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Software Review:Equilibrium DeBabelizer Pro 4.5

It's not just file conversion any more DeBabelizer supports -- are you ready? -- about 100 file formats for input and output (I'm not going to type all this in, either... read the list yourself if you don't believe it). I expected it to support GIF, JPG, and PNG (and I wasn't disappointed)...but I didn't expect the support for truly ancient formats such as Ventura Publisher IMG and Dr. Halo CUT, as well as niche formats like Unix PBM, XBM, and XWD. Basically, if it has pixels, it's in here (vector graphic types are not supported). When I tell you that DeBabelizer comes with a 120-page "Getting Started" book, it probably won't surprise you that the actual reference manual is around 400 pages; this is one powerful program! The books do go into step-by-step detail, although to get the full use out of DeBabelizer will take a lot of practice. To hold things down to a readable size, I'll just list the most relevant features for Web designers, and the ones I tested (you can check the "complete" feature list here):
  • Drag-and-drop for HTML files. What good is this for a graphics program? Just drop an HTML file from Windows Explorer, and DeBabelizer will read it, extract all the image file names, and automatically open them! (no, you can't do this from Internet Explorer, sorry).
  • Palette optimization. The SuperPalette technology seems to be one of Equilibrium's top pride factors; if you know what you're doing you can easily get the optimum palette for one or a group of files. Even if you don't know what you're doing, it's easy to get good results. Compare the JPG I created (right) from Equilibrium's own GIF of the DeBabelizer box (here's the original from the first page of this review); I didn't do any extra compression, but it's only half the original file size.
  • Tired of those constant Mac-vs.-PC incompatibility problems? Don't you just hate it when a Mac user emails a file to you on a PC and it shows up without a file extension? Just drop it onto DeBabelizer and it'll figure out exactly what you have, then you can save it in any format you want. Or automatically convert between Mac and PC default aspect ratios.
  • Batch scripting and automation. Basically, anything you can do with a single file, no matter how complicated, can be done to a batch of files (which can also describe individual frames of a video or animation file). I took a single JPG from an entire directory full of different types of images (BMP, PNG, TIF, etc.), and resized it to a 75x75 pixel thumbnail. Then I used that sequence of events as a model to do the same thing to all the other images in that directory, saving all the final thumbnail images as JPG format in a new directory. This capability alone could be worth the price of the program for people working on certain kinds of auction, classified ad, or intranet sites.
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