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Imaging Software Expands Photography’s Reach

Las Vegas — Imaging software is steadily expanding beyond basic editing an organizing toward greater creativity and sharing options.

Several programs announced at the Photo Marketing Association’s annual trade show, held here March 8-11, stressed their ability to move images beyond the desktop.

Adobe released information about its forthcoming Photoshop CS3 suite. The company will release two versions, a standard product and an “extended” package which builds off the standard package by adding 3D and motion graphics capabilities and other professional tools.

The product will be formally launched on March 27, where additional details will be announced.

Corel updated its Snapfire consumer-level image organizer and slideshow maker. The new Snapfire 1.2, will include a free trial of muvee autoProducer 5, which automatically edits videos and synchronizes them with visual effects and music.

Sharpcast released the first official version of its Sharpcast Photos program, which lets users sync photo collections across PCs, the Internet and mobile phones.

The desktop program can create a private and secure mirror image online, allowing users to access and sync their photo collections away from home through a Web browser. Changes made to any image are synchronized in each location.

The software also includes a group albums feature that lets users share an album and add photos to it, alongside real-time commenting.

The software will be available for free through the firm’s Web site. The free plan stores images at full resolution for 30 days, after which they are downsized to 1,600 by 1,200 resolution. To keep images at full resolutions, users will have to subscribe for $5.99 per month or $64.99 per year. The site also offers photo printing and gift creation.

SimpleStar introduced version 5 of its PhotoShow software, alongside a new online community for creating multimedia slideshows from uploaded images. The PhotoShow program automatically creates multimedia slide shows from digital images and videos that can then be burned to a DVD or uploaded to SimpleStar, which offer a professional disc-burning for consumers and its retail partners.

The new version of the software offers 88 one-click slideshow styles with preset music and themes and an expanded library of licensed music with artists such as Blues Traveler, Miles Davis and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among others. The software also has a revamped user interface and new help mode.

SimpleStar is also expanding its cable TV platform, said Chad Richard, CEO. First debuted in Hawaii through Time Warner, this on-demand service lets users upload PhotoShows to a dedicated TV channel, where they can be viewed by anyone with cable TV in those markets.

The next trial begins this week in Staten Island, Richards said. Right now the service is more oriented to “community casting” where any individual can view the broadcast photo show channels, but the company is also working to create private sharing via the TV, Richard said.