36-image converter 4.7 “Tiger Chameleon” will be the 36-image converter version with the highest amount of improvements and new features to the previous one. This means that it beats v4.4 “Ninja” in increased functionality.
36-image converter 4.4 “Ninja” release 1, released last year only had 74 improvements and the coming 36-image converter 4.7 “Tiger Chameleon” release 1 will have over 107 new features if we stick to all our plans. Of course for most users, the change will not be this dramatic since most improvements happen far away from the main 36-image converter executable in the image processing unit, where in “Ninja” the entire main executable was rebuild. So this gives a bit of a wrong view to this comparison. So you have to decide yourself which update is the most valuable one.
You could already see an overview of all new coming features in one of the previous posts, but now we have also added usability improving features like keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures. Mouse gestures is something which has never been done before in an image editing application.
Let’s give you another overview of all 108 coming improvements :
-Improved performance : By removing old parts of the engine, we increased performance and reduced memory load. (2 improvements)
–New conversion engine (Core Image Processing Unit v0.3.1) : This improvement speeds up conversions, makes all existing write support more reliable, adds write support for TIF, TIFF, TGA, Portable bitmaps (normal, raw and ascii), RLE, 256-colors and 16-bits bitmaps, ICB and read support for jpeg2000 and 33 raw image filetypes of 300 digital camera’s. It also provides more stable PII encryption/decryption and improves the speed of all existing and coming filters tremendously. (61 improvements)
–New selection and layer features : The amount of possibilities added to the selection menu will dramatically increase. You will be able to cut out or copy a selection and save it to a file or create a layer with it and apply filters or transformations upon it. You will also be more free in the transformation of your selection, you will be able to contract or expand selections to all directions and set the size or location for the selected area. There will also be minor tweaks to the selection controls and an update of the current object insertion (layer) function. (15 improvements)
–New filters : With 36-image converter 4.7 come a whole bunch of new faster filters : Monochrome, Equalize, Red, Blue and Green. You will also be able to encrypt and decrypt images with a password using a filter. (7 improvements)
–New improved settings panel, Extension Manager and DashBoard : All extra tools will be renewed and improved, they will get improved interfaces, the DashBoard and its channels will be adapted, the Extension Manager will enable you to choose an icon for 36IC files and the Settings Panel will be adapted to conform to the new functions. (5 improvements)
–Batch and Context menu conversion : 36IC 4.7 is the first version of 36-image converter to support Batch and Context menu conversion. You will be able to directly use the CIPU to convert an amount of filetypes to all filetypes supported by 36IC. This will happen in batch and with technology taken from Blastgen to enable thousands of files to be converted, resized or renamed in a matter of seconds. (6 improvements)
-Usability improvements : In 36-image converter 4.7, image editing never was easier. You will be able to use keyboard shortcuts and adjustable mouse gestures for a whole lot of standard operations. Also the new Mirage theme will also be applied to the selection and color squares to improve visibility. When you open a submenu for the first time, an animated tutorial will pop up to get people used to 36IC in no time. (4 improvements)
–The usual bunch of tweaks and fixes : As a surplus to all new functions and improved features some things were tweaked and fixed as well. 36IC 4.7 has new icons, a new splash screen, a new help file and finally fixes the resize inaccuracy bug. There have also been minor tweaks to the interface to the quality of the interface. (8 improvements)
As you can see, 36-image converter 4.7 will have a whole bunch of new features, how many will survive it to the finish is something we will see in August.
36-image converter 4.7 “Tiger Chameleon” will support 35 raw input filetypes of over 337 digital camera’s thanks to the great work of Michael Coffin, DCRAW.
for 435Kb of extra load you will be able to batch resize and convert an amount of RAW camera pictures directly to all output formats supported by 36IC 4.7, PNG, JNG, JPEG, BMP, RLE, DIB, TIF, TIFF, ICO, CUR, JP2, PCX, TGA, PBM, PPM, PGM, WMF, EMF, GIF, ICB, RAWPII, RAW portable bitmap, and of course you will also be able to directly encrypt any RAW files with PII and your 36IC password.
As you can see, 36IC 4.7 will be an enormous improvement and with the extra +-35 filetypes of DCRAW, it will be able to support more than 70 input filetypes and about 25 output filetypes.
For a while you have been noticing that we use the term CIPU a lot in our twitter posts concerning the development of 36-image converter v4.7 “Tiger Chameleon”. CIPU is the new conversion engine of 36-image converter and stands for Core Image Processing Unit, it is in fact comparable to Core Image in Mac OSX but of course not as advanced. We will disclose more about CIPU in a later post. This post concerns our proceedings in the development of the newest 36-image converter, “Tiger Chameleon”.
We have ported the Internal Batcher supporting TIF, TIFF, TGA, PBM, PGM, PPM and RAW to CIPU which takes the weight of the front end. This improves the performance a whole lot and lightens 36-image converter’s executable from 4.5Mb to 3.3Mb, also lowering memory usage.
This change also optimizes support for the concerning filetypes, Portable Bitmaps for example are now converted correctly, PBM is monochrome, PGM is greyscale and PPM is full color. Also error messages and bugs during the conversion of the above filetypes are hereby history.
