For the most part, Apple stays out of the graphics application and utility business. iPhoto has a few photo tricks, but the graphics world is ruled by Adobe and Photoshop and a few copy cats. With all of Adobe’s power and might, one Mac graphic application thrives. GraphicConverter. One of the worst named, but most capable utilities for anyone who does graphics on a Mac.
Photoshop is the brand name, the Adobe franchise for cash flow. GraphicConverter seems misnamed, utilitarian, spartan, so 1998.
Why do Mac users need GraphicConverter? Does it do more than, say, Photoshop Elements, the $89 poor man’s Photoshop?
Open and save almost any picture file format. Edit and organize your pictures. Start a slide show. Automate your processing. And, and, and…
GraphicConverter does much of what Photoshop does at a basic level. At one time, as the name implies, GraphicConverter’s career was converting files from one format to another.
This handy little utility opens over 200 different file formats, most of which most of us have never heard of, and converts and saves images to over 80 formats.
Sum of the Parts
Today, GraphicConverter has become more than the sum of the parts. It converts, yes. And more. Users swear by it.
GraphicConverter offers you everything you need and would expect for an all-round editing software for your Mac with ease of use, an excellent range of functions, stability and reliability.
GraphicConverter creates image catalogs in HTML, imports photos direct from digital cameras, including the all-important RAW format. Scanner fans will love the built-in TWAIN acquire capability.
If you’re into graphics you’re into user preferences and GraphicConverter does not disappoint. Honestly, I don’t know of a Mac application with more preference settings than this single graphic application (click any image for a pop up, close up view).
The number and variety of settings is incredible, giving users pinpoint control over every aspect of an image. Basic preferences are rather straightforward and cover the defaults for window size and toolbox placement, Save preferences, Slideshow effects, and the basic image browser.
Click on Extended Preferences and you’re in preference heaven (assuming you’ve been good).
What’s in a word? GraphicConverter’s Extended Preferences are divided into six areas. General preferences cover basic settings such as the Clipboard, Camera import, Window display, Editing tools, Plug-ins, and more.
The Open preferences give you access to file format settings. Prepare to be dazzled.
The Save preferences give you options for file compression, custom icons, digital image IPTC and EXIT settings, and a few more.
The Slide Show settings cover effects, file locations, sizing, fonts and more.
The Convert preferences modify miscellaneous settings, Preview, and other conversion items.
The Browser section is extensive. The GraphicConverter browser covers the tools in the Toolbar, Preview, display preferences, and more. Much more.
What GraphicConverter does beyond converting is edit image with nearly every conceivable graphic tool imaginable, plus Photoshop plug-in compatibility, and color management with Apple’s ColorSync and ICC profiles.
The basic image editing layout is common to Mac image and graphic editors. The toolbar floats. Images can be zoomed in or out.
GraphicConverter provides you with tools to enable you to edit your pictures quickly and easily. To do this you adjust the settings to define which toolbars are visible. You can position the toolbars freely within the program window or use the practical “docking” toolbars which always stick to the edges of the picture.
I don’t care for the floating toolbar that snaps as you move the image, but that’s a minor nit. All the information you need is nearby. The toolbar, Overview toolbar, Details, and image Information.
Do not assume that GraphicConverter is a $35 Photoshop. It’s close and utilizes the Photoshop plug-in architecture. Effects and filters are numerous; ranging from Mirror to Rotate, Gamma correction to Tonal values, 23 Merging filters, 6 Color modification filters, 8 color Effects filters, 7 Generators.
You get the idea, right? There’s more. Batch conversion is my favorite as I deal with a lot of photographs and images at work. GraphicConverter knows how to batch convert image files.
Convert all the selected source pictures easily and quickly into a new format – regardless of whether there are 5 or 5,000 picture files; you just define the type of conversion and set the details.
Web or print, color is important to Mac users whether photos or images.
Provided your display and graphics card are correctly set up the GraphicConverter will display your pictures exactly as you will see them after they are printed (e.g. from a picture developer or an inkjet capable of printing color correctly)
The reason that Mac users are so high on GraphicConverter has probably more to do with the extensive feature set and tools than how it looks. GraphicConverter isn’t pretty, and seems to be a mishmash of tools scattered everywhere. If that’s what you think your impression is accurate.
GraphicConverter looks like an early 2002 Mac OS X utility. The icons are oddly styled though the whole layout seems to match. In other words, it’s not pretty, but it works. Highly recommended.