Posts Tagged 'graphics'

Pic View – FreeFile Review

Pic View is “a simple picture viewer and manipulator”, from Alternate Tools, not to be confused with PicView, which is an iPhone app. Alternate Pic View performs basic photo editing functions with a few additional tools thrown in. It is Windows only and a portable version is available.

The Good – The interface is clean and easy to navigate. All of the image adjustments (color, brightness, contrast, etc.) work well, as do the image filters. It includes simple shape and text tools. It can batch convert images into 13 different formats, run a slideshow of a folder of images, and generate a QR code.
The Bad – This is a limited program. The image adjustments are basic. Very little can be done to customize the interface.

— — — — The Bottom Line — — — —

I find this program too limited for my workflow, so I can’t recommend it. However, I found the QR Code Generator to be an interesting addition, which is available from Alternate Tools as a stand alone application.

Download the QR Code Generator HERE

Download Pic View HERE

Read more reviews at DanKostecki.com.

Annotation With iPhotoDraw – FreeFile Review

iPhotoDraw is a free program for making annotations on images. The images can be existing images on your pc or screen captures from iPhotoDraw’s own screen capture function. The interface is attractive and well organized. iPhotoDraw is for Windows only.

The Good – Some might consider iPhotoDraw a one trick pony, but it feels very full-featured. For annotations, a good selection of simple shapes and lines are available, and can be adjusted in numerous ways. Drop shadows and outer glows can be added. The built-in screen capture is handy. Simple image adjustments are also included under the ‘Image’ menu.

The Bad – The only thing that I found confusing was saving. If you want to save a screen capture, just use ‘Save As’ – no problem. However, after making annotations, ‘Save As’ will only save the background image, not the annotations. To save the image with the annotations you must use ‘Export’. Not a problem, once you understand the process.

— — — — The Bottom Line — — — —

Everyone occasionally needs to make a screen grab and add annotations to it. iPhotoDraw is the ideal solution to create a good looking screen capture with a minimum of fuss. This free program is definitely a keeper.

Download iPhotoDraw HERE

Read more FreeFiles at DanKostecki.com

 

IrfanView – FreeFile Review

FFR-2015IrfanView-headerIf I were to describe IrfanView in a few words, I would classify it as a graphics viewer/editor, but it is much more than that. Among it’s most notable features is screen capture, icon creation, and batch editing. Plug-ins greatly expand it’s functionality with things such as video player, CD/DVD burning, and slideshow creation.

IrfanView is most effective when used as your system graphics viewer. This is the program that will open to view any graphics file that you click on. Why is this awesome? IrfanView is fast. It supports a ton of formats. It is a first class, simple photo editor. Click on a JPG (or any supported format) and it opens instantly in a photo editor – ready to edit. This function is easy to enable during installation; select the “Images only” button on the ‘associate extensions’ page.

The photo editing controls are rather basic, but give give excellent results. A basic drawing function is included. Program menus and options are extensive and may confuse the new user, but seasoned users will appreciate all of the options. IrfanView is only available for Windows.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

I give IrfanView my highest recommendation. I love its speed and basic photo editing functions. In 1999, I first used it to create an icon, and soon learned that it made an excellent system graphics viewer. I have been using it daily for 16 years and consider it an essential part of Windows. Go get it today.
Download IrfanView HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com.

PhotoDemon – FreeFile Review

FFR-WP-logo

PhotoDemon-logo

 

 

PhotoDemon is yet another simple photo editor. It is, in a word, basic; in my opinion, too basic. It is for Windows only.
What I like about PhotoDemon –
It’s portable – no installation needed – just unzip and launch. The Quick Fix bar has Clarity and Vibrance adjustments along with the basic color adjustments. Very nice. It comes with a large collection of high quality filters. Most of the filters have relevant adjustments. Layers are enabled, but with few features. All of the standard color and lighting adjustments are available. All adjustments are on sliders.
Now, the bad news –
As with most free photo editors, the selection tools are basic and lacking. There is no Healing Brush or Clone Tool, so spot corrections and spot adjustments are not practical. There is no Text Tool.
– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –
To make simple adjustments to photos, or if you are really into filters, PhotoDemon is a good choice. The nice selection of filters is the only reason to consider this program.
Download PhotoDemon HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

PicPick – Toolbox of Awesome – FreeFile Review

FFR-WP-logo

picpickPicPick is a toolbox full of utilities for graphics/design work. It combines eight tools into one neat package. A screen ruler, screen protractor, color picker, magnifier, and an excellent screen capture utility are the main tools in PicPick. It is for Windows only and is free for personal use.
The best feature of PicPick is how well all of the tools are integrated. Installation is very quick and problem-free with only one .EXE needed. The program is pinned to the taskbar during installation, so that any of the eight tools are available by right-clicking the pinned icon. This makes it very convenient to launch any of the tools. The portable version of PicPick will require manually pinning it to the Taskbar (not a big deal). The tools can also be launched through a desktop shortcut. I found all of the tools to be both simple and effective. The screen capture tool has top-notch features, such as image adjustments, drawing tools, and Save as PDF. I wish that the Color Picker and Color Palette tools had more options for adjusting/mixing colors, but overall, they are simple to use and effective. Rounding out the tool kit are a Cross Hair tool, to determine the pixel coordinates of any object on your screen and a White Board tool for making freehand notes on your screen.
– – The Bottom Line – –
Certainly, if you do any graphics/design work, you regularly use one or two tools similar to these, but having eight great tools in one little package is too good to pass up. PicPick is free for personal use.
Download PicPick HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

The Pixel Painter – Nearly Blind Artist Creates Amazing Art With MS Paint [video]

FreeFile Review – GifCam

FFR-WP-logogifcamToday, it is rare that a free program can be considered truly original. GifCam is such a program. Although many programs can create animated GIFs, GifCam simplifies the process as no other program has. The program will record any area of the desktop and save it as an animated GIF. It is a portable application that requires no installation. It is available only for Windows.

