Gems in brief: For creative types

As I mentioned last week, some of my Mac Gems columns over the next month will provide short reviews of several products rather than a single, longer review. Some of these products will be simple items that may not warrant a full-length review, some will be niche products, and some will just be things that have been waiting patiently for coverage for too long. All are Gems.

Today’s theme is creative tools—products that help the creative types out there do cool things with photos and drawings.

ImageWell 2.0.223 (   ; free). If you spend a lot of time preparing photos for the Web, ImageWell can streamline the process. You drag an image into the “well,” use ImageWell’s numerous editing features (crop; shape; rotate; resize;, watermark; add borders, drop shadows, labels, and text—all the basics most people will need), and then click Send—ImageWell automatically creates the new image, in the format you specify, and uploads it to your iDisk or FTP or WebDAV server. ImageWell even tells you how long it will take a modem user to download the image—so you can adjust the size, if necessary—and copies the URL of the new image to the Clipboard after uploading. ImageWell won’t replace Photoshop, or even Graphic Converter, for more demanding image editing, but it’s a great tool for the sort of casual editing and uploading that’s far more common.

ImageWell screenshot

Intaglio 2.3.1 (   ; $89). If you’ve been looking for a Mac OS X replacement for ClarisDraw, SuperPaint, or MacDraw—and don’t want to spend the big bucks for Adobe Illustrator—you’ll love Intaglio. While not as feature-rich as the “big boys,” Intaglio is surprisingly powerful, with all the drawing and graphics tools many people are likely to need. It also takes advantage of a number of OS X features via a Spotlight importer, Automator actions, and support for AppleScript, Apple Type Services, and Quartz graphics tools. The ability to convert PDF, QuickDraw, and ClarisDraw files, and to import from and export to Pages and Keynote, is also sure to please. At $89, Intaglio isn’t as cheap as some Gems, but compared to Illustrator, it’s a bargain.

Intaglio screenshot

Painter’s Picker 2.0.5 (   ; $16). Mac OS X’s built-in Colors chooser is quite good, but Painter’s Picker provides more advanced color-picking functionality that will be welcome by those in the creative fields. You get more advanced controls for choosing brightness, saturation, and hue angles; the ability to quickly find complementary or analogous colors; RGB, CMYK, and Web-safe spaces; and much, much, more. And the best part about Painter’s Picker is that as a plug-in that adds an additional panel to the Colors palette, it’s available systemwide.

Painter’s Picker screenshot

Stay tuned for more Gems In Brief over the next few weeks!

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