We have also added support (at request) for 256-color (8-bits) BMP, 16-bits BMP, ICB, RLE, RAW and ASCII Portable Bitmaps and removed malfunctioning support for basic RAW.
Other not filetypes related changes are :
-Tweaks to the UI of the Convert-menu
-A new splash screen
-A new Icon
But this isn’t all, 36IC 4.7 is far from being released and we still have to add a lot of functionality. In total there will be more than 100 updates and bug fixes, these are a few of them that are still in progress :
New Features :
-Tool to directly communicate with CIPU to allow batch and context menu conversion/resizing
-Read Support for Jpeg2000 and loads of other filetypes
-Active Tutorial when you first open every submenu
-“Duplicate as object”-function
-“Move Selected area”-function
-“Apply Filter to Selection”-function
-“Expand to Left”-function
-“Expand to Right”-function
-“Expand to Up”-function
-“Expand to Down”-function
-“Set Selection Size”-function
-Updated color of selection and color squares to new Mirage Gradient for visibility
-Updated Extension Manager with ability to select an icon for 36IC associated files
-Updated DashBoard Channels
-Updated Settings Panel
-Updated and more reliable PII encryption
-Faster filters handled by CIPU
-Tweak Object insert tool
-Fix rotation by checking pixels
Minor Updates :
-Updated Help File
-Move Color Mozaic to Filters menu
-Make Add Object button
-Add optional v4.4/5 “Twilight”-Theme
As you can see we are working hard to deliver a 36-image converter 4.7 that is an improvement to v4.6. The same stable 36-image converter which is even lighter and with dramatically improved functionality, we are even aiming to make 36IC 4.7 the second biggest release to v4.4 “Ninja”.
36-image converter 4.7 will be released in August 2009, about a year after v4.4 was released, but in the meanwhile you can enjoy 36-image converter 4.6.
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.
When using 36IC 4.6 you get the idea that not everything is going fluently, for example to select or copy a part of the object and rotate or mirror it, you have to select the part, crop, save, undo the crop, insert the cropped piece as an object and set the angle to eg. 180. This is something easy made difficult, why would thousands of people have to go through these steps if we can do it automatically. So from now one, selecting and pressing “Duplicate as object” will be sufficient.
Together with this function, you will also be able to save and move selected parts of the image and maybe apply filters to a selected part, but then we will have to make the selection available to other menu’s which is actually quite unsafe and unstable. Another option is of course, making the filters available to the selection menu. As a surplus we will also add functions which give you more control over the selection itself and which complement “Expand” and “Contract” in the form of “Move Selection”, “Expand Side” and “Set Selection Size”. Also the selection will get the same colorsceme as the edgemarker.
Other possible features could be, a blur tool, save for web and a distort tool.
We will research all of them carefully and when the time comes you can expect a next version of 36-image converter with a whole lot of extra functionality.
When we released 36-image converter 4.6 last month we fixed a lot of issues and it seems like quite a few people are still holding on to older versions of 36-image converter. Here are some statistics for version 4 (starting from v4.3) which we collected counting the amount of times the most visited Dashboard channel was loaded today, so this is in favor of newer versions, since these open the tutorialchannel by default.
So at least 13% of all users is still using an older version of 36-image converter 4, these are decent results but still disturbing, this means 6,53% of all registered users is using a bloated version with critical flaws in the conversion engine, 4,35% is using a version that is very limited in filesize and 2,18% of all users is even using a 1,5 year old version in which the potentially harmful extension association bug wasn’t solved yet and which had very limited conversion functions and an instable transformations system.
So 13% means that at least 1 person out of ten is using a corrupted, inefficient or older version, while 36-image converter 4.6 is state of the art, extremely light, has a more appealing interface and much more functionality. This isn’t beneficial to all those users and also not to us, since we have to handle all complaints about those older versions. Therefore we are taking the effort we put in trying to make people use the most recent version one step higher by pushing v4.6 to all users of version 4.4 and lower. We will do that by removing the active parts of most Dashboard Channels and replace them with the message “This version of 36-image converter is extremely outdated, therefore we advice you to update to the most recent version and still receive Dashboard support, you can update here” (with a link to the download page).
We hope that you all understand this decision and that you will all update to version 4.6.
Our 36OSL license which can be reviewed here is declined by the Open Source board. We will not fight this as it would need a lawyer to make it compliant. As you might have guessed by taking a look at the name, the 36OSL was created to make a 36-product open source, in this case the 36CONVERT module which at this point can convert bitmaps to over 21 filetypes.
We are still trying to figure out whether we will release the source and under which license, if we release it. The source will have to be distributed with each redistribution and it must still be possible to use it in a proprietary project. So we are thinking about the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL). But at the moment this is a major blow and I’m not very keen anymore to release the wanted code.
On the other hand we can also bring happy news. Our 36-image converter officially is the 15th most popular image editing application on Download.com 9 places behind GIMP and 12 places behind Photoshop CS4, with 2.559 downloads last week. This also makes 36IC the most popular image converter. Our official goal was to beat XnView but it seems we have beaten it with 1.000 downloads more.