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Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?

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Herbert van der wegen
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:13:15 am
Last Edited By Herbert van der wegen on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:33:32 am

I am surprised no-one mentioned Photoline yet - I switched from Photoshop to Photoline some time ago, and it offers a mostly non-destructive workflow: adjustment layers, layer effects, true vector layers (unlike Photoshop), non-destructive liquify and warp layers (which can be stacked), and much more.

The way layers work in Photoline is actually an improvement over Photoshop. Each layer can have its own custom image mode (no need to switch image mode), layer opacity can be set from -200 up to +200, layers can be instanced, and these instances update in real-time when changes are made to the original source layer or layer group. Externally referenced file layers are supported in the newer betas - which update in real time when changes are made to them externally. And adjustment layers can be grouped in a kind of "super" adjustment layer to keep the layer stack clean and nicely organized.

And each bitmap layer can have a custom size and resolution independent of the main document/image setting (and their own image mode).

The way layer masks are implemented completely blows Photoshop out of the water: you can have as many as you need/want per layer, group them, combine vector, text, bitmap layers in layer masks as you see fit! And best of all layer masks behave like regular layers, so they can be instanced as well - meaning one source layer can act as the main control mask for many other layers.

And layer adjustments/layer effects even work with layer masks!!!

RGB, CMYK, Lab, Greyscale and monochome layers are supported - with the first four supporting 8, 16, and 32 bit per channel. Multi-layered EXR files can be loaded and exported - something Photoshop lacks. Full non-destructive raw photo editing is supported.

Other things that are very useful to have: multi-page document support - loading pdf files with many pages and Photoline acts as a pdf editor. The ability to edit Lab curves for layers without the need to switch to Lab mode. The newest betas support spot colours and overprinting. Support for Mac and Windows (with a Wine option in Linux). The installation file is a mere 20~30mb(!). Photoline can be installed on a portable disk or usb stick. The GUI is completely adjustable in terms of brightness now. 32bit and 64bit versions. Classic Photoshop plugin compatible. Photoshop psd file import even keeps most common adjustment layers intact, as well as the layer effects. And it runs rock-solid.

Coincidentally, I also tried Acorn a while ago - it just cannot compare to Photoline. Neither can Pixelmator, PS Elements, Gimp. Photoline can compete with Photoshop in terms of image editing. Fair is fair, though: one thing missing compared to Acorn and Photoshop is the lack of a scripting interface.

The two main things missing in Photoline compared to Photoshop are the video editing and 3d options. The painting tools are up to a level of Photoshop's older brush engine. I combine Photoline with Krita (free open source) for digital painting. Krita is arguably a real improvement over Photoshop's painting features.

Also, Photoline has an interesting app link option: image editing tools and software can be hooked up through this app link to Photoline, making it possible to send a layer (or even a layered document) to an external application, edit, and send back to Photoline with the changes. Through this link I use Gimp as a kind of plugin.

I apologize for raving about PL, but it is a great Photoshop alternative - and very affordable too. The beta is open to any registered user.

System: Win7 64bit - i7 920@3.6Ghz, p6t Deluxe v1, 48gb (6x8gb RipjawsX), ATI 7970 3gb, EVGA 590 3GB, Revodrive X2 240gb, e-mu 1820. Screens: 2 x Samsung s27a850ds 2560x1440, HP 1920x1200 in portrait mode

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