Photo tools succeed in
their organizational tasks
by Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in Business in Vancouver
Issue #720 August 12- 18, 2003 High Tech Office column
do you do with your photos? Are they organized into albums or crammed
into shoeboxes, awaiting your attention. Digital cameras result in even
more photos being taken; the clutter of unsorted photos has moved from
the closet to the hard drive.
album software allows users to retrieve photos from camera, scanner,
and hard drive, view small thumbnail images and organize their photo
collections. Typically, users can print in a range of sizes, email
photos, or create online albums. Affordable (around $70) options
- Jasc Paint Shop Photo Album (www.jasc.com)
from the makers of Paint Shop Pro photo editor.
Vertical tabs on the left make it easy to move from photo browsing to
viewing information, to editing keywords and searching for photos. A
built-in image editor includes red-eye correction, an AdjustWizard,
excellent cropping features, and a one-step quick-fix tool.
The large set of print templates lets
users select a template, and drag photos to the page to print multiple
images or multiple sizes of the same image. The
email feature automatically resizes large photos for easier sending and
viewing. You can create photo slide shows, set musical backgrounds, and
output them to disc or set one as your Windows screen saver.
- ACDSee comes from Victoria’s ACD Systems (www.acdsystems.com). It’s
the fastest at loading and displaying large collections of photos,
supports the most graphics file formats, and does an especially
good job getting photos from cameras and scanners.
ACDSee also shines at resizing, renaming,
or converting the file formats of batches of photos at once.
Its interface is easily customized;
multiple interface arrangements can be created and stored.
It includes an external program, ACD
FotoCanvas, which includes a strong set of image editing features. If
you’ve saved photos onto multiple CDs, ACDSee can show you thumbnails
of all your photos letting you browse your collection without loading
the discs, and then prompting you for the proper CD when you want the
full-sized image. You can print contact sheets, specifying the number
photos per page but you’re limited to a single size at a time.
It’s easy to create and view a slide show,
but you can’t save it for distribution or use it as a screen saver.
ACDSee customers have free access to the company’s SendPix
service for posting pictures on the Web.
- Photoshop Album is the newest addition to
Adobe’s Photoshop lineup. Its clean interface makes it afterwards the
easiest to work with. It simplifies labeling and organizing large
groups of photos; just drag groups of pictures and drop them on
the appropriate category, making it easier to find pictures later.
But if you haven’t bothered to categorize your photos, a timeline
along the top helps you quickly find the photos you shot, say, on
holidays last July.
Building on its Photoshop heritage, it
includes powerful but easy to use photo enhancement tools such as a
series of ‘one-click correct’ options. I especially liked the ability
to add simulated flash and backlighting to pictures. This may provide
all the photo enhancement many will need, though owners of Adobe’s
affordable and powerful Photoshop Elements will find the two programs
play nice together.
Well-designed print tools make it easy to
squeeze as many pictures as possible onto that expensive photo paper.
And Album is the only program in its class to allow users to output
pictures to PDF format.
Full versions of Paint Shop Photo Album
and ACDSee can be downloaded and used for a trial period; Adobe has
made a downloadable ‘Starter Edition’ (limited to 250 photos) available
Mac users who’ve upgraded to OS X will
probably be happy with Apple’s built-in iPhoto; users of older Mac
systems may want to look at ACDSee, the only one of the three with a