Hello. My name is Barbara Marie. I’m a Photoshop user.” It’s not by choice. It’s a business decision. And, perhaps the start of a 12 Step Program to recovery. You know, like getting stuck with Microsoft Office at work.
To state the obvious, many Mac applications prosper despite Adobe’s dominance in the graphic design industry by doing much of what Photoshop does, with a different feature set, and with a much lower price tag. Here’s one, too.
Must. Convert. Graphics.
As much as I am deeply embedded into Adobe’s media culture, I also have utilities that do some of what you won’t find in Photoshop and do everything else for a much lower price tag. One of my favorites, and it dates back to somewhere close to the last century, is the oddly named but very popular GraphicConverter app for the Mac.
Most of those I know in the design community here in the Bay Area who use Photoshop also have GraphicConverter on their Macs (it’s Mac only). Way back in the day GC was good at converting one file format to another and doing it in batches to save time. Since then, GC has added commercial feature after feature and it’s not as much about converting files anymore.
At the high end of functionality, GC can import somewhere around 200 different graphic file formats (who knew there were that many; I can name a dozen and I’ve been doing this a long, long time), but it also exports to nearly 80 different graphic file formats.
Not only does GC convert files from this file format to that file format, it has a built-in file and photo browser which handles slide shows, but what makes it useful to professionals– beyond the conversion options– are photo enhancement functions, many of which are Photoshop-like in nature, including editing, effects, filters, plugins (from Photoshop, of course), and color management with ICC profiles. Oh, and add ColorSync, too.
TWAIN support is built in so it’s easy to add images from a connected scanner, or import photos direct from a camera, including RAW photos. Unlike newer graphic or photo design apps, GC can run on Macs going back to OS X Mountain Lion.
GraphicConverter is one of the few Mac graphic apps which can export .JPG, .PNG, and .GIF files for websites at roughly (but not quite) the same quality and file sizes as Photoshop and the now end-of-life Fireworks (which I will give up only when my cold, lifeless body is laid to rest).
The latest version has 32-bit per channel support for HDR, EBM import and export, and a whole bunch of workflow related options.
One nit has to do with GraphicConverter’s interface. This is an app that receives regular updates and new features each year so many functions and features will appear bolted on rather than designed in as a cohesive, logically flowing app. There are so many options and sections that you may need to hunt around to find features that you know are there but just not immediately visible.
That’s the only real issue I’ve ever had because GC is called the Swiss Army Knife of Mac graphic utilities for a reason.
Almost everything you can think of is stuffed into it and when compared to Adobe’s monthly payments forever subscription service, it is an absolute bargain. How does GC feed off Photoshop’s soft underbelly? If you use Photoshop as a professional then you’re likely to use GraphicConverter, too. If you’re just getting started into graphic design and can’t afford Adobe’s monthly payments forever subscription service, GC is a great way to learn and compete.