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Software That Really Supports
The ultimate would be a utility that converted PhotoYCC to Lab color preserving the entire range of "Y" values as "L" values in Lab. If you find such a thing, let me know. Until then, we'll have to settle for these applications.
The following software packages at least claim to support PhotoCD directly. I've organized them based on how good they are in general, and specifically how good they are at dealing with the "Lost Highlights Problem". If I've forgotten any, please email me with the info.
Personally, I use pcdtojpeg. pcdtojpeg is a command line utility, so it isn't for the faint of heart. However, it does an excellent job of converting PhotoCD images and can be coaxed into doing batches of images when used with the features available at the command line.
The following packages help you get around the Lost Highlights Problem. First, a quick comparison matrix to help you decide. After that you'll find more detailed information.
|pcdMagic (OS X)||Yes||Bright/Cont||Yes||Essentially||$79|
|Picture Window3||Yes||Yes, No Histogram||Yes, "Workflow"||No||$90|
|Ted's Hacked Library||Yes||No||Depends||No||Free1|
|Paint Shop Pro, et al.||Almost||No||Depends||No||Around $100|
1 My hacked library may be free, but you'll need to find software that uses it. This will probably cost you somewhere around $100.
2 pcdtojpeg doesn't do batch conversion directly, but using features available at the Windows or Linux command-lines, batch processing of files is possible.
3 Picture Window only supports PhotoCD in its 32-bit version. See Picture Window Pro 6.0 Beta.
Other software of interest. Not necessarily just for loading/viewing/changing Photo CD images.PowerPlayer
These are packages I haven't tried yet, but intend to.
I got a tip from a reader that Kodak's Access Plus software includes a monitor setup profile called "NIFRGB" that does a good job loading PCD images. This reader didn't test the lost highlights issue, however. Might be something to do if I'm real bored one day, though I doubt it will do much good. This reader says he also patched the NIFRGB table into pcdlib.dll and had great results.
Adobe PhotoDeluxe - I haven't tried this one, but in light of Photoshop's performance, I'd be surprised if it was good. I've heard PhotoDeluxe 4.0 dropped Photo CD support.
hpcdtoppm - Hadmut's PCD to PPM converter. Open source (but non-commercial license) converter from PhotoCD to PPM format. I worked on this code for a while, but then gave up. Then pcdtojpeg was released and that made this completely obsolete. Boris van Schooten released a patch for hpcdtoppm. You can get his patch for hpcdtoppm here: Boris van Schooten's hpcdtoppm patch.
PhotoSee - Software based on ACDSee32 to view PhotoCDs and PictureCDs. Haven't tried it, probably same quality as ThumbsPlus. At Dale Labs' site you can download the "SE" version for free.
Digital Zone International - makers of PhotoImpress. Claims to load PhotoCD images properly, but for Mac only, so I can't try it.
These packages either handle Photo CD images poorly, or are just plain bad.
Adobe Photoshop - Photoshop is a great imaging program, but its support for Photo CD is very poor. It's not Adobe's fault. The Photo CD File Format Plug-In v3.0.7 was written by Kodak, and it contains the worst possible highlight compression curve. Kodak's Photo CD Acquire Module v3.0.2 is no better.
M$ Picture It! 99 (v3.0) - Microshaft doesn't use PCDLIB32.DLL like most other packages. So their software doesn't act like ThumbsPlus, Paint Shop Pro, et al.. Unfortunately, it is much worse (possibly as bad as Photoshop) and can't be fixed with my library patch.
Corel photoCD Lab 2.1 (1995) - A very old program that was shipped with Corel's image libraries on Photo CD. Uses an old version of PCDLIB.DLL and has the same highlight compression curve as Kodak's PCDLIB32.DLL that ships with Paint Shop Pro, ThumbsPlus and the others. If this version of PCDLIB.DLL can be patched, this application would be moved up in status. (interesting LUTs are at 132c8 [8-bit] and 13ea2 [16-bit, probably the one])
binuscan PhotoPerfect - This software claims to specifically support PhotoCD. I found it just to be very bad software. The user interface is difficult, you MUST have the PhotoCD in the drive (it won't read .PCD files on your hard disk), and it only supports Pro PhotoCDs. On top of that, the results were horrible when I used it, though it could be the way I have things set up. I cannot recommend this software at all.
- Command line utility, freeware/sourceware.
Boris van Schooten evaluated this one for me and he has
observed the lost highlights issue. Chris has verified
to see his test image. Since
it is open source a patch should be easy to do. It does
convert from Photo CD (up to 1024x1536 at least),
and even to Photo CD, but only at
Base resolution (512x768). A command-line like:
convert img0009.pcd img0009.tif
will convert from pcd to tiff using the Base*4 resolution (1024x1536).
xv - X-Window System image viewer by John Bradley. Boris van Schooten tested this one and found that it loses highlights. This is open source, so a patch should be easy to do.<- Back to my PhotoCD page. Copyright ©2000-2009, Ted Felix. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer.