Tools for the picturesmith – Micrografx’ Picture Publisher version 4.0 image editing software package – Software Review – Evaluation

Geoffrey Hollander

* * * 1/2

Picture Publisher

Version Reviewed: 4.0

List Price: $595

Average Street Price: $450

Publisher: Micrografx, (214) 234-1769, (800) 676-3110


Whether you’re a desktop publisher, graphic designer, or professional photographer, Micrografx’s Picture Publisher 4.0 may be the only software you’ll ever need for correcting, enhancing, or otherwise editing images. Picture Publisher’s intuitive and carefully designed interface will put you in command of your own electronic darkroom. In only an hour or two, you’ll be airbrushing, resizing, and adding stunning visual effects (like motion) to your pictures. Don’t make the mistake, however, of thinking that just because this program is easy to use, it lacks power or sophistication. Picture Publisher is that rare blend of high-end production power and simplicity.

You can scan photographs or other images directly into Picture Publisher using any handheld or full-page scanner that supports TWAIN, a specification intended to provide universal access to scanners and other imaging hardware. A picture can also be created as a new file within the program itself or imported from other applications. Because Picture Publisher works smoothly with a wide variety of file formats– GIF, TIFF, TGA (Targa), BMP (BitMap), DIB, PCX, PCD (Kodiak PhotoCD), AVI, and PP4—you can easily convert picture files from one of these to another. This gives you the freedom to choose from a variety of existing images and enables you to process files submitted by different clients.

Some basic features include the ability to change a picture’s size and resolution, a Smart Sizing feature that alters the dimensions of an image without distorting its original proportions, and the ability to change, for example, color images to grayscale for noncolor printing (hue and color saturation mapping). You’re also, of course, provided with ways to modify brightness, contrast, tint, and texture.

Masking tools allow you to define areas of an image for special selection or editing for example, if you were planning a brochure advertising sunglasses, you could apply a mask to the right half of a scanned-in photo depicting a sunny day at the beach. Then you could alter the contrast and brightness of that section so that it appears much darker than the left half of the image–and voila! You’ve just shown the value of your sunglasses. Masks can be applied in a variety of shapes, such as rectangular, elliptical, circular, or free form, and provide the ability to move (or remove), resize, scale, rotate, distort, or flip any part of a picture. After you’ve done what you like, these sections can be saved as Picture Publisher objects, which remain independent (and separately editable and movable so that you don’t affect the underlying image) as Object Layers until they are combined into the base image.

Through the special effects section (called Effects Browser), pictures can be modified in literally hundreds of ways, from applying such fine art visual interpretations as pastels or pop art effects to altering textures so they simulate canvas, chrome, or embossing. Fantastic photographic distortions like splattering, pixelizing, motion blurting, punching, pinching, or detail stretching are also available.

Working with large images can be a time-consuming chore. But Picture Publisher’s FastBits editing feature gets around this by allowing you to work with only a small section of a large picture. After your editing is done, this segment is recombined with the rest of the image.

Comprehensive text and font style capabilities, an Image Browser that displays thumbnail sketches of your images for tracking, intelligent grouping of images (called albums), object libraries (organized areas holding previously saved objects), and a clear, concise manual that doesn’t waste your time or energy are only some of the things that add to this program’s power. Preptess professionals may find its prepress tools somewhat limited when compared with the more costly Adobe Photoshop for Windows, but no one else need have reservations. Clearly, Picture Publisher is an application that was carefully considered and well crafted. If you have occasion to use images in your work, Picture Publisher 4.0 should be close at hand.

About Our Ratings

The zero-to-four-star

ratings are based on 0 Poor

performance, features, * Fair

setup, ease of learning ** Good

and use, availability, *** Very Good

warranty, support, **** Excellent

documentation, and price.

COPYRIGHT 1994 Freedom Technology Media Group

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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