Photo editors storm the Web

At $199, PhotoImpact 5 costs around $100 more than the other two but has features otherwise available only in the pro packages. With these features comes complexity, so keep PhotoImpact's manual handy. I looked at a late beta version of the software.

PhotoImpact can control brightness, saturation, and colour for each colour channel, allowing you to fine-tune each characteristic. That's Photoshop stuff. Another pro-style Photo-Impact feature lets you hide objects in your design so you can work on one part of a complex image without affecting the rest. Conveniently, the undo feature lists all recent actions and lets you back up to any previous unsaved version in one step. With PhotoImpact's 3D features and new vector drawing capabilities, I created frighteningly complex text blocks using tricks of a midrange 3D surface modeller.

Ulead GIF Animator 3, a separate application included with PhotoImpact, lets you create Web animations and includes pixel-level layer control and special lenses to gladden a video hound's heart.

As with the whole PhotoImpact package, however, you need some prior knowledge of video and animation to get the most out of this application.

For home shutterbugs

MGI's new $99.95 PhotoSuite comes with lots of templates and other design elements, an array as good as Picture It's impressive collection. You can also grab photos right off the Web and drag them into the image database - a unique capability among the three packages here. The newest PhotoSuite also remembers the elements of a collage or composite photo, so after moving to another task you can return to edit them. The new Photo Stitching tool, on the other hand, though exceptionally easy to use, produced erratic results, often mangling photos instead of seamlessly combining them.

Microsoft's $89.95 Picture It 2000 is the least changed upgrade of the three. Still, the preproduction copy I examined showed several enhancements, notably new layout aids (including rulers and a command for aligning multiple elements) and the ability to batch-correct photos. The new Photo Stroke tool proved charming. It offers various brush strokes shaped to make lines of paper clips or chillies, for example, and lets you pick any photo to use as the brush colour. You can't create new brush stroke types, but Microsoft's assortment is good. Picture It now supports multiple undos, too, though you have to step back one change at a time. Unfortunately, the new 3D text and special effects just don't cut it; my laboriously created textures were lost when I extruded the text into 3D.

Like most photo-editing packages in their class, Picture It 2000 and Photo Suite III are rigid and contain many special effects of dubious aesthetic value. Ulead's software will support your creativity long beyond the others, but I didn't find getting started with PhotoImpact easy, and you probably won't either.

PhotoImpact 5

Price: $199

Distributor: Lako Vision

Phone: (03) 9852 7444

URL:; www.ulead.comPhotoSuite III - Platinum EditionPrice: $99.95Distributor: GT InteractivePhone: (02) 9902 3000URL: www.mgisoft.comPicture It 2000Price: $89.95Distributor: MicrosoftPhone: 13 2058 URL:

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Littman

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?