MemeCode's i.Mage is a compact, flexible image-editing tool that's designed to handle a variety of common tasks quickly, much like simple pixel editors such as DPaint from the Days of DOS. That's prehistory to most users, but i.Mage is actually up to date. What sets it apart is its speed: instead of starting bloated out of the box and then being loaded down with plug-ins, i.Mage launches and loads images quickly. It's got quite a full assortment of tools plus some interesting options.
Launching i.Mage calls up the program's interface in compact mode. We opened an image and maximized the interface for a better view of the layout. The main view is divided into two draggable panes, one zoomed to pixel level and the other displaying a 1:1 view. Clicking Tools on the file menu toggles a left-hand panel accessing a palette of image-editing tools, including a brush, eyedropper, selection tool, zoom control, text tool, eraser, and a variety of shapes, as well as a gradient display and operators. We opened an image and tried the various rotation, flip, and resize controls, all of which worked fine. Next we tried some options on the Image file menu, including grayscale settings, filter, scale, and offset. The Undo feature is selectable, and there's a control for dumping the undo queue. The Tools menu includes an interesting Color Test feature, and the program has an ICC Profiles option, too. We quickly rendered our image totally indistinguishable from the original with a variety of transformations, saved it, and reopened it, all in about as much time as it takes Photoshop to load its credits. It's not perfect; for instance, the Undo feature didn't always undo everything we'd just done, which may be because of a configuration setting we'd not yet discovered. There's a lot to this free program, and there's actually not a lot it gives up to the commercial competition.
Though i.Mage can't quite do everything the big boxes from Adobe and Corel can do, it doesn't try. Its mission is different: to quickly load, edit, and save images, and move on to the next job.
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