My father worked in an ad agency in Chicago back in the day, and one of his prized possessions was a framed photo of a Volkswagen ad which featured the Lunar Lander. “It’s ugly, but it gets you there.”
So it is with PhotoLine, a Mac app mashup for images and photos that somewhat resembles Photoshop and Illustrator, but without the monthly rental fee and the Lynda.com learning curve. PhotoLine isn’t exactly cheap or easy, but it does the job for those who don’t want to pay Adobe forever.
When I say mashup, that’s what I mean. PhotoLine is an image editor, an image browser, a layout app, a vector editor, batch converter, and probably a few other things I haven’t figured out yet– all rolled into one slightly expensive Mac and Windows app. There’s a built-in action recorder, layers, painting, vector tools, fills, effects, filters, and much more.
Like Photoshop, Illustrator, and most Mac graphic and image editors, PhotoLine has floating palettes of tools, so it looks somewhat familiar to anyone who’s used an image editor or graphic design app in the past.
That makes PhotoLine somewhat self explanatory for those with experience, but somewhat cumbersome for anyone just getting into graphic design and image editing. Unlike less expensive apps (Pixelmator, I’m looking at you!), PhotoLine does CMYK. It also handles ICC profiles, lossless imaging, EXIF data management, but also has options to create Flash and GIF animations, slideshows, and photo galleries.
It’s more like a Swiss Army Knife of graphic and image editing tools.
Why would you choose PhotoLine over popular name brand apps that do much the same thing? Remember, Adobe charges by the month– forever– so even a $10 a month subscription to Photoshop can add up to hundreds of dollars in a few short years.
What I like about PhotoLine is the built-in flexibility– it’s that special mashup of image and graphic editing capabilities, along with vector graphic tools, as well as file management, HTML output, and the ability to deal with PDF files that makes it somewhat unique among Mac graphic and image tools.
Like I said, “It’s ugly, but it gets you there.”