There isn’t exactly a shortage of photo-editing and image-manipulation packages on the market, driven even more in recent years by the Internet and the increasing popularity of digital cameras. NewSoft’s latest suite of photo tools is aimed squarely at the consumer. The core program is an explorer-like interface with files and directories, the right-hand pane showing thumbnail images of all the image files in the highlighted directory. Photos can be imported from a digital camera, a scanner or an existing file.
This central application provides basic manipulation tools, such as rotate, lighten, sharpen, darken, etc. The instant enhancement feature is very effective, giving a choice of four sample images with varying contrast, brightness and saturation. At least one of these is invariably better than the original photograph or scan, which then gives you a good starting point from which to experiment further. Using the TouchUp feature, you can then adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and focus, as well as adjust tints and remove red-eye from camera flash.
Another component, Photo Composer, lets you blend two photographs together. After selecting two images – the first being the foreground, the second the background – the program will superimpose one on top of the other. Once you’ve decided on the relative location of the two images, you can then use the brush tools to carefully blend the two images together, particularly at the edges of people or objects. The results, with a bit of care, can be quite convincing. PhotoAlbum, meanwhile, lets the user sort and organise their photographs, or add frames, textures and special effects.
There are plenty of other functions within this mini-suite of photo tools. For example, it’s possible to print a photo, a catalogue of images or some stickers, create thumbnail images, upload images to or download them from Kodak’s PhotoNet, and send slideshows via e-mail in the shape of a stand-alone executable file. Images can also be saved as screen-savers, or turned into an animated GIF, suitable for use in a Web page.
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