Monday, April 25, 2005

My Pixel, My Mistress

A little Darwin Cooke, for the hell of it:

I'm sure David Baron can instruct you how to make one of these little slide shows, in fact he will tell you it's easy.

It is easy, especially if you have Image Ready (which is a robust fragment of Photoshop, if I may be so bold as to use the contradictory statement "robust fragment"). What's great to me tho, is that it doesn't have to be easy. With any number of tools at your disposal, it can be fantastically complicated.

My blood sacrifices to the Altar of Adobe happen with frightening regularity, tho Photoshop remains in a constant struggle to achieve my coveted title of "greatest software of all time." The challenger perpetually remains Equilibrium's DeBabelizer, a scriptable image processing monster that is unparalleled in it's ways of pixel manipulation. To go into detail with the uninitiated would be like switching over to another language, but believe me when I say that using features like Change Pixel Depth, Set Palette and Remap Pixels, Shave Outline, and Trim to Solid Edges warms the cockles of my heart. The "Super Palette" concept alone is a feature I dare not describe for fear of not doing it justice. It's not that I just like DeBab, it's that I need Debab. In "the day job" I deal with such an immense volume of files in a schizophrenia of image formats that without DeBab I'd have torn out my unquestionably glorious hair many moons ago, opting to move to Alaska to spend the rest of my days soaked in alcohol in effort to forget caveman antics of converting .bmp's to .png's one save dialog at a time. Truly the soul of Debab is its no-frills scripting engine, able to automate tasks with such finesse that its inclusion was not only brought forth from talented programmers, but indeed may be a boon from the gods. Sure Photoshop has some scripting, it's got a lovely (if temperamental) Actions engine I use regularly, but... it's not DeBabelizer.

Where was I? Easy vs hard? The truth is there is no easy, no hard, only the steps taken to reach an end result as perceived by an onlooker. It's all arbitrary, as within itself Photoshop has ten ways of doing anything, and that's only until someone shows you the eleventh. DeBab only has one way to do things, the right way, and mastery of its controls is a badge worn proudly by those who have dared to learn. I've no doubt the aforementioned Dave could school me in a multitude of Photoshop's finer details, and I'm no slouch. It's part of why I love riding the wave of learning, it's your choice weather or not words like "easy" and "hard" become less descriptive and more of a personal preference. Anyone can take their car to Jiffy Lube, but we all know that dude who just loves to get under his ride and get dirty. Software to me is fascinating in that respect, this ethereal collection of code and user interface no different than the machined parts of a six cylinder engine. We are in a glorious age... it starts with a slideshow on a blog, it ends with a future classroom of 4th graders making short films on par with Pixar.

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