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Dvorak on 'Rinky-Dink' Software Rant

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the do-my-bidding dept.

Editorial 468

DigitalDame2 writes "John C. Dvorak explores the trials and tribulations of photo editing software and why it's so difficult to use. Unless you are using these programs full-time, you spend a lot of time trying to figure things out. Is it too much to ask for a simple and powerful software program that can do the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop?"

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I agree. (4, Funny)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869727)

Which is why I use MSPaint.


You can do 45 things in MS Paint? (0, Troll)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869736)

Learn something new every day!

Re:You can do 45 things in MS Paint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869745)

Turn pixel (0,0) black
Turn pixel (0,1) black

As an aside (0)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869743)

No, I do not really use MSPaint for photo editing.

Parent is Funny (5, Insightful)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869757)

The comment is at least 100% funny. The fact that it makes fun of the subject of the article rather than making fun of Dvorak makes it even funnier and somewhat refreshing. MS Paint is an alternative for Photoshop, regardless of its simplicity and ugliness. Kids can use all of MS Paint's functions while many adults struggle to use Photoshop.

Re:Parent is Funny (3, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869810)

Yeah. Making fun of Dvorak is like shooting fish in a barrel.

"There's an expression we do not use enough. Rinky-dink."

I guess he hasn't heard what the girls say about him...

They already made it, John. (3, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869823)

It's called iPhoto.

Affect the things you can, John. --Scorpy

Re:I agree. (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869858)

I actually find MSPaint a million times easier to use than fuckin' Photoshop or The Gimp. If I make a screenshot under Windows I'll always use MSPaint to crop and scale it, erase unwanted details, edit at a pixel by pixel level, etc. What's truely funny is that MSPaint could be simpler. For example, when you scale an image in MSPaint you have to enter a percentage of the current image size instead of being able to just enter the number of pixels you want it to be.

Re:I agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869885)

whinge whinge (3, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869729)

"we want simple complexity" - yes, when you can tell me how to do that i'll write you the program.

Re:whinge whinge (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869864)

I don't think Dvorak expressed himself well but I think he saying he wants user flexibility. He didn't say how this would be achieved, but perhaps a UI that adapts/evolves to how you work instead you adapting to the interface. Also, he implied the "Are you sure you want to do this?" message boxes which I couldn't agree with more - for every 20 that pop up - I may want to cancel the action once. The way to fix

I often had the same gripe about rigid UI - where I wondered one way around this and invariably my answer came to that each major application should have an [b]optional[/b] internal pop-up/transparent/small one line CLI box. If you turn this box on, it would pop up and for at least every major action button/option have an equivalent CLI command, but the CLI command would be much more flexible. Also, once turned on, you could have interact with the GUI and the CLI box would automatically print out what the equivalent CLI command would have been so it'd be easy to learn. Say the back button on your browser would have a CLI command of back. Then, instead of pressing back six times, you type 'back -m 6' or something like that. How far the inner CLI would go would be up to the company of course but think of the flexibility, reduction in redundant chores you as a user would have to do. The other nice thing would be that many applications would become easily scriptable without having to deal with the extraneous kludge of other massive languages like vbscript.

Then you could also have programmable buttons through the CLI as well, but I'm getting ahead of myself. In short, every GUI should have a readily accessible CLI hidden beneath it......

Re:whinge whinge (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869874)

In my first paragraph were I trailed off, I wanted to say:

"Also, he implied the "Are you sure you want to do this?" message boxes which I couldn't agree with more - for every 20 that pop up - I may want to cancel the action once. The way to fix that is to be able to undo more things. If an action can be undone, hardly any reason to stop and ask you if you are 'sure.'"

Re:whinge whinge (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869908)

It's just bad UI design to keep asking the user things.

Users haven't got a clue *what* they want, they just want it to work.. so give them something (defaults) and let them change it later. Quit asking them dumb questions every 5 minutes because they'll only ring the helpdesk and ask you the same dumb questions.

*cough*The Gimp*cough* (1)

anupamsr (910397) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869730)

I thought Adobe Photoshop was easy/ier....

Re:*cough*The Gimp*cough* (3, Informative)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869769)

Well, for quick touchups I use the free program [] from Washington State University. Quick, simple, some power under the hood (it does layers!) and has more features than I know how to use.

I've downloaded GIMP... had no idea what to do with it so after a couple sessions of randomly pushing buttons left it sit to gather stray 0s and 1s that collect on my HDD much like the dust gathers on my Windows 95 MCP book.

mod parent up (0, Troll)

Boss Sauce (655550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869844)

gimp == lame

and it's more than the name...

article is -1 troll (5, Funny)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869734)

For the love of god, PLEASE stop posting articles from dvorak. It is just sadistic.

