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First off, like everyone else said: Fascinating work and reasearch. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" />

But I have a question about the programs.
Can any of them edit/create moving .GIF images? I've been looking for something that does that. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Killerzzz


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CompuPic can crop and edit (colourize, etc) animated gif files, but does not let you isolate individual frames. IrfanView can not edit animated gif files (you can stop the animation and then edit that frame), but it will let you save all the frames as individual images. In a quick look, neither program appears to be able to create animated gif files from a group of images. This is not surprising, since adding support for layers would make the user interface a lot more complicated and change the category of these programs (from image viewers that can do a fair bit of editing to images editors), which would require adding a lot more features. Pixia is an image editor, but does not support gif files at all.

The GIMP was designed to handle layers, and can open animated gif files with each of the frames as a layer, which you can then edit and manipulate separately. If you create or open a new layered image, it can be saved as an animated gif file.


A program specifically designed for gif animations may be easier to use. Check out Ulead Gif Animator (the last freeware version is available here) and Movies (from the author of Painter, reviewed above). I have not tried either program.

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Wow, thanks for the info! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" />

I'm gunna try out those last two programs, and maybe GIMP.

Thanks again,

Killerzzz

P.S.: If I have a suggestion about the forum website, do I post it in this section, or Divine <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/div.gif" alt="" /> suggestions. I was just wondering, because the 'About this website' section seems for the more serious stuff, and not miscellaneous ideas. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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If it is about the forum itself or the website, then it belongs in this forum, rather than either game suggestion forum. Even if the topic is not directly about the website (say, about graphics programs or web hosts for avatars), then it would fit better here than any of the game specific forums. Of course it it is unrelated to either the site or games, it goes in one of the chat forums.

There have been topics with miscellaneous suggestions here before, but the default view of the 'About this website' forum is to show only topics from the last month in the index, so you would need to either change that (this option is shown near the bottom left of the index page) or search the forum in order to find them.

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I came across a few mentions of graphics programs recently and decided to check some out. Below are summaries of two new programs, as well as more detail on Pixia and the GIMP.


For the image quality test I no longer had the original image files, so had to make comparisons using cropped sections of the png file I had created to show the previous results (there were no visible differences between the original image and png version, as I mentioned in the original post).

In both Pixia and the GIMP, saving the recreated original image as a jpeg produced slight differences in image quality, primarily with the red symbol in the top right corner (at actual size, the symbol appeared to be a little blurred), and to a lesser extent the green lines in the top left and blue symbols in the bottom left (though even zoomed in by a factor of 10, these differences were still minor). With the GIMP, the blue text was also slightly darker than the original jpg file, though that was not really noticeable unless the images were zoomed in.
CompuPic did a much better job with the recreated original image, producing a jpeg file visually the same as the first one. Even when zoomed in by a factor of 50, there were no detectable differences between any of the lines, symbols or text.

The fact that CompuPic can save the recreated original image as a jpeg virtually identical to one from the original means that any errors introduced by converting it to png and back to bmp are visually undetectable (as expected, since png is a lossless format). I am not sure why Pixia and the GIMP didn't do better, except there may have been changes to their jpeg encoders (with the same settings as used originally, Pixia produced a jpg of the same file size, while the GIMP produced one half a KB larger).
In any case, the results using the recreated original file are close enough to the previous results that it can be used to make valid comparisons with the first set of programs.



[/code]
[*] Comments


PhotoFiltre1.5MB for the program, up to 10MB for plug-ins, up to 6MB for optional selections, masks and patterns
GeneralThe help file is not very detailed, but there are tutorials and a forum on the website.
TextText is editable, adjustable and movable until you choose to place the text, cancel or select a different paint tool. In addition to the standard font options, text can be flipped, stretched, blurred or rotated to any angle, with an adjustable opacity and optional drop shadow (of configurable colour). An image can be used for the text rather than a solid colour, and it can have either a beveled edge effect or an outline of configurable colour. Unfortunately the width of the outline doesn't seem to be adjustable, but thin should be fine in most cases.
Shapescircle/oval, square/rectangle, rounded rectangle, rhombus, triangle, polygon, lines/arrows, lasso
There are also many custom shapes that can be downloaded (or created) and used, including stars, arrows, talk balloons, etc, though you need to go through the Selections menu to resize or rotate them.

After a shape is drawn, you can move and resize it, or even change what shape it is (ie draw a rhombus, then change it into an ellipse). The rectangle shape is the only one that can be resized directly with the mouse cursor, though you can change a triangle (for example) into a rectangle to resize it, and then change back.

The outline of the shape can be stamped on the image in a configurable colour and width. The interior of the selection can be filled with a configurable colour (solid or pattern) or an image. There is an opacity setting for the outline and fill.

