Aug 052014
 

PhotoDemon

PhotoDemon is a portable and relatively small – less than 17MB unzipped – image editor which happens to be open source too. Most, if not all, features expected when working with images are present here. Plus there is also a Batch process mode available via the File menu (or Ctrl+B). A film strip area shows all open images.

PhotoDemon can import directly from the clipboard, cameras and scanners and also from URLs. Mouse and keyboard shortcuts for zoom make it easy to view details. The Image menu features most of what is expected like Resize, Crop, Rotate, and Flip plus a few others like Count unique colours and Transparency. The latter is a bit different because it can make specific colours transparent and leave other parts of an image untouched.

The selection has some interesting extras. When making a selection various effects can be added to the selection instead of the whole image. For example the screenshot above, probably not the best image to illustrate this, shows a rectangular selection with a border (After making a selection click Select –>Border). The Adjustment options are Black and white, Brightness and contrast, Color Balance, Levels, Vibrance, White balance, Channel, Color, Histogram, Invert, Lighting and Monochrome. The Effects are also most of the typical ones expected like Artistic, Blur, Distort, Edge, Experimental, Natural, Noise, Sharpen and Stylize. There is also a Custom filter window which is a fun to play with if not necessarily needed for most. The Experimental and Natural filters include the likes of Underwater, Rainbow, Alien and Radioactive.

The Tools menu is where macros can be recorded and plugins added, the included plugins are Exiftool, pngnq-s9, EZTwain, zlib and FreeImage. PhottoDemon offers a good solution for image editing beyond what is mentioned above and probably belongs high on the list of downloads to keep.

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Jan 052013
 

Vieas (Version: 5.1.5.2) is a freeware image viewer with some editing features, it can be considered a lightweight alternative. The image formats it can can read or open are gif (including animated), jpg, png, bmp, tiff and it can read from zip (and other archive formats via plugins). There are no plugins currently available (?). The output or save formats are the same with few exceptions such as animated gifs.

Vieas

The program’s interface is not a typical one because by default it opens without a menu or toolbar and they are only shown when the mouse is moved to the top of the program window. A menu is also shown with a right click. Vieas remains an image viewer until the ‘Change to edit window’ button (or Tab key) is pressed.

Vieas features crop, resize, canvas resize, rotation, mirror, flip, equalize, gamma, brightness, contrast, highlight, shadow, color balance, hue, saturation, replace color, negative, blur and a few others. It can also print, stay on top, show exif info, set images as wallpaper and features multi-monitor support.

Vieas

The program’s options are available when right clicking or when in the edit window, they include the following.

Choosing how the program starts, with its main window, edit window or full screen. Toggling the ‘Change the window size to fit a displayed image’ and slideshow interval. Various zoom options that control quality and size of the image and window. Various options for mouse controls such as what double click, left click, mouse wheel and other combinations do. For example double click to full screen. Up to eight placeholders to launch external files or folders. These will be available via right click —> Tools. A plugins tab to add any of the aforementioned plugins. Finally the option to associate various image formats with Vieas and add it to the Send to menu.

Vieas is available in both installer and portable versions and requires Windows XP and newer.

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Oct 172012
 

ToolWiz Pretty Photo (Version: 1.5) is a freeware image editor with lots of features that place it very high when compared to other free, shareware and expensive editors.

ToolWiz Pretty Photo

ToolWiz Pretty Photo supports the more common picture formats and can also do screen captures. Screen captures, available from the File menu, are rectangular ones created with click and drag of the mouse. When an area is chosen a mini toolbar offers to save the capture, open or return to ToolWiz Pretty Photo’s window or add any of a collection of shapes, lines or text immediately.

ToolWiz Pretty Photo can merge layers, when objects are added to an image for example. It can rotate, crop and move layers to the back or front.

The Add Objects menu has a large collection of symbols in addition to lines and shapes such as rectangle and ellipse and others like cloud popups.

