Free is good for about anything! A well-made, extremely usable, and still free application is incredible! Check out Xtralean’s website and navigate to IMAGEWELL.
First of all it’s available in fifteen different languages and…but what does it do, you ask? and then take an image and (I’m paraphrasing):
• Resize, Rotate, Crop and Flip an image,
• Produce Drop Shadows with opacity and color controls (OS X 10.3 and higher),
• Add Textural and Graphical Watermarks to your image,
• Left, Right, Top, Bottom and Diagonal Label Positions for watermarks and font controls for text watermarks,
• Frame the image with a shape and add borders with color and width adjustments,
• Add talking balloons, thought clouds, or text labels,
• Annotate the image with arrows, circles, squares or text,
• Add other draw objects such as octagons, rounded squares, and ovals,
• Layering and Transparency controls for images and draw objects,
• Web preview and Quality/Size adjustment tool before uploading to the web,
• Screen Grab features grab full screen, a selection on the screen, or window grab and automatically imports it into the well for instant editing and sending
• A built-in font control panel lets you change the font size, color, and add a drop shadow to your text,
• Ruler guides,
• User specific options and settings,
• PNG, JPG, and TIFF support.
In essence it is an all-in-one quick editing and mark-up tool that allows you to add all the marks onto an image you are using for training or editorial purposes.
Notice the ACTIVATE EXTRAS menu item below. For $19.95 you can activate BATCH PROCESSING and batch upload so that simply dragging and dropping images into the ImageWell window will allow you to do any of the above modifications to an entire folder at one time. EXTRAS will allow you to apply a template to your images and add specific edits in one pass.
Let’s take a quick run-through of the toolbar menu and then I’ll show you what you’ll access and why.
Simply dragging an image from the desktop onto the ImageWell will open the image as you see in the second picture below. Once the picture is shown in the ImageWell the Image, Watermark, and More windows will be live.
One of the things to note as we progress is that there is no specific order to the steps we follow with processing the image. The analogy I like to use here is that processing an image in IMAGEWELL is a bit like swimming, in that the feet, legs, arms, neck head and mouth are all doing specific things at more or less the same time, but we can only discuss them one at a time. We have to look at IMAGEWELL’s features in some sort of progressive order, but that order is purely the result of how I look at the features; you may make modifications in any order you desire that fits your workflow.
Here we have dropped an image onto the image well and after a brief moment, the image renders in the ImageWell window. When it appears, the IMAGE window is live.
Now select the WATERMARK menu and type your information for the watermark into the text window below. Select where you want the information to appear—that is, left margin, and centered, or right margin. The two-color window at the bottom right indicates black lettering on a gray background. Click on this window to change colors.
When the MORE menu is activated, eight additional menu items appear; they are rotate clockwise, open file, copy to clipboard, grab screen, rotate counter-clockwise, file save, paste from clipboard, and grab screen selection.
Choosing SEND below moves you to your selected website if a URL is shown in the (none) window. Your iDisk location is defined and it asks for your username, password, and directory and whether it is a public or pictures location on the iDisk.
Locations are where your storage location is situated or parked for export.
Options will allow you to define the maximum height and width of the exported picture, and to make sure you are always sending .jpg images to the server. You may define whether guides are at the center or edges of the image and whether or not to quit IMAGEWELL after sending.
History, like its name implies, allows you to keep track of what images you have exported to the server via IMAGEWELL.
As I mentioned earlier, our order to look at the parts of IMAGEWELL may be a bit convoluted. Now lets look back at the image we so blithely sent off to the server and see what else we might do to it, or have done to it or will do to it. Let’s look at our menus again from the top toolbar. We’re most interested in those FONT and TOOL menus, so we’ll move to them rapidly. I have to emphasize we are in PREVIEW MODE which is in the menu hidden under the first pull down menu. We are looking at results–not at the process–which is the EDIT MODE preceding the PREVIEW Mode. I’m talking about where we are going first, not how we are going to get there.
Our FILE MENU has the same things we expect to see in all FILE MENUS.
Our EDIT MENU is equally normal.
Fonts for writing in the WATERMARK menu below can be accessed both by using the FONT menu or by clicking on the Aa menu below. Once typing is initiated the type can be bold or italic, the point size increased or decreased, kerning can take place and ligatures can be chosen if available.
If we need a screen or selection grab for use elsewhere, this is where we can access it to choose an image that we may have annotated or otherwise marked up with text or balloons.
…and while we’re here we’ve got a way to update IMAGEWELL, report bugs, get help in general or get help sending files.
Once we have chosen the EDIT MENU from the top left of the menu bar in IMAGEWELL, we will be interested in the top right toolbar. The first tool on the top right toolbar is the MOVE tool that allows us to select and move or distort the selected image.
The second tool on the top right toolbar is the CROP TOOL that allows us to crop our selected image. The third tool allows us to move the image behind the selected crop areas to reposition it if necessary. This tool only appears after you have selected a crop area.
Selecting the TEXT TOOL that is the normal third item in the top right menu allows you to select a text shape. The first (outlined in blue) prints with no visible edges, the second and third balloons will print with those shapes. The grayed-out balloons are those available with the purchase of the XTRAS.
The first shape of the balloons is the one selected to produce the text image in the second following frame.
Here is a text block based on a balloon made of a rectangle with rounded corners. The shape was selected as the second one from the shape menu above.
Arrow shapes as well as an oval and a rectangle can be selected from the fourth tool in the tool menu on the upper right. Additional selections available with the paid XTRAS option are visible, but grayed out. Last, the star-shaped menu item on the extreme right represents biomorphic shapes what would be part of the XTRAS package if it had been purchased.
Looking back at the WATERMARKING panel, you can see that other fonts can be selected from the menu defined Aa. Fonts and font sizes are available when this menu is activated.
Just checking, the WATERMARK is moved to the left margin to see how it would look, but the idea is discarded and centering is chosen instead.
Now, from the WATERMARK menu on the bottom left, HORIZONTAL OVERLAY is selected, and the watermark appears across the image.
One of the things to note while we’re here is that the ImageWell image can be saved in the.tiff, .jpg or .png formats. Note the menu choices on the top right at the end of the image’s name.
I’ve skipped several small steps (for the sake of brevity) that seemed to be self-evident.
Now we’ve come full circle, and if you’ve stayed with me this far, you are really invited to make a comment(s) in the following comment section. My debate with myself in writing about IMAGEWELL hinged on whether I should have approached it from the "how do we get there" step-by-step first or of writing about "where we are going" first and then following it with the process of getting there. IMAGEWELL is truly intended to be a tool to export to the web images that have been (or may be) heavily marked up or annotated. Both approaches seemed valid, but I had to choose one, and as I finished writing about IMAGEWELL I wondered which approach was the most logical, so I ask you, the reader.
I welcome your comments because for such a simple application, IMAGEWELL has so many facets that grabbing it firmly by any particular attribute is extremely difficult. It does so many things and it does them so well that it is hard to know where to begin.
I welcome your input.
In the meantime, I recommend http://Xtralean.com and IMAGEWELL and I equally recommend their commercial version of an excellent Macintosh web-design program SHUTTERBUG. Check them both out.