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Imaging Software Adding HD Support

New York — A raft of new imaging software for editing digital stills and video will hit store shelves this month, aiming to help consumers get a handle on their mushrooming digital archives.

Some new features include support for HD video while photo editors are automating an increasing array of photo fixes and sharing features.

Adobe announced new versions of its Photoshop Elements imaging program and its Premiere Elements video program.

Photoshop Elements 4.0, for a suggested $99.99, incorporates several new tools, including a magic selection brush that allows consumers to select specific parts of photos for color, lighting and contrast adjustments. Adobe added automatic red-eye removal across a batch of photos, one-click skin tone correction and face tagging, which allows consumers to keep photos at their fingertips with new ways to find and view them.

The company also added new photo sharing features including multimedia slide shows and integration with online photo services.

Adobe’s video editor, Premiere Elements 2.0, will ship this month for an estimated street price of $99.99.

The new version features DV-quality video transfer over USB 2.0 and a new media downloader for transferring video from non-DV devices including unprotected DVD disks, set-top recorders and MPEG-4 video cameras.

Adobe will sell a bundle with Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements for a suggested $149.99.

Corel introduced new versions of its Paint Shop and Photo Album imaging programs, software titles it acquired with the purchase of Jasc software in 2004. These are the first introductions since the takeover.

Corel Paint Shop Pro X, for a suggested $129, features a revamped user interface featuring a new, integrated ‘learning center’ that organizes software tools by task.

Editing features include a new smart photo fix tool which analyzes a photo and suggests settings to auto-correct color, brightness, sharpness, and saturation. A makeover tools lets users quickly retouch the subjects in their photos. Pro X also offers expanded support for camera RAW files and will bundle Corel’s Photo Album 6 image organizer.

Photo Album 6 will also be available separately for a suggested $49. The new version includes a zero-click download that automatically downloads, rotates and saves photos to a destination chosen by the user. A new photo trays setting lets users sort photos for e-mailing, printing, or uploading to a photo sharing Web site.

A recent downloads list keeps track of the last 10 groups of photos downloaded to the user’s computer. The company also added more creative templates to Photo Album for creating photo calendars, greeting cards, scrapbook and album pages, collages, video CDs, multimedia slide shows, certificates, hard cover albums and other photo-related items.

Corel also announced a co-marketing and co-bundling partnership with Sony Media Software. The deal will package Sony’s video editing software with Corel’s still image and graphics programs.

A Visual Creation Studio bundle for consumers will package Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio+ DVD and Corel’s Photo Album 6 for a suggested $129.95. A Visual Creation Studio Pro for advanced users will combine Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio + DVD Platinum Edition with Corel’s Paint Shop Pro X for a suggested $199.95.

Roxio introduced the eighth version of its Easy Media Creator digital media suite. The multimedia software lets users author CD and DVDs, manage and edit photos and video and play digital music. It will ship this month for a suggested $99.99.

A new ‘task assistants’ feature guides consumers through creating personal projects.

New to Media Creator 8 is a ‘DVD Music Disc’ option which can burn up to 50 hours of Dolby Digital-quality music to a DVD disk. The new version also features a ‘MusicID’ file identifier which automatically fixes or adds the correct title, artist and genre.

The software’ s VideoWave’s video editor adds support for HD video streams and DiVX 6. The photo editor offers a new LiveShare feature which establishes a private peer-to-peer connection between computer users via an e-mail Web link. After the recipient clicks the link, they are able to directly browse and download photos on their PC.

TMPG announced the release of its Tsunami MPEG Media Editor. The editor, for a suggested $49.95, now supports HD video and features frame-level cut-editing, audio filters, integrated Dolby Digital (2ch AC-3) support, a batch encoder for rendering multiple files simultaneously, and tools for multiplexing and de-multiplexing capabilities.