Thursday, January 15, 2009
Speed through organization and image review with some of our favorite imaging apps
SOME FULL-FEATURED ORGANIZERS ALSO FEATURE POWERFUL PHOTO-EDITING CAPABILITIES
With ACDSee Pro 2.5, photographers can keep images organized while also gaining the ability to apply nondestructive and pixel-level editing. Photos can be imported and organized with searchable categories, keywords, EXIF and IPTC metadata, and more. Collections can be browsed in a customized interface, and images can be renamed, rotated, deleted, organized and backed up. Some of the image-editing tools include a Shadows/Highlights adjustment and a Photo Repair tool for blemishes, flares, lens scratches and imperfections. Selection tools can apply local adjustments to defined areas, including blur, saturation, color and more. Pro 2.5 also adds custom borders, drop shadows and edge effects, as well as offering print templates, slideshows and online galleries. ACDSee Pro 2.5 is currently Windows-compatible only, but a Mac version is in development—go to acdsee.com/proformac for more info. List Price: $129.
Adobe first offered its Lightroom image browser as an alternative to its soup-to-nuts Photoshop powerhouse, which tended to be overkill for a lot of casual users. Maintaining the essential editing tools of Photoshop, Lightroom offered a more straightforward interface and a user-friendly experience. Now updated to Lightroom 2, the program has become a powerhouse in itself, featuring better integration with Photoshop and the rest of the Creative Suite 4 programs, as well as more accurate image enhancements, improved batch processing, metadata filters for faster searching, off-line volume management and a new architecture that accepts plug-ins for even more creative potential. List Price: $299.
Aperture 2 is Apple’s image browser/organizer aimed at creative pros and Mac enthusiasts who need more power than iPhoto provides. Capture is fast and easy, including tethered-shooting support from a camera attached by USB or FireWire. Photos can be stored anywhere, and Aperture will keep them organized by project, folder, album and Smart Albums, which are able to keep images together based on criteria that you designate. There’s also automatic addition of copyright, captions, keywords and metadata during import. Aperture 2 provides a healthy image-editing set, too, with retouching tools, highlight recovery, definition, vibrancy, vignetting, image comparisons, straightening, a lift and stamp tool for copying adjustments to multiple images, and selective color adjustments. Plug-in architecture expands the possibilities, and there are a variety of export options, including online publishing, book ordering and prints. List Price: $199.
Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2
Corel’s Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 photo-editing browser has numerous organizational abilities, including metadata, importing and viewing, and searchable photos. The Express Lab mode makes rotating, resizing, cropping, straightening and removing red-eye fast operations. The integrated Learning Center teaches you how to use the program’s many professional image-correction functions, which include offerings like HDR Photo Merge, histogram adjustments, curves, sharpening, layers and adjustment layers, levels-adjustment tools, and artistic effects and filters. Original photos are automatically stored as copies for preservation of your original images. For only $30 more, X2 Ultimate is a more hearty version of the program, and offers support for RAW files, a background remover, media-recovery software, a 2 GB USB Flash Drive, Corel Painter Photo Essentials 4 and more than 150 extra creative features. List Price: $69 (Paint Shop Pro Photo X2); $99 (Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate).
DxO Optics Pro 5
DxO Optics Pro’s workflow provides a multitude of features centered around a streamlined design. The interface is organized efficiently into four tabs: Select, Prepare, Process and Review. Images can be dropped into a filmstrip window below, where they then can be automatically processed or moved on for further editing with color-coding and duplication. Correction of optical flaws also is provided for distortion, vignetting, softness and aberration, and noise and dust removal, plus EXIF-based batch processing files images according to stored camera and lens details. DxO Optics Pro 5 Standard and DxO Optics Pro 5 Elite are both Mac- and Windows-compatible, and differ only in the number of cameras and lenses they support respectively. List Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite).
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