Switchover (part 2): Shotwell

After having introduced the world of GNU/Linux operating systems, it’s time to dig a bit into the specific applications.

The first one is Shotwell, the photo organiser for the GNOME project. Shotwell aims to be more a replacement to Picasa and iPhoto on Mac, rather than Lightroom, but it’s fast and does its job.

Shotwell exists as a precompiled binary package for most distros out there, so check your package manager. It’s highly probable that Shotwell is part of the default set of software already installed on the system, anyway. It is also possible to get the source tarball from the official Git repository and compile the software yourself.

Shotwell requires several dependencies, so have a look here to see the full list.

shotwell1
Shotwell and the main interface (together with my very confused photo collection)

On launch, Shotwell presents an interface very similar to iPhoto. You can import pictures into your photo library, categorise them and do small editing tasks on them. Extra editing requires launching an external editor.

It is possible to select multiple pictures, drag and drop into folders or events, add and remove tags, or just start a slideshow. It’s fast, quick and simple to use.

Shotwell 2
A picture is loaded, ready to get edited.

By opening a picture, it gets shown in the main window, with a toolbar underneath. From there it is possible to intervene with small tweaks such as rotation, cropping and straightening. There is also an option for red eye fixing.

The editing tools are quite easy to use but are limited. There is a curve preview, then sliders for settings such as Saturation, Highlights, Shadows, Contrast, Temperature and Tint. There is also live preview, but changes won’t be shown until the slider is released (unlike Lightroom which shows changes in real time, for some good fine tuning).

All in all, Shotwell is a good photo organiser. Its intended use is for everyday photo organisation and retouching, nothing major, but does its job pretty well. Plus, most distros have precompiled packages, so installation is a breeze.

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