Re:article is -1 troll (3, Funny)

Benwick (203287) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869776)

No sheet! As a former college-level composition instructor, I wish I could get paid to write that badly.

Even the author knows he's not even trying (e.g. "yes, this is a badly constructed rant!"). This isn't Slashdot-worthy. It's not even kindergarden-worthy. It's crap!

Approximately 500 words; 0 coherent concepts expressed ("I want a whole bunch of stupid programs put together that don't add up to Photoshop.").

Grade: F, for "Fired."

Re:article is -1 troll (3, Interesting)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869838)

Don't you get it? Dvorak hasn't written anything insightful or probably even factual for years. The reason why he's still a writer is simply cause he's so funny. Look at the articles slashdot has linked of his [] and you'll see the top posts all either +5 funny or simply having fun trashing Dvorak.

Re:article is -1 troll (2, Funny)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869971)

What you mean "The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse'. There is no evidence that people want to use these things" wasn't insightful?

John C Dvorak, rinky dink for over 2 decades.

Re:article is -1 troll (1)

RoboPimp_3000 (921614) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869842)

Anybody who uses the term "rinky-dink" seven times in a short article can't be taken seriously. Is he really writing, or just trying to up his word count?

Re:article is -1 troll (2, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869893)

Oh come on, he has a point. Too many developers, when faced with designing an "easy to use" program, start out by designing big 200x200 pixel kindergarten-style icons and step one, two, three "wizards".

Both may help the first time you do something, and maybe the second, but eventually you get the idea, and just want the stupid interface to get out of the way so you can get the job done.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the contextual toolbars in Office 12 work. Present the options you need for the tool you're using at the time.

Re:article is -1 troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869954)

You're all just complaining because you miss more profound writing like this...

In this post-film camera world, those poor misfits who need only a slice of the functionality of the all-consuming Blob-cum-Swiss Army Knife that is Photoshop might as well be using a Commodore 64 in Afghanistan. Some call them by pejoratives such as 'Goth-Gimps' or just 'Dvorak'. Other, more sinister souls, are calling for all photo manipulators to be registered in a database for preemptive "red-eye correction" as they call it. Grandma will have to live in fear that her copy of Paint Shop Pro will call her out to the authorities every time she uses the feature that allows you to draw little flies covering that grandson of hers that she really hates.

If we do not act quickly, we will lose the ability to freely put flies crawling over any digital photo we take. I'll write more about this in my next article, 'Photos from the Hell-Lens'.

Re:article is -1 troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869799)

article is -1 troll (Score:3, Funny)
by John Nowak (872479) on Tuesday October 25, @02:35AM (#13869734)

Why is this Score:3, Funny?

Moderators, please note that he indicated in the subject that he was posting a troll. MODERATE ACCORDINGLY!

Re:article is -1 troll (2, Insightful)

lynzh (820948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869871)

spend a lot of time trying to figure things out.
Photoshop IS very easy to use, yet very powerful. What software is he using?

Re:article is -1 troll (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869872)

Well, we could always get Dvorak back. We should just send him links to our slashdot comments and make sure no future submittions have actual links to his articles.

what happened to katz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869941)

I think with the lack of Jon Katz postings, slashdot thinks we need another *great* person to discuss about.

Long live teh Dvorak age!

Re:article is -1 troll (1)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869959)

I had a superior give me a very good piece of advice once, and it has served me well. I wish Dvorak and his employers would take it to heart:

"If you're going to come to me with a problem, make sure to bring a solution, too."

Dvorak does nothing but bitch, bitch, bitch about everything - and I have yet to observe him make a single substantive suggestion for fixing any of the things he bitches about.

He's pretty useless. It bugs me that Slashdot reposts his tripe so often.

Dear Dvorak (5, Insightful)

katana (122232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869735)

People may want only 12 things available, but each person may want a different 12 things. When you put several versions of the "45 things" list together, you get Photoshop. Or, uh, Microsoft Works. Except it doesn't, you see.

Re:Dear Dvorak (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869836)

Ya know, the unix philosophy suggests that each of these tasks should be a seperate tool.

Re:Dear Dvorak (1)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869970)

Which is why the first bundle is called "For photographers...", then "for digital artists..." then "family photgrapher..." then "penis who uses works..."

I believe this is his point. You don't need all the functionality, depending on your role.

Gimp (2, Insightful)

Cave_Monster (918103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869738)

I can't say that I have used Photoshop, but aren't script-fu etc in gimp what this bloke wishes were in Photoshop?

