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BuonRotto
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2005-04-19, 09:52

Shameless plug time!

Stone design announces iMaginator for Tiger, available on April 29.

Well, now you know why I've had access to pre-release builds of Tiger.

I worked on some of the icons and included pictures for this app. It's a front end to CoreImage with a simple catalog of effects. It adds some of its own CoreImage plug-ins too, with more to come. More importantly, it has an effects library where you can save and reuse combinations of these effects/filters on any image. iMaginator files keep the effects and their settings intact inside the filepackagefor reuse or editing later (even after saves). You can of course export the iMaginator files as TIFFs, JPEGs, or PNGs using a simple drag-and-drop image well for publishing. iMaginator includes LinkBack technology anyway, so you can link an original iMaginator file into another LinkBack enabled app and subsequent changes to the iMaj file will be reflected in that app. In other words, you can edit images in iMaginator and drop them into Create. Oh, and effects/transitions can be viewed and saved as QT movies.

Unfortunately, while the web page for the app is done, Apple made Stone promise not to show any screenshots of Tiger in action. That includes screenies of iMaginator itself. The web page is online, but it is password protected right now beause those screen captures can't be made public. If you could see the web page, it has some fairly extreme examples of what can be done with the app. That's just so people can see the range of what can be done, and also so the effects show up in the small images.

http://www.stone.com/iMaginator

I wish I could tell you how to access ths page. Really.

Just to be clear, it's no Photoshop killer and doesn't try to be. It doesn't have brushes or more professional-grade features a Photoshop killer would need. Aside from some precision controls for the effects and a crop tool, it presents the effects as directly and simply as possible. It can be used as a quick fixer-upper in some ways that iPhoto doesn't give you but it's really a way to make pictures more painterly and artistic. You know, fun.
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MCQ
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2005-04-19, 10:30

Can you make an electric zebra with it?
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-19, 10:42

No. No android sheep either. Electric tigers only. :P
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dviant
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2005-04-19, 11:29

Surely it has neon Liger support. They're bred for their magical abilities you know.
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bassplayinMacFiend
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2005-04-19, 11:37

That's just mean. Why won't Apple let you show screen pics of Tiger?!? Are they going to make you wait until 6PM EST on 4/29 to show the site?
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SonOfSylvanus
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2005-04-19, 12:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCQ
Can you make an electric zebra with it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuonRotto
No. No android sheep either. Electric tigers only. :P
Quote:
Originally Posted by dviant
Surely it has neon Liger support. They're bred for their magical abilities you know.
Y'know those times when it seems like the whole world is in on something, but you just don't geddit...?

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JLL
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2005-04-19, 12:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonOfSylvanus
Y'know those times when it seems like the whole world is in on something, but you just don't geddit...?

Perhaps it has something to do with Big Electric Cat which is kind of a mascot of Photoshop

I think it was the codename of an earlier version, but a BEC image has been hidden in every version since that.

PS: *burp*

- No matter where you go, there you are.
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Brad
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2005-04-19, 12:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLL
Perhaps it has something to do with Big Electric Cat which is kind of a mascot of Photoshop
No. You guys just missed the übercool demonstration by Phil Schiller where he demonstrated an in-house application that layered all sorts of cool Core Image effects. His running gag was a design for a band called the Electric Zebras.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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SonOfSylvanus
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2005-04-19, 13:09

Oooohhhh yeeeeeaaaahhh. I remember now, sortof.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-19, 13:11

I misspoke above when I said, "android sheep." I meant electric sheep, as in "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Complete non-sequitur anyway.

Apple just said that was can't make the site public. Some individuals have already seen it. *wink* *wink*

Oh, BTW, if you've tinkered with Fun House, the in-house CoreImage app that Schiller demo'd, iMaginator will open those files.
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Frank777
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2005-04-19, 14:36

Look forward to seeing it.

A Macworld review once said that Stone didn't know how to build software for the professional graphic market, and I have to say they had a point.

However, I'd still love to see a Photoshop competitor come to market, and I hope this signals that somebody is at least testing the Core Image waters.
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Kickaha
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2005-04-19, 14:49

Absolutely. Something beyond iPhoto, but short of Photoshop's professional workflow needs. Something like Photoshop Elements, but y'know, *good*.

Under $35 would be nice too, but I suppose $49 with lifetime free upgrades isn't too shabby.

