Photoline 18 is out!

Version 18 of Photoline is out now! This time 15(!) new beta versions were made available to registered users (including myself) and tested through their core. This update focuses on workflow improvements accross the board, as well as adding interoperability with other editors.

One of the old-age criticisms made against Photoline (the limited configurability of the user interface) is now, for the most part, history.

Photoline already supports a full 8/16/32 bit per channel workflow, allows the user to set any layer to any image mode in the same document (each layer can be set to RGB, CMYK, Lab, Grey or Monochrome), and delivers a mostly non-destructive workflow with full adjustment layers and layer effects, as well as virtualized/cloned layers. A layer supports any number of layer masks and layer mask groups. Layer masks behave like any other layer, and also support adjustment layers and layer effects.

An impressive list of new features:

  • the user interface’s look has been updated. All panels are dockable and can be moved around individually
  • the interface can changed to a dark theme (colour of the interface is controlled with a slider)
  • non-destructive distort tool
  • straighten tool
  • the brush settings have been expanded to include dynamic settings like random position, colour, brush angle, and so on.
  • a new more flexible hue editor
  • boolean operations for vector objects
  • external editors and plugins can be invoked. For example, send a layer or the complete file you are working on to (let’s say) Krita, make changes, and send it back to Photoline
  • multiple windows per document, and each window can display a different page you are working on. Incredibly handy when working with cloned/virtualized layers/groups of layers! Place all your source images on one page, and use clones on the other pages.
  • guides and grids can now be dynamically activated while holding down the <alt> key. The exact behaviour is configurable
  • WebP import and export. The web export also supports this new web format
  • pdf import and export was updated
  • metadata now uses the xmp standard. auto-completion of meta data in the information dialog
  • vector layers and gradients now work in full 32 bit per colour
  • adjustment layer mask softening setting
  • move and zoom with the hand tool can affect multiple windows now. Handy when you are working on a mask in one window, while checking the result in the other (windows)
  • display layer masks in one window while showing the result in another window.
  • virtual copies/clones of a layer or group of layers now update in realtime when the original is adjusted.
  • virtual layers can be used to create mirror painting setups with any number of axes
  • mask layers are now displayed in the channel pane

Other smaller workflow enhancers:

  • pages can now be named
  • curve editor usability enhancements: holding down the <shift> key limits movement in vertical axis only. Esc cancels.
  • cloud filter now supports gradients and 48bit (16bit per channel)
  • document list can be converted to a tab-like configuration
  • content lying outside the work area can be hidden now
  • panel layouts can be reset back to their original state
  • the ruler origin can now be adjusted
  • create your custom tool bars.
  • automatically saving a pld file alongside a format like jpg. When you open the jpg the pld file with full editability
    is opened instead allowing you to work on the original layers.
  • MacOs Retina screens: zoom works on physical pixels
  • colour adjustments affect layer effects now
  • colour temperature range increased from 2000 to 20000
  • extended colour selection: values can now hold <0% and >100%
  • brush cursor adjusts dynamically while painting/drawing. Very handy when working with a wacom tablet and pressure
  • documents that are activated now check if they were changed externally and, if so, Photoline will ask you whether you
    want to update to the most current version or not.
  • single-click now sets the colour in the colour selection dialogs.
  • TIFF with psd support. Read: photoshop tiff compatible
  • tools like the finger painting now work with full 96bit internally (32bit per channel)
  • vector editing improvements
  • SVG import has once again been improved

And many, many bugs were corrected, as well as many other small improvements.

Available NOW for Mac and Windows, and runs in Wine for Linux. The installation file for Windows is 21mb(!) ;-p.
A fully functional thirty days trial version is also available for download.

There is no subscription option :slight_smile: Once purchased it is yours to keep and use.

I know for one thing that I will eventually need to replace my old copy of Paint Shop Pro 7 with a modern program as I don’t know if it will even run if I go to Windows 8 and beyond, and this looks to be the most promising candidate by far that isn’t super expensive like Photoshop or developed without listening to the users like the GIMP.

I can say for sure now that this has more promise for what I need than the other app. I considered in the past, which is project Howler from the Dogwaffle guy (no offense to him, but his development is kind-of all over the place with the new 3D rendering and such which gives an impression of an unfocused goal on what the app. should become).