Oh I'm sorry, Picasa and iPhoto * (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869742)

Christ if Picasa or iPhoto aren't good enough for simple photo enhancing editing then you -do- need to learn how to use professional editing programs like Gimp or Photoshop.

I installed Picasa on a person's computer who is a novice at using machines but wanted to make his photo's look a bit better. He nearly fell of the chair when he saw he could simply drag slider bars for highlighting and colouring changes, as simple as it could be.

Dvoark is a relic.

He should try iPhoto. (5, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869748)

...but then again, it's a Mac program, and you can't be a tech writer and like something Apple has produced unless you're biased [] .


iPhoto is not that great (3, Insightful)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869904)

I don't understand why people like iPhoto. It's quirky and awkward. It organizes all your photos in some crazy scheme on the disk (like the iPod!), it can't do much besides crop, and its "magic button" approach to colour fixing generally produces worse pictures than what you started with. It can't recognize duplicate photos and it will stupidly re-download all your photos every time unless you delete them from the camera - HELLO! The only redeeming feature of this program is the ability to zoom in and out on your entire photo collection, and that's a gimmick. Whoopie.

Re:iPhoto is not that great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869947)

I don't understand why people like iPhoto

Because it's Apple.

I do have a couple of Macs, and they're great computers, but Apple does do a lot of stupid things and if you try to mention any near an apple fan, they attack you.

The might mouse is the worst excuse for a mouse I've ever seen. You have to lift your finger from the "left button" to right-click. But all I read about it are raves.

The new iMac has a camera fixed above the screen pointing forward. How stupid is that. Do you really want a camera pointed at you every moment you use your computer? It should at least have a mechanical lens cover so people don't need unsightly electrical tape on their computers. When not in use I have my webcam pointed out the window to give me a nice video desktop. Can't do that with the camera in the monitor bezel. Again, mac fans act like having an external webcam already makes you a dinosaur.

Re:iPhoto is not that great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869973)

It should at least have a mechanical lens cover so people don't need unsightly electrical tape on their computers.

Or you could just, you know, not use the camera in iChat.

Picassa (4, Insightful)

adisakp (705706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869751) []

It's free and easy to use and doesn't install any crap / spyware.

Re:Picassa (5, Funny)

Nqdiddles (805995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869772)

From the website:
" automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had)" (emphasis added).
I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I want any program finding all the photos I've got - even if I have forgotten about them!

Re:Picassa (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869831)

Yes, it did start indexing my porn. No, it wasn't hard to set it not to watch those folders.

Automagic indexing is good for most people -- the majority of which don't even know where on their HD the damn pics are, as they never changed their digicam software's defaults.

Re:Picassa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869944)

"Yes, it did start indexing my porn. "

You mean google now has a solution that'll help me rediscover the porn within my own harddrive? *tears* A good company indeed. *snif* Finally my long lost porn!

Re:Picassa (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869826)

While I personaly only use it for photo organization and simple batch edits (Im feeling lucky to a hundred vacation photos) Its a great program that Google could basicly run as an advertisement for their program. (With the exception of editing out people of course, but that requires much more advanced software - Layers transaparencies, undo levels, brushes, and the whole ball of photoshop really)

Picassa still needs a couple things cleaned up about it (moving and saving your fixed files could be easier) but other than that top notch program. Im glad google bought it, Before that when I tried Piccassa it would crash regularly (got a refund)

Re:Picassa (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869931)

First Google Earth, then Picasa... WOW! So when is Google going to release an OS? =)

Grasping at straws... its a stupid article (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869754)

He wants to do something that is fundamentally complex, which is edit photos. Okay, he wants to remove red eye? He's going to have to tell the program where to remove the red eye from. He wants to crop the photo? Is the program supposed to know how? What about rotating, changing the brightness, etc.

Of course it's complex. What does he expect? A miracle? Artificial intelligence?

The best, easiest software is Picasa. It's interface is pretty simple, and I recommend it to all my tech unsavvy friends, and it seems to work.

Re:Grasping at straws... its a stupid article (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869804)

Agreed. Letting a one-size-fits-all tool try to remove red-eye in a photo is asking for a dead picture. Without the right catch light in the eyes people tend to look like they belong in a George Romero movie. If you haven't the skill to select the offending red, and balance it back to neutral, it doesn't seem that you've got the skill to even use the program.

Re:Grasping at straws... its a stupid article (1)

Frogbeater (216054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869820)

OK, I didn't RTFA, I just read the comments. This comment in particular really forces me to agree with all of the other "What about iPhoto" posts.

iPhoto does all the things people are taking about here (again I didn't RTFA) and does them easily.
You want to remove red eye? It's really simple in iPhoto, click the red eye button and click on an eye... My Aunt can handle it.
Want to crop? It's simple. Rotating, changing brightness... simple, simple.
I use it all the time to email images. I shoot at pretty high resolution but there's a button for emailing. I select the images and iPhoto resizes (S, M, L or full resolution) and opens a new email with the images in it. I really like that feature.

