are changing very rapidly in this field – no doubt due to
the ever-increasing number of digital cameras being used. Microsoft
have tried hard to get in on the act with Picture Manager™
which is supplied with Office 2003. You'll find it buried away in
your Start, All Programs, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Tools
folder - small wonder few people know it's there.
However, don’t go and buy Office
2003 to get it and, even if you have it, and even if you can find
it, you may not want to use it after seeing what Google’s
stable-mate Picasa can do. A stunning screen display and a wide
range of quick fixes for photos (as well as more controllable ones)
are making it much talked about in a way which may not leave it
free to download and use for long.
Get it at http://www.picasa.com
If you’re looking for
a quick download, or something you can take into class on a floppy
disk to help someone on a machine with no image editing available,
then IrfanView™ is worth trying out. It is particularly good
at handling things like screen prints and fires up rapidly and gets
on with the job without asking you a million questions or confusing
you with too many options. It is also excellent for opening files
which people send with strange formats or incomplete file names.
Again it’s quite free, has no time limit or extra advertising
software bundled and can be used in non-commercial activities.
Adobe PhotoShop is probably
the preferred choice of those who are regularly involved in this
type of work but it isn’t cheap. You may have its little sister,
Adobe PhotoShop Elements™ on your system and that is easier
to use and very effective.
Serif PhotoPlus™ is a
cheaper, and easier to learn, alternative. Like DrawPlus, you may
find free older versions on the site mentioned above. The later
versions (currently 10) are transforming the company’s image
as much as they will your photos but with acceptance comes higher
pricing. Watch out for their special offers.