User ex­pe­ri­ence

Linux Format - - Roundup -

Are these pro­grams fun to work with? I mage editors can’t be treated like other soft­ware, where we dock points for a clut­tered in­ter­face. This is be­cause each of these tools are chock-full of fea­tures and pre­sent­ing them is al­ways go­ing to be chal­lenge. You will find menu bars, tabs, side­bars, and but­tons, or some com­bi­na­tion of them, lit­tered in the in­ter­face for each of the tools fea­tured in this Roundup.

It’d be un­fair to these tools for us to de­clare any one style or ap­pear­ance as su­pe­rior to the oth­ers, be­cause each of these tools boast of vast user com­mu­ni­ties, which sug­gests that there are am­ple num­ber of users who favour their user in­ter­face.

Suf­fice to say, you’re un­likely to get very far with any of these tools un­less you spend some time with the doc­u­men­ta­tion fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self with the in­ter­face. Dark­table 10/10 The col­umns on the left and right of the

dark­table in­ter­face pro­vide con­text spe­cific in­for­ma­tion and set­tings.

For in­stance, if you’re in the dark­table tab, which is the de­fault, all your im­ported im­ages are listed in the mid­dle of the win­dow, and the left column is where you can im­port more im­ages, cre­ate col­lec­tions of im­ages, and so on. The right column lists a num­ber of op­er­a­tions you can per­form on the im­ages, such as add tags. You can also se­lect an image, and give them a star rat­ing or as­sign a colour to them at the bot­tom. The stars and colours can also be used to search and fil­ter im­ages. If you want to edit im­ages, click the dark­room tab on the top right of the screen, and the col­umns will then change, ac­cord­ingly.

Note, how­ever, that dark­table isn’t non­de­struc­tive and will over­write your ex­ist­ing pic­tures when you edit them. DigiKam 10/10 Di­rec­to­ries are im­ported as al­bums into

DigiKam. When you add new pho­to­graphs, or cre­ate sub-fold­ers into the par­ent di­rec­tory, DigiKam will au­to­mat­i­cally im­port these ad­di­tions into the re­spec­tive al­bum.

The in­ter­face fea­tures menubar and a strip of but­tons at the top. You’ll no­tice two thin strips of but­tons at the left and right. Click the Al­bums but­ton on the left to ac­cess all your al­bums, and the La­bels or Tags but­tons to cre­ate and ac­cess the global la­bels and tabs re­spec­tively. The strip of ver­ti­cal but­tons on the right pro­vides in­for­ma­tion spe­cific to the se­lected image, such as Prop­er­ties and Meta­data. You can edit im­ages by se­lect­ing them and click­ing the Image Edi­tor but­ton.

The menu bar at the top fea­tures the dif­fer­ent self-ex­plana­tory heads for post­pro­cess­ing such as Color, En­hance and Dec­o­rate. You can over­write ex­ist­ing im­ages, or save changes to a new image.

Fo­toxx 7/10 Un­like the other tools on test here, Fo­toxx doesn’t fea­ture a menu bar or but­tons at the top. In­stead, its in­ter­face has a strip of but­tons in a side­bar on the left. The sec­ond-last but­ton is Tools. You must click it, se­lect In­dex and then iden­tify the di­rec­tory that holds all your im­ages, and

Fo­toxx will in­dex all of them. Once the in­dex­ing is done, you should then click Tools>User Set­tings and choose the Startup Dis­play op­tion.

This isn’t the most in­tu­itive de­sign, but click­ing a but­ton presents a menu, and hov­er­ing the mouse over each of the but­tons of­fers help­ful tooltips de­scrib­ing the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments within each but­ton.

The but­tons on the strip will change to make it pos­si­ble for you to trans­form pic­tures when you se­lect a pho­to­graph. How­ever, the strip isn’t scrol­lable and so you must al­ways keep Fo­toxx max­imised to ac­cess all the but­tons. Lightzone 9/10 The in­ter­face fea­tures a file man­ager in the left side­bar, which you can use to se­lect the di­rec­tory that holds your pho­to­graphs.

The pic­ture tiles are then dis­played in the mid­dle of the win­dow. For each se­lected pic­ture, LightZone dis­plays the avail­able meta­data in the side­bar on the right. Se­lect a photo and click the Edit but­ton to be­gin the post-pro­cess­ing.

You will find a num­ber of Styles such as Ton­ing en­hance­ment, Skin glow and In­frared on the left side­bar. The but­ton on the right can be used to tog­gle be­tween dif­fer­ent ef­fects. Like the oth­ers, LightZone also main­tains a his­tory of all the ef­fects and changes you make to your pic­tures. Click the His­tory tab on the right of the win­dow for a list of all the steps your pic­tures have un­der­gone.

The menu bar at the top also lists the dif­fer­ent Styles and edit­ing Tools, such as noise re­duc­tion, red-eye and blur. Pho­tivo 6/10 The Pho­tivo in­ter­face is the least in­tu­itive of all the tools fea­tured in this month’s

Roundup. To be­gin with, you can’t im­port di­rec­to­ries be­cause the tool will only work with one pic­ture at a time. Fur­ther­more, to open a file you must click the tiny but­ton to the left of the Open file text. It’s the same for Open set­tings file and so forth. |As a rule, click­able el­e­ments on the in­ter­face ei­ther all have a > next to them, or they change colour or other­wise are vis­i­bly high­lighted on mouseover. If you don’t no­tice these changes, your mouse isn’t hov­er­ing over a click­able el­e­ment.

Pho­tivo has a ver­ti­cal strip of tabs on the left of the win­dow and a side­bar and a num­ber of but­tons run­ning along the bot­tom of the win­dow. Puz­zlingly still, the but­tons at the bot­tom are con­text sen­si­tive, and may change de­pend­ing on what tab you’ve se­lected from the strip on the left.

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