CoreImage based PhotoShop/Painter contender

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Blackjack75, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. Blackjack75 macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2005
    I am currently working on an image manipulation program that wears the joyful name of ChocoFlop. I am working on it these days and just setup a website: Of course it is based on the new CoreImage technology (and thus requires 10.4)

    I'd just like to know what do you people think about it. It's not released yet, but you can see some screenshots of the dev version in the news and read the features/goal. A beta release is coming soon.

    What features do you consider the most important? Also do you think there would be interest in such software? Knowing that this will cost something like 30 Euros versus 1000 for Photoshop... I know most people cannot afford a photoshop license, however piracy does hurt small developers (why would you buy anything cheap if you could steal something expensive).

    Your comments are welcome!
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    It sounds like a neat project. I'll go check out your screenshots. I'd say though, that if you want to sell a lot of copies as a competitor to PS, benchmark what Photoshop Elements 3 can do... it's similar in price to what you want to charge, and it's really quite capable (it's available in the US, at least, for as little as $40USD).

    Alternatively, there might be a lot of room for a program that is a substantially more powerful photo touchup-tool than iPhoto but is much easier to use than PS or PSE.... For instance, taking a cue from the actions that photographers use in PS, such as the sharpening tools at Fred Miranda, you could create a sharpening tool in your app that would be much more intuitive or simplified and would make most users very happy -- it could just have presets for a few circumstances, rather than the PS three knob system. If you were similarly to automate other typical photo tasks, and to provide some hand-holding around things like clone stamps and the healing brush, I think it could be really interesting.

    Good luck! :)
  3. Blackjack75 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2005

    Thanks for your comments mkrishnan. I agree with them :)

    I actually tried PhotoShop elements but I thought it was just a bit underfeatured (it was version 2.0 I think). The idea to remove the curves because "it's not the professional version" just seemed like shameless crippling.

    A lot of people have been taught about image manipulation with photoshop. In a professional or even school environnment you are very likely to be trained on photoshop. So you can't be too different from it because people will think it's just "wrong" because it doesn't behave the same way. Sad but true.

    Now I think you are right are about hand-holding. Stamping in photoshop and many other image manipulation tools require you to know that you should alt-click to define the source. Maybe some simple onscreen instructions would really help first time users.

    Also the idea of having presets for most things seems like a good idea. Core Image for example gives you a lot of filters, some of which allow modify various aspects of colours but there is not "desaturate" filter. Of course the same result can be achieved by using another (Color Controls) filter, but just having a shortcut for it does help a lot (I did add one of course). I have myself a background in graphics so I hope I can understand better the feelings of users.

    It is very important to wake that "instant understanding" in a user's mind. Before OSX I used Linux, and I followed every version of the Gimp. After years I came up to the conclusion that it's being written by programmers for programmers and I just could never get used to it. It is a lot of power but so unintuitive most graphic designers just forget it and prefer to buy photoshop or ps elements.
  4. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Check out GraphicConverter (not CoreImage, but close) and iMaginator (heavily CoreImage-based). Do something different/better. Don't bother if it turns out you're just doing a rehash of iMaginator.
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Well, your screen shots looked very impressive. It certainly would be nice to have a cocoa application that did these things. :)

    BTW, PSE versions 2 and 3 are a big sea apart. Agreed that 2 was not that great. PSE3 is very, very nice.

    But don't let that stop you. :)
  6. Blackjack75 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2005
    Not gonna be a rehash of Imaginator, far from it! I took some time to see what existed. That's why I wrote something new:) If you install the developer tools you'll see there's an application called CoreImage Fun House. This is the app used to demo CoreImage at WWDC 2004. Basically this is free and already does all Imaginator does, which is: demoing Core Image. And it can even save the results.. for free. You can apply filters over filters and see the results.

    But if you wish to actually create something in real life, like a website design, a banner, mobile games graphics or something like that, they seem pretty useless to me. What I am writing is something that (hopefully) will be very useable in everyday's graphics tasks not a technology showoff. I look forward to having a public beta ready so I can get comments on the real thing.

    I also downloaded an evaluation version of Graphics Converter. This looks like a more useful tool in its area. It does support an _amazing_ amount of formats and technical things of that kind. Yet when it comes down to creating content I don't think I'd use that either. Graphic Converter offers Core Image filters but more on less in the same way FunHouse does it (entering the coordinates for the perspective transform by in a textfield doesn't seem like the best option :) ).
  7. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    Well, beyond the fact that Andrew Stone is a friend of mine... I know iMaginator is already being used to create web graphics.

    I don't see in your features list where your app is going to create website design. Did I miss something?

