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Review: PhotoSuite 4 Platinum
Author: Ken Herbig
MGI Software Corp (
System requirements: Windows 95/98/ME, NT 4.0 (SP3) or Windows 2000; Internet Explorer 5.0 required and included; Pentium 166 MMX Minimum (Pentium II-266 MMX recommended); 32 MB of RAM recommended; SVGA Video Card, 800x600 screen resolution; 24 bit True Color (2 MB Video Ram); 200 MB Hard Drive space plus 65 MB for IE and DirectX; Mouse; CD ROM Drive; 28.8k modem for access to Internet (Recommended); Color Printer (Recommended); Scanner or Digital Camera (Optional)

is a new program for me. I was not familiar with their previous version. I am running it on Windows 98 & ME. The installation of the program was flawless in both of the operating systems. When the software loaded it asked me what file extensions I wanted to associate to the program. I liked this feature, as I find that most programs have a tendency to just take over, as if they were the only program in the computer. (Applause to the programmers!)

The program has a very user friendly appearance from the first time you turn it on. It opens to a graphical interface menu. All of your options are also given in a Tool Bar at the top of the screen. When you click on "Get" a source list comes up. You have the options of getting a file from your computer, digital camera, scanner and even online at Kodak Photonet. Using the Computer button opens you up to a screen that is the same as MS Explorer. You find your photo and click on it and up it comes.

The program automatically changes to the "Prepare" screen. From here you can adjust and alter your photo anyway that you would like. You can rotate the photo if it is not in the desired position. A nice feature is that if you scan a picture and it is not perfectly straight, you can straighten it with just two clicks of the mouse. You click on one side of the photo and then on the other side to create a reference line. The line should show the degree that the photo is out of line. If possible, you can use a vertical or horizontal object to use as your line.

Cropping has never been so easy. It works the same as resizing a Windows screen. Click on the resize handles and drag the cropping rectangle to what you want. It makes cropping easy, as you can see how it is going to look before you crop it.

Touchup is the next area that is located in Prepare. This area gives you many options and tools that can be used to correct or enhance your photo. It has an automatic enhance feature. This really worked quite well on a sunrise photo that I was practicing with. This area also has Removal of Red Eye. I am sure that you have taken a photo of someone or an animal that had "Red Eye" from the flash unit of the camera. With PhotoSuite it has never been easier to correct. All you do is zoom in on the eye that you want to correct and adjust the brush size and click over the eye. That is all there is to it. By the way, all this is done through user friendly menus, so it is almost impossible to make a mistake. Want to look younger? While you are in the touchup menu you can remove wrinkles, blemishes and even do a touchup on those roots.

I like using the cloning tool that is incorporated into the program. I personally find it easier to touch up a photo with this tool than using brushes.

The program comes with so many filters that it is impossible to describe them all. I will tell you that using them is a lot of fun. You can get some really nice effects by experimenting with them. I especially had fun with the "Interactive Warps" in the Special Effects menu. What you can do to someone's photo is amazing, actually quite humorous.

I have been told that PhotoSuite has been known for their ability to stitch photos together. You can take a series of regular photos and make them into a panoramic view. I found that you need to use a tripod if you really want to use this feature correctly. Make sure that you overlap when you are taking the photos. Remember that the program uses objects that are in the photos to place them on each other, The more that you give in the overlap the better the stitching will be.

Photo Tapestry is something that I had never seen. It actually makes your photos look like a real tapestry. It uses small images to do the effect that it needs. It actually matches the tone of the picture, so that after it is complete you can still have your photo image in the finished product.

With the compose feature you can be as creative as you would like. The program is loaded with pre-made features such as calendars, cards, frames for your photos. Business cards, name tags even stationery. You name it, you've got it.

Organizing your photos has been simplified to the point of just putting them into albums. You can make your own albums and name them what you want. When you want a photo from a specific album, you just click on it and it will show you the photos in the project area on the right of the screen.

The "Share" button gives you many options. You can save your work, send email, create web items (Web Page - Interactive Panorama - Animated GIF Files) Also, my favorite, you can make a slide show of all your favorite photos and show it full screen. What a great idea for a party. As the guests are coming in you can be showing photos of your vacation on your computer screen. That ought to start some conversations.

In summary, I enjoyed working with the program. I found it easy to use with a low learning curve. I would highly recommend it for novices. If you have a scanner or a digital camera, you will be impressing your friends in no time. It is not a program that will replace PhotoShop, but it is not advertised to be.

The program can be purchased from all the major computer stores. Look around and get your best deal.

"It is worth it!"

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