Monthly Archives: September 2012

GIMP vs Photoshop vs Pixelmator – Graphics Editor Comparison

Written by  on 2012-02-09.

As someone who dabbles in both photography and graphic design, I spend a lot of time in graphics-oriented apps. There are several leading apps in this category, but which is the right one for you? Is Photoshop better than GIMP? Is Pixelmator better than Photoshop?

The Contenders

GIMP 2.6

The free one. GIMP is free, open source, and cross platform. It has a reasonably good feature set, but doesn’t perform particularly admirably and has a user experience that is decidedly un-Mac-like. GIMP is free.

Photoshop CS5

The big one. Photoshop has been around for a long time, and is the industry standard. Photoshop is the archetypical ‘professional’ app: tons of features (some questionable), a usable-but-not-great UI, and a ridiculous price. Photoshop CS5 is $700, Photoshop CS5 Extended is $1000. Amazon has small discounts. Students and teachers get big discounts.

Pixelmator 2

The shiny new one. Pixelmator is relatively new, incredibly inexpensive, and has quickly gotten a good reputation. Pixelmator is beautiful and a pleasure to use, performs very pleasingly, and has a respectable feature set. Pixelmator is $30 on the Mac App Store.

 

Methodology

To review and compare these apps, I came up with four real-world tests to put them through. The tests are designed to evaluate the apps’ capabilities and performance doing actual work, as well as give me a good idea of what it’s really like to use them.

Each test has a set of metrics assigned to it. To be sure that they accurately reflect the most important elements of a successful app, I chose these metrics based on the mental comparisons I made while actually performing the tests.

Each app is given a score from 1 to 10 on each metric. The app with the highest score in a given test is deemed the ‘winner’ of that test.

In addition to the per-test metrics, I’ve included at the end several general metrics that don’t apply to a specific test but to the apps in general.

So, on to the tests!

Creating the Ask Different Logo

The first test was the simplest. This was designed to evaluate the design-focused features of the apps by creating a simple vector design: the Ask Different logo we all know and love.

GIMP: I was able to use GIMP to almost re-create the logo. The part I was unable to replicate was the 3D effect on the command sign: I had to go with a uniform border instead. I also had to convert the text and background shape into raster objects (which isn’t ideal because it makes changing text and font impossible).

Photoshop: Photoshop could easily replicate the logo, complete with all 3D effects and no loss in mutability.

Pixelmator: Pixelmator came a little closer than GIMP did. I was able to re-create the drop shadow with more accuracy and leave the shape as a vector object. Like in GIMP, I had to revert to a uniform border and a rasterized symbol, but Pixelmator’s border was cleaner than GIMP’s.

Results:

ask different logo recreation results

Scores:

Metric  GIMP  Photoshop  Pixelmator
Shape & Text Capabilities 7 9 10
Styling & Effects Capabilities 3 10 5
Ease & Speed of Use 6 8 10
Total 16 27 25

Winner:

Photoshop, with Pixelmator close behind.

Retouching an Old Photo

In this test, I removed blemishes from and corrected the picture of an old photo. This was meant to evaluate the apps’ localized editing features, including healing and cloning tools, as well as global picture corrections to a faded image.

GIMP: GIMP’s Healing tool is easier to use than the Clone Stamp tool, but still requires that you select a source for each correction. Overall exposure, contrast, and color changes were easy and effective. GIMP does not boast any nondestructive editing features, which are important to me when working with valuable photos.

Photoshop: Photoshop has a one-click Spot Healing Brush which uses Content Aware Fill. Its performance was good, and I could make most corrections in one click. Picture corrections were easy and powerful. Photoshop has excellent support for nondestructive editing: all adjustments and blemish corrections can be kept separate from the original image and changed at any point.

Pixelmator: Pixelmator also has a smart one-click healing tool. Its performance was similar to Photoshop’s, but it did slightly better around edges; there were fewer times when I had to resort to the Clone Stamp tool than in Photoshop and GIMP. For healing and local corrections, Pixelmator has nondestructive editing capabilities equal to Photoshop’s. Image correction introduced a bluish tint to the photo.