    I've used the Stone Studio for creating web pages for years. iMaginator, Create and SliceAndDice can be used to make a wide range of site designs.

    I guess I don't see where your app does any of that.

    Also, Andrew has had a long (and very close) relationship with Apple (and worked closely with the people on the Core Image team long before they joined Apple) and he has been a cocoa developer long before there was Cocoa (he released the first, the very first ever, third party application for NEXTSTEP back in 1989).

    It is nice that you are trying to develop an app... but you don't need to put down other people's work (specially one of the most respected people in Cocoa development community) to try to push your app.

    And I'm curious... are you (or were you) a Windows developer (besides being a Be developer)? Why the full screen mode? :eek:
  8. Blackjack75 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2005
    Hi RacerX,

    sorry I didn't mean to put down or offense anyone, I was just trying to explain what my goals where. I guess it's better to say what you want to do rather than what you don't want to :) I truly apologize if I hurt someone.

    I don't know Stone Studio so I can't comment on it. But did I miss something about Imaginator? I tried it quickly and it really seemed to be just like CoreImage Fun House. I mean it's already a lot of work if it started from scratch. The comments on versiontracker really seemed enthusiastic about it, that's why I tried it. But since I am always concerned about drawing, either pixel-based or with 'artistic' tools à la Painter, I didn't find it very useful for my personal needs. That's why I said "seems useless to ME". I am sure there are lots of uses for it if you know how and when to use it.

    In the version of Imaginator I downloaded some time ago, the only paint tool I saw was one that drew simple lines but it was very slow on my poor 12" iBook. Maybe it's quite different on an accelerated machine. It just appeared to me that I could hardly use it for creating artwork. It looks good for effects, but then again FunHouse does pretty much the same. Again, I didn't test it very thoroughly those are just the impressions I had when I quickly tested the app.

    BTW when I said my app was going to be able to create "website design" I just referred to the dimensions of graphics. It won't be an app for very big images, at least not soon, since this would require advance memory management (like photoshop does with blocks). But designing websites or anything else requires being able to paint with various tools, masks, layer masks and such things. Probably the only function directly related to web design I may add in some later version would be the ability to save slices (like ImageReady/PhotoShop does) as an HTML table (because that's all I did use myself in such software).

    Now about my personal background, I have never been an Apple developer. But I have never really been a Windows developer either :) Before OSX I spent some time on Linux but really got fed up.

    I have programmed mostly in java and php. Recently I have been into java mobile applications ( About BeOS as you might have found: I was quite a fan of it. I actually bought the operating system when R3 appeared on intel (in 1999?). And I even wrote a very very buggy painting app for it a long time ago while learning C. It was called Natural Paint, then Photon (when I abandonned it and release the source code). Finally it was renamed to BePhotoMagic by the people who finally realized the source-code was too buggy to be usable as a basis for a good program... But my skills have improved since then, well, I hope so! :)

    As for my personal experience, I had worked on macs earlier but I bought my first mac ever in december 2004, so ChocoFlop is actually my first ever mac program and my first ever objective-c program, so I am not a specialist nor do I have close relations with Apple as your friend seems to have but I really enjoy developing with Cocoa and OpenGL. ChocoFlop is a good occasion for me to learn about these technologies but I also plan to make it a consumer-oriented app.

    Finally, about the full screen mode I just happen to like working on a empty uncluttered canvas and I always liked that feature in older apps like Deluxe Paint, a long long time ago.
  9. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    I was going to ask if this was related to Natural Paint/BePhotoMagic as it sounded like you were heading down the same path.

    iMaginator is designed to help fill the void left by TIFFany 3 (which seems to be what Core Image is based on). I don't use iMaginator myself... I have Photoshop/ImageReady 7, TIFFany 3 Professional and ToyViewer, all of which cover my needs currently.

    As for what it has over Fun House... there are a number of good reviews of iMaginator that cover this very topic. So I would guess that you may have, indeed, missed something.

    As for iMaginator's part in Stone Design software... about a year ago LinkBack was incorporated into most of the software. And since one of the areas not covered in the Stone Suite is image processing, this fills that gap and guarantees compatibility with the other apps (like Create, PhotoToWeb, SliceAndDice and GIFfun).

    At any rate, Stone software has always added features at a pretty regular pace. Create started out as TextArt which was an app used to manipulate text using NEXTSTEP's postscript engine. In time it evolved into Create (which is an illustration, page layout and wed design tool).

    I have no doubt that iMaginator will follow a similar path... and with free upgrades for life, your sure to get every successive version along with all the new features.

    Like I said, there is no reason to bring down someone else's work. If iMaginator wasn't what you were looking for... and you are willing to set out to create an app of your own to get that, great.

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