capsule review

Quick image viewing

Back in 2003, I covered Pixture Studio’s QuickImageCM, a contextual menu plugin for the Finder that lets you quickly and easily view photos and images—for example, when you’ve got a bunch of mystery images on your Desktop, or when you’ve just downloaded a bunch of photos from your digital camera. QuickImageCM was, and remains, quite popular with readers. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet been updated to work on Intel Macs, so upgrading to a new Mac has meant leaving QuickImageCM behind.

Luckily, there’s another option—one that’s missing a few features found in QuickImageCM but that adds a few of its own. AstroK Software’s ImageViewerCMPlugIn 2.3.2 (   ; $10) works similarly to QuickImageCM: In the Finder, you simply right-click (control-click if you’ve got a single-button mouse) on any image file. In the resulting contextual menu, choose View Pictures.

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ImageViewerCMPlugIn’s full-screen image viewer takes over your screen, displaying images at near-full-screen size. However, unlike QuickImageCM, which displays only the image(s) on which you clicked, ImageViewerCMPlugIn lists, on the left, every image in that folder, as well as images in subfolders. (How far down in enclosed folders it digs depends on your setting in the preferences; unfortunately, the display doesn’t indicate the subfolders in which images reside.) By clicking on any image in that list, the image is displayed in the main viewing area. (You can also resize the image list to turn it into a full-screen “contact sheet.”) ImageViewerCMPlugIn supports a wide variety of image formats, including BMP, EPS, GIF, JPEG, Illustrator, PDF, Photoshop, PNG, RAW, and TIFF.

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Although I found this “show every image instead of just the one I selected” behavior odd at first, I eventually came to like it—the particular image on which you click is always displayed immediately, and if you want to view all the images in a folder, you don’t have to bother selecting them all. And here’s the best part: If you want to view only some images in a folder—for example, if you’ve got 50 photos and want to view only 10—you can select just those photos and ImageViewerCMPlugIn will limit its display to them. Similarly, if you select a folder of images, only the contents of that folder are displayed. It’s actually quite clever how the developer has implemented this feature.

(ImageViewerCMPlugIn actually launches a separate application, ImageViewerApp, to do its viewing. This application is placed in your Applications folder during installation, and you can launch it separately, and even place it in the Dock if you want to drag image files onto it for viewing.)

While viewing images, a floating, customizable toolbar provides options for navigating through images, zooming in and out, rotating, and opening images in a separate image-editing application (for example, Graphic Converter, iPhoto, or Photoshop). A slideshow button “plays” your images, displaying each for the time interval you choose in the utility’s preferences. You also get controls for viewing Finder info and EXIF information about each image, and for deleting images while viewing them.

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ImageViewerCMPlugIn also includes a useful feature for sorting your photos, similar to the one provided by PhotoReviewer. Via ImageViewerCMPlugIn’s preferences dialog, you can configure up to nine destination folders for your photos, and then assign each a number from 1 to 9. While viewing an image, pressing the desired number will assign it to the corresponding folder (pressing the number again, or pressing 0, will reset that assignment). When you exit ImageViewerCMPlugIn’s viewer, all the images you’ve assigned to different folders will automatically be moved (or copied, depending on the setting) to the appropriate folder(s). This is a great way to quickly sort images from a digital camera into “keep” and “delete” folders.

Most of ImageViewerCMPlugIn’s features can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts, as well; the Help file provides a useful key for these commands. And when you install ImageViewerCMPlugIn, you also get a useful Automator action that lets you access the utility’s image-viewing features from within an Automator workflow.

ImageViewerCMPlugIn doesn’t have the editing features of QuickImageCM—which lets you crop, scale, convert, and even apply filters to images—but it’s a better viewer and sorter. And it works on Intel Macs. If you liked QuickImageCM, or even the Finder’s built-in Slideshow feature, give ImageViewerCMPlugIn a try.

ImageViewerCMPlugIn requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and is a Universal binary.

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