Ulead PhotoImpact 7: Test and Review

This photo editing software is not addressed to everyone: PhotoImpact throws you in the bath of digital imaging: you know how to swim. It lacks the tools step by step and models. Although it is not for beginners, PhotoImpact still has overloaded functions menus and displays too many tool palettes to our liking. Even advanced users will need time to learn and understand its interface and menus.

However, once mastered PhotoImpact interface (which took us several days), you can do what you like. As is the case for most of the software development, the workspace (the window that displays the photo or illustration), occupies most of the screen. Toolbars (which allow easy access to frequently used tools, such as brushes, erasers, etc.) frame on the right and the left workspace. Tool palettes can be reduced with a simple double-click, to free up space.

easy modifications

Depending on your needs, PhotoImpact is transformed into photo editing software in graphics software for the web or bitmap and vector drawing software. In short, functions cover all the needs of most designers. It includes a post-production assistant (one of the few assistants PhotoImpact) that will help you use the many photo editing features (red eye, color adjustment, etc.). It is also very easy to apply a number of effects, a simple halo distortions and mirror effects by simply clicking on the appropriate buttons in the EasyPalette.

Version 7.0 also features two new tools very helpful. The Batch Manager allows you to apply the same effects to multiple images simultaneously, which saves a lot of time when you want, for example, reduce the number of colors of multiple images. The other new tool, Print Multiple, offers a number of printing options, including allowing to print multiple images on one sheet of photo paper.

Finally, like other advanced editing software, PhotoImpact provides access to a storage site and share photos. iMira (website) allows you to store up to 20MB of images, edit them online, rank them in albums and invite your friends to view them. You can download images directly from PhotoImpact using the import / export function. You can also drag files to the icon added to the desktop by the software. iMira only offers however no online printing service of your photos.

Tons of web functions

PhotoImpact web authoring tools give it an advantage over other similar software, such as Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop same. They facilitate the creation of buttons, banners, etc. You want to reduce the download time of your website? No problem: the Image Optimizer function compresses GIF, JPEG and PNG and shows you the results before and after compression of your choice.

Equally useful, Background Designer and 22 textures groups. They create overlays in seconds. The utility GIF Animator 5.0 makes creating small animated images and image map used to define interactive areas on the images. Our favorite? Slice, which can cut an image into several smaller, each of which may be associated with a link.

Moreover, PhotoImpact incorporates tools bitmap (raster) and vector (object). As in Paint Shop Pro, you can go from the realization of images with an airbrush placement of predefined geometric forms in a snap. PhotoImpact simply offers you tons of tools to create images. Z-Merge is one of our favorites: it allows to easily merge multiple objects into a 3D model.

We appreciate PhotoImpact least, however, when it comes to creating an image from scratch. It is far inferior to Photoshop in this area and is not designed to replace if you are a graphic designer or a professional designer. He obviously many other faults: PhotoImpact is not available for Mac, which is very annoying when you know that most professional graphic designers working on this platform. PhotoImpact does not offer workgroup features offered by Photoshop and it does not use a layer system, which are useful for creating complex images.

The online technical assistance Ulead consists of FAQs, tutorials, and a comprehensive database of problems and solutions. We found answers to many of our questions without any problems. If you do not have that chance, you can ask for help by email. And if you still do not find the solution to your problems, you can call technical support by phone, but this service is not free.

If technical assistance is excluded rather for professionals, PhotoImpact is a really good deal on the border of the gift. For about 150 euros, you are entitled to a graphics suite tailored to the needs of enthusiasts and professionals. Of course, professional graphic designers and those using a Mac will continue to pay a lot more for Photoshop, but all the others will have their needs met by PhotoImpact or more than their needs.

Gregg Keizer ZDNet USA – Translation Evocati

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