Recently I have been looking into low cost (or rather no-cost) alternatives to Adobe’s Photoshop CS2. The open source community has provided me with several alternatives, however, none of them can provide me with some of the requirements I have.
I tend to need to watermark and resize a lot of photos for the web, sometimes several hundred at a time, and I find myself doing this daily. Photoshop (or moreover, Imageready, Photoshop’s web-optimising little brother) provides useful scripting and ‘Droplets’. Droplets are small applications (or scripts, rather, held in an .exe) that fire off repetitive tasks when files are dropped on them. I had these down to a tee with 10-15 optimised Droplets for my every need. However, the open-source alternatives I looked at (The Gimp (www.gimp.org) and Paint.net) either didn’t have the required functionality or was just too plain complicated (yes, Gimp, I’m talking to YOU).
In the end I have settled (and actually BOUGHT) a copy of Corel’s ‘Paint Shop Pro X2’ which uses a similar system known as ‘Scriptlets’ to automate tasks. This cost me (or my company, rather) a touch over £70 which, compared to the £500+ Adobe wanted will do very nicely thankyou. One of the gripes I have with the attitudes people have these days is that they associate Photoshop as being THE only image manipulation program. I will agree it is THE must-have program if you are manipulating images all day but when you are just resizing and optimising for day-to-day use there is little point in purchasing (or ‘acquiring’) an application whose features 95% of which will not be used.
At the moment all the scripts are running fine but am having a few problems getting the scriplets to run. As soon as these are up and running I’ll be jumping into the script code to see if I can tweak them and speed them up.