WebRef Update: Featured Article: PhotoImpact 5 Packs an Affordable Punch | WebReference

WebRef Update: Featured Article: PhotoImpact 5 Packs an Affordable Punch


PhotoImpact 5 Packs an Affordable Punch

A little earlier this year, we were able to give some of our newsletter readers a software bundle featuring SoftQuad's HoTMetaL Pro 6.0, Ulead's Cool 3D 2.5 and Ulead's PhotoImpact 5, through our "Subscribe & Win!" contest. I've been a fan of both companies' products, so I was happy to have the opportunity to hook some of you up with free copies. It was only in the last couple of weeks, however, that I finally got to sit down and try out PhotoImpact 5 for myself. What I found was both unsurprising and satisfying - a solid, full-featured and affordable image editor geared at Web developers and others that need to make high-quality graphics and images, without necessarily becoming graphics professionals themselves.

Standard Features:

The PhotoImpact interface is sensible, and will quickly make sense to those with experience with other graphic editors. The program has all the standard basic drawing and selection tools that you would expect a comparable editor to have in the year 2000. Newcomers to the world of graphics will have to spend a little more time with the help menus, and power users will want to take a look at the differences in the way that PhotoImpact deals with masks, layers and objects, as compared to PaintShopPro or Photoshop. As you would expect, the program comes with a comprehensive collection of filters and effects, ranging from the artistic (watercolor and oil paint effects), to the practical (despeckle), and the somewhat silly (flaming text).

You begin to see some of the beginner-friendly features when you examine the easy drag and drop effects in the EasyPalette gallery. Despite the name, EasyPalette isn't a color selector. Instead, the Palette that you are choosing from is a collection of some of the most useful and commonly used effects, filters and processes in the program, laid out in a easy-to-browse hierarchy. These range from automatic bevelling for buttons, and common color correction procedures, to lighting and particle effects. (Need to put bubbles in your fish photo? No problem! Make your text look metallic? Piece of cake!) Just because these effects are predefined doesn't mean that they're not customizable - one click, and you can edit all the parameters for a given preset.

Those with either an experimental or nervous disposition will appreciate the 99 levels of undo - I know I sure did! (I actually fall in both categories, so it was doubly useful for me..) If you're looking for raw material to use in your projects, PhotoImpact comes with bundled with 1000 photos, 1000 pieces of clip art, 450 GIF animations, 300 textures, and 30 Fonts. It also comes with the Quick Album media organizer program, which makes keeping track of your images easier and more efficient.

Next: Web Targeted Features and The Verdict

This article originally appeared in the May 11, 2000 edition of the WebReference Update Newsletter.

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Comments are welcome
Written by Eric Cook and

Revised: May 12, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/new/photo.html