If you’re a Mac user and you have any photo editing needs, then you owe it to yourself to try out GraphicConverter. Coded by one man – Thorston Lemke – GraphicConverter has been the standard toolkit for Mac users for many years. In fact, I can think of at least two Macs I’ve purchased where this fabulous shareware program was included in the software bundle free of charge. And even if it hadn’t been, the shareware fee – currently 25 Euros, which is roughly $33.65 at today’s exchange rate – is well worth it.
If you’re like me, you look at a lot of software programs… sometimes a dozen or so per day, if not more. And when I’m looking at a new piece of software… something that seems nice but not quite ready for “prime time,” one of the things I look at is how long the software has been in development. Obviously I don’t like to see a program that’s been around forever that still isn’t up to what I feel it should be, but I’m also a bit wary of software that just popped out of nowhere. Will that software be around in a year or two? Often not. GraphicConverter, on the other hand, is one of those program’s that seems to be in it for the long haul. First unleashed on the Mac community fifteen years ago, Thorston Lemke has been constantly updating GraphicConverter since 1992, and shows no signs of letting up.
But really, longevity doesn’t tell everything about a program, especially not compared to how the program works and what it does. So… how does GraphicConverter work? Well, in addition to the roughly 200 (that’s right… 200!) graphic formats GraphicConverter can read, it can export to roughly 80 additional formats, so no matter what format you receive an image in, you can read it, and convert it to something else. While there are a lot of programs that can do this type of conversion (although the sheer scale of the number of formats is absolutely impressive), what makes GraphicConverter so wonderful is that processes can easily be automated. So, if you have a folder full of photos that need to be converted from JPG to PNG, for example, GraphicConverter can do that without you having to manually tell it what to do each time.
In addition, today’s web-heavy world means that more and more people are setting up websites full of pictures. GraphicConverter can help here as well. If you have – once again – a folder of images that will soon be uploaded to your website, GraphicConverter can help you create a catalog (for use on the web or in print), that can be shown to users to quickly give them an overview of what images are available.
GraphicConverter can also be used as a handy picture browser. Simply navigate to the spot on your computer where you’re storing your images, and GraphicConverter will show you the entire folder, either by thumbnails or in full-screen slide show mode. You can flip through the photos quickly by using the mouse, of course, or for those attached to the keyboard, there are shortcuts available.
Finally, GraphicConverter can be used as a simple editor. While not quite up to the level of Adobe Photoshop (as far as creating new works from multiple pictures via the use of layers), GraphicConverter is far more capable than it may at first appear. The first reason for this is its own, built-in set of photo enhancers. These enhancers are anything from quick color correction to red eye removal. Last, a “hidden” feature is GraphicConverter’s ability to read Photoshop plugins natively. So, if you’ve spent big bucks on a set of Kai’s filters, there’s no need to use them solely with Photoshop… GraphicConverter can use them as well.
All in all, I think GraphicConverters is one of those programs every Mac user should at least try. It isn’t for everyone, and I’ll admit that as I’ve moved to Linux I’ve found other solutions I like just as well, but for sheer power and customizability, it’s hard to beat GraphicConverter.