PhotoScape 3.6 Release Type: Freeware
Official Site: www.photoscape.org
The majority of modern image editors take
their cues from Adobe PhotoShop, the undisputed king of them all, so it’s
interesting to find PhotoScape, and image editor that presents a completely
different approach to the task.
It’s obvious from the moment you see the
interface that this isn’t even attempting to look like an Adobe clone. A
circular set of options offers quick access to file operations, such as
printing, format conversion and batch rename, each leading to one of a series
of tabbed workspaces where you’re free to manipulate the loaded image. It might
confuse those familiar with PhotoShop’s toolbar, icon and windows interface,
but for those users, confusion quickly gives way to acceptance, while others
will simply pick up straight away.
As packed with features as any image editor
(Adobe clone or otherwise) the interface undoubtedly centres on accessibility.
You won’t find any tiny, cryptic and unlabelled icons here, just
straightforward text descriptions and bright, eye-catching logos with a clear
relation to the operation they perform. Work spaces are divided up into uniform
frames, making it easy to navigate to and load images with only a couple of
clicks, with consistency maintained between them.
PhotoScape 3.6 ships with these new features/changes
There’s support for all major file formats,
including RAW and animated GIFs, and a series of built-in templates allows you
to instantly create your own collages, slideshows and even fumetti (photo
comics) for further manipulation. If you’re looking to clear up some of your
digital camera snaps, you will find the usual suite of tools – red eye
reduction, colour and contrast fixes, noise reduction and more. The latest
features include a Picasa-style ‘face finder’ that can look online for similar
images, and advanced screen capture support.
Free for non-commercial use, PhotoScape is
a no-nonsense alternative to PhotoShop that will suit beginners and more
advanced users alike. Professionals may find that it lacks the most advanced
features, but the majority of users won’t notice they’re gone. They only major
shortcoming is the inability to edit multiple files simultaneously – something
limited by the interface’s simplicity.
A smaller problem concerns the relative
inefficiency of the software, which can make it become sluggish on particularly
large images, or when editing large batches. If you can put up with those blips
(or own a computer good enough that they won’t be a problem), it’s otherwise a
success. Very different from all other image editors but great to use at the
same time, and it’s doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Or even a thumb.
One last thing, though: when downloading
PhotoScape, take care to click the right link, because embedded adverts can
make it difficult to see which is the correct one to download the software. If
you find yourself being asked for credit card information, needless to say,
you’re in the wrong place.
Pros: Excellent file support and feature
set, intuitive and original interface.
Cons: Multiple file-editing would make it
even better, but currently there is none.