I don't want to come off as some fanboy, I use photoshop a lot in my day to day life and it's complicated, but iPhoto is really simple for the generally simple things it does.

Irfanview (4, Informative)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869759) []

Weird name, useful utility.

Re:Irfanview (2, Informative)

Yeti.SSM (869826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869926)

It's named after the author - Irfan Skiljan. Is that weird?
But yeah, it's a really great program. Too bad it's windoze-only and free-as-in-beer for personal use only.

Re:Irfanview (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869945)

Also Xnview [] . But I recommend FastStone Image Viewer [] the most; it does basic editing functions, viewing (of course), can take screen shots without fuss and more.

Simple Image Resizing (2, Interesting)

Nqdiddles (805995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869762)

I'm no expert on image editing - I very rarely do it. When I do need to edit the size of a photo (for a web page or such), I often have problems finding a program that will let _me_ tell it the width, height and resolution - without using something like photoshop.
Perhaps someone knows of something simple yet able to do just this?
I'm sure photoshop is great, but it's hardly worth installing a large, expensive program just to have control over the size and resolution of your images.
Perhaps a free ( "Photoshop Lite"? Or have I missed a great little free program that's out there?

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869786)

I often use The Gimp [] for simpler web-oriented photo editing, and bash scripts using convert and various other utils for large batches of images. I believe Gimp supports CLI scripting, but I don't think it's very advanced.

You must know about Gimp if you have a Slashdot account.

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869789)

Imagemagick is fast and good for cropping/resizing things from the command line. Simple to do one, simple for batch jobs.

Re:Simple Image Resizing (2, Informative)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869793)

The GIMP [] does it just fine, of course. I don't know if you use Linux, but ImageMagick [] is a great command line tool which lets you do almost anything on a number of image file formats; it's a Godsend when you need to do batch processing.

    I also used to do simple image editing with ACDSee [] too (JPEG conversion, resizing, rotating, etc).

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869848)

Sorry, ImageMagick is also available for Windows.

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1)

John Miles (108215) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869803)

Image Alchemy [] still has the best resizing filter I've seen. It does a much better job on certain content (e.g., line art) than Photoshop's cubic resampler.

Alchemy is also an awesome way to do batch processing on images. It really complements, rather than replaces, an app like Photoshop.

Re:Simple Image Resizing (2, Informative)

munpfazy (694689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869805)

Imagemagick [] will do it quickly and easily. They're tools (mogrify and convert, especially) are perfect for that sort of job, and you have complete control over every parameter of the final image, without having to navigate a maze of checkboxes.

Especially when converting from one format to another, I've found time and time again that imagemagick succeeds where other software fails.

For basic resizing tasks... (2, Insightful)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869825)

Irfanview. It's free for personal use, easy to find, and easy to use. It even does batch conversions quite well.

Open image. Click-drag a box to select an area to crop. Hit Menu-Something to crop. Then Menu-Something-Else to resize. I use it all the time for day to day work w/partial screen shots and other basic image tasks.

Picassa is great too, but in many cases it's a little too invasive for a quick screenshot fix or image resize.

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869833)

I have used Lview Pro [] for many many years..its lightweight yet very useful, simple to install, and easy to use. This program is perfect for quick and dirty image editing of medium complexity. Supports all of the usual options plus layering, transparency, a wealth of file formats, some plugins, a decent collection of filters, etc. check out the site for more features.

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869839)

if you happen to be using windows xp, you can use the image resizing powertoy. you can just select a bunch of pictures, right click, and resize. you can change orientation too (i think that's built in) but you lose a little bit of quality since it's not using exif info. i know, shoutouts to microsoft stuff is blasphemous here but their powertoys can be nifty. toys/xppowertoys.mspx []

Re:Simple Image Resizing (1)

old man moss (863461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869887)

jpegtopnm in.jpg | pnmscale -xsize 256 -ysize 384 | ppmtojpeg > out.jpg

You can leave out one of xsize or ysize if you want to keep the aspect ratio the same...

Re:Simple Image Resizing (3, Informative)

DeafByBeheading (881815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869927)

Look at post above yours, Nqdiddles: Irfanview [] rocks. It's more of a viewer than an editor, but has support for all sorts of basic editing, like crop, rotate, filter (a nice basic set built in, and I believe there are more through plugins), resizing (by percentage or by setting width/height in pixels/inches/cm, with option to preserve aspect ratio), and various other basic operations. And it's pretty damn fast.

how about free aol pictures editor plugin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869774)

aol pictures at [] provides one click auto red eye reduction, color correction, cropping all in one active x control free for anybody. what else do you need

WWot? fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869775)

A step up (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869780)

I've seen these least common denominator programs bundled with cameras and PC's. Most of them are little more than a teaser to buy the full version.