The Adjust Picture menu features the common resize, hue/saturation, color balance, curves, levels, brightness/contrast and invert. Additionally Add Frame adds a (configurable thickness) border that can be filled with a solid color or another image. A shadow can be added in a similar manner and the Picture Selection option allows the user to select and crop any part of an image. The cropped section can be a rectangle, ellipse, round rectangle or lasso (free form.)

ToolWiz Pretty Photo

The Beautify menu is the fun part of ToolWiz Pretty Photo. Available options include Add Wig, Blush, Eyebrows, Necklace, Glasses, Mask, Hat, Pupils and more. Various other effects are also available and include adding Mosaic Paint to an image. Color Paint is another which turns an image into grayscale and then allows the user to color section(s) of the image. Soft Focus Paint (shown in the image above) is another useful feature to blur out an image and then only reveal a part of it.

Image Filter includes 39 “art filters” such as Gothem, Kelvin, Nashville, Toaster, Lomo, Polaroid, Sunshine Beach, Old Photo, Early Bird, Brannan, White and Black, Closer Black and White, Emboss, Happy Tone, Color Emboss, Diabolical and others. Emboss, AntiAlias, Add Noise, Pencil, Split Blur, Motion Blur and Fill Light are here as well.

ToolWiz Pretty Photo requires Windows XP or newer, it is available in a portable version as well.

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Sep 062012
 

XnConvert (Version: 1.51), from the maker of the excellent image editor and viewer XnView, is a freeware multi-platform batch image converter for Windows, Mac and Linux.

XnConvert

Input or load file(s)/folder(s) and then if necessary filter the images to only work on a set of them.

Next is the Actions tab, choose modifications or conversions required and see a preview on the right hand side. The actions available via the Add Actions button are extensive and are Add mask, Automatic crop, Canvas resize, Change color depth, Clean metadata, Crop, Extract channel, ICC convert, IPTC/XMP, Mirror, Replace color, Resize, Rotate, Set DPI, Text, Vignetting, Watermark, Adjust, Align histogram, Automatic contrast, Automatic levels, Color balance, Conbright, Equalize, Exposure, Gammasat, HLS, Levels, Logarithmic lut, Negative, Normalize, Normalize ex, Posterize, Saturation, Sepia, Shadow highlight, Solarize, Swap component, Temperature. Available filters are Average, Blur, Edge detect, Emboss, Emboss more, Enhance detail, Enhance edges, Enhance focus, Focus restoration, Gaussian blur, Maximum, Median box, Median cross, Minimum, Reduce noise, Sharpen and Soften. Others included are Add noise, Bloom, Border, Border 3-D, Crystallize, De-interlace, Fantasy, Halftone, Lens, Mosaic, Oil painting, Oil painting 2, Old camera, Photo spread, Pointillize, Retro, Shear, Slice, Spread, Swirl, Symmetry, Tile and Waves.

XnConvert

The output section has settings for choosing the output folder, format and an extensive number of options for renaming the image files. Everything from date to folder to increments and metadata can be selected and configured. XnConvert can delete the originals, keep any folder structures and keep multi-page files as multi-page and open windows explorer after conversion is complete.

XnConvert

XnConvert is complete and very easy to use, much like XnView itself actions can be saved as a script for future re-use. Both 32-bit and 64-bit editions are available as are installer and portable versions.

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Sep 032012
 

Alternate Pic View (Version: 1.424) is an image viewer and editor. It has features common to most image viewers. By default the Folder view (show thumbnails and explorer tree) and Allow multiple windows (view images in tabs) are toggled off or disabled. Click their respective icons to enable them (see image).

Alternate Pic View

Alternate Pic View does full screen capture (File—>Capture) and another more advanced method via its Tools menu called Capturer. Here all open windows are listed and the user can choose which to capture (see image). Under Tools there is a convertor and icon extractor as well. The former can convert to any one of bmp, gif, ico, tiff and others with any of resize, keep metadata, mirror, flip, swap colors, pixelize, sharpen, grayscale and alien effect.

