A few days ago, someone asked me,
“So.. which way are you going to go with Sagelight?”
referring to going towards more of a piece-wise editor like Adobe, or something more focused on doing specific things, but with less power.
Both have their advantages. From an engineering perspective, I like the piece-wise type of setup. It gives you a massive amount of power. But, what use is power if you don’t know how to use it and it’s inaccessible? This is the classic problem with programs like Photoshop — Photoshop is a very powerful editor, but it can take years to learn how to do simple things. This is because you have to understand the mechanics of what you’re doing more than you would in an editor that makes assumptions about what 90% of people editing their pictures want to do.
Enter Sagelight. This is the raison d’être of Sagelight: To do powerful things in a more simplified manner, quickly and as intuitively as possible. As Sagelight grows, it becomes much more powerful, and it’s a lot of work to keep this power noticeable and usable — this is why there are a growing number of video tutorials.
“The Text Situation”
The idea of Sagelight supporting text has been an issue I’ve been going back-and-forth on for decades now. Since Sagelight has been in existence for less than 2 years, maybe it just feels like it’s been decades. Perhaps this is because it’s a very difficult decision.
On the surface, it seems like an easy decision — yes, by all means, support text. I mean, why not be able to label your pictures, put fancy fonts, or just “Eat at Joes” on top of your image, or image you converted into some graphic art?
But, then comes the issues with where Sagelight is going, and what Sagelight is meant for.
Sagelight’s main focus is to provide powerful image processing functions with professional results. It has many state-of-the-art functions and new technology not found in other editors. There are many software packages that are above the $100 mark that don’t do as much as Sagelight. I’ve kept Sagelight cheaper on purpose, because I don’t think it’s necessary to charge that much for an editor.
This can cause a perception problem. I noticed that when I raised the price of version 3.0 that many more people started looking at the extended functions of Sagelight (such as the Smart Light, Dodge and Burn), etc. Tracking this down, I have come to believe that the issue is that when an editor is $20, people don’t look for things they don’t think will be there.
This is why I’ve purposely kept text out of Sagelight — to highlight and focus on the high-end functions that Sagelight contains.
To add text, I fear, will devalue sagelight because suddenly it will be a much more “well-rounded” editor, as opposed to an editor with the specific goal of making your image look really good.
But, on the other side, I realize that for many people this is a negative. Sagelight can’t be your only editor if it doesn’t support text. Though Sagelight was written as a specific answer to the difficulties in Elements and Photoshop; without text, Sagelight is always going to have to be one of multiple editors in your collection.
This is because, at some point, we all want to add text to an image. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, but if Sagelight doesn’t support it, it means you need another editor.
But, with text, my concern is that it will change the tone of Sagelight, diverting attention away from its real power.
I think I answered my own question by typing out this blog entry. But…
What do you think?