Hall of shame: Photomatix

Today’s hero is Photomatix: HDR photo editor with impressive quality and feature set, but ugly interface.

Photomatix 1

Here’s the default UI. MDI looks pretty good in OSX, but not in Windows. OK, go further…

Photomatix 2

And this is really horrible:

  • Control colors are selected wrong: they don’t fit the Windows theme (I’m using Royale, but that’s true for Luna too) thus leaving gray borders.
  •  Progress is displayed as a resizeable window with borders, caption etc…
  • Window scroll is broken: image size is not used to adjust child windows’ sizes thus you either have parts of images visible or lots of gray zones.
  • On long operations application looks frozen: GUI does not respond to user commands and doesn’t refresh.
  • HDR Viewer window is displayed as a separate window on the Taskbar, increasing clutter.
  • Graphics and fonts are very inaccurate: rough “zoom” cursor and green lettersmake the UI look even worse.
  • Lots of problems related to incorrect window resizing (with no smart logic involved: no min or max values, poor visual feedback to state change) makes me recall ugly Videora GUI.
  •  Lots of minor visual glitches.

Many of this apply to Mac version too, which looks especially annoying due to redrawing issues I thought never to see there.

No, unlike Videora or other “knee-made” software, Photomatix is not crap. It has an excellent engine behind, which is really, really useful, but the program’s UI spoils usage experience a lot. It may be (hardly) acceptable for a free GPL tool, but not for a software worth $100.

Finally, a HDR picture, created by me in 4 minutes from a set of 3 bracketing shots.

Before:

before.jpg

And after (tone correction is mine):

after.jpg

As you can see, with some efforts from developers (mostly GUI-related) this software could move rocks.

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