Corel takes a bite of raw photography with Bibble buy

At CES, the image-editing software company will introduce new photo software based on Bibble's raw-processing technology, the company's president says.

Bibble 5 offers cataloging and editing features that will form the basis of a new Corel software package.
Bibble 5 offers cataloging and editing features that will form the basis of a new Corel software package. Bibble Labs

Corel, a longtime maker of image-editing software, has acquired Bibble Labs and will introduce new software at CES based on Bibble's technology for processing raw photos from higher-end cameras.

Bibble President Jeff Stephens announced the acquisition and new software plan in a blog post Friday. Bibble Labs' latest product, Bibble 5.2.3, will be the last, and Stephens now is leading development of the new photo "workflow" software at Corel, he added.

Further details of the software aren't yet clear, but it sounds an awful lot like Adobe Systems' Lightroom and Apple's Aperture. Both of those packages are designed to import photos, let people catalog them with keywords and albums, edit them with a nondestructive process that leaves originals intact, then export or print the shots. And they're particularly designed for handling raw photos.

With Bibble 5, Bibble Labs already was well down this path, too, with a range of features for cataloging photos and nondestructively editing them. Just by putting on a new brand name, Corel already will be will on its way.

Raw photo formats offer greater flexibility and quality than conventional JPEG images, but the power comes with a price: Files are larger, processing them into a format others can see requires a lot of manual labor, and the software to do that processing can strain even powerful computers.

Bibble's software can handle a range of proprietary raw image formats.
Bibble's software can handle a range of proprietary raw image formats from Nikon, Sony, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, and more. Bibble Labs

Many photo professionals and enthusiasts shoot raw, and it's become central to photography software. Corel will use Bibble technology in its new software, and Bibble will get help from Corel user interface programmers, testers, customer support staff, and employees who can translate the software into new languages. Stephens had this to say about the pairing:

Corel bought us for a couple of reasons. First, they were looking for a top-of-the-line technology to complement PaintShop Pro, their flagship photo editing solution. They were blown away by the speed of Bibble's technology and saw the opportunity to invest even more in development and in bringing our technology to even more users--something that Bibble Labs simply couldn't afford to do on our own. We've been working with the Corel team for the past few months and it's clear they're committed... They recently released PaintShop Pro to very strong user and industry reviews, and are now keen to offer photographers a powerful workflow and management solution.

The new Corel software is "based on the core Bibble technology," Stephens said, and "all of us at the Labs can focus 100% on the core technology and the product."

Bibble staff will remain in Austin, Texas, and will continue to support not just Windows, where Corel is strongest, but also Mac OS X and Linux, he added.

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