I bought a camera that came with a program from Arc-Soft. It's not photoshop and it's not megabucks in price.

It does do all the simpler items needed for common photo editing and is not complicated. Red eye reduction, croping, changing size, changing resolution, adjusting contrast, brightness, saturation, etc are all not difficult. Stitching several photos together and adding text are also not difficult. Compressing for e-mail is also not hard.

The program does not have advanced bells and whistles such as adding lens flare and beveled edges for web buttons, but this might be in line of the simple but not dummed down software he is looking for.

It came bundled with my old Ricoh 3MP camera.

Given he was just blasting Mac users again... (5, Insightful)

ltmon (729486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869784)

He should really try iPhoto.

I think it matches the description perfectly.

I really don't get it... (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869788)

If he's only wanting to do a few basic things, the software that comes with the camera -is- going to be sufficient for many users. On the other hand, if you want professional grade results, you have to learn to use a professional grade tool at a professional level. And that takes time. This guy's asking for a miracle, not a program.

As to photographers-professional ones that make their living that way-I'd venture a guess that they can do those "45 things" in their sleep. Because they took the time to LEARN, just as you have to do with anything you wish to do well, whether it's playing a guitar or editing a photo.

Paint Shop Pro 5 (4, Informative)

koick (770435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869796)

Actually, this is why for quick edits, I like to use Paint Shop Pro 5 (ca. 1998); logical, loads fast, most the tools I need, and no bloat. Of course Gimp rocks, but then I have to agree with his complaints.

Re:Paint Shop Pro 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869890)

i stopped at paint shop pro 4.14

all the good common tools. zero bloat. no install needed.

Ha! (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869797)

From the article
"You want to make the picture more vibrant, get rid of red-eye, remove an object from the scene, and maybe swap the heads of the people in the picture" After all, all these things are easy to describe, so they must be easy to make as a one-click tool, right?
As someone who uses Photoshop for a wide variety of things, the very thought of trying to boil down any one of these, with the possible exception of the red-eye, to a simple one or two step tool is ludicrous
You want to make the picture more vibrant? Well, what type of colour range exists? What part of the picture are you trying to emphasize? What colour standard (RGB, CMYK, etc) is it in? These are a half dozen different tools for this for a reason, a different situation calls for a different tool.
Remove an object from the scene? Well, what types of objects are around it? What is behind it? How do the shadows affect the rest of the image? The very thought of approaching this without a dozen different tools is silly. A half dozen selection tools alone. See, in Star Trek they can hit the 'delete things' button, the computer magically makes up background, but this is real life. Ditto for the 'let's swap heads'. After all, you saw a kid doing it in a computer commercial once, so it has to be easy. Almost all the same problems, and a couple more as well.
Yes, it would be nice, but at some point the skills are necessary. If you want a more basic package Adobe and a handful of others make things like Adobe Elements which take care of a lot of this, but are still a more complex level of program. However, this is one of those things that where how complex the process is and how complicated the end result looks have nothing to do with each other. Get off it and learn the tools for the job.

Does this happen in other fields? (4, Insightful)

amelith (920455) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869800)

One thing that doesn't seem to need making any easier is to write ill-informed IT commentary columns.

This sort of complaint would sound silly in another context. Imagine writing to a medical magazine about how "neurosurgery is too complicated" and they should make it easier to understand. Or rocket science? "They should make the 10 most common kinds of rockets easier to design".

I'm all for cleaning up and improving some of the actively user-hostile interfaces you come across but this kind of complaint really does sound like "complicated things should be easy and require no thought or effort".

Ironically, some of the programs that are aimed at newbies are very difficult to use because they're inflexible and patronisingly assume the user is a dolt. Better software will help people up the learning curve so they can do more complex things with their photos than they originally knew were possible.


Just hide the tacky filters... (4, Interesting)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869802)

I haven't used Photoshop much, but most of the commonly-used tools seem to be pretty easily accessible. I still wasn't very good with it, but that was due to my own lack of skill, not any problems with the UI or general program design.

If anything, I kind of wish that certain "things photographers do most" were MORE difficult to find: I'm one of the art moderators on Elfwood [] (a big sci-fi/fantasy art web site), and let's just say that the world would be a better place if budding young artists did not immediately pull out the lens flare filter every time they needed a fairy or extra magical sparkle in their work.