GifCam is quite easy to use. When launched, the program window appears on the desktop with the main window transparent. The transparent window is the area that will be recorded; it can be resized and relocated to your needs. Prepare your source material (start playing a YouTube video, for example), resize and relocate GifCam over the video, press ‘Rec’ to begin recording and ‘Stop’ to stop the recording. Next, save the GIF with the ‘Save’ button. A drop-down arrow on the ‘Save’ button allows you to select 5 quality levels. ‘Quantize’ produces the most realistic output, although ‘Gray Scale’ preserves more detail. Many may prefer ‘Gray Scale’ even though the file sizes are larger. ‘Monochrome’ can produce interesting results with the right source material (high contrast and little detail). ‘256 Color’ produces the classic animated GIF look, and I don’t know why anyone would use the ’20 Color’ setting. The ‘Edit button allows for trimming frames or delay time from frames – rather clunky, but it works.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

An adjustment for frames per second would be nice and I occasionally noticed green artifacts in the output files, but overall, GifCam is an impressive program. I give it two thumbs up.

Download GifCam HERE

Read more FreeFile Rewiews at DanKostecki.com

Awesome Site For Photographs – TheFabWeb

I just ran across a blog with an excellent collection of photos. TheFabWeb is regularly updated with large collections of quality photos. Plan to spend a bit of time if you look through this blog.

Don’t miss TheFabWeb.

Visit TheFabWeb.

When Words Explain Themselves In Images

Mindjunker posted an interesting collection of words that show the words’ definitions with simple graphic enhancements. Fontophiles and type junkies will love it.

See all 23 words HERE

 

 

FreeFile Review – The Gimp 2.8

The Gimp has long been considered the best free graphics editor. In the past, when trying the program, I was turned off by the interface that consisted of several floating windows. This issue has been addressed in the new version 2.8 with the Single-Window Mode, which can be enabled in the ‘Windows’ menu. This constrains the program to a single main window as is the norm with most programs. This new interface is pleasant and slightly cluttered. Another welcome change is the Text Editing, which now is done on canvas (in-line). Previously, text was edited in a separate window. The Gimp is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

My enthusiasm for the program quickly evaporated when I tried to get some work done with it. Much of this program is not intuitive; I spent more time reading less-than-helpful help files and the more useful forums than actually testing the program. If you are experienced with other photo editors, The Gimp will be very frustrating. Simple functions, such as ‘deselect’ are not where one would expect them. Other things, such as ‘Adjustment Layers’, are absent. There are seven selection tools, but not a plain ‘Select’ tool. The ‘Heal Tool’ performs as a ‘Clone Stamp Tool’. It seems that non-standard things have been done just to be different.

Positives include a good selection of tools, most of which have plenty of options. It comes with a nice selection of filters. The new Single-Window interface is a welcome change. The Gimp performed well and was stable.
– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

This is a powerful program with a steep learning curve, and you must be willing to put in a lot of work to master it. I can’t recommend The Gimp for most users, but if you are looking for a challenge, The Gimp may fill the bill.

Download The Gimp HERE

Visit DanKostecki.com for more FreeFile Reviews

FreeFile Review – PixBuilder Studio

I just recently became aware of PixBuilder Studio. This free image editor is similar to Paint.Net, which I reviewed earlier this year – both are quite capable, but with a few differences.

Installation offers the options of a full install or a portable install (very nice). I chose the portable install on Windows 7 and had no issues. PixBuilder Studio is for Windows only. The user interface is very clean and modern and it can be customized to one’s tastes.

Most of PixBuilder Studio’s image adjustments (brightness, contrast, color controls, etc.) are found under the Colors menu on the toolbar. All of these controls perform quite well as do the limited drawing tools. I was surprised to find a Healing Brush Tool, but I found its performance subpar. The Clone Stamp Tool performs much better. Text is edited in a seperate window – my preference is for inline editing – however, in this case, the text editing is well done. My favorite feature is the Zoom Panel. It offers the easiest way to zoom in and out of the workspace that I have seen. This feature should be included in all image editors. Another surprise is the icon editor that is built into the program. Finally, the program performs quickly and reliably.

The only big negative that I found was the few filters and effects included with PixBuilder Studio. It is possible to install Photoshop filters, but few users will go through the involved process to enable them. Hopefully, this will be resolved in a future version.

– – The Bottom Line – –

I was pleasantly surprised by this well done piece of software. Anyone needing a basic photo editor will be very satisfied with PixBuilder Studio. The icon editing functions really make PixBuilder Studio stand out from the crowd. Try it for yourself.

Download PixBuilder Studio HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

World’s Ugliest Websites

Delicious has a page with links to the web’s ugliest webpages. There are classics, such as Yvettes Bridal Shop and newcomers, such as Calee’s Place.

Check out all the pages HERE.

 

 


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