Is it IrfanView, or is it me?



  • One of those questions you have to ask yourself – at least if you're insecure like me – is,"is it Program X or is it me?"

    IrfanView seems to be extremely popular, so is my brain deceiving me, or ...

    • When dragging a selection, you must make it 1px wider and taller than it should be; if you've scrolled the image, then select an area and crop, it randomly mis-crops the image slightly
    • Zoom is insane; for an increment of 50% for a 1024×768 image, clicking plus three times then minus three times gives you 100% +> 150% +> 225% +> 338% -> 169% -> 85% -> 42%. Start at 100, finish at 42 ... WTF? According to Irfan, this behaviour is correct and by design! Setting an increment of 100% (as per Photoshop) doesn't zoom out at all, because his number mangler can't take it.
    • By the time you get to "Misc 1" preferences, you know you need to refactor. By the time you make it to Misc 3, you need to call by Alcoholics Anonymous first.
    • Animated GIFs loop forever in defiance of the image's stated loop count (again, by design) which is confusing and makes the image look broken.
    • GIFs default to ignoring transparency, so you still think all your GIFs are broken (what's with refusing to show images properly?)
    • Save and Save As don't update the window to point at the new file (or the status bar to reflect the new file size), and the Overwrite? prompt has to be turned on for Save and Save As, or neither (!)
    • Various operations reset the zoom to the default state, including crop; fortunately, it no longer resets the zoom setting on minimise ...
    • It plays OktaMED music (with the right plugin installed) ... It's WTFey enough that it plays music to begin with, but why OktaMED? It doesn't play any other tracker formats like ProTracker, Impulse Tracker, Scream Tracker, FastTracker (the common ones) ... Nope, just OktaMED. When did I last even see an OktaMED tune?

    I lose track of how many things are broken or just make no sense, or defy convention out of spite. There are some things about it that are good, though:

    • Being able to roll the mouse wheel to flick through images in a directory</il>
    • The option to toggle subsampling when saving JPEG images (pretty important but even Adobe can't get this right)
    • I think there was a third ..?

    Just wanted to get this off my chest – the program is driving me up the wall. Long past time to replace it with something that works and doesn't have a roadkill cat for an icon.



  • Yes, it's not you, it's definitely Irfanview. That program has been a source of WTFs every time I mistakenly install it.
    Fortunately there is an entirely sane and free(beer) alternative: Xnview



  • IrfanView is the only one (afaik?) to have a PNG optimizer (that takes like forever but in the end has a perfectly small PNG). However, sometimes it happens to make the PNG larger instead of smaller.

    I knew some of those WTFs, but there are soo many more... I guess I'll switch to XnView once more. Although I have bad memories of it (long loading times, way too many features), but no need to support that crappy thing any longer O.o



  • Speaking of XnView, it has its WTFs of its own. The biggest problem seems to be that it uses Windows's GUI-ed delete libararies. I don't exactly know what it is, but it results in:

    • single file deletion may take up to 2 seconds
    • multiple file deletion may bring up the dialog with papers flying into the recycle bin
    • deleting x.html will also delete "elements of x" directory



      So be careful.





      EDIT: Anyway, I think it's the wrong forum for the complaints.


  • @fbjon said:

    Fortunately there is an entirely sane and free(beer) alternative: Xnview

    Interesting, thanks. I like how it defaults to custom install (I always use custom install ;) and how zoom resizes above 100% and resamples below 100% (if only I could convince Irfan about this). It would take some time to get used to a new app though -- for example, zoom to 100% is ctrl+numpad+-, which is not only retarded (since when has - been associated with an origin?) but it's what I've assigned to volume decrease in Winamp.

    One of the really great things about MS Office (there aren't many, but they do exist!) is the ability to completely remap all the keyboard shortcuts to everything. GTK allows this globally and effortlessly, which is awesome, but in Windows you must rely on the app to offer this facility. Some do (e.g. Media Player Classic), some can do it via plugins (e.g. KeyConfig for Firefox and Thunderbird). I feel it's almost mandatory for any program with insane numbers of shortcuts, as there are bound to be problems. For example, Adobe never assigned one to Brightness/Contrast in Photoshop (argh), and XnView uses a stupid shortcut for zoom 100% (ctrl-0 is quite a nice one for that). I want Xnview to use Ctrl-Y for crop (as IrfanView does) as then it matches GraphicConverter on my Mac.

