San Francisco Ð A few months ago, there were no players in the image-processing category, but at the Seybold Conference in September no fewer than six developers announced products scheduled to ship by the end of the first quarter of 1993.
In the high-end market, 3K Computerbild's Retouche will compete with Chromagrafx's PixelMaster, while Appsoft Image and Photosynthesis from RightBrain Software are expected to duke it out in the mid- to low-range segment. Compose in Color (CIC) from Unter Ecker Software and tms Software's 1Vision are still defining their markets.
The high end has traditionally been defined by dedicated systems, whose customers include service bureaus and prepress houses. Only the latest generations of workstation programs are beginning to challenge the dedicated machines in handling publication-quality images, which are often larger than 30MB. "The high end is a significant opportunity for NeXT because the Macintosh just cannot effectively process files this large," said Julie Acosta, a NeXT publishing advocate.
3K's Retouche will ship in January for $1200. Designed to accommodate a modular-software architecture, it can be customized with add-on tools. Chromagrafx PixelMaster, due in December, will cost less than $500. It was described by a company spokesman as "Photoshop on steroids."
In the low end of the image-processing category, Appsoft Image, priced at $995, will be the first to market in November. "We're showing a complete piece of software, while everyone else in our end of the market is showing user-interface shells," said Appsoft President Randy Adams, referring to RightBrain's Photosynthesis, a rewrite of MediaLogic's Artisan product, which was shown in private demonstrations. Pricing and a release date for Photosynthesis have not been announced.
CIC 1.0 began shipping in August for $900, with Version 1.1 slated to ship in October in Europe. A U.S. distributor has not yet been found, according to Oliver Ecker, CIC's author.
Although tms Cranach was not shown at Seybold, an earlier demo showed Cranach to be the image-processing module of tms's 1Vision publishing system. Pricing and availability for Cranach remained undetermined at press time.