Results:

old photo restoration results

Scores:

Metric  GIMP  Photoshop  Pixelmator
Healing Capabilities 7 9 10
Image Correction Capabilities 10 10 7
Ease & Speed of Use 3 7 10
Total 20 26 27

Winner:

Pixelmator, with Photoshop close behind.

Editing a RAW Image

In this test, I edited a RAW image taken with my Canon DSLR. This test was designed to evaluate the apps’ RAW processing capabilities, global picture adjustments, local picture adjustments, and nondestructive editing capabilities.

GIMP: GIMP has a RAW processor, which allows picture correction to be made with the extra image data present in a RAW file. Unfortunately, the interface was confusing and the corrections didn’t look great: they introduced noise and tint. Localized corrections weren’t very convenient, but the results were acceptable. GIMP has some level of nondestructive editing capabilities, but not enough for me to be comfortable using it on my original copy of a file.

Photoshop: Photoshop has the most advanced RAW processor I’ve seen, and the results of both its global and localized corrections are superb. RAW files are automatically processed nondestructively, and it’s also easy to make further edits to the processed image without harming the original. Global adjustments were easier here than in any of the other apps, and local adjustments were equally easy.

Pixelmator: Pixelmator does not process RAW files, making it impossible to fully take advantage of the format. That said, Pixelmator’s global corrections are powerful and easy to use, so I was able to achieve a nice result on this basic editing job without a dedicated processor. Local corrections were quick, easy, and effective. Pixelmator does not have nondestructive editing features for global adjustments, but it does for local adjustments.

Results:

raw file editing results

Scores:

Metric  GIMP  Photoshop  Pixelmator
RAW Processing 5 9 5
Global Adjustment Capabilities 4 8 8
Local Adjustment Capabilities 5 9 9
Ease & Speed of Use 4 8 8
Total 18 34 30

Winner:

Photoshop, with Pixelmator fairing considerably better than GIMP.

Swapping Heads

In this test, I stuck Jon Stewart’s head on Stephen Colbert’s body. This was designed to test the selection capabilities of each app, as well as how efficiently they allow a user to perform complex cloning and filling tasks. These features are important to both photographers and designers.

GIMP: GIMP’s ‘smart’ selection tools aren’t smart enough for use in complex photos, so I had to use the Lasso tool and draw around the image. This is usually less precise than automated tools, especially when dealing with hair. As usual, GIMP was the slowest and clunkiest app; it took me the longest to complete the swap using GIMP.

Photoshop: Photoshop’s smart selection tools really are the best I’ve used. Selecting the head was easy and fast, and refining the selection to handle hair well was also easy. Photoshop wasn’t slow, but it was less fluid to use than Pixelmator.

Pixelmator: Pixelmator’s smart selection tools are somewhat hit-and-miss, but they didn’t work well in this image. Like in GIMP, I ended up using mostly the Lasso tool to make my selection. Pixelmator was very fast and I got the job done more quickly than in the other apps (Lion’s Autosave and Versions were helpful here).

Results:

Scores:

Metric  GIMP  Photoshop  Pixelmator
Selection Capabilities 5 9 6
Ease & Speed of Use 4 8 10
Total 9 17 17

Winner:

A tie between Photoshop and Pixelmator, with GIMP far behind.

General Scores

Metric  GIMP  Photoshop  Pixelmator
Standard Feature Set 9 10 10
Pro Feature Set 5 10 6
Quality of Results 5 9 8
Price 10 2 8
Total 29 31 32

Combined Scores

Test  GIMP  Photoshop  Pixelmator
Ask Different Logo 16 27 25
Photo Restoration 20 26 27
Editing RAW 18 34 30
Head Swap 9 17 16
General 29 31 32
Total 92 135 130

Conclusion

Photoshop is the overall winner, but Pixelmator is very close behind. GIMP didn’t put on a great show.

General users, amateur designers, and amateur photographers should get Pixelmator. It has lots of great standard-level features; a decent selection of pro-level features; and is a beautiful, fast app.

Professional designers and photographers should get Photoshop. It has all the professional features that Pixelmator lacks, and the user experience is entirely acceptable.