I look forward to playing with it.

Oh, and BuonRutto, for a second there you gave me a heartattack, thinking that Stone Design had moved to Durham, and I could go pop in and say hi...

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-19, 14:56

Quote:
A Macworld review once said that Stone didn't know how to build software for the professional graphic market...
That statement may become terribly ironic for reasons I cannot say.

Yeah, I remember that MacWorld review. That was when OS X just came out, and the reviewer criticized the Cocoa behaviors in the Stone Studio suite. Four years later, and look what the standard behaviors are. Anyway, a lot of the Stone stuff requires a good amount of polish in terms of their looks, especially the example elements that are usually provided. I'm trying to help with that, but being a moonlighting thing, and since I don't actually code anything, it doesn't come quickly or easily.

Besides, the Stone tools including Create aren't aimed at the professional market. They would get creamed by 800 lb. gorillas with staff and money resources that are literally several orders of magnitude larger. Andrew is getting a lot of pressure to step in where Freehand will likely will no longer exist. Create is meant for people who want more flexibility than a color-by-numbers template approach (Pages) but can't justify the cost or learning curve of Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, etc. Stone is limited in its resources, but provides tools that go along way towards what these guys provide, and perhaps more importanly they are extremely nimble to user requests (depending on the scope of the request sometimes) and support.

Anyway, If Stone could afford to make a real PS killer, it would have bought TIFFany already. iMaginator only became viable because Apple made it viable by supplying CoreImage to the developer community. That's true for all of Stone's products. If Apple didn't supply many if not most of the tools to build on, a company like Stone probably couldn't make ends meet. It's hard enough with the support Apple does give now (and sometimes Apple's giving is a bit fickle).

Kick: Stone is still in the hippie section of Albuquerque. Ain't teh 1n43rw3b gr8? You should see my Mail inbox with all the back-and-forth between Andrew, Kris, TB, and myself.
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CoreMac
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2005-04-19, 16:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuonRotto
Apple just said that was can't make the site public. Some individuals have already seen it. *wink* *wink*
Steve is going to be so pissed when he finds out you let your Grandma see it.

P.S.- Shame Photoshop doesn't support LinkBack.
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torifile
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2005-04-19, 18:01

Please tell me that you're working on the logo for the company. It's atrocious.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-20, 13:49

Does this link to the iMaginator pagework for you guys? I get in fine, but I had the password from before. Like I said, some of the samples are rather extreme, but there's plenty of subtlety possible in the effects.

Alas, troifile, I am a hired gun and moonlight on this stuff on occasion, but I can't even get around to updating Create's clipart, let alone rebuild the web site or change all the app icons. It's volunteer in essence.
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sunrain
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2005-04-20, 14:19

Nope, that link is still password protected.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-20, 14:37

D'oh.


.....
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Moogs
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2005-04-21, 08:07

I'm curious to see what iMaginator is like, and I give it up to Andrew for making such a consistent effort to provide cool products and keep them updated. BUT, the one thing that drives me batty about his apps are the quirky interfaces, and the fact that there are so MANY single-purpose apps, and with confusing names no less.

I think he would do himself a favor to do some serious integration (end up with say three or four total, including imaginator), and then give them a real face-lift. Make them look and behave like standard OS X applications. And tweak those names so that people have a more immediate idea of what they do.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-21, 09:01

Funny, I have a slightly different take. First, I actually prefer having a small armada of specialized apps instead of one huge bloated one that serves too many functions. There's a balancing act of course too. You could separate the illustration appplication part of Create from the DTP/web publishing part of it. This is what another Cocoa company does. However, the other company's product is aimed at more high-end/professional installations. Create is meant to be for people who want more control than the color-by-numbers approach Pages primarily uses, but who can't justify the expense nor take advatage of all the advanced features of something like Adobe's Creative Suite. So it's illustration/publishing in one place.

Having said that, Create does have an animation tool for simple .gifs inside the app, and considering that GIFfun is another gif animation tool, that animation palette in Create could be moved outside into GIFfun, and expanded upon. Well, I suppose you could go either way with .gif animation -- either just roll the thing into Create since it's fairly small as it is, or pull it out and enhance GIFfun, maybe adding other animation formats and changing the name. Is there an aNimator.app?

