Handmade Software was incorporated in 1990 by consultants Marcos H.
Woehrmann and Allan N. Hessenflow. Mr. Woehrmann and Mr.
Hessenflow had worked on a variety of consulting projects together,
and had accumulated between them 25 years of consulting experience
before forming Handmade Software. Mr. Hessenflow excels in
mathematical programming and hardware design, and has developed
MPEG hardware and software, graphics display hardware and software,
and other products on a variety of platforms and operating systems.
Mr. Woehrmann excels in rapid prototyping and has created machine
vision and other types of software.
Although the original formation of the company was a consultancy,
the principals soon realized a viable business opportunity could
be realized by leveraging the intellectual property that Handmade
Software owned in conjunction with their consulting. The first
product in this business was Image Alchemy.
Image Alchemy is an image conversion
and compression utility. It supports a wide variety of raster
formats, which means that it reads
and writes scanned and digitized images. Handmade Software
guarantees support of every color space and compression type for
each format it supports. The second product was Image Alchemy PS.
Image Alchemy PS added a powerful and versatile PostScript level 2 RIP
with the ability to read and write PostScript, EPS and PDF formats to
the already rich feature set of Image Alchemy.
The reasoning was that profitabilty
and productivity in high-end digital production environments required much more
than a limited yet expensive single purpose RIP could deliver.
The remarkable thing about Image Alchemy PS is the price. The PostScript RIP
portion of the software constituted a small fraction of the many formats
supported. The price at which HSI obtained this portion was based on the
fraction of additional formats that it added -- constituting a considerable
value, since other RIP vendors pay full price for theirs.
In the absence of information about the quality of RIPs, price is the only
indicator of quality. The temptation to raise prices in order to meet
customer expectations was very real. Instead it was decided to inform the
public by providing access to the products on-line.