Really, GIMP isn’t the best choice for anyone. Its feature set is acceptable, but its interface and sometimes-lackluster results mean that it’s slow and frequently painful to use. Even if you’re on a tight budget, Pixelmator is well worth the money.

S: http://workingwebmaster.com/gimp-vs-photoshop/

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Google Sites vs. WordPress

On Sep 2010,  said:

As a long time user of Gmail, I naturally turned to the almighty Google in the search of solutions. And behold – my saviour was Google Apps. E-mail services from Google for my own domain was set up in no time. In fact, all this took about ten dollars and two hours of my time and I had it all set-up and configured. Ok, first part of the problem solved.

The second part, the web site, is still under progress, but converging to a solution (as we techies sometimes say). Google offers site hosting for free, they have a simple site builder and some templates/themes. So, behind the scenes I sketched up a simple web site, which turned out to be exactly that – simple. But I wanted simple and good-looking website. At this point I learned the old truth: If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

So, I quintupled my initial investment, abandoned Google Sites and signed up for a web hosting elsewhere. I have managed to set up a simple and better looking website using WordPress CMS (stand-alone version of the same engine of this very blog). My e-mail is still with Google, meaning that my initial 2 hours investment was not wasted. And I am now working my way towards my initial goal: simple and good-looking website. I am still on my two-week trial and things are looking promising for the host-candidate.

Source: http://www.elmoensio.com/2010/03/11/google-sites-vs-wordpress/

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On 01 March 2009, Posted by Eyal Sela:

If you’re thinking of setting up your own personal Website or blog, or considering using one as a collaboration tool for you team, using WordPress or Google sites must have crossed your mind. These two platforms has some overlapping abilities but they actually suit for totally different uses. Here is a review of WordPress and Google sites that will help you choose the right platform for your needs.

WordPress

WordPress logoWordPress is an open source blog tool and publishing platform. It is the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world.

Google sites

Google Sites logoGoogle Sites is an online application for easy creation and sharing of webpages. It allows you to gather information (such as videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and text) in one place and share it for viewing or editing with others.

Comparison

First time setup

you do not have to know code to use WordPress, but first time installation might be difficult if you do not know how (or have someone to help you) to create a database and use FTP. ‎ Google Pages First time setup is as easy as the day to day use, and include about ten mouse clicks. No code or behind the scenes files to move or change.Note that you can use WordPress.com, which is a service, just like Google sites (that means that you do not host it on your server). In this case, setup is as easy as in Google Sites – you only need to sign up.

Google Sites - create new site screen

Content management

in WordPress, authoring and file sharing are done form the control panel. So if, for example, you want to share a file, you will have to go to the control panel, upload the file and then add a link to it in the desired page. In Google Sites, on the other hand, you only need to go to a page and upload the file as an attachment or click “edit” to change the text. That feature makes Google Sites suitable for daily operations of documents and information management and WordPress for publishing of more carefully edited posts and pages.

Pages functionality

In Google Sites You can choose one of five types of pages – regular web page, dashboard, announcements, file cabinet, or list. Each of them has different functionalities, such as file uploading and sharing, overview of information, data listing, and information sharing (such as news, status updates, or notable events).WordPress offers only regular web page, besides the default page where blog post are published to (although you can build custom web pages using PHP).

Ease of use

both platforms are easy to use, but Google sites is easier for first timers since it is more intuitive. WordPress’ control panel might require some accommodation until it can be used to its full strength.

WordPress - control panel

Design

with hundreds of themes available and the ability to change them (using code) makes WordPress based websites beautiful and flexible (examples: networksolutions,ridgewoodprep and biggovhealth). The exact opposite is true with Google Sites – only few pre-packaged themes are available, with limited changes possible to the layout and look of elements. That makes even Google’s own example sites (Team projectEmployee profileStudent clubClassroom) look simple and unprofessional, design-wise.

Extensibility

WordPress has numerous and ever growing number of plugins to improve the site’s functionality, management, monitoring, design, and more. Adding them is easy, but might require you to use FTP, and for small number of plugins, to edit code. Google Sites doesn’t have any extensions of that kind, but it is possible to embed content (video, Google Docs documents, spreadsheets, presentations, Picasa photo slide shows, iGoogle gadgets).