The right click Transform menu options for selections will pick up the background image, rather than just change the selection properties. The main menu Selection | Transform options do not do this, but they are not as flexible as the context menu options.
CropYou can draw a rectangular selection, then move it or zoom in to adjust the size or position before cropping.
Undo/RedoMultiple
EditThis is a full featured (except for layers) graphics editor with support for plug-ins and additional filters.
JPEG SettingsIn the save dialog with the jpeg quality slider, there is a preview button which will list the resulting file size and update the main window for the image (so you can zoom in, etc to preview the results).
After saving, the displayed image reverts to the previous quality, rather than that of the jpeg just saved, so may not be accurate. This should not be a problem, however, since it is never a good idea to save as a jpeg and then keep editing (always save intermediate steps in a lossless format).
JPEG QualityImage quality is pretty much equivalent to Pixia.



GraphicsGale3.3MB
GeneralThis program was designed for creating animations, but the freeware version does not support gif, ico, cur or ani files.

Support for layers is fairly basic compared to full blown image editors, but this means the user interface is not complicated by layers, and they can be easily ignored if you do not wish to work with them.

There is a re-sizable preview window in addition to the editing window. You can, for example, show all or part of the image in actual size while you edit zoomed in.
TextText is editable, adjustable and movable until you close the text options window, click on the image outside of the text object or select another paint tool. In addition to the standard font options, you can place a border (outline) of configurable thickness and colour around text, and adjust the spacing between text characters.
There is no cancel button in the text options window, but you can easily delete the text in that window or drag the text object off the image to not add it (or use the undo feature).
If the image has an alpha channel (you can add one if it doesn't) you can adjust the text opacity, but the preview will not show that (you need to place the text to see if you got the desired transparency effect).
Shapescircle/oval, square/rectangle, spline curve, lines
Shapes are set as soon as they are drawn, but for ovals and rectangles there is a horizontal and vertical line from the cursor (crosshairs), which help in positioning the shape.
There are 8 different line types available, consisting of the solid foreground colour or various patterns of the foreground and background colour. Pen thickness and shapes are also limited to 8, which is fairly low, but should be sufficient for most cases if you don't want to get too fancy. As with other graphics editors, different pen shapes can be used to slightly change the appearance and style of a shape (ie a rectangle with rounded corners).
CropThere are crosshairs at the cursor when making a selection, to help you line things up. The selection lines can not be moved to fine-tune the size or position before cropping, however (the lines can be moved, but this will move, resize or rotate the area within the selection).
Undo/RedoMultiple
A cancel button (or hotkey) in more places would be nice, even if it would only save a couple mouse clicks (or key strokes) each time, compared to finishing something and then undoing it.
EditThis program has all the basic editing features for a graphics editor plus a few more, as well as some filters and effects.
JPEG SettingsYou can set the quality and save straight from the save dialog, or click a button to open up another window containing a slider for the jpeg quality, a small real time preview and the resulting file's size. The preview can not be zoomed, but you can pan the image to examine an area with text or other fine detail you want to preserve when adjusting the quality setting.
JPEG QualityImage quality is pretty much equivalent to Pixia.



GIMP3.5MB + 7.5MB for the program, 21MB for help files, 2.5MB for an optional animation package
GeneralWith the GIMP, there is not one main window containing all toolbars, open images, etc. The main window is separate from the layer management window, and each open image is in its own edit window. Each window has its own icon on the Windows taskbar, which you may find either handy or messy.
There is a version called GIMPshop, which looks and behaves a little more like a standard Windows program (I have not tried it).
TextText remains editable and adjustable after being entered, and since it is placed in a new layer, you can move it, adjust opacity or apply filters etc to it.
There is an option called hinting, which alters the selected font outline to help the characters remain clear at small sizes.
Shapescircle/oval, square/rectangle, rounded rectangle, lines, lasso
After making a selection, it can be resized through the 'Select' menu at the top of the image window (or by right clicking the selection on the image). Moving the selection will also move that section of the image.
The 'Edit' menu contains several options to fill the selection (most filters and tools will also be restricted to the selected area) and the border can be drawn with a line of configurable style and colour, a pattern, or a selectable paint tool.
CropYou can make a selection and crop directly from the 'Image' menu, or use the crop tool to draw a resizable and movable box on the image, for more precise positioning. The crop tool pops up an information window (with selectable units) which displays and allows you to adjust the position of the top left corner of the crop area as well as its height, width and aspect ration. The area outside the crop selection is masked (darkened) and you can zoom in for fine adjustments.
Undo/RedoMultiple
EditThis is a full featured graphics editor with a lot of built-in tools and support for additional plug-ins and filters.
JPEG SettingsIn the 'Save as JPEG' dialog there is an image quality slider as well as some advanced options, including text comments. There is an option to show a preview of the resulting image in the edit window (as a new layer) as well as display the file size for the given quality. You can zoom in if you wish, and hide/show the preview layer to compare the jpeg quality to the original.
JPEG Quality(from the original post) There are less artifacts in the blue symbols compared to CompuPic, but that is because the lines and text are a little blurry. The lines / text are also a little darker than the original. The background is fairly good, with minor blurring, though the dwarf's beard is darker than the original.