    But then you have non-shortcut bindings ... RedSquirrel uses Pause/Break as Break (reset the emulated Archimedes it runs) but I've set Winamp to treat Pause/Break as Pause (pause my music) ... Doh. Xnview for example doesn't use enter to confirm a crop, or allow you to unbind enter from a number of annoying actions.

    All good food for thought for Cy/VOS...

    @tray said:

    - deleting x.html will also delete "elements of x" directory

    Since Explorer does the same, I'd consider this to be correct behaviour from any program. A computer system should behave consistently throughout. What you can do though is install TweakUI and disable this feature globally. In Win 2000's TweakUI, it's called "Manipulate connected files as a unit" (sounds like a railfan wrote that control caption ;) and it's under the Explorer tab. It may be different in XP's completely redesigned TweakUI.... (Did I say something about consistency?)

    @derula said:

    IrfanView is the only one (afaik?) to have a PNG optimizer...

    Not by default at least, not even close. Maybe the PNGOUT plugin contains the optimiser? I've not looked into most of the plugins. GraphicConverter on the Mac has the best PNG output I've seen so far -- never optimised, but pretty close to optimal.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Adobe never assigned one to Brightness/Contrast in Photoshop (argh)

    But B/C is just Levels with less control.



  • @dhromed said:

    But B/C is just Levels with less control.

    I know that; sometimes B/C is just much fastier and easier for certain tasks.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    • Zoom is insane; for an increment of 50% for a 1024×768 image, clicking plus three times then minus three times gives you 100% +> 150% +> 225% +> 338% -> 169% -> 85% -> 42%. Start at 100, finish at 42 ... WTF? According to Irfan, this behaviour is correct and by design! Setting an increment of 100% (as per Photoshop) doesn't zoom out at all, because his number mangler can't take it.

     

    This is not insane at all when you look at it realistically.  When you increase the image size by 50%, you're adding 50% to whatever is already there.  Therefore, 150% of 100 is 150.  150% of 150 is 225, etc.  In order to zoom and unzoom properly, you need to zoom at twice what you're unzooming at at 100% zoom.

     I suppose one could make the argument that zooming at 50% should zoom 50% more of the original size, but unzooming using that mechanism would seem more or a lie than zooming using that mechanism.

    Perhaps zooming in and zooming out should each have their own current setting (if they do not) and there should be a command to zoom to the original size or something.

     Whatever the case, if you're going to zoom using percentages, this realistically seems like the only sane way to do it.



  • @Morbii said:

      In order to zoom and unzoom properly, you need to zoom at twice what you're unzooming at at 100% zoom.

     

    Err.. this should probably say something to the effect of "if you want to unzoom at 50%, you need to zoom at 100% in order for it to work how you'd expect".  If you want to zoom/unzoom at random percentages that aren't simple like the aforementioned, it's a bit trickier...



  • @Morbii said:

    This is not insane at all when you look at it realistically.  When you increase the image size by 50%, you're adding 50% to whatever is already there.  Therefore, 150% of 100 is 150.  150% of 150 is 225, etc...

    Are you serious? I hope you're playing devil's advocate here, but I fear you're not... Either that, or I'm an engineer to your mathematician.

    It's useful to know what he's doing here, but this is worse than Excel's version of Copy and Paste: it truly makes no sense in reality. When scaling images up, you need to stick to whole numbers of pixels, else you get a mangled image. That's why I'd prefer to step by 100%, as Photoshop does. This method generally guarantees you horribly misshapen pixels because it's never an exact multiple. Trying to work like this is extremely painful. (Approximately as painful as when it enables resample for zoom in if you enable it for zoom out -- none of IrfanView was thought through.)

    Like with Excel's Copy and Paste, the rest of the world has come up with a practical and useful way to do zoom, and it's nice to stick to something that works. (A few apps, like !Paint, !Draw and (at least at one stage) Paint Shop Pro did zoom as a ratio, which was odd, but at least it worked.)



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @Morbii said:

    This is not insane at all when you look at it realistically.  When you increase the image size by 50%, you're adding 50% to whatever is already there.  Therefore, 150% of 100 is 150.  150% of 150 is 225, etc...

    Are you serious? I hope you're playing devil's advocate here, but I fear you're not... Either that, or I'm an engineer to your mathematician.

