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Products of the Year
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From image creation to presentation building, graphics software is ready for the Internet age.

The past 18 months have seen "Internet" become the watchword in the computing world--probably nowhere more so than in the graphics software field. While the traditional functions of picture creation, photo retouching or video development are still de rigueur for graphics applications, feature sets have been expanded to include tools to prepare images for the Web.

And when you talk about the Web and graphics, bandwidth is the next logical point of discussion. Graphics packages have to excel at creating images, but they also must provide the means to shrink the size of graphics or remap their color selection to conform to the popular Netscape palette. As the best presentation graphics packages evolve this year, look for them to add even more Web-like tricks, such as frames.

Our best graphics software picks often go a long way toward helping the artistically challenged. ASAP WordPower 1.95, for example, builds smashing presentations out of simple word processing documents. Similarly, Microsoft Publisher 97 makes it easy to produce professional-looking Web pages and printed materials.

Graphics professionals will find plenty to like on this list, particularly in the multimedia/video arena. These programs now offer the power of workstation software at a fraction of the cost.

On the image-creation front, the dramatic price drops of digital cameras, color scanners and color printers have been matched by similar cost-cutting on the software side. Midrange graphics apps have powerful new controls and can accept professional-level components such as Photoshop plug-ins. Several of our Win 100 graphics products offer previously unheard-of sophistication for less than $200.

Corel may have come up with the ultimate trendsetter in graphics and publishing packages with the latest release of Ventura. It encompasses every one of this year's trends--it has all you need to build a document, and publish it in print, as a presentation and on the Web. It sets the pace for the coming year.






Graphics: The Winners

Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.