I do agree that SliceAndDice's features could be rolled into Create though, though I can see why Andrew pulled it out as its own thing. Handling rollovers inside a layout can be tough. You're either hiding it, or creating special page layers, special editing modes, or using pages for graphics that aren't supposed to show up as a layout per se. Anyway, I think theres a good solution out there that will let you slice and add rollovers inside Create without mucking with Create's structure too much.

StampInStone is actually one of my favorite apps, and I like having it outside Create since you can use it on any document. Maybe it would be good to rolll its features into PStill though. PhotoToWeb could use more integration with Create, but IMO should remain separate. We really need to come up with better preset layouts in that app though. Like Create's clipart, the preset layouts are rather dated, lots of dithering and stuff. I think maybe there's an issue with doing something like that because PStill is simply a front-end to a *nix distillery tools developed under the GPL by a guy named Frank Seigert. Intergration might not be viable for that reason.

PhotoToWeb is sort of the stepping stone to Create in a way, though it's sort of chopped off at the knees by iPhoto and Homepage now. Andrew showed off P2W to a big group of Apple folks some years ago, and news of Apple's iTools and its Homepage tool came out not long after. Like the Create clipart, the preset layouts in P2W are rather dated, made in an earlier age of the internet. I (or someone else) really need to update and expand on those things.

PStill could go a little further in integrating with the print architecture. It will set up a special print option to distill the image in create (aka, "repurpose" the image) using the print services feature of Panther and beyond, but it could use a few more quick options at print time like the preset options in its main window. While I might say that a lot of Stone's presentation of stuff could be more visually-oriented, I'm not sure how you would do that with PStill without using extraneous graphics and such. I rather like the setup now, though obviously all its distilling features can be quite advanced and difficult to track. The one thing I think could be better automated is the font handling, but still eaving control for those who want the advanced options in place now.

Anyway, a lot of these smaller apps from Stone, and a couple of big ones I never use (TimeEqualsMoney and LicenserKit). iMaginator is another one of these small apps, and they're really experiments. It's one of the reasons why they're separate to start. He creates them fairly economically, sees how people take to them, and he can either move on or continue to improve them depending on people's interest.

Please mention this stuff to Stone either via email or in the stone forums! If I keep relaying this stuff, it sounds like it's one person's opinion. If many people say it, then the opinions have more clout.
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Moogs
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2005-04-21, 09:50

Well, I don't envision one mega-app either. Like I said, three or four would probably be about perfect. For example, there's really no reason why GIFun, PhotoToWeb and SliceAndDice couldn't all be a part of the same application. It really is kind of frustrating to have to jump back and forth because the apps are so specialized. Why not have one app where all web image workflow issues can be handled?

TimeEqualsMoney, LicenseKit and PackandGo could also be combined into a single powerful utility.

PStill could be integrated into Create for PDF functionality and iMaginator could stand on its own.

Now you have 4 apps - all with logically related functionality - where before there were nine. NINE! He's broken them down way too much and my guess is, the reason has solely to do with making the development process easier. He should take the time to integrate these things, adding a new unified interface that is more subtle and familiar to OS X users, to each "combined app" as he goes.

Yes it will be harder to do probably but the end result will be much more marketable products IMO.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-21, 10:22

As far as the UI, I hear a lot about how Create is non-Aqua or non-standard but I don't really know where much of that comes from unless maybe you're a hardcore Adobe user who expects their custom tabbed palettes and separate toolbars. It is palette-happy (I have mroe ideas of how to pull some palettes into the inspector and using disclosure tirangles), but nothing that's so unusual. I suppose the drawer tool "bin" is what throws people, but you can easily make that a palette in the prefs if you want. Structurally, Create has has a toolbar, an inspector (which could shrink a bit), and a tabbed resource library for different types of components that's drag-n-drop with thumbnail previews. If you look at an app like Keynote or Pages, it's the same. The details maybe are what you mean. People at Ars were taking issue with the horizontal effects chain, rather than a vertical one. IMO some of the inspector layouts could be tightened, and the inspector could be a bit smaller. But IMO the named tabs in the inspector are more legible than Keynote's or Pages' iconic tabs. The Resource library maybe could use a list view option as an alternate to the thumbnail views. There are of course details I'd like to see revised in it too -- library resource names are usually clipped, for example.
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Moogs
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2005-04-21, 10:37

Some things about Create I like (the OS X toolbar and clean look of the document window, even the drawer isn't bad). What throws me is how the main palettes are just crammed to the gills with stuff, and also use way too many bevel buttons instead of the flatter, more subtle variety available in IB.