    It's useful to know what he's doing here, but this is worse than Excel's version of Copy and Paste: it truly makes no sense in reality. When scaling images up, you need to stick to whole numbers of pixels, else you get a mangled image. That's why I'd prefer to step by 100%, as Photoshop does. This method generally guarantees you horribly misshapen pixels because it's never an exact multiple. Trying to work like this is extremely painful. (Approximately as painful as when it enables resample for zoom in if you enable it for zoom out -- none of IrfanView was thought through.)

    Like with Excel's Copy and Paste, the rest of the world has come up with a practical and useful way to do zoom, and it's nice to stick to something that works. (A few apps, like !Paint, !Draw and (at least at one stage) Paint Shop Pro did zoom as a ratio, which was odd, but at least it worked.)

     

    My answer was 100% correct based on your original complaint.  Feel free to modify your complaint, however.  I agree it makes more sense to zoom n:1 (but I also think many, if not all, of those programs will also zoom 1:n, which is not a whole lot different regarding fractions than what you've said in your new post).



  • @Morbii said:

    My answer was 100% correct based on your original complaint.  Feel free to modify your complaint, however.  I agree it makes more sense to zoom n:1 (but I also think many, if not all, of those programs will also zoom 1:n, which is not a whole lot different regarding fractions than what you've said in your new post).

    Your answer is correct based on your particular interpretation of my complaint, an interpretation clearly not borne from ever spending time working with raster graphics.

    Now, as far as zoom out goes, most programs except IrfanView get this right, too. When you zoom in above 100%, you resize. When you zoom out below 100%, you resample. IrfanView makes resize vs resample a mutually exclusive setting. So either zoom out resizes (just throws pixels away, so you can't make the image out), or zoom in resamples, which looks a horrible mess. You can't select the appropriate algorithm for both.

    IrfanView feels like it was built from scratch by a person inventing graphics for himself; Irfan admittedly barely uses Photoshop, which explains a lot. His view on zoom is a bit like that frames bloke, securely mediating interzooming ...



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @Morbii said:

    My answer was 100% correct based on your original complaint.  Feel free to modify your complaint, however.  I agree it makes more sense to zoom n:1 (but I also think many, if not all, of those programs will also zoom 1:n, which is not a whole lot different regarding fractions than what you've said in your new post).

    Your answer is correct based on your particular interpretation of my complaint, an interpretation clearly not borne from ever spending time working with raster graphics.

    Now, as far as zoom out goes, most programs except IrfanView get this right, too. When you zoom in above 100%, you resize. When you zoom out below 100%, you resample. IrfanView makes resize vs resample a mutually exclusive setting. So either zoom out resizes (just throws pixels away, so you can't make the image out), or zoom in resamples, which looks a horrible mess. You can't select the appropriate algorithm for both.

    It doesn't have to do with interpretation, it has to do with what you literally wrote - "Start at 100, finish at 42". Until now there was no mention of sampling, etc, and I had no idea you even meant anything about that (and nor would have anyone else reading your complaint - and you're right, I wouldn't have known much about it, but that isn't the point).

     I don't doubt the program behaves wtf-like, but IMO your original complaint doesn't show it.  Now that we've gotten that squared away, I suppose we can move along!

     

     

     



  • @Morbii said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    • Zoom is insane; for an increment of 50% for a 1024×768 image, clicking plus three times then minus three times gives you 100% +> 150% +> 225% +> 338% -> 169% -> 85% -> 42%. Start at 100, finish at 42 ... WTF? According to Irfan, this behaviour is correct and by design! Setting an increment of 100% (as per Photoshop) doesn't zoom out at all, because his number mangler can't take it.

     

    This is not insane at all when you look at it realistically.  When you increase the image size by 50%, you're adding 50% to whatever is already there.  Therefore, 150% of 100 is 150.  150% of 150 is 225, etc.  In order to zoom and unzoom properly, you need to zoom at twice what you're unzooming at at 100% zoom.

     

    That was incomprehensible.

    225 * 1.5 == 338 (correct)

    338 / 1.5 == 225 (correct)

    338 * 0.5 == 169 (WRONG)

    The zoom in and zoom out factors should always be reciprocals of each other. Anything else is just wrong. 



