GraphicConverter X for Mac OS X. If you can afford 10-cents per day for the next year you can afford the best Mac Swiss Army Knife of graphics utilities.
I’ve had Photoshop since about version 2.0 (the current version is up so high they’re calling it Photoshop “CS” now) and it’s a great graphics program.
For the part-time user who dabbles in photos and graphics, Adobe’s Photoshop Elements is excellent. For vector graphics requirements it’s difficult to argue with Illustrator or Macromedia’s Freehand and Fireworks.
In fact, there’s more great graphics tools to choose from than you can imagine. However, you’ll pay for all that Mac graphic goodness.
And not one of those much more expensive graphic applications will import 175 graphic file formats. Not one of them will export 75 graphic file formats.
There’s hardly any graphics programs available in German, English, French, Danish, Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese.
I don’t know when I first bought GraphicConverter. It was many years ago and there was no such thing as Mac OS X Panther, Jaguar, or Cheetah, or Kitty (although “Hello Kitty” has been around about 30 years). It must have been about Mac OS 8.x.
GraphicConverter was originally purchased because of a need to convert some PC graphics files that Photoshop didn’t handle. So I kept it around and I’ve upgraded to every version since.
Well, less than 10-cents a day (for a year) seemed like a great price for a Mac application that did so much. Like what?
The web came along big time in late 1994 and the need to create both .jpg and .gif images, and squeeze them down in size, was a major requirement. Photoshop was expensive even back then. Over the next few years graphics folks started using and collecting every nifty neato, double-deluxe, A-number one graphics application that came along.
GraphicConverter made the cut.
First, a brief discussion of the file formats you can import. I don’t know if GraphicConverter imports ALL formats, but it imports about 150 more than I even knew existed. Ever hear of “BUM”? How about “MonkeyLogo?” Don’t ask.
Needless to say, you can import and export more file formats than Photoshop.
All the standard graphics functions you’d expect are there. The Tool Window floats alongside each image so tools are always available. Basic functions such as crop, lasso, draw, transparency, zoom, erase, are just a click away. Even EXIF information from digital camera images is available.
Of course, you can zoom in to pixel level while viewing a details winodw and an overview (the whole image) window.
For those really into image manipulation there’s a bucket of extra tools, too. These include but aren’t limited to brightness, contrast, color tables and depth, sharpen, mirror, rotate, Gamma correction. There’s sliders for every component of color and image manipulation. And plenty of “undo.”
There’s now an Image Browser in GraphicConverter so finding images (and detail about the image) is just a click away. You can keep your photos wherever you want GC finds them and allows you to navigate folders with ease.
These days you can buy a bag of carrots at a grocery store and they’ll have a SlideShow feature, so don’t expect anything less with GraphicConverter. What’s handy here is that you can display a folder full of files in the slide show—with and without effects.
For $30 (less than 10-cents per day for a year), there’s not much to not like about GraphicConverter. It’s not perfect, though.
Consistently, Macromedia’s Fireworks produced both .gif and .jpg images that were smaller (with or without resource) than the same sized image produced in GraphicConverter.
For example, the image of the lovely, I’d-die-to-get-another-pair of anniversary, socks like these is about 6.8k .jpg in Fireworks. It’s slightly larger than that (same settings) with GraphicConverter. Of course, Fireworks is $299 and GC is $30 (online).
That kind of difference in file size might have been important a few years ago, but bandwidth is cheaper these days so there’s less of a worry about file size.
It’s always a good idea to try before you buy and Lemke Software lets you do that with GraphicConverter. Click Here to look at the feature set and download.
My collection of graphic utilities leans toward the known-brand side; Adobe (Photoshop, Elements, Illustrator) and Macromedia (Fireworks, FreeHand, Flash). What graphic tools do you use? What’s your favorite? Any complaints with Adobe or Macromedia? Got an opinion of GraphicConverter? What else do you use?
Share your experience and thoughts with other readers. Click the Comments link below.