Exploring 602 Photo

Most office suites are crammed with so many programs that many users often overlook the extra graphics tools included in the package. One such program is 602Photo, which is installed with the 602Pro office suite. It is suitable for basic editing, file conversion and management. You will need to install the whole 602 office package to access 602Photo, but the installation is quite compact at about 15MB.

If you have existing images, then it is quite straightforward to view, print or change the format of the files. To begin, select Open and navigate to your photo. You'll notice that the left column has a number of options. You can go directly to the desktop or navigate through the normal Windows folders. The bottom two options refer to Edock, which is a search tool still in development. Once you have found your file, double-click on it (or click the file once, then the Open button). To convert the file to another format, select File-Save As. In the new window there will be a drop-down menu called 'Save As Type:' Here you can select from about 20 different formats, including BMP, JPG, PNG and more. For some file formats, you will be given additional options, such as type of compression. One exception is JPG: in this case, a new Options button will appear on the right and clicking it will allow you to set the compression/quality setting.

Editing tools


With 602Photo you can quickly apply the more common editing tools such as rotate/flip, crop and select. To crop an image, use Edit-Select Area and choose a tool shape - rectangular is most common. Drag out the area you want to crop, and make finer adjustments by clicking on the small squares and dragging them to the desired positions (the small squares are often called 'handles'). Once you are happy with the area, select Image-Crop to Selection.

In addition to these basic tools, the package includes some handy extras. You can quickly convert your image to a negative with the Colors-Invert command, or create a black and white image by selecting the aptly-named Colors-Black and White Image (strangely, the same feature has a different name on the toolbar, where its called Gray Scale). Exploring the menus will reveal other options for adjusting brightness, contrast, colour balance and depth.

Filters


Before trying the filters, it is important to remember that they create irreversible changes - hence, they should be one of the last editing techniques that should be used with an image. You can apply filters to either the whole image or part of it (use the select tool to pick the area to change). There are two filters that can assist image quality: blur and sharpen. Select Effects-Image Tuning and click on the focus button. A preview will appear showing the effects of applying stronger versions of the filter.

Listed under the Effects menus are six additional filters. They can be used to create some interesting work, but eventually most users will need greater variety. There are just so many times that you can use the Emboss, Mosaic or Fish Eye Lens filters (see the image on this page). The Merge filter is an interesting tool, as it will combine two different images. Open your first image, then select Effects-Merge. Select a second image by clicking on the small '.' button on the button right. Use the slider to set how much of the second image will show through. The second image will be stretched or flattened to match the dimensions of the current photograph, so expect some distortion if the two photographs are different shapes.

Printing and resizing


This aspect of 602Photo is confusing and a major weakness in the program. There are different menus for similar settings of resizing and resolution - one affects only the print settings (File-Print Size), the other changes the dimensions of the image but not but the resolution (Image-Resize). This can make it a little unpredictable when using the Image-Resize command. Since you can't balance resolution against the size of the image, a number of powerful editing tricks have been lost. If you intend to use this option, make sure you save a backup copy of the image beforehand. The File-Print Size option is safe since it does not actually change information in your image - it only alters the way the information is sent to the printer, and can easily be reversed without affecting the file.

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Scott Mendham

PC World
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