  • @asuffield said:

    @Morbii said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    • Zoom is insane; for an increment of 50% for a 1024×768 image, clicking plus three times then minus three times gives you 100% +> 150% +> 225% +> 338% -> 169% -> 85% -> 42%. Start at 100, finish at 42 ... WTF? According to Irfan, this behaviour is correct and by design! Setting an increment of 100% (as per Photoshop) doesn't zoom out at all, because his number mangler can't take it.

     

    This is not insane at all when you look at it realistically.  When you increase the image size by 50%, you're adding 50% to whatever is already there.  Therefore, 150% of 100 is 150.  150% of 150 is 225, etc.  In order to zoom and unzoom properly, you need to zoom at twice what you're unzooming at at 100% zoom.

     

    That was incomprehensible.

    225 * 1.5 == 338 (correct)

    338 / 1.5 == 225 (correct)

    338 * 0.5 == 169 (WRONG)

    The zoom in and zoom out factors should always be reciprocals of each other. Anything else is just wrong. 

    I suppose it's good that that isn't what I said then.  At 100% zoom, you need to unzoom at 50%.  Of course, it doesn't work the same if your zoom isn't 100%.



  • @derula said:

    IrfanView is the only one (afaik?) to have a PNG optimizer (that takes like forever but in the end has a perfectly small PNG)

    OptiPNG is a great free PNG optimizer. Running optipng -o7 img.png will take quite a while but will result in a very tiny PNG.



  • For me, IrfanView zooms in and out always by 10% (i.e. 100->110->120->110->100->90 etc.), but has a bug, where it crops the last line and column with percentages that aren't divisible by 20. Zoom is also always uses point resizing, but if I use F (Fit image to window), it uses resampling for that (and if I zoom in/out from that, it continues using resampling). I don't use IrfanView for anything but quick previewing of images, so I'm not bothered by other random features (except for it's animated GIF non-support - about half of them use wrong colours, or don't render properly at all).

    On topic of PNG optimization, OptiPNG is slow, and almost always produces worse results than either AdvPNG (extremely fast, just don't try to use it on 24bit images, since it usually can't optimize them) and PNGOut (if you think OptiPNG is slow, don't even bother with this one; this is also what the IrfanView's plugin is based on).



  • @ender said:

    For me, IrfanView zooms in and out always by 10% (i.e. 100->110->120->110->100->90 etc.) ...

    Which version is this? I have 4.10, the latest. I forget if zoom ever worked right in the 3.x versions, but the current stupid behaviour (multiplication instead of addition) is quite intentional. From all your comments, it sounds like you have a really old version.

    @ender said:

    On topic of PNG optimization, OptiPNG is slow, and almost always produces worse results than either AdvPNG (extremely fast, just don't try to use it on 24bit images, since it usually can't optimize them) and PNGOut (if you think OptiPNG is slow, don't even bother with this one; this is also what the IrfanView's plugin is based on).

    Even on my PII 333 desktop PC I don't consider OptiPNG slow. And since I use it routinely with 24-bit images (even if it does decide it can drop them all the way down to 2-bit) AdvPNG sounds pretty useless to me (WTF good is an optimiser if it doesn't do 24-bit images?). I wonder if your OptiPNG is also out of date? Someone mentioned OptiPNG with -o7; even -o9 achieves nothing better than the default, so I stick to the default.



  • @asuffield said:

    That was incomprehensible.

    225 * 1.5 == 338 (correct)

    338 / 1.5 == 225 (correct)

    338 * 0.5 == 169 (WRONG)

    The zoom in and zoom out factors should always be reciprocals of each other. Anything else is just wrong. 

    Actually, the math itself is exactly correct.  The issue is that it is unexpected, not wrong.  338 * 0.5 does in fact = 169



  • @Albright said:

    @derula said:

    IrfanView is the only one (afaik?) to have a PNG optimizer (that takes like forever but in the end has a perfectly small PNG)

    OptiPNG is a great free PNG optimizer. Running optipng -o7 img.png will take quite a while but will result in a very tiny PNG.

    Usually, you don't even need to go that far. The default setting already catches most PNGs; after a few runs you can usually figure out for yourself whether a particular kind of image will require the more exotic compression modes or not.


