TwinsVisions is a free image viewer that uses a so-called “3D image management system” to navigate and manage image collections.
It combines this with image editing and online image sharing functions, as well as Windows context menu integration.
If you are wondering what a “3D image management system” is, in simple terms it is a way to view your individual image folders such that they are represented by panels (called “image boards”) that you can view in 3D, zoom around and in and out of, etc.
This makes for an interesting experience, but one that takes a little bit of getting accustomed to, and whether ultimately it proves significantly more useful than, well, a non-3D interface IMHO remains an open question.
Regardless, there are three things that I can report about this program that I am sure about: (1) the 3D folder management function is quite interesting to work with, (2) the editing functions offered by this program are excellent, and (3) there are a number of little functionalities and tools that this program offers that are extremely useful, such as the context menu integration and the use of an “image basket” for images that you want to work with. Here are more notes on this program:
- The 3D folder management: (I mean “image board management”) interface is visually pleasing and creates a definite coolness factor. A number of hotkey+mouse combinations enable you to maneuver and navigate the camera and zoom in and out, and there are a number of pre-defined ways you can choose from in terms of how you want the program to arrange the image boards. The only criticism I have in this regard is that the controls are somewhat too mouse scroll wheel reliant, and for someone like myself who uses a laptop I would have liked the option to navigate with the arrow keys as well.
- Image editing: the image editing component of this program is extremely cool. It covers (a) typical functions such as resizing, cropping, and flipping, (b) image “fixes” such as fixing red eye, auto color levels, noise removal, etc, and (c) offers a number of useful effects, such as embossing, pixellization, distortion, re-colorization, etc. What I like about it is that you can select a part of the image and apply the effects you like only to that part (so, for example, only pixellate the part of the image you would like to conceal, etc).
- Image sharing: at the moment this might be more accurately be called Flickr integration, as Flickr is the only image sharing services that is supported. However, you can manage multiple Flickr accounts and manage Flickr tags, comments, and notes, etc. from within the program itself.
- Context menu integration: one of my favorite components. You can peform a wide range of functions straight from the context menu: upload to Flickr, resize, rotate, flip, apply a fix, etc. There’s also a “preview” function which launches an interesting, non-3D version of the program that enables you to quickly work with the image.
- The image basket: you can place images and/or image boards (i.e. folders) in the basket in order to be able to work with these in batch when you are ready to do so. (Note: if you like this function, check out the Piky Basket explorer extension).
- Metadata editing: is supported as part of the image editing component.
- Memory use: takes up only 22 megs in memory, which is much less than I would have expected for a program like this.
- Image tagging: is not supported. If you want this you might want to use a program such as Itag.
- Keyboard controls: specifically, using the arrow keys in place of the mouse to control the 3D camera. For laptop users but also for a better user experience for many people, I think.
- Honestly, when I first saw this program I was wishing for an immersive “wall of images” viewing experience such as that employed by the PicLens browser extension, which would fit perfectly with the concept of this program.
- The ability to upload images to other image sharing sites. Notwithstanding that I am personally a big fan of Flickr I would like to be able to upload to Picasa Web Albums as well.
- The ability to add a custom size/sizes to the resize function in the context menu. Especially useful for creating screenshots (alternately, if you want this check out VSO Image Resizer.
- Support for panoramic images: specifically, being able to scroll across a panoramic image using the mouse or arrow keys.
The verdict: I definitely recommend that you try this program, especially if you use Flickr, but be mindful that it is still in beta and there may be bugs that need to be ironed out. As an all around image viewer/editor it seems very well-rounded and robust. I’ve already uninstalled my previous image viewer in favor of this one; let me know in the comments how you like it.
Version Tested: 0.3.0.1104 Beta
Compatibility: Windows 2000/Vista/XP. Requires .NET Framework 2.0.
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 6 megs).