These are not present in Photoline. - Photoline misses the "bling" of Photoshop. Hard to describe this in better terms. I suppose Photoshop has become a cultural icon - I mentioned to some of my colleagues I switched to Photoline, and their expressions went blank. The concept of a true alternative for pure image editing does not fit the current paradigm. As far as image editing is concerned Photoline is on par with Photoshop: sometimes superior, sometimes not as good, most of the time the required functionality is present in both apps. And most well-written Photoshop plugins work in Photoline. In a nutshell: do not let the looks of the website deceive you. Download the fully functional trial, and give a fair chance (unlearn Photoshop - was the hard part for me): Photoline may surprise you, and the financial upkeep is ridiculously low (29 euro to update to a new full-point version!). Oh, and Gimp falls flat on its face in comparison to Photoline. It just can't compete. Though I still do keep it around for certain features.