As a web developer, I often have to deal with PSDs sent to me by web designers.
My day-to-day work with these PSDs is limited to
- Separating layers (because as a web developer, I often have to sort out repeating backgrounds, floating divs, etc.)
- Exporting (JPG/GIF/PNG)
Is there an application out there that allows me to do only those 3 things, and fast, without the memory bloat and monetary cost of Photoshop?
Something akin to a "Photoshop Viewer" that's very cut-down in features and targeted at web developers?
I'd be happy to pay a smaller price, say $30, rather than shell out hundreds for Photoshop bloatware that I won't be using half the features of.
I recommend the GIMP. I know that it can export to .psd files and then read those files. I'm not positive however, as I don't own a copy of Photoshop, if it can reliably read files created with Photoshop. The best thing about the GIMP is that it's free and open source, so it won't hurt to try it and see.
GIMP can handle layers and export/import more image formats than I could name, including .psd, and windows icons. It is very powerful. I can't say that it has a tiny memory footprint, but I was able to run it on old computer with only 128Mb RAM. If you are a web developer, you will surely be able to make use of it's many features. All the graphic work for my sites is done in that one program exclusively.
I assume you already know about Photoshop Elements? It is Adobe's stripped (and dumbed) down version of Photoshop.
I use it and the only problem I've encountered was when a PSD file was saved with layers linked, which PS Elements can't handle. I asked for the file to be saved without linked layers and that solved it.
Another money-saving tip is to buy the previous version on eBay. There is no need to always own the latest version and earlier versions are usually much cheaper.
maybe u could get the first photoshop version which supports slices (7?), cheaper on ebay or something.
personally i would recommend, that since you are a professional you invest in photoshop. it is a one-time cost, which pays off. gimp is powerfull, but since you already know photoshop, you'll have to relearn your already automatic workflows. this is often frustrating and takes time. and time is money.
btw: this is no answer, just a recommendation based on 6 years of experience.
I found a nice, fast PSD viewer: IrfanView.
Pity it doesn't support layers, but at least now I can view PSDs without having Photoshop installed.
Edit: I found another viewer that does support layers: 'SuperLayer'. Unfortunately it costs $29.99 USD. :( At that price, I might as well get Photoshop Elements.