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December 1996 Reviews This Month

12/96 Reviews SW: PhotoSuite 8.0

Snap Up a Very Suite Deal

By James E. Powell

MGI's PhotoSuite is half work and half play. Use its serious graphics tools to snag an image of your child's face and place it on a superhero's body. Or touch up photos, eliminating red-eye and other flaws. You can also take screen captures, organize pictures into photo albums or acquire illustrations from TWAIN-compatible scanners. PhotoSuite has something for everyone and costs under $50.

For home use, The Activity Guide provides a visual menu of the more popular editing and photo-enhancement activities, such as printing photos, creating sports or greeting cards, adding word balloons to a photo, and creating magazine covers or calendars. Special effects can turn your photo into an oil painting or mosaic.

The outlining capability, which lets you enclose your picture in a frame, possesses some smarts. If your photo doesn't fit, Auto Fit simply fills the frame.

The program will hook you immediately, with fun results that really belie its impressive power. A Smart Magic Wand lets you quickly select an area to copy. This is actually much easier to use than the equivalent feature in high-end products such as Adobe Photoshop.

To get you started, the box includes a special offer for converting your next roll of film into printed and digital images.

As a general-purpose graphics editor, PhotoSuite packs plenty of power. The main screen area displays floating toolbox palettes that show the current color palette and drawing tools. You can work with files in a variety of standard formats, including Kodak Photo CD and the latest FlashPix standard (Kodak's new digital imaging standard). Tools let you convert color depth; create transparent .GIF files (great for the Internet); zoom in and out; and flip, rotate (in 90-degree increments) and mirror an image. It supports drag and drop of graphics files from Explorer to the PhotoSuite icon for editing. The program also allows in-place editing of images embedded in other files, such as a word processing document.

Other features include screen-capture instructions for turning photos into Windows wallpaper or a screen saver, and special effects such as embossing, sharpening and softening details, enhancing edges, and adjusting colors and contrast. Several Lens Effects, which act as color filters, add either warm reddish tones, a soft blue incandescent lighting effect or a fog-like mist. Undo is limited to a single level, though the preview windows help compensate for this deficiency.

The program comes with a 32-bit version for Windows 95 (which I tested) and a 16-bit version for Windows 3.1. This package offers amazing speed in everything from saving files to applying special effects. From mundane to magical, PhotoSuite can tackle most common image-editing tasks.

-- Info File --
PhotoSuite 8.0
Pros: Wide range of powerful graphics editing tools
Cons: Single-level Undo
Disk Space: 32MB
Platforms: 3x, Win95, NT
MGI Software Corp.
888-MGI-SOFT, 905-764-7000
WinMag Box Score 4.5

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