Collaboration

The key feature of Google Sites is its collaboration abilities. You can decide who can watch the site (Viewers), change it (Collaborators) or manage it (Owners). Collaborators and owners do not need to have a Gmail account to make changes, but will have to go through a short registration, to get a Google account (with their current email). WordPress collaboration abilities are much more limited. Although it allows similar levels of management privileges, its central content management and lack of pages functionality make it suitable for multiple authoring, but not more.

Conclusion

Although both platforms can grant collaboration permission, the ease of use in Google sites and collaboration abilities make it suitable for team work and collaboration; Its easy setup and limited design makes it suitable for small personal sites (but not if you’re in the Internet business) or group participation like in friends club­ and the like. WordPress is great for “regular” websites thanks to its design, extensibility,‎ and also high level websites that requires code and advanced design and functionality. And, of course, it is a wonderful blogging platform. Look at the table below to see at a glance the differences between Google Sites and WordPress.

Use WordPress Google sites
Extended functionality with ‎plugins/gadgets or coding Limitless poor
Users can share files ‎ X V
Messages and lists X V
Ease of use V V
Single-click page creation V V
No Coding required V V
Free V V
non-blog content management ‎ V V
Users can be invited to ‎collaborate V V
themes ‎ V V (few)‎
Users can comment ‎ V V (with ‎permission)‎
Beautiful design V X
Blogging abilities V X
Users can register V X

Source: http://productivewise.com/1232

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Continue research: database and script with Google Sites and WordPress.com

Extract NRG image file

NRG is an image file created by Nero. You can use “Magic ISO Maker” software to extract file from nrg image.

Download it from here http://www.magiciso.com/download.htm

Introduction from maker site:

Simple and Intelligent
MagicISO is a powerful CD/DVD image file creating/editing/extracting tool. It can open / create / edit /extract CD/DVD image files, and it canconvert bin to iso and back.  as well as make ISO file from DVD/CD-ROM or hard disk, and handle bootable information at meanwhile.
>>More Detail
Support all known CD image type 
It can also convert BIN or any other format file created by CD burning software (Such as Nero-Burning ROM, Easy CD Create) or virtual DVD/CD-ROM driver software (such as Daemon-tools) to standard ISO format.
Directly edit CD/DVD image file(s)
MagicISO has ability to create ISO image file. You can directly add/delete/rename files or folder in CD image file(s) with MagicISO.MagicISO can handle up to 10G large sizes so that user can extract / edit / open DVD image files in ease.
Backup CD/DVD to your hard disk.
You can use MagicISO to make CD/DVD image from DVD/CD-ROM to hard disk in order to backup CD/DVD or use it with virtual CD or Virtual machine.
>>More Detail

 

Make Bootable CD/DVD
MagicISO has ability to make  bootable CD/DVD image file.  With MagicISO, you can process the boot information for CD/DVD image file, as well as  directly add/remove/extract boot image for the CD/DVD image file.
>>More Detail

MagicISO can also make multiple bootable CD/DVD image file. Using this function, you can combine multiple OS installation CD into one CD/DVD image file in order to install multiple OS from one CD/DVD.

>>Create Windows 98/ME/NT/2K/XP/2003 all in one installation DVD.
>>How to burn ISO file.
>>More Detail

 

Windows Explorer Embed.
MagicISO embed Windows Explorer and use the double window unification user contact interface. Use the quick button and the mouse Drag & Drops files between Windows Explorer and MagicISO so that you can handle the CD/DVD image file easy but powerful enough.

What Is a Good BitRate Guideline for MP3 Files?

MP3 files are compressed audio files that are made from audio formats such as the wave (.wav) format. Wave files replicate analog recordings and digital sound files with a high degree of accuracy at the cost of large file sizes, while MP3 files sacrifice some quality for a smaller footprint. The quality sacrificed can be mitigated by several factors in the conversion process. With the right bitrate and configuration, MP3 files can provide extremely high-quality results that make them very close to their original wave files when played on portable audio players.