Personally, though, I prefer using Painter Classic for general digital art because I find it more comfortable to use. It's not exactly photo-oriented like Photoshop is, but it can still be used for photo manipulation. I use The GIMP occasionally as well, but I can't figure out how to make it recognize my tablet's pressure sensitivity, so I don't use it very often.

Re:Just hide the tacky filters... (2, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869958)

I use The GIMP occasionally as well, but I can't figure out how to make it recognize my tablet's pressure sensitivity, so I don't use it very often.

I recently bought my wife an Wacom Intuos 3 and I installed The Gimp on her Windows XP machine. Pressure sensitivity worked out of the box. What version did you use? I used 2.2.8. Still, my wife doesn't use The Gimp, she uses Corel Painter (or whatever came with the Wacom, I don't know... I suck at using tablets)

Ohh, Johnnie... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869806)

Now with Photoshop, most photographers only want to do perhaps a dozen or so functions. You want to make the picture more vibrant, get rid of red-eye, remove an object from the scene, and maybe swap the heads of the people in the picture. Oh, yes, and you want to crop. Essentially, you want to optimize the photo.

    What are we talking about here? A button for each one of those? Because that kind of operations are often hard enough to do with full-fledged image editing software (do well, atleast). Aren't we asking a little to much?
    Anyway, if all that we want is image editing software with the basic operations (selection, basic filtering, cropping, etc), there's plenty of those arround already. No need to use Photoshop.

Hrmm (1)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869815)

I'm assuming he's using MS Windows. I'm also assuming he hasn't heard of Picasa [] . I guess he also hasn't heard of Aperture [] , by Apple. Personally, I'm more of an iPhoto [] kinda of guy, since my personal foto lib is about 3K (I like to take pictures), it does a good enough job.

Now, one thing I do remember about Dvorak is that he's almost as bad of a MS Apologist as Paul Thurrott [] , so in his mind, decent PC freeware and Apple solutions are probabally out of the question for him. Shame, he's mising out.

Please forgive me for the bad joke... (1)

Traegorn (856071) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869837)

since my personal foto lib is about 3K (I like to take pictures)

Only 3 KBytes? Wow. That's some good compression. :P

Re:Hrmm (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869882)

Amen, Brother!

He picked a poor time to have his petty rant with Aperture just now hitting the news sites. Worse still there are (and have been for a long while) dozens & dozens of people posting stunning pictures on Flickr using nothing but an 80 Euro camera and Picasa or this 5 Euro toy plastic "Medium Format Film Camera" made in China and the Gimp.

Man if you're gonna whine at least do a little research to make sure what you whining about is remotely valid.

An Aside question... How do you get the Euro symbol to appear?

Why oh why?... (2, Insightful)

TLLOTS (827806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869819)

...are articles like this getting posted on the frontpage (or at all)? All the article comes down to is a rant from an idiot who appears frustrated with their ineptness at being able to use image editing programs.

I like the gimp (1)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869827)

Is it too much to ask for a simple and powerful software program that can do the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop?"

You could use The Gimp. And download the 45 plugins that have probably already been written because it's very easy to write a gimp plugin.

Packages are Bloated (1)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869853)

I agree.
Most photo editing packages suffer from tremendous feature bloat and simple paint packages miss key basic functions. I work with a lot of time frustrated web artists and they have the same complaints about packages being too much or too little with no good middle-ground packages.

I'd to see a non-technical "Gimp Lite" or "PhotoShop lite-lite-lite" that still had the very few features that are used 90% of the time on just a handful of buttons or controls.

1. ability to insert text into a different (second) layer
2. ability to crop and resize
3. ability to define "blobby" non-geometric areas for manipulation
4. 1 or 2 color balance sliders (think warm---cool)
5. a contrast slider
6. a brightness slider
7. a size compression vs. quality slider that showed the output image and probable size
8. burn and dodge tools. long as I'm dreaming about ideal about a quick, intuitive way of toggle "tool tips" and such on and off, such as right-clicking?

Those of us with ADD find that animations and pop-ups really interfere with our creative trains of
hey...I've got mail!

Re:Packages are Bloated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869956)

Bloated software is not all that bad a deal. We've got plenty of memory and hard drive space this days to deal with that. Personally, I like a full featured piece of software because it provides lots of functions to explore and "play" with. That said, the photo editing software I have use, including photochop, usually have a nomenclature that is completely foreign. What is usually lacking is a set of basic instructions to provide a path from the simple to the complex and back again. If you don't understand the lingo in the menus, you get hopelessly lost. As many have said, this can be solved with some effort and research.

