Fall 2007 we started with the development of an entire graphics suite called 36-image converter 5 or “Hummingbird”. The suite consisted out of 36-image converter 5.0, 36-image explorer 1.0, 36-imageVault and a primitive 36CONVERT which also allowed grayscale filtering. The suite was never finished due to some events at the beginning of 2008, with 4 applications in test build. Not all the development was in vain, many of the 36IC5 functions have been directly implemented into 36IC4.4 “Ninja” eg. drawing, erasing, selections and some filters. 36-ImageVault is now PII-encrypted images and LockPhix. And 36-image explorer is just an inch from being released for fun as a semi-functional developer’s preview.
Everyone was waiting for a version 5 but instead you got version 4.3 in Spring 2008 to fix critical errors and version 4.4 in Summer. But 36-image converter has to get a version 5 sooner or later, so it’s inevitable. But our demands have changed, 36IC5 will not be an image suite. We want to develop in the direction of a graphics editor which can handle huge images, has a great interface and has the potential to overpower photoshop. As you can see we won’t be able to achieve this using the current 36-image converter engine. We tried to implement the use of surfaces in 36IC4.6 but it failed because the code was too complex and simple tasks like resizing or rotating failed. So 36-image converter 5 “Hummingbird” will be completely based on 36-image express.
36-image express still is too buggy and the subwindows are too static, but when it is out of Beta it will be the base we are going to use to create “Hummingbird”. We will then port all features of the 36IC4 object based engine to the new surface based engine to allow faster operations and bigger image sizes.
36IC5 has to allow the use of layers which do not get rasterized immediately, has to support a project filetype, plugins, interactive tutorials, all current v4.6+ functions and has to have a new image processing unit which can handle filters, because the current internal filters system is too slow. We will probably also drop the DashBoard for something far bigger.
When we will start development is still unknown since we have to get a stable and more flexible 36-image express first and of course we have planned some more magnificent 36-image converter 4 releases, but the dream of providing something better than photoshop for free is finally coming into sight.