go to contents of current issue PhotoImpact 4.2

A friend introduced me to the saying: "I want it, I need it, I'll use it every day.". Well, that pretty much describes my relationship with PhotoImpact from Ulead. This is my weapon of choice, and remember, I get to look at just about everything, so when all the biggies are sitting on my computer and I choose to use this one, you know I've got to have a reason.

Basically, I went to PhotoImpact partly because of the thumbnail album program which is so useful to track all those images on disk, diskettes and cd. (I just wish they'd give us a directory tree view). Most image applications have some kind of program for managing images. Ulead's has moved more towards the database end of the spectrum. One thing to watch when using this program, however is that the files are linked absolutely, not relatively, and you can't do what I tried to do, and create an album of files while working on them, and then transfer the files to a CD. The relinking function only works if you keep EXACTLY the same directory structure, you may think that the program should be able to find the files and relink them -- but it can't, and I've done the manual relinking of 3,000 files (screech!). This is one of those occasions where a couple of hours of programming time could save thousands of users hundreds of hours of worthless work in the future.

The image handling of PhotoImpact is excellent, and each revision seems to create better images. PhotoImpact is basically designed for retouching images rather than creating them. The 2-D headings that we have on this site are created in PhotoImpact. We also use PhotoImpact to create clickable maps. The Image mapping utility stops one step back from being perfectly useful, however if you know how to code image maps then PhotoImpact is great for giving you the co-ordinates for clickable areas.

Perhaps the biggest life-saver is the Smartsaver, a wondrous utility which enables you to create GIF, jpg or PNG files on the fly, from within PhotoImpact, or by right-clicking on image file names in Windows Explorer or other applications. Especially great is that fact that you can create transparent GIFs with multiple transparent colours which you can pick directly off the image.

PhotoImpact has plenty of stuff for creating graphics for your web pages, including three-dimensional buttons of any shape and three-d text. There are built-in frames and special effects for converting your photos into painterly images. Of course, learning how to construct your frames well, and how to choose the right effects to change your snap into a work of art takes hours and hours of practice, but hell, it's more challenging than doom and fun for all the family.

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The PhotoImpact update is available at the ulead site. Australian distributor is Lakovision.
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Festivale Online Magazine
Celebrate everything!
ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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