Vive la différence

Interesting observation from Daring Fireball the other day:

“So I think Gnome and KDE are stuck with a problem similar to the ‘Uncanny Valley.’ By establishing a conceptual framework that mimics Windows, they can never really be that much different than Windows, and if they’re not that much different, they can never be that much better. If you want to make something a lot better, you’ve got to make something a lot different.”

It’s kind of a drag to see other image-editing apps just imitate Photoshop. I certainly understand the rationale for doing so, but their creators are tying their own hands. Why not break some really new ground? That’s what Mark Hamburg & the Lightroom team did, rethinking a lot of problems from the bottom up.

7 thoughts on “Vive la différence

  1. i’m adobe ACE…
    as photoshop is the market’s image editing leader software…and people have been working with PS for more than 10 years…how could start in GIMP from scratch?
    That’s why Scott moschella made GIMPSHOP – the GIMP with the menus with similar position as PS..
    easyer to migrate…
    PIXLR (online editing)is far better than Ps express…
    sorry but LR is not really from new ground…
    Adobe have to run after Nikon and Apple softwares which are lot easier than PS..
    that’s why…
    LR is different from PS but equals apperture and capture…
    Vive la difference???

  2. There are definitely things about Lightroom’s tools which are cool, such as targeted adjustments and being able to sculpt the histogram. This is great stuff. At the same time modality is a drag that I trip over constantly, and the UI in general is really noisy and cluttered.
    I also like the more disciplined curves tool.

  3. Its a shame everyone seems to just want to copy photoshop when you could have a killer web design app if you put together selective bits of some other adobe products.
    – Vector/type and layout tools from illustrator
    – the speedy workflow/filter capabilities/ of fireworks
    – the compositing, basic scripting and real time filters from after effects, so I could make a button that had a complicated chain of composing and overlaying but only appears on the final stage as a single element

  4. Cool you said that. I’m using PixelMator because it’s faster than photoshop (at the common tasks that I do) but sometimes I feel that I’m still at PS…
    Revolution in this arena is what we need!

  5. “…creators are tying their own hands. Why not break some really new ground?”
    There’s a difference between “How can I solve an outstanding problem?” and “Look at what I can code!”
    The latter is usually based on emulating an existing model… it’s like how art students sketch in an art gallery.
    Doesn’t apply to all cases, for sure, but I think that’s a lot of the hidden dynamic in “homage coding”.

  6. hey john, i agree.
    some alternative angles would make us all better.
    as it happens this is something i’ve put a lot of thought into over the last few years.
    WANTED: Programmers, Imaging Scientists, Interface Design Visionaries,
    PROJECT: A ground-up rethink of the problem of 2D image manipulation and compositing.
    please contact alexkent AT

  7. John – to play Devil’s Advocate, sometimes imitation is all that’s needed. In the case of The Gimp, the goal wasn’t necessarily to break new ground – it was to provide a solid image editor on Linux, since Adobe didn’t (and still doesn’t). If your goal is, effectively, to replace a missing tool found on other platforms, the most direct way to do it is by copying, particular workflow/user interface – it’ll be easiest on the developer, and easiest on new users.
    There *are* plenty of applications which take completely different approaches, for different crowds. I don’t think you could accuse VIPS of being a Photoshop knockoff 🙂 Or, on OSX, Pixelmator. Or Photomatix. There are plenty of developers out there trying to scratch an itch Adobe doesn’t, or playing with workflow concepts very different from Photoshop.
    But in the end, for common tasks Photoshop already tackles well, it’s an uphill battle to try to invent a new approach to the same thing – not only in development, but in convincing users. Look at Painter, all these many years later – I know a lot of artists (I work at a gaming company) who would arguably be far more at home in Painter or ZBrush, but are fully accustomed to Photoshop.
    No knock on Photoshop, btw – it’s one of the few apps which I never quit, and has been with me – like few other apps – for my entire career.

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