In general I think some of the icons used with the buttons and toolbars could be a bit more subtle, Maybe use less saturated colors and have them be a tad smaller. There is a lot of visual distraction with the way Stone's palettes and modal dialogs are laid out IMHO. It's like a whirlwind of aqua glass and colorful icons and tabs. Gets frustrating.

While he needs to make the collection of apps less granular, he needs to make the collection of palettes more granular (and thus hopefully more easy to see each context's controls at a glance rather than sifting through levels of buttons and tabs). They should also be accessible from something akin to Adobe's Window menu, where you can quickly turn palettes on or off.

I think - basically - the feeling of it not having a standard OS X look comes less from the types of controls being used, as how they're being used in some cases. Anyway I submitted some feedback and if you want I'd be happy to test out some future version if he / you thinks that would be useful. More than happy to actively help and not just talk, IOW.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Kickaha
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2005-04-21, 10:51

A lot of the fine granularity of Stone's apps comes from the NeXT background, where small specialized apps were tied together with (ta-da) Services much better than under MacOS X. Automator looks to be stepping up to the plate for this in many ways, and of course LinkBack would make it more or less unneeded. (LinkBack is cool, essentially a way of saying "trigger the default Service (open file) for this data using the app that I used to make it in the first place".)

Unix/NeXT philosophy: many small one-shot apps that are chained (Automator) or more interactively connected (Applescript) together to do complex tasks. This happens to a massive degree under the hood of MacOS X, and Stone continues it up to the GUI from their background. I agree that there's a balance point, but on the whole I prefer the toolbox of exquisite small apps.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
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BuonRotto
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2005-04-21, 11:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs
Some things about Create I like (the OS X toolbar and clean look of the document window, even the drawer isn't bad). What throws me is how the main palettes are just crammed to the gills with stuff, and also use way too many bevel buttons instead of the flatter, more subtle variety available in IB.
That's been a very common critique about the bevel buttons. I'm in agreement on that, certainly. I'm also in favor of adopting some disclosure triangles in some cases where is maybe too much info, but are there particular cases where you think a palette has too much stuff right now? Are you thinking of the inspector panes?

Quote:
In general I think some of the icons used with the buttons and toolbars could be a bit more subtle, Maybe use less saturated colors and have them be a tad smaller. There is a lot of visual distraction with the way Stone's palettes and modal dialogs are laid out IMHO. It's like a whirlwind of aqua glass and colorful icons and tabs. Gets frustrating.
Funny, because I tend to agree, which you can probably see by the few icon I did in Create: Page layers, Master Layers, Page Thumbnails icons in the toolbar, and a couple of others. But Stone got a lot of requests for more distinct and "fun" icons. Really.

Quote:
They should also be accessible from something akin to Adobe's Window menu, where you can quickly turn palettes on or off.
We're sort of using the toolbar now for this. Most of its icons are for toggling palettes on or off.

Quote:
Anyway I submitted some feedback and if you want I'd be happy to test out some future version if he / you thinks that would be useful. More than happy to actively help and not just talk, IOW.
Thanks for submitting your feedback! Though, at this point, unless it's volunteer work, I don't know if Andrew has the resources for more help. I'm basically a volunteer myself.

Amorph was tinkering with Create some time ago, and I passed along his comments too. With iMaginator coming online, even though it has its own refinements that need to be made (I will get to some of the buttons in the settings area, though Apple has some of its own refinement to do too there), hopefully we can get back onto improving Create. I was supposed to be doing some new clipart and page templates, though I don't know if I'll ever get around to doing things like Chicago or MLA style templates.
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Moogs
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2005-04-21, 12:57

My critique about the crowded palettes might better have been described in terms of modal windows (i.e. anything that floats above the document and carries access to various functions). Sorry if that was confusing. I'd have to go back and look at the screens to know which ones in particular always threw me for a loop. I don't know their names by heart the way I do with Adobe's stuff.

As for helping test or whatever, I certainly wouldn't expect payment (other than a finished copy of whatever it is I tested maybe). If you think there might be some progress to be made, I'd do it just to help make it a better product. Don't know how many hours I'd have to dedicate to it (depends on what else I'm working on / testing), but in general I'd be willing to lend a hand on the alpha / beta side of things.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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