Printing and Scanning
by Tony Butka
on the OS/2 Platform
This month's column is really about my favorite graphics editor for both OS/2 and Windows -- PMView 3.01 by Peter Nielson. You should know up front that I was sufficiently impressed to buy both the OS/2 and the Windows versions of the program at $39.95 each via
BMT Micro, even though I have the older (registered) 2.x versions as well, and have been quite happy with them.
So what's so neat about the program, other than an opportunity to support a first class OS/2 developer that also allows us to use his cool program in the Windows world as well? Actually, quite a lot. As readers of this column know, PMView has long been noted for its ability to do much more than view and edit graphics images. My favorite features have been:
- the ability to do screen captures (full, window, area of screen and more) and then save the file to any format you want;
- the ability to take an image and save it as your screen's wallpaper with a couple of clicks;
- very nice printer control of the images, including visual graphic sizing information in a preview window;
- a very nice and configurable image open window for displaying entire directories/subdirectories, together with very cool threading that doesn't lock your computer up until one operation is done -- like, say, creating a few thousand thumbnails.
On top of all of this, in my humble opinion, Peter has the best and broadest support of virtually all graphics file formats of any program that I have used under either Windows or OS/2. More on this later, but under Windows I have constantly encountered images, particularly tiff images that would choke on either PhotoShop, or InDesign, or Word (but who's surprised there). Fire up PMView, load the image, and do a conversion using the fine set of options, and save as. Then switch to the expensive program and actually be able to load the image! This happens a lot with back and forth tiff files created on Mac's with PhotoShop or Quark and sent to a Windows environment. Oh yes, and the new version lets you manipulate eps images -- not a trivial task.
As I noted last month, one of the biggest improvements in the the new version is speed, particularly with a lot of relatively small files within a directory. In one frequently accessed directory, I have a couple of thousand jpg images of science fiction stuff (well, I would, wouldn't I?). This is about 432 Megs of space, consisting of 3850 files. Almost all of the files are form 30-400k in size, and it takes a fair amount of time to display the thumbnail images in PMView 2.x. Part of this may be OS/2 and the HPFS file system, since file copy operations on these kind of directories seem to take a while as well. Anecdotally, it seems as if the new version of PMView is about half-again as quick as the older one. Anyhow, the difference is visually noticeable and greatly appreciated by yours truly.
Another feature that is significantly improved in the new version and greatly appreciated is in the area of batch file conversions. Let me give you a couple of examples why I find this feature a lifesaver. First, my favorite OS/2 word processor, Clearlook, only likes to play with OS/2 bitmap (bmp) files. You cannot (or maybe you can) imagine the frustration of getting in the middle of an article, wanting to dump that cool image into the document, and discovering that it is not in a format that Clearlook can handle! With PMView, I can create a subdirectory with all of the files that I may need, open the directory in the thumbnail window, and with a simple Cntrl-+/, viola, all the files in the directory are highlighted. Right click on any image to pop up the options, select convert - OS/2 bitmap, and off goes the program converting the entire directory to the needed file format.
Another example of this kind of batch file conversion is where I want to use gif images to print out using the file format's indexed 256 color scheme for punched up enhancement on a 4 color inkjet as well as a print speed increase. Same process of batch conversion, and I have a special subdirectory. Finally, I also use this nifty feature to create 256 greyscale images for work with monochrome laser printers. Try this at home, and you may notice quite a difference in the printed output and printing speed of your laser or inkjet.
And just for us command line junkies, as well as to give very fine tuning abilities to batch file conversions, Peter has added a 'scripting' ability to the new PMView. Don't be scared by the title, it's really a very nicely preconfigured box that lets you add file choices to your script by adding or deleting options to create a script. For example, to again use my jpg directory, say you want to convert all of the files to the OS/2 bmp format, resize all the images to 640x480, and just for good luck to change them all to 356 shades of grey and put all the newly created images in a specific subdirectory. Just build your script by adding the options, choosing your specifics (like file format = bmp), and then run the script. Zip, and it runs in the background so that you can be doing other work while the magic happens. Since you can build scripts, this also means that us command line junkies can also run the script from a command line without firing up the visual interface. Very, very nice indeed.
Another new feature that I personally like a lot is that the EXIF image information attached by some digital cameras is also viewable in the File Information window. I'll bet most of you didn't even know that this kind of stuff was stored with any image, but it is. I've also noticed that a lot of my downloaded scifi images were created with PhotoShop!
Oops, I've run way over. I'll either finish this up as a full scale review, or complete the article next month.
Feel free to contact me at
You might want to read last month's Ink.
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.
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