Not much time has elapsed between the launch of Adobe’s first Photoshop Album and this, its second. Bypassing even the annual update route, here there’s been a nine month gap, although arguably problems with the first release contributed to this haste.
So is this one any more polished? Well, we’ll come to that shortly, after we’ve tackled the basics. Adobe Photoshop Album 2 is a suite of tools to help you organise your digital photos, in the same way you’d put physical prints in an album.
Kicking off by scouring whatever drives, cards or external sources you choose (even your mobile phone this time around), the program pulls together all images that meet your set criteria – over 100kb in size, for example – and instantly sets about sorting them by file date.
That’s a handy way to start, as you can then click straight through to a calendar view and browse your images on a month-by-month basis. If you have several images taken on the same day, a simple zoom tool allows you to view as few or as many in one go as you’d like. In fact, once you’ve found your way around the main screen, the program is much easier to use than the previous version.
As the title suggests though, there’s more than one way to organise your images, and Adobe has done some useful work on the album structure. The way this operates is that you have a list of your virtual photo albums (effectively folders, with requisite sub-folders) on the right of the screen and you drag images from the main photo window into the appropriate ‘album.’
Or you can do it the other way round, and drag from the album to the image, which has the same effect. Either way, there’s more flexibility this time around in the naming of these albums, and it all seems that bit more user friendly. Pictures, as last time, can also be captioned.
One important point to note. The software doesn’t move your images around, meaning they’re where you left them on your hard drive. This is appreciated, as is the leaving of the original image intact should you venture into the limited palette of touch-up tools.
With relative ease, the software can sort out red eyes on photos, lighting, colour, blurring and suchlike, just by opening an image and hitting the ‘fix’ button. It’s happy to do the work automatically, or to get you a bit more involved. Either way, you can see a ‘before and after’ before you agree to the changes, and then the new file is saved under a different file name.
In all honesty, the photo tools aren’t wonderful and are no substitute for a dedicated package (which is why Adobe also sells this title in a double pack with its Photoshop Essentials software), but they’ll do the job for many people. They require no expertise and take a matter of seconds to apply.
The final aspect of Photoshop Album 2 is the sharing of the images at the end of it all. There’s a limited number of projects you can undertake; for instance, you can create a calendar, video CD or a greeting card. And then by hitting the Share button, you can send your images via e-mail, you can share them online, you can fire them over to a mobile phone or take advantage of the flexible printing options.
In all, it’s a neatly improved product, and one that’s more centred around the user than the first version. It’s handy, too, especially if you have hundreds of images cluttering up your PC.
There’s one caveat, and that’s that if you’re looking for something that can properly retouch as well as organise your images, we’d be more inclined to push you towards Microsoft’s admittedly more expensive Digital Image Pro. Nonetheless, Photoshop Album 2 gets a thumbs up, and a hope that we can now wait at least a year until we see the third version.
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