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Equilibrium’s DeBabelizer Pro 5.

After being neglected for several years, Equilibrium delivers an all-new DeBabelizer Pro 5. The Mac OS version is OS X native but runs comfortably under OS 9.2 and, in that environment, sports an interface not much different than that of version 3. Under the skin, DeBabelizer Pro 5 is bristling with features that let you acquire images from different sources, edit and optimize them, and convert the resulting files into one of more than 100 image, information, or digital-video formats for multiple platforms.

The program’s Save dialog makes the one built into Adobe Photoshop look anemic by comparison. Part of this is due to DeBabelizer’s long list of available file types, plus optional possibilities. How many programs can save a TIFF file in Sony PlayStation format? DeBabelizer reads and writes common CMYK formats, including Photoshop, JPEG, Scitex, and DSC files. All CMYK files are read and kept in CMYK format to eliminate the possibility of image degradation caused by CMYK>RGB conversion routines. A complete listing of all the Mac OS and Windows graphic file formats DeBabelizer Pro reads and writes can be found on its Web site.

DeBabelizer Pro 5 lets computer users automate repetitive editing, optimization, and file translation tasks. With four built-in dithering options, along with enhanced GIF and JPEG compression, and dozens of built-in color palettes, DeBabelizer Pro 5’s SuperPalette lets you automatically create an optimized color palette for series of images. DeBabelizer Pro 5’s batch-processing capabilities include automated Web publishing that lets you publish Web catalog pages complete with HTML, thumbnails, and JPEG files. Using the program’s “hot folder” feature, you can drag and drop an unlimited number of files into a prescripted folder for immediate processing.

DeBabelizer Pro 5 is expandable, allowing users to create custom workflows using Apple’s QuickTime 5 and AppleScript-able applications. Some scripts are built in, but even novices will find it easy to create scripts, which will allow them prepare images for a multitude of media. And in these days of puny documentation-or worse yet, downloadable PDF files-Equilibrium includes a genuine two-pound user guide in the box.

Missing is the access to Photoshop-compatible plug-ins that previous versions offered. Because it’s OS X-native, DeBabelizer Pro 5 is not compatible with most current Photoshop-compatible plug-ins-there are few carbonized plug-ins. (Carbon is Apple’s technology that enables programs to run under Mac OS X or OS 8.9/9.) As I write this, the only carbonized plug-ins available for Photoshop are Procreate’s KPTeffects and KnockOut 2. Equilibrium promises a free update when more plug-ins become OS X-compatible. In the meantime, DeBabelizer Pro 5 includes several sharpening and blurring filters that are similar to those included with Adobe Photoshop, but some simply “click and apply,” rather than providing a dialog box with full slider controls.

Equilibrium DeBabelizer Pro 5 has an estimated street price of $469, but will probably pay for itself the first time you use it. This is must-have software for cross-platform graphics professionals. A free trial version can be downloaded from Equilibrium’s site.

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