However, most programs have to have a "Target Market", must be produced in a "Reasonable" (translation Quick) amount of time (lest the financers get distracted), and nobody wants to write the help file, instructions (whatever) to help bridge the gap between the novice and the professional. Isn't software supposed to help accomplish this goal? Take something hard and help facilitate the process? Gees, Have we lost our mind? When can we get back to basics? Do our research, design, and not expect that to happen in 1 iteration or 3 weeks.

I can only hope.

As Jeremy would say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869855)

sounds liek a toal n00b..

Just as everything else (5, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869859)

I dare bet using Notepad to write some text is hard too if you can't read or write.

Why is he expecting graphics applications to be any easier if he doesn't understand the basics of computer graphics?

And using PhotoShop as an example... Why would somebody who just wants to remove red-eye or crop a picture buy a $600 program? PhotoShop is complex because it is meant for professionals. Adobe also has Elements at $90, which DOES have the red-eye and easy cropping he want (and which is NOT an older version of Photoshop with name changed (apparently dvorak never even tried using it, since it blatently ovbious NOT what he describes it to be), but rather a recent version with drastically cut functionality and a "workflow"-like interface).

But apparently he wants something which only requires one button to read his mind and alter the photo accordingly. With great power comes great responsibility. Don't want the responsibility? Then don't demand the power!

But just to quote from the article:
"These programs assume that you are a dolt."
Dvorak... you ARE a dolt.

Hmm... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869866)

...the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop...

Would that be snapshot photographers (red-eye removal, tilt correction, silly filters), amateur photographers (not sure here, maybe a little bit of colour/curves adjustment, retouching), professional photographers (pretty much everything), or non-photographers (lots of artists use PS and never touch a camera)?

Not everyone needs Photoshop, it's complicated for a reason. Most snapshot-takers would be fine with Picasa/iPhoto.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Joe Decker (3806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869968)

professional photographers (pretty much everything)

Just a data point: For myself, the big features would be RAW conversion, healing brush/spot healing brush (for cleaning up sensor dust or scanner dust), most of the adjustment layers (levels, curves, color balance, contrast/brightness, hue/sat/lightness), a regular layer with the soft-light property and the paintbrush (I use that as a reversible dodge/burn/etc.), layer masks, selection tools, layer flatten, resize, unsharp mask (narrow radius very wide radius), color space conversion/profiling/previewing, save.

Hmmm, my edge-sharpening stuff uses a lot of weird filters, though. A better edge-sharpening built-in would probably be a better choice.

Put this guy on TechTV! (3, Informative)

pookemon (909195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869868)

Now with Photoshop, most photographers only want to do perhaps a dozen or so functions. You want to make the picture more vibrant, get rid of red-eye, remove an object from the scene, and maybe swap the heads of the people in the picture.

This guys level of expertise is showing. Users just want to remove an object from the scene? One of the hardest things to do in ANY package - I suppose he expects to just click a button, then click the object and voila! It's gone! The closest thing to that function is the selection wizard - and those that use it know how prone to "error" it can be.

Oh, yes, and you want to crop.

What a numpty - it's right there on the toolbar in Photoshop, on the left, third one down. RTFM! And it's one of the easiest tools to use. What do you want? Auto crop? Click a button and the software crops the image for you. Exactly how you want it?

Essentially, you want to optimize the photo.

Start with Ctrl-Shift-L.

Then you can try this [] .

Some things are hard.. (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869869)

Because they're hard to do and take skill. Someone who's never used a keyboard before might think it's "overly complex". "Unless you are using the keyboard full time, you spend a lot of time figuring it out".

Here's a clue Dvorak, doing complex things requires you to learn how to do them. Why do you make this assumption that doing everything is simple?

Re:Some things are hard.. (1)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869942)

Here's a clue Dvorak, doing complex things requires you to learn how to do them.

I don't know if you've thought deeply about this.
I appreciate good tools. Hopefully, you don't think that my kids should have to learn how to use a slide rule if they want to do any complex math?

Let me just say that some people, like Steve Jobs or John Fluke, can make a lot of money by enabling people to do complex things very simply and very quickly.

Improving tools is the essence of productivity and progress.

From ignorance... (2, Insightful)

venomkid (624425) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869870)

...yeah, why can't I cure cancer? I mean, we know it's caused by *cells* and it's in the *body*. Why hasn't science made a pill to cure it yet?

Seriously, I haven't consumed a more ignorant piece of media since the last time I watched the O'Reilly Factor.

Information isn't that simple, mister Dvorak. How are you going to tell a computer to do you want it to do when you haven't even defined it? And when you do try to define it, it's so nebulous as to be irrelevant.

You want to be able to do something skillful while lacking skills? And at the same time, you criticize programs that try to lead you through the process? That sounds pretty "rinky dink" to me.