Pixia3.8MB for the program, 1.6MB for help files, 1MB for optional filters
GeneralThere is an optional magnify window, which will allow you to edit a small portion of the image close up, while still being able to view the main image window.
TextText is editable, adjustable and movable until placed (directly on the image, or in a new layer). Text colour (solid or gradient) and the optional shadow are not shown in the preview before placing the text. In addition to the standard font options, text can be blurred, resized, rotated and skewed. There is an option to create text using the outline of the font; it would be a two step process, but you could use this to put a dark outline around light text, or vise versa, to make it easier to see against a background that changes colour (place the second instance of the text in a new layer, to make lining it up with the first easier).
Shapescircle/oval, square/rectangle, polygon, spline curve, lines, lasso
Selections are movable and resizable after placing. You can stamp a line of configurable colour and thickness at the border and fill closed shapes (optionally with a gradient of the selected colour). The area either inside or outside the selection can be blurred. The transparency of the colour can be set, and there are many 'brushes' that can be used when drawing lines.
The selection stays on the image, so you can use the same outline in different places, or do multiple things with the selection at the same location.
CropAfter making a selection and moving or resizing it, you can 'trim' the selection, copying it to a new window.
Undo/RedoMultiple
EditThis is a full featured graphics editor with a lot of built-in tools and support for additional plug-ins and filters.
JPEG Settingsjust an image quality slider
JPEG Quality(from the original post) The quality is pretty much the same as the GIMP, possibly just a tiny bit clearer.



[*] Conclusions


The original selection of programs, chosen for simple interfaces, didn't offer any great freeware options for adding text to screenshots all in one step. The two new programs reviewed are slightly more complex, but either would perform all the necessary tasks without the steep learning curve of a full blown image editor.

Despite the lack of a detailed help file, PhotoFiltre may be the best freeware option for adding text to images. The interface is fairly clean (looking more like a paint program than an image editor), but it still has all the features you would need for most editing purposes. GraphicsGale has basic layers, without too much added complexity in the interface.

If you want something relatively simple for editing screenshots, I'd suggest starting with PhotoFiltre. If you find it a little complex, then check out some of the programs in the original post, to see which ones may suit your needs without too many limitations. If you don't have any problems figuring out PhotoFiltre, you may want to check out the other programs reviewed in this post, especially if you would like to start doing more elaborate things and are running into limitations with the lack of layers.



[/code]

As a footnote, I will also mention FastStone Image Viewer (3MB). It can not add text to an image, except during batch processing, so I did not review it above (and only took a quick look at it). The program has an interface and some features similar to CompuPic; the feature set is not as extensive, but it does some things quite well. There is an 'advanced' button on the jpeg save dialog which brings up a preview and comparison window on par with CompuPic's and much nicer than the rest of the programs mentioned here (image quality is pretty much the same as Pixia). It has a handy image comparison feature not in other image views that I've noticed, as well as standard features like slideshows, screen capture, basic image editing, etc.


Since BD does not have a built-in screenshot function, you can use that feature in various image viewers, or check out these freeware screenshot programs.

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Before the crash, I asked how one could take screenshots in Divine Divinity. The answer was Ctrl+F11, correct?


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Quote
Before the crash, I asked how one could take screenshots in Divine Divinity. The answer was Ctrl+F11, correct?


if that doesn't work just do it the old fashined way (printscreen+paint) <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


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Yes, I know, but that means: one screenshot, back to windows, back to game, next one, back to windows,... I think you see where I'm going with this <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


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Macbeth for screenshots without dialogs you can use the CTRL-F11. For screenshots with dialogs you must use an other program. Raze mentioned a program name but I forgot it <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/disagree.gif" alt="" />


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Ok, thanks again <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />


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Thank you Raze for all these info & reviews! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/XmasJump.gif" alt="" />
I wonder how come PC World or Consumer Reports haven't discovered you yet... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


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Fille, in the words of some famous super star, Raze might say
- You Can't Afford Me. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

but i feel Raze is much better as an online journalist/reviewer. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" /> since he's way too fast for a monthly magazine.



......a gift from LaFille......
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I wonder what he does in real life <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/think.gif" alt="" />


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thx man...sooper stuff <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" />


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http://www.fraps.com/

makes screencaptures, movies and does more, simple tool. Has no editing capabilities tho. Especially developed for capturing and recording games.


It's one of these days...
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