  • It's a joke to actually try to edit images with IrfanView, and the preferences screens have gotten a little ridiculous, but if I want an image editor that:

    1) Loads instantly
    2) Costs nothing
    3) Opens most image formats
    4) Makes it easy to skip through a whole directory (photos), and
    5) Takes just a few seconds to download (great for new computer installs)

    ...then I haven't seen any good alternatives.  This XnView might be okay, but I haven't had good experiences in the past with *nix programs ported over to Windows.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Which version is this? I have 4.10, the latest. I forget if zoom ever worked right in the 3.x versions, but the current stupid behaviour (multiplication instead of addition) is quite intentional. From all your comments, it sounds like you have a really old version.
    It's 4.00 (and you're right, zooming is broken in 4.10 - luckily I still have 4.00 installer).@Daniel Beardsmore said:
    Even on my PII 333 desktop PC I don't consider OptiPNG slow. And since I use it routinely with 24-bit images (even if it does decide it can drop them all the way down to 2-bit) AdvPNG sounds pretty useless to me (WTF good is an optimiser if it doesn't do 24-bit images?). I wonder if your OptiPNG is also out of date? Someone mentioned OptiPNG with -o7; even -o9 achieves nothing better than the default, so I stick to the default.
    By 24bit images I meant photographs (and similar images with a lot of colours). AdvPNG doesn't actually do anything else than optimizing the compression (it can't reduce the number of palette colours), and for some reason it usually performs quite badly on 24bit images with a lot of colours. On 8bit images, it's usually better than OptiPNG, and takes a fraction of the time.



  • @Aaron said:

    if I want an image editor that:

    1) Loads instantly
    2) Costs nothing
    3) Opens most image formats
    4) Makes it easy to skip through a whole directory (photos), and
    5) Takes just a few seconds to download (great for new computer installs)

    ...then I haven't seen any good alternatives.

     

    Same here, it might have a couple of WTFs like the zoom I never use anyway, but I've been using it for many years now, so much it might even be the software I've used most, and still haven't found anything else that would suit my needs better.

    I wouldn't use it to prepare a photo for printing with proper editing, but to just correct a couple of things on a pic you want to post in 1024x768 on some forum, send via MSN or whatever, which I do several times everyday there's nothing better.

    Open a photo, F to fit to desktop, Ctrl-U to rotate it to level, Ctrl-Y to crop, Shift-G to adjust brightness/contrast a bit, possibly Ctrl-K to apply a little noise removal Photoshop filter, Ctrl-R to resize to whatever size you want, F to see final size, S to save as and there we are, and that's doing all the steps you usually don't need. Photoshop wouldn't even have loaded by then...

    Then sorting folders full of pics... T for thumbnails, navigate with mouse, space or arrows, delete crappy ones, multiple select thumbnails you want to put together, F7 to move the files to one of the 10 folders it can store... B to apply batch treatments... 

    Oh well, I've just again convinced myself I indeed can't find anything better ;) 



  • @ender said:

    AdvPNG doesn't actually do anything else than optimizing the compression (it can't reduce the number of palette colours), and for some reason it usually performs quite badly on 24bit images with a lot of colours. On 8bit images, it's usually better than OptiPNG, and takes a fraction of the time.

    Well, it can and does reduce the palette depth, but not intelligently. It will drop from 24-bit to 8-bit, but no lower, and a lot of screenshots I've been gathering lately are as low as 4-bit.

    It's certainly extremely fast, and because I run a PII PC, I'm intrigued now as there should be no way that anything could go that fast on this computer. Just saving a PNG takes longer than it takes to optimise and re-save it.

    Since I am accustomed to OptiPNG being "slow", I might simply tack AdvPNG into the same command line as OptiPNG and ensure that both are always run, then I can't really lose. Well, OK, && probably doesn't work in an Explorer command, might have to create a batch file with both commands in so that I get best depth and best compression at all times.

    Pity there isn't a single program that's as good as both :P Thanks though.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Since I am accustomed to OptiPNG being "slow", I might simply tack AdvPNG into the same command line as OptiPNG and ensure that both are always run, then I can't really lose. Well, OK, && probably doesn't work in an Explorer command, might have to create a batch file with both commands in so that I get best depth and best compression at all times.

    Pity there isn't a single program that's as good as both :P Thanks though.

    You could run OptiPNG with extremely minimal settings so it only changes the bit depth and recompresses the file at most once. That should work and save you some time if you let AdvPNG do the compression anyway.


  • @j6cubic said:

    You could run OptiPNG with extremely minimal settings so it only changes the bit depth and recompresses the file at most once. That should work and save you some time if you let AdvPNG do the compression anyway.

    But that depends on image depth, and I need OptiPNG for 24-bit ...


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