This looks almost too good to be true considering the price, but then again you have something like Blender for free so it is possible. :slight_smile:

I think good software does not have to be expensive. On OS X I use Pixelmator instead of Photoshop and for 90% it does the job well. CMYK is also not what I need right now.

GIMP is free but I am not sure if it is as feature rich as for example Photoline. The software for the price tag looks pretty promising.

Dont forget that there are not many FOSS apps that are as well developed and rich as Blender.

Inkscape is a pretty good app but the interface and approach is I think what drives many Adobe like designers crazy.

I remember back in the days there were so many photo editors today Adobe is more or less the heavy monster that rules them all.

I really hope at one point users have more selection again.

Photoline’s functionality is on par with Photoshop except for the “extended” parts (3d and video), which are missing. 3d in Photoshop is pretty horrible, though, in my opinion, so I either use 3dCoat or Blender for this. Some things have slightly less finesse compared to Photoshop, while other areas improve on, or are plain better, than Photoshop. It runs circles around Photoshop’s layer system, for example.

For serious image editing Lab support is (almost) essential, which Pixelmator lacks, unfortunately.

Photoline’s ability to control image mode and size PER layer is quite unique: you can freely combine cmyk, lab, rgb, greyscale and monochrome layers in the same layer stack. Add in the virtual layers (clones that update when the original layer or group of layers is edited) and multiple pages support - well, there is just not any other layer based image editor that can keep up with that (this includes Photoshop).

@Ace Dragon: I also tried DogWaffle before I found out about Photoline, and I agree with the fragmented approach. The user interface is very, very inflexible, and the lack of 16/32bit support per colour channel did not convince me. Some very interesting experimental filters are on offer, though. Photoline still runs on Windows 2000, btw :wink:

Btw, the new app link in Photoline now allows for external applications like Krita and Gimp to act like plugins to Photoline. Very handy indeed.

Pixelmator is pretty sweet but as you mentioned lacks some quite serious tools and tool depth sometimes…

Thats kinda sad because I feel the application could be really stunning.

Pixelmator is sweet indeed.
After trying photoline, after reading the tutorial reference, I can say just this. A wonderful, powerful application. An excellent UI. A great alternative to adobe Pshop
BTW, a little out of topic, sorry.

Yes, I read about a number of people holding off on the Adobe CC subscription because of Adobe’s hacked servers. What worries me even more is the fact that Adobe did not notice the break-in before someone else noticed Adobe’s source code was made available on an external hacker’s server.

I’ve also read a couple of accounts of users saying their credit card was abused on the SAME day the Adobe servers were hacked. So anyone believing Adobe that “probably” no credit card info was cracked: think again.

Another reason not to use Adobe’s software. I switched a year ago to Photoline: never been happier. No more DRM crap, simple installation, and I can take it with me on a usb stick.

Aside from Photoline I now use Manga Studio for drawing (better than Photoshop), and 3dCoat for 3d painting (again, WAY better than Photoshop). It’s a real shame Adobe decided to fragment Photoshop’s development that much with video and 3d fluff - they should have improved the core workflow first. Photoline’s basic layer workflow is just better.

I agree - I feel the developers behind Pixelmator decided to go with a simple, straight-forward image editor for the masses, rather than a more complicated and deep one for more professional use. Most Photoshop users only use a tenth or less of its features anyway.

Their strategy has worked really well for them so far.

I thought I ask here…:slight_smile:
How do you move a contents of a selection in Photoline?

This is one of the subtle workflow differences compared to Photoshop: in Photoline a selection “sticks” to a layer when you try to move it with the move tool. Either copy or cut the selection first, then and paste to create a new layer, and move the contents.

…and 3dCoat for 3d painting (again, WAY better than Photoshop)

By all means!

Can we paint (clone brush) on hdr/32bit images in photoline?

Yes, of course. Why wouldn’t we be able to do that? Fingerpaint also works in 32bit. As a matter of fact, remember brushes in Deluxe Paint on the Amiga? You can define a coloured 32bit brush and paint with that in 8/16/32bit if you like. (Photoline saves coloured brushes as an external pld native file, and in theory you could be painting with entire files as a brush. They can also be ‘animated’ while drawing.

