Software Developers Vie For Imaging Enthusiasts

By Staff On Oct 8 2007 - 6:00am

ACD Systems, Adobe and Corel updated their digital imaging programs this month, taking aim at digital photo enthusiasts thirsting for greater creative controls.

ACD Systems updated its Photo Manager software. Version 10 offers integration with photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and SmugMug, via a new Uploader tool, which will be updated on a continuous basis to reflect new partnerships, the company said.

A new photo widget lets users add slideshows and layouts to Web pages and blogs.

The software features several new image-organization features, such as a virtual calendar for displaying images according to date captured, and an instant preview that enlarges images when the mouse passes over them. Several new tools assist in image correction, including a shadow/highlight function that automatically restores details to under or overexposed portions of an image.

ACDSee 10 Photo Manager is shipping now for a suggested $49.99 or in a bundle with ACDSee Photo Editor for a suggested $79.99.

Adobe will ship new versions of its Photoshop Elements digital photography and Premiere Elements digital video software to dealers this month

Photoshop Elements 6 and Premiere Elements 4 will be sold separately for a suggested $99 or bundled for $149. Mac versions of the programs will be available in 2008, Adobe said.

Among the new features in Photoshop Elements is Photomerge, which lets consumers combine elements from separate group photos to create a single new image. A new Quick Selection tool speeds up the select-and-adjust task to one click.

The program also features an improved conversion tool for converting color images into black and white. Photoshop Elements offers three modes for varying levels of experience along with a new "guided edit" mode that walks a consumer through various photo correction steps.

Premiere Elements 4 will incorporate the same organizer tool found in Photoshop Elements for tagging and finding video and still content.

Also new to Elements is a "sharing center" for outputting video to a variety of formats, including Blu-ray Discs, the Internet and mobile devices.

Corel's new Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 photo editing program offers a new Express Lab feature to speed imaging downloading and for making corrections to multiple images simultaneously, including RAW image files.

The program incorporates several new features over its predecessor, including a one-click "thinify" tool for making a subject slimmer, and a new eye dropper for removing red eye. The firm said it also enhanced its Suntan brush and Blemish fixer to make them easier to use.

Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 also adds a layer styles function for adding shadows, embossing, bevels and reflections to images or text, and visible watermarks for protecting images in distribution. A "save for office" function resizes and compresses files for sharing via email

The program will retail for a suggested $99.99.

Corel also said it would update its consumer photo and video editing software, giving it new features and a new name.

MediaOne Plus, formerly SnapFire Plus, lets consumers organize and edit digital photos and videos and includes an automatic online backup service from Sharpcast. Using Sharpcast, consumer's images are backed up online automatically at full resolution for 30 days and then at 1,600 by 1,200 resolution thereafter, free of charge. To retain the full resolution image backup, consumers can subscribe to Sharpcast's premium service.

MediaOne will be available in a Plus version, which offers photo and video templates and photo makeover tools, for a suggested $49.99.

A free Starter version includes more basic editing and sharing tools and a 30-day free trial of the features in the Plus edition. Corel will also bundle a copy of MediaOne Plus with Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.

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