Ulead PhotoImpact 7.0

Design and Web graphics software

Ulead has upgraded its photo-editing package, creating a multitalented graphics suite for the serious digital photographer and Web designer. It now has a lot more to offer than traditional competitors such as Jasc Paint Shop Pro and newcomers such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

The photo-editing features have been boosted with a range of new effects. The program now preserves Exif data when importing from digital cameras, and building categorised image libraries is fast and versatile with the bundled copy of PhotoImpact Album 7.0. New image correction tools include lens distortion correction, which, though difficult to get right, should go down well with amateur photographers.

Like Paint Shop Pro, the program provides vector art tools alongside the bitmap brushes for all-round graphic design. But it goes farther with convincing 3D effects and a difficult Z-Merge tool, which lets you manipulate objects in 3D space as well as in layers.

Web designers will appreciate the hoard of style effects, JavaScript rollover and image map creation, and full support for slicing. Also included is Ulead's surprisingly powerful GIF Animator 5.0, which includes strong animation design features and puts to shame even professional packages like Macromedia Fireworks and Adobe ImageReady. It's possible to output straight to HTML complete with embedded movies and Flash. This is the first program to support the new JPEG 2000 format.

Ulead PhotoImpact 7.0

Despite many improvements, PhotoImpact 7.0 can "still be complex to learn and use, but you'd be hard-pushed to get a better digital photo, animation and Web-friendly graphics package for your money.

Price: $259; upgrade $159.

Distributor: Pineapplehead.

Ph: 1800 657 601, www.pineapplehead.com.au.

Distributor: Connexus.

Ph: 02 9975 2799, www.asiapac.ulead.com.

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