I for one doubt we'll ever see Elements or full PS using CoreImage, and it's strictly hypothetical at this point. Yes, *if* Elements had CoreImage *and* used the effects non-destructively *with* their layering tools, then it *might* be a better value at $85 than iMaginator at $50. I say "might" because when I think about it, Elements' current strengths over iMaginator are 1. layering, albeit crippled compared to PS but more sophisticated than iM, and 2. their proprietary effects and filters, which I think from Adobe's perspective are mature enough to make rolling CoreImage into the app more trouble than it's worth. I mean, you buy real-time effects and the possibility of non-destrctive editing but how do you make that work with your current destructive file format and your current non-real-time effects? I just think it complicates Adobe's offering more than it helps. Think about it -- I just used the Catmull-Rom splines (curves) to adjust the color, then applied the CoreImage color adjustment effect. I save the file, and the curves aren't undoable but the color adjustments are. Will I have to choose between the CoreImage perspective correction tool and the Adobe one? Will Adobe drop some of their stuff and include only some of the CoreImage effects? Will they rewrite or create their own CoreImage tools and abandon what they've worked for a couple of decades refining and optimizing?
There is a holy grail out there taking the best ideas from Photoshop, Painter, Fireworks, TIFFany and so forth, but who will it come from? With any luck, it will be the free LiveQuartz app, but frankly I think that's tilting at windmills.
This discussion is making an assumption that iMaginator is trying to fill a certain role it was not intended to fill. iMaginator is part of the Stone Works suite, and is meant to be far *less* complex than even Elements, and not meant to be nearly as encompassing as that.
Now, the layering and the ability to have effects apply only to certain layers in LiveQuartz sounds like a *distinct* advantage for it to me. Some of the other listed advantages are probably more arguable, such as why AppleScript can be dismissed but having a layer transparency slider is more valuable. (There's an iMaginator effect for this, following a consistent approach. However, we could have one effect with a single, simple transparency slider instead of the current multi-slider setup per color. The "make transparent" effect that is from Apple isn't too useful IMO.) And this is from a guy who uses Photoshop's layer transparency sliders all the time. Does Livequartz have masking? iMaginator can do this, but it is a more time consuming task than Photoshop. (Of course, PS is 10x the price, but if LiveQaurtz has this, is's a bigger advantage than even the layering.
Value is more subjective and I don't think it's fair to say that any of these apps should be better for everyone. The upfront costs alone don't tell the story, as others have been arguing whether one app is more efficient than another, plus you have upgrades and support to argue about.
Finally, I have to say that the line about us being defensive tweaked my nose a bit. I think I've gone out of my way to be fair and open-minded. If I seem to be a bit suspect of LiveQuartz, others seem to be suspect of iMaginator equally. It just leads us down a path where we get into camps and fire rimshots from across the lines, and it's worthless keeping up any pretense of discussion in that atmosphere.
PS: Icons aren't meaningless, they just play a small supporting role in the UI. Try deciphering AutoCAD's gazillion icons, or find an X11 app that slaps generic icons into its UI. Discover that "cut" and "paste" in Windows Explorer is different than the cut and paste behavior in Word which is different than the cut and paste tools in Outlook, but the icons and nomenclature look the same. You'll discover that what we Macs users take for granted has a lot of impact on the software's worth and ease of learning. Still I haven't seen anything against LiveQuartz or Elements in that respect versus iMaginator.
Listen, Joel, I don't have any hidden agenda, I just wanted some feedback.
If you look at the responses to my original post - they ALL show an attititude of "gee, our software is the best, blows everything else away". I mean, this daddydooda guy is already trying to suggest that I'm a Dilbert character, because I'm opinionated and have some knowledge of this topic (but I'll put his statements in context: he's not able to find the Elements Tryout on the Adobe site, and his online graphics work made me laugh pretty darned hard. A graphics pro indeed.... LOL!) .
Also, in your comments about icons, you make a "we Mac users" statement. Let me let you in on something: at the risk of sounding like a Dilbert character, I've been a Mac user since the very beginning. In fact, since _before_ the beginning, as I cut my teeth on an Apple II back in the 70's. Type my name into a search engine, and you'll understand something about my interest in the topic of computer graphics and the Mac. When I suggest that we'll see Core Image support in Adobe products in the future, it's not just an empty guess - I earn a living knowing where the market is moving. It'll have it. The challenge of integrating Core Image with what Photoshop is doing now is just short of trivial. Once it's added, any reason for Imaginator beyond being a module in the Stone suite is simply gone. Poof.
And as far Elements - it has a LOT more than Imaginator, including REAL painting and retouching tools, USEFUL color correction tools, a highly level of integration with digital cameras (including RAW image support), image management tools, and truly useful output options. For $25 more than Imaginator, it's a no brainer.
You mention doing color correction in Imaginator. Without a Curves control a la Photoshop, or an Info palette (onscreen color densitometer), it's really impossible to do professional color correction work (read any part of Dan Margulis' "Professional Photoshop" book,. and you'll understand what I mean). Throw in Adjustment Layers, and anything else is a joke.
Masking is something that is done in Photoshop in the pro world, and using anything else - Imaginator, LiveQuartz, or even Elements - is silly. Case closed. ANYONE who earns a living doing pro imaging work has Photoshop. When a product name becomes a verb, it's game over. Photoshop support? There are over 500 books on the program, endless online user forums, so getting an answer to a Photoshop question is pretty easy.
I put my original message here in order to get some background on Imaginator. My original mission accomplished, there's no more reason to post here. Take care, y'all.