The balancing act between file size and quality is a somewhat subjective. To an audiophile any difference will be discernible. Others might not be able to tell a high quality MP3 file from its original wave source at all. In many cases the difference only becomes clear if played through a high-quality stereo system where the smallest nuances of the acoustic environment become clear.

MP3 files are primarily targeted for portable audio players. In this arena quality MP3 files come through with astounding sound given their small file size. Since portable players have limited memory, it makes sense that people want their MP3 files to be as small as possible while preserving as much quality as possible.

To this end the single most important factor in the creation of MP3 files is the bitrate. Generally, the more bits preserved per second from the original file, the higher the quality of the MP3 and the larger the file size. A lower bitrate reduces size and quality. The idea is to use a bitrate that results in maximum authenticity without preserving unnecessary data, which only creates larger files without appreciable difference to the ear.

For audio voice recordings such as lectures or language lessons preserved in wave form, bitrates of 32 kilobits per second (kbps) should be acceptable, though 64kbps might provide better quality depending on the source. Voices might sound “flat” at 32kbps, though they will be understandable. A 64kbps MP3 file made from a voice recording should sound nearly identical to the original.

Non-saturated acoustic music that features simple arrangements should get good results with a bitrate of 192kbps. If the music will be played on high quality equipment, you might opt for 256kbps. Music that falls in this category would include ballads, “boy-band” songs, easy listening and folk music. Also the work of many classic artists such as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and Simon & Garfunkel.

To make quality MP3 files from classical music and jazz, the best bitrate depends on the song’s characteristics. Soft jazz can normally be replicated at 192kbps to create a good balance between file size and diminishing returns, though 256kbps might sound better on the home entertainment center. Orchestral classical should do well at 256kbps for portable players, but files of 320kbps might be a better choice if you’ll be burning to CD for the home or car.

For saturated music such as hard rock, metal, arena, pop, electronic and house music, 320kbps will give the best results. The greater number of bits per second will preserve more of the complex acoustic envelope.

When possible it is preferable that MP3 files be created using a variable bitrate. This allows the encoding program to determine if a particular frame of music requires the full bitrate. If not, the program reduces data retention for that frame resulting in a smaller file without sacrificing quality. Forcing a program to “over-sample” a frame can produce artifacts.

While this article is intended as a general guideline, one might find that he or she is just as happy with lower bitrates for specific songs or in general. Many factors affect our ability to judge the quality of music, including not just the equipment we use, but our activity when listening. For those who listen to MP3 files when exercising or walking outside, for example, exterior noise will make it more difficult to pick out qualitative differences. Conversely, audiophiles might prefer to sample everything at 320kbps, regardless of their equipment, the music’s genre, or listening habits.

If making your own MP3 files, there are also other settings that affect quality. LAME is an excellent MP3 encoder and is free, along with the many graphical interfaces that serve as a front-end for this well-known command line program. LAME allows the user to tweak many settings in order to produce high quality MP3 files in seconds. One can also try various bitrates on a source file to find the best subjective balance between quality and file size.

Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-good-bitrate-guideline-for-mp3-files.htm

Link

Windows 8

Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the x86 and x86-64 architectures. This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment and provides all of the basic new, Windows 8 features including the Start screen with semantic zoom, live tiles, Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10, connected standby, Microsoft account integration, the Windows desktop and more.
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro succeeds Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate[2][3] and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. Additional features include operating as a Remote Desktop server, the ability to participate in a Windows Server domainEncrypting File SystemHyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy as well as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Windows Media Center functionality will be available only for Windows 8 Pro as a free “add-on.”[3]
Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro (except the ability to install the Windows Media Center add-on), with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below).[2]This edition is available to Software Assurance customers, as well as MSDN and Technet Professional subscribers, and was released on August 16, 2012.[4]
Windows RT
Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs,[5] and was named for the Windows Runtime (WinRT) development platform that Microsoft is introducing in Windows 8.[5] It will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the basic set of Office 2013 applications to users—Microsoft WordExcelPowerPoint, and OneNote, and support device encryption capabilities. Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included.
Read more…