Another unique tool is the filter brush which allows you to paint with several filter effects like Gaussian Blur, Unsharp Mask, Sponge, Minimum, Maximum, etc. Also very handy.

And Photoline will read Photoshop brush libraries as well.

But for a couple of functions all tools and filters work in HDR/32bit per channel mode. Whether the result will be HDR, though - well, that depends.

Hey Herbert, I’m interested in buying a CMYK-capable image editor, but I wonder if Photoline supports Pantone colors.
Also, on there’s a guy (Volstag) who thrashed Photoline in his review. That made me a bit wary of even downloading a trial and taking the time to test PL. Are Volstag’s points valid or not?


try out Photoshop and realize how much is not well made there. For example PL can apply effects directly as layer effects without the use of this complicated smart object creation in Photoshop.

If raw is such a big deal why not use a real application for that like Lightroom or Aperture.

Photoline does support Pantone colours, but because the license is quite expensive for developers, you will have to install the colour libraries yourself. Same holds true for Scribus, for example. As a matter of fact, here are instructions how to legally obtain the Pantone colour libraries:
Just drop those into Photoline, and they will load up.

As for the negative Volstag review: he seems to have a personal grudge against the developers that colours his view of Photoline somewhat. One negative personal opinion (I hesitate to call this a “review”) set against many more very positive reviews and opinions should not deter you from downloading the trial and play around a bit.

Since Volstag wrote his opinion, a lot of new features and workflow improvements were introduced. The GUI is as flexible as Photohop now.

His comment about how Photoline is “Gimp but with CMYK” is just incorrect - it does so much more. It has full Lab support, and the basic layer workflow is an improvement over Photoshop.

The vector tools are actually quite good (in my opinion), and the latest versions have much improved in this area with proper snapping, Boolean operations and other refinements. The vector objects remain editable with parameters after you have created them. Pop them into a virtual layer, and they can be transformed non-destructively as well, while the basic underlying parameters remain active. Gradients are live and can be changed at will. SVG import and export is great generally. The vector tools are good enough for me to create game graphics in them for the latest game I worked on - although I had Illustrator on my system I preferred to work on them in Photoline.

I have had no issues with raw/hdr import, and compared both Photoshop CS6 and Photoline’s results. No real differences, but the workflow is quite different. In the newest versions of Photoline the raw import generates a “super adjustment layer” that contains all the adjustment layers and can be accessed through one consolidated pane. I found this very useful.

One caveat is a missing lens correction/vignetting feature for photographers. I solved this with PTlens, which is a one-time inexpensive investment that arguably yields even better results than Photoshop.

It is true a couple of the filters seem to work different internally than in Photoshop, and some of the results can look harsher. My main issue is with the Color Balance filter in Photoline: it just works very different compared to Photoshop.
I feel the Photoshop devs adjusted their code to sort-of smear the colour balance effect across the entire colour range, even though only mid-tones were selected.

Otherwise things feel and look more or less the same as Photoshop. For example, Photoline does read the basic adjustment layers in a photoshop psd and converts those automatically to identical looking Photoline versions (colour balance is the primary one with issues in this regard).

My experience with the devs is completely opposite to Volstag’s experience, though. So far ALL the bugs I reported have been squashed, and at least 12 suggestions I made were implemented. This includes multiple layered EXR import/export, middle mouse button pan, multiple document views with an option to view a different page in each view (great for texture painting), and so on. They can be direct in their communication (which might have ticked off Volstag), but they are never unfair. I’ve never had any developer implement suggested features so quickly. Some of the features I suggested were implemented within two weeks time.
And honestly, have you tried Adobe support lately? At least with Photoline you talk directly to the developers, instead of a support center in India.

So, I would download the latest version, and make up your own mind. Like Cekuhnen says: every software has its positives and negatives.

Thank you both for answering, I’ll definitely give it a spin then. :slight_smile:

Bogdan, no problem here. Keep also in mind what PL only costs and what you get for that. The interface can be made look nice. A design friend from Germany just called me today to actually tell me about PL and how he is evaluating it to switch from Adobe to here.

I think each software has ups and downs and Adobe is by far not the best anymore - they are the standard thats true but that does not mean they really improve well.

I would say give the trial a test and see for yourself.