Apparently, being opinionated is something which continues to make my life dynamic and sometimes difficult.
When I first visited this forum, and read some of the messages, it seemed that this was a fairly insular group, given that the overall tone was very positive about anything and everything that Andrew does, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with that (you're all here and participating because you like the products, that's fine). With one exception: as a reviewer, it's my job to figure out what's good AND bad about a product. This is my reputation as a reviewer, and it's gotten me in trouble at times over the years, in that most companies absolutely hate to read anything negative about their products. If you don't believe me, take a look at my review of the iBoom hardware for the iPod in the July issue of MacAddict (it's online at the MacAddict site). To say that this freaked out the manufacturer would be an understatement. It's easy to find out what's good about a product - the developer will always tell you that right up front. Trying to find out what's not so hot about a product, that's the real work. It takes effort, time spent with the product, a critical eye and some degree of objectivity.
My original post asked about some comparisons between LiveQuartz and Imaginator, and the responses were are HIGHLY critical of LiveQuartz (which I don't think is any great software achievement, BTW, but is IS free) and totally supportive of Imaginator. Daddydoodaa was fairly critical of my original post, and at the end of his lengthy response, suggested I buy Imaginator.
Now, I have to say, I'm not shocked that the responses were so totally positive, as Andrew is clearly someone who fosters strong loyalty in his users. I admire this, truly, it's something difficult for a small developer to accomplish.
That said, I responded by questioning some of the responses to that original post. And I did something I knew would make me less than popular, by suggesting that if Elements had Core Image support, that Imaginator might be a less attractive choice. That did not go over well with with you guys. I mean, go back and look at some of the responses - daddydoodaa suggested the "American way", "Why buy one when you can have two for twice the price", and then admitted that he'd never even seen Elements. Again, Andrew's customers were backing him up and essentially dismissing any critical comments about Imaginator, and once I qualified my statements (somewhat strongly, I admit), Daddydoodaa proceeded to suggest that I'm a Dilbert cartoon character (and Ron, if you are still into trying Elements, go to the Adobe downloads page and look for the "tryout" version).
The most constructive responses were from Russ Conte, who also admitted to not being a graphics pro. Coulda fooled me, his comments were good and right to the point. Joel had some good comments, too, even though I continue to disagree with his statement that he doubts we'll ever see Core Image support in an Adobe product. All in all, the responses seemed to question my _own_ questioning of the issues I feel are less than compelling about Imaginator.
Value is indeed a subjective call, and unlike most reviewers, I always come from the point of, "should I spend my hard-earned money on this product"?, something a lot of reviewers simply discount, because they never have to pay for software. I KNOW that Imaginator is inexpensive, but $49 is still money. It's a year long subscription to the New Yorker, or better yet, Bizarre magazine, so it's not nothing.
Anyone who has listened to my segments on the Mac/Tech Night Owl already knows that my a large part of my trip is about being strongly opinionated, which I attribute to being a native New Yorker, and having worked at this stuff longer than I care to remember. I noticed how happy the folks on this forum were that Imaginator was getting rave reviews, but I for one have issues with those same positive reviews. The MacNN review was almost perfect, and as much as you might like Imaginator, it's pretty far from being perfect.
And then I hit upon the issue of a lack of transparency control for an image layer. Again, Mr. Conte went above and beyond by producing a movie of his technique of using Create to accomplish this simple task. I admit, I was a bit snide in my response, but to be honest, it did indeed make me smile that he used a product that cost 3X Imaginator to do the most basic thing one could do in an imaging program, to control opacity of an individual layer. At this point, I was persona non-grata here, which again, doesn't surprise me. It's like going to church and questioning the nature of God - not a way to win friends in that context.
Not to change the subject, but it seems that political correctness (if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all) is a scourge on the software editorial world. Publications are afraid to criticize products and alienate advertisers. Magazines would rather not review something that is bad, they simply ignore it. Reviewers, who are underpaid and overworked, take a quick glance at a reviewers guide and rehash it for the review (I know this because I've written some of those reviewers guides, and always marvel that reviewers even touch upon the features in the _order_ in which they've been placed in those guides). I have always tried to give coverage to smaller, independent developers, as I feel they are more likely to innovate than the big boys, but that doesn't mean I'll cut them major slack. If their product is less than stellar, I'll say so. I don't hold back, and I haven't held back on this forum, either. I'm not very good at censoring myself. And for those of you who might think that my Elements comments suggest that I'm a friend of Adobe's you might want to look at the last page of the chapter on Calculations in my "Photoshop Channel Chops" book. Adobe is STILL pissed at me about that last paragraph.
I spent some real time working with Imaginator by the time it was all said and done, and while it's a nice attempt to give users access to Core Image routines, I personally feel that it's lacking a lot of things that would make it viable for meaningful production work. That's my opinion, your own mileage may vary. Of all the people in the world, I'm not surprised that this loyal group is less than thrilled by my opinions. There's nothing I can do about that, except to offer a sincere apology that I've offended you. It was not my intent. I was truly trying to educate myself about Imaginator.
And you want to know the saddest part of this? No one even commented on Artmatic. Wow.
Last edited by dbiedny on Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:57 am, edited 2 times in total.