Ill write this out (1)

killerface (573659) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869873)

for those that didn't read the article "bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bibitch bitch bitch nothing is good enough for me and people pay me to bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch"

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869876)

Im sure he'd find it even more annoying using photoshop without a mouse!

again, iPhoto (2, Informative)

deep44 (891922) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869900)

He directly/indirectly bashes Apple at least once a month, yet.. as previously stated, iPhoto fits his vision of a utopian photo editor *perfectly*. I use it; it's simple, and just powerful enough to cover the basics of home photo management/editing.

I also agree that Slashdot should stop posting the trash he writes.. he complains about Windows, hates Apple, and is nowhere near smart enough to even *try* using Linux (imagine the articles that would come out of that experience). Why should people care what he has to say? I certainly don't.

photoshop elements? (1)

mottie (807927) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869916)

isn't that what photoshop elements was designed for? It's only $89

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 4.0 software combines power and simplicity to help you do it all. Edit and enhance your photos by fixing common flaws instantly or using advanced options for more control. Keep every photo at your fingertips. And show off your creativity in entertaining slide shows, photo mail, Web galleries, and countless other ways.

*gasp* *choke* *death* (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869925)

Is it too much to ask for a simple and powerful software program that can do the 45 things photographers do most in Photoshop?

I think it's too much to ask for another program that does everything that's simple to use. How the hell is Photoshop 'difficult', anyway?

Who Am I?

I draw a vector circle, I want to add bevel and a drop shadow.
I want to apply it to the entire circle, hence I want to do something with the entire layer.
I realise that Photoshop has a useful feature called layered styles.
I add the bevel layer style.
I add the drop shadow layer style.
I am not John C. Dvorak.

Give up? Too bad. I'm everybody else with a sense of intuitivism.

Picasa even has an "I'm feeling lucky" button! (1)

ManufacturedMirth (920685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869928)

Seriously, Picasa is fantastic. Yet another formerly-commercial package bought by Google, improved, and distributed free.

It has a nice interface, the common photo editing tools are straightforward to use, and since the Google days, there's even an I'm Feeling Lucky button for colour and tone enhancement! I use Photoshop every day, and love it, but it took an awful lot of work to learn it. Picasa, though, I just installed and started using straight away. []

Re:Picasa even has an "I'm feeling lucky" button! (1)

waferhead (557795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869955)

Will Picasa run under WINE?

Options (1)

chuby (774856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869932)

I have been a user of photo editing software for a while now, for middle size tasks, red-eye, crop, rotate, balance, just "everyday" stuff, but sometimes I want to do things a bit more "complicated". I have noticed that a program like photoshop is too much for me, and a program like picassa too little, so I have been using Ulead Photoimpact for a while now, and I really like it, it's interfase is very intuitive, it is filled with Wizards, even a photo enchancing tool, that "almost reads your mind", and also, a bit more "hidden" power functions, for the advanced user, it can take photoshop plugins, use layers, etc... I think that if you want a well balanced software that can be there for everyday use, and also have the option to do power edition, without the bulk, in a very smart elegant and gentle way. you should try Ulead Photoimpact. []

And no I'm not a affiliated with Ulead in anyway, I just think that their software is good.

Has Dvorak even thought about the problem? (3, Insightful)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869948)

The reason photo editing is difficult to use, is because photo editing is difficult to do.

The fundamental problem with photo software is that computers don't have a clue about what they are doing so they can't help you. You may just wan't to make the subject stand out from the background, but the computer can't tell the difference between a cat and an orange so you have to describe exactly where the subject is. Magic wand tools are a help, but there not that good because even when you've defined the outline of an object accurately the computer doesn't have a clue what it is so you still have to describe exactly what you want to do with it.

In this respect photo editors are tools, not aids and must require training.

Compare this to a PIM tool where the defining a data object is as easy as typing text into a text box. The computer knows what you mean when you gesture to remove an ex-girlfriend from an address book because you have told it what an entry is and how to delete it. We're many years from being able to say "remove my ex-girlfriend from all of my old photos" and have it work as effectively.

One of the best rules of thumb in computer science is if its hard from computers its easy for humans, and vice versa. Nothing emphasises this more than dealing with images and objects.

Translation (1)

JohnsonWax (195390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13869951)

"I just saw Apple's Aperture and realized that even with 10,000 extra applications at my disposal, they almost all suck. Why is that?"

It's about quality not quantity. Thank goodness for Picassa.

you Insensitive Clod! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13869967)

but now they're parties, but here at this point NiIger Association dying' crowd - []? Are you volume of NetBSD This post up. they're gone Came Another special
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