Alternate Pic View can resave image by adding increments, for example if image.jpg is open repeatedly clicking File—>Save numbered (F7) will save the image as image__0000.jpg, image__0001.jpg, etc. Copy, crop and paste operation are available, for both whole images and selections. Its collection of effects are rotate, mirror, invert alpha, sharpen, blur, contrast/brightness, adjust color, noisify, pixelize, relief, negative, grayscale, redeye reduction, swap colors, alien effect and random. Using the effects menu one can change the image size, extend the canvas size or more unusually split an image – either by image coordinates or by selection area.

Alternate Pic View can also work straight from a scanner with Twain source and it can also do slideshows. In some instances Alternate Pic View is not the most intuitive. Two features only become apparent only when an image is right clicked in the thumbnail area. First there is an image compare feature which compares two images but it is not obvious how the second one can be chosen or if it works at all. Second there is the animated gif feature which again doesn’t seem to do anything other than let the user click forward or rewind to view each individual frame.

On the editing side it has color picker, pen, pencil, brush, line, arrow, fill, brush, rectangle, round rectangle, ellipse and freehand. Of note is that Edit—>Find pictures will scan a folder for image files. Alternate Pic View should works on all Windows versions.

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Aug 282012
 

LazPaint (Version: 4.8) is open source and is a good and very capable alternative to any full featured image or graphics editors. Some of its features are listed below using its menu as a reference and the images attached to this review highlight a few of them.

LazPaint

LazPaint can do multiple undo and redos and paste as and paste as new image. Selections are available as rectangle, ellipse and polygon, these are complemented with curve that can create complex shapes or areas based on initial and end points. Selections can be edited, rotated and there is also the magic wand to automatically select objects within an image. Change canvas size and flip are available too as is zoom which includes a ‘Smart zoom’.

LazPaint

Shift colors (Colors—>Shift colors) and Deformation (Tool—>Deformation)

Colorize and shift colors work really well and change an image smartly. Intensity, lightness, normalize, negative, linear negative and grayscale are equal or superior to other similar programs. Pen, color picker, eraser, gradient, fill, shaded shape (many available shapes with adjustable light sources), text, deformation (image is divided into any number of grids and then any section of the grid can be dragged to distort portion(s) of an image) and texture mapping take LazPaint into more advanced territory.

Filter are mostly the common ones with different blurs (radial, motion, disk, fast, precise), sharpen, smooth, pixelate, cleartype, contour and emboss all there plus plane. The latter comes with a warning that it is a slow process (see last image for what the first image image is transformed into using plane). Finally render adds any one of various objects over a selection or the whole image.

LazPaint

Plane (Filter —>Plane)

LazPaint is multi-platform written in Lazarus, has command line support and so can take advantage of the BGRABitmap library, read more at http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/LazPaint and http://wiki.freepascal.org/BGRABitmap. Input file formats supported are bmp, jpg, png, gif, ico and Paint.NET’s pdn and it can save to bmp, png and jpg.

Image in the screen shots is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/puksdesign/5896307147/in/photostream

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Jun 052012
 

PicEdit is a useful image editor with a ribbon like menu.

PicEdit

It features the typical brightness, contrast, hue and saturation sliders to the left of its interface. Also on the left are the image effects mosaic, blur, sharpen, noise, invert, and grayscale. Canvas resize, rotate, copy, paste (from file or clipboard), watermark (image) and stamp (an extensible clipart library) are the other options available.

Shapes such as polygon, rectangle, ellipse, arrow and line are also available along with others like fill and highlighted rectangular area. Each with their own relevant settings. For example if the line tool is chosen the options for thickness, opacity and style (dotted, solid, etc.) appear in the ribbon-like menu.

Text and balloon text are also available