MGI – PhotoSuite 4 review

consumer photo editing package
Photo of MGI – PhotoSuite 4
£50

There’s a booming market for image editing software at the moment, driven primarily by the popularity of digital cameras and scanners. PhotoSuite 4 Platinum Edition is very firmly aimed at that market, and is supposed to provide powerful image editing features to the consumer who doesn’t want to know anything about EPS, CMYK or RGB.

Things start well. PhotoSuite 4 has its own very unique interface. The conventional Windows text menus are still there, but you don’t often need them, as big, clearly-labelled buttons perform most of the tasks you’ll need. In fact, the whole thing is wizard-driven, so your hand is held as you change colour balances, remove red-eye, apply filters, resize, export, cut, paste and stitch your photos. It can be a little frustrating if you’re a more experienced graphics package user, but with features like PhotoShop plug-in support, cut-outs and transparency, there’s a powerful engine hidden behind the interface.

The key feature of this release is Web integration. From within the program, you can design, edit and publish your own Web page, adjusting image sizes and types to suit. You can plug in sounds as well, and generally play around to your heart’s content. You’re likely to produce something ‘lively’ rather than particularly professional, but at least the results can be used as an online photo album, so you can bore/entertain friends on the other side of the world (or the other side of the room) with your holiday ‘slides’.

Then there are the clever tricks, such as the photo-tapestry, which allows you to break down a photo of your choice into a mosaic of other, smaller photos. The results are very impressive, and it’s loads of fun. You can make screen-savers from your photos, too, and apply all sorts of distorting effects to your pictures, before printing them or e-mailing them to unsuspecting friends and relatives.

Company: MGI

Contact: 0800 973830


Verdict
This is not a piece of software for the professional user. Although it has some impressive effects filters, the interface is far too 'family' oriented for that, and the supported file formats aren't comprehensive. But this is an advantage, not a disadvantage, as PhotoSuite 4 places some powerful tools at the hands of the relative novice, conveniently hiding the more complex components out of harm's way. Both the interface and the tools available are well suited to the consumer, for whom this is a comprehensive piece of image editing software.