Ulead’s latest graphics package is starting to benefit from a long history of development. PhotoImpact 8 is now packed with more tools than home users will probably ever use or need. Features include digital camera support, JPEG2000 compatibility, im-proved automation of common tasks and even the ability to create VCD slideshows. This is on top of the existing tools found in most other mid to high-end programs; plus, the retail box includes Photo Explorer 7.
Groups of photographs tend to require similar adjustments, and the new auto-processing commands can help take care of the problems in no time. For beginners, one of PhotoImpact’s friendliest aspects is that sophisticated editing options have now been simplified into their own tools. Rather than learning about several complex techniques, all that’s needed is a few clicks of a mouse button. These tools can be customised but professionals may find the feature a little too simplistic.
There are other reasons why mid to high-end users may shun PhotoImpact — its layer tools are weak, and the support for CMYK is very poor. In addition, there are a few minor irritations with the operation of some features and menus. To be fair, these complaints are common to many similarly-priced graphics packages. In comparison to Paint Shop Pro 7 (which is starting to look very dated), PhotoImpact now edges ahead, but it still trails the much cheaper Photoshop Elements 2.0 ($179).
Pineapplehead will refer you to a local reseller stocking PhotoImpact 8, but be aware that street prices may vary from the recommended price depending on individual resellers.
In brief:Ulead PhotoImpact 8
A well-priced package suitable for beginner and intermediate users.
Price: $229 for retail box (download from Ulead: $US80)
Phone: (03) 9852 7444
URL: www.pineapplehead.com.au; www.asiapac.ulead.com