by Radical Liberation <firstname.lastname@example.org>
GIFConverter, a shareware program written by Kevin Mitchell <email@example.com>, focuses on conversion of various graphic file formats to and from GIF compressed format. GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a popular compressed graphics format for images with up to 256 colors or greyscales (8 bits of color info per pixel). Version 2.3.7 includes support for 24-bit images and JPEG compression, though many features still only work with 8-bit images.
GIFConverter allows conversion between PICT, JPEG-compressed PICT, JFIF, GIF, TIFF, Postscript, StartupScreen, and other, more obscure, image types. GIF format support includes the latest 87a standard, interlacing, and Global Maps. GIFConverter excels at conversion, but it also provides other helpful features. You can add or crop borders, and you can scale or rotate the image (in 90 degree increments). Finally, you can alter the color table to one more suitable, such as the Apple standard 256-color palette for an image that you want to use as a desktop picture.
For 8-bit images, GIFConverter offers comprehensive color twiddling tools. You can resurrect a washed-out looking scan using Brightness and Contrast settings. Alternately, you can get serious with a histogram-oriented palette editor, although using the palette editor interface is non-trivial compared to adjusting the Brightness slider bar. Experimentation brings fun, if not immediately useful, results. Note that GIFConverter is not a paint program and has none of the usual set of paint tools other than rectangular cropping.
Though peripheral to GIFConverter's primary mission, the program supports image viewing in several ways. You can view or print a single image by opening it and applying one of several dithering techniques for increasing the on-screen quality. For viewing many images, you can use GIFConverter's slide show feature. GIFConverter slide shows appear as a list of images which you can save. The images can be ordered arbitrarily, with images repeated if you so desire. Although GIFConverter handles these duties decently, JPEGView, reviewed in TidBITS-228, is a superior image viewing program in almost all respects.
GIFConverter costs US$45, (US$50 outside of North America), a price I gladly paid because I like to convert downloaded GIF images to smaller JPEG images in order to save disk space. Upon registration, Kevin sends you a fairly well written manual, which is particularly useful for figuring out the histogram feature. I recommend GIFConverter to anyone with simple image conversion needs who doesn't want to drop a half-grand for Photoshop.