John Bonnell
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I'm a musician, engineer, producer, studio microphone modification specialist (www.johnbonnellmicmods.com), and author.

Atari computer user for something like 25 years, then Apple.

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Volstag reviewed on 04 Jul 2012
I've used photoline for far too long. Well, enough. Here's the facts on this thing, from someone who has used it since 2005, and has had to deal with the programmer more times that he ever cared to.

The only thing that makes this better than GIMP is the CMYK support. Photoline is great for quickly cropping JPEGs, which of course can be done in just about anything. There are better things out there for editing JPEGs, and preparing things in CMYK. Likewise, there are far superior DTP apps available, as well as vector editors.

If you shoot in RAW, don't get Photoline at all. It can't handle it. And Gerhard Huber, the programmer, won't admit there's a problem. In fact, he admits to having not tested it fully. My testing shows it will work ok with Olympus and Hasselblad, but forget about Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Minolta. Huber seems to think you can use adjustment layers to fix his incorrectly interpolated RAW files, he told me this directly.

Which brings us to the filters. Horrible. I've never gotten a usable result from almost all of the filters, even the basic color adjustment stuff, like Hue and Saturation. In contrast to just screwing around in Photoshop for a few seconds, where I can accidentally do almost anything and it looks good. Photoline, on the other hand, never looks good if you start changing things.

There are so many random bugs in Photoline, and always have been. They never get fixed, unless someone complains, and provides highly detailed proof that there is, in fact, a bug. Gerhard Huber's first response to a bug report is always, "You are incorrect. We don't have a problem here." I'm now convinced they actually don't use their software, or have anything more than a basic understanding of programming or the subject they are writing the program for, i.e., image editing.

The special effects are even worse than the basic filters. Distort image with image (similar to Photoshop's Displace filter) simply doesn't work. Aside from crashing the app when making adjustments, the results of the effect are beyond useless. It's unpredictable (though repeatable if all parameters are the same), and literally distorts whatever image you use as if a black hole were ripping it apart. And that's on moderate settings. Other effects are just plain silly, and sometimes blindingly bright and bizarre.

Photoline has long tried to combine image editing, layout, and vector design. It's a great notion, until you realize these people know very little about any of these things, let alone how to write an application to perform these tasks.

Vector editing is a nightmare. The ends of curved lines are not straight, so you have to tweak each one if you're doing an arc. And it's far from precise or perfect. Objects routinely protrude beyond the frame which contains them, making alignment imprecise, and sometimes impossible. The whole thing can quickly go wonky.

DTP--I wouldn't try to publish a newsletter with it, but it's good enough for flyers and business cards (though it will likely take a whole day to do anything that is more than rudimentary).

In the end, the biggest problem comes from the lack of support. This app is quite old, and it still functions like it fell off the idea truck three days ago. Given recent communication with the Huber fellow, I'd have to say he doesn't care, and doesn't have the understanding of how it all works anyway. He said to me, "You are right, that the images open different to the preview images (which are embedded into the raw files in JPEG format). That's quite normal. To open Raw images is not so easy as opening JPEG images. PhotoLine creates an adjustment layer when ever you open a raw file. Here you can make your settings to make the images look like you want." He told me this, in connection to the RAW import bug. I had sent him files saved in JPEG that I had imported with Mac Preview (which produced the same image as Photoshop's Camera RAW), along with the same file imported into Photoline (the difference is dramatic). The man is an idiot, who consistently blames others for the failings of his software. How anyone could mistake the files I sent for embedded previews is clear indication of the problem. But he had initially blamed me for the problem, saying, "This sounds like you have disabled demosaicing. That's not possible on the normal release version."

Well, if it's not possible, then it's a bug in the program.
[Version 17.10]



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