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So, I own Photoshop. I’m not… fond… of it. I don’t like the way it takes a long time to start (on my 12/24-core, 64 GB ram, 3 GHz, 4TB HD system.) I don’t like how large an application it is, and I regret the time it takes to go after the many things it has to pull in and read before it will actually let me edit an image. I don’t like the way lots of things in it work differently from lots of other things in it. I don’t like the clumsy area selection model. I don’t like the layered image model. I don’t like that, even as someone who is an expert at manipulating images, I have to constantly go to the net to look up just exactly how a particular task would be done with Photoshop – even after I’ve owned it for years. I don’t like the way Adobe is transitioning to, and pushing for, subscriptions. I don’t like the price. I don’t like the way Adobe (and many others) are constantly building in dependencies on the latest “new thing” in the various operating systems and in so doing, leaving older OS’s unsupported. There’s more, but that was enough. I’m more than far enough into “get off my lawn, ya hosers.” :)

itb-0.36Sure, there’s plenty of great stuff in Photoshop, but honestly, in day to day image editing of my DSLR and web images? I don’t use 99% of it. And back to the “how to” issue, very little of it is intuitive, so I’m not even seriously motivated to try.

But. I really need a powerful image editor. Also, some of the things I want aren’t in these applications all in one place, or even at all in some cases.

So. What’s a programmer to do?

I decided to write a replacement that would do what I needed, in such a way that it was always intuitively obvious to someone who had only been using the application for half an hour – learn to do one thing, you’ve learned to do almost everything; so that it was lightweight enough that it would start quickly when it was needed; so that it didn’t cost a bundle or nag the user; so that it was totally benign in terms of privacy and free of marketing drivel.

I’m not done, but I’m pretty happy so far. I’ve been doing a lot of editing images with it the past few weeks, it’s got many of the basics down, and I’m working on coding up the rest.

You are cordially invited to try the OSX/MacOS beta for OS versions 10.11 and later. The download includes a fairly detailed readme file, plus, you can ask questions below. This is a 64-bit application so it’ll be usable well into the future and handles data with 48-bit RGB precision and 16 bit alpha (transparency) precision.

You can can download the beta here:

    iToolBox v0.r50 [2018-06-22] Beta

Please keep in mind it is a beta; I’m not done with it by any means. I’ll be adding more to the layered image model, to the number of file formats it can read, and to the number of operators (things you can do to images) at a fairly rapid pace at this point, as the main framework of the application is pretty solid.

Right now, it’s a free beta. I’m not sure what the final model will be, but I am sure it won’t be expensive. :)

I welcome suggestions, bug reports, etc. Please leave them in the comments below.


  • Easy to use, yet very powerful
  • Many image operations
  • Reads 48 image file types
    • .png, .jpg, etc.
    • Raw camera files from many cameras
    • Extended file formats with useful new capabilities
  • Layered image handling
    • 44 Layer blend modes
    • Image stacking support
      • Translate
      • Rotate
      • Average
        • Multiple view support allows precise observation in corners, etc.
    • Warp layers – geometric layer effects
    • Layer effects – glow, emboss, shadow, etc.
    • Master/ layer system provides flat result at all times
    • Localstack and lockstep provide for grouping layers
  • Flexible image views
    • Works well with multiple monitors
    • Multiple views per image
    • Independent zoom levels and pan settings per view
    • Rulers
      • Pixels
      • Inches
      • Centimeters
  • Consistent user interface: learn one thing, learn many
  • Effect previews for all image operations
    • One-button before/after comparisons
    • Thumbnail
    • 1x region
    • 2x region
  • Over 40 image operators
    • Familiar ones like contrast and brightness
    • Exotic ones like remove isolated streak and caricature
  • Powerful area selection and related tool mechanisms
    • Freehand, polygon, rectangle, ellipse, entire image, text, wand, numeric rectangle, complement, open figure, filled figure, magnify
    • Hot re-anchoring for ellipses and rectangles
    • Hot polygon point move, delete, add
    • Resolution-independent, cross-image “apply again”
    • Antialiasing
    • Blending
    • Many types of guides: rule of thirds, golden spiral, aspect, etc.
  • Meta information handling
    • Annotation
    • Copyright
    • Author
    • Create and modify times
    • Color space utilization
    • Histograms
    • Notations allow regional notes on images
      • JSON output support for image gallery area highlighting
      • Public and private notation support
      • Rectangular
      • Elliptical
      • Polygonal
      • Freehand
  • Extensive keyboard and mouse command support
  • CMY and CMYK color separations
  • Image printing
  • Copy and paste via OS clipboard
  • Drag-and-drop loading of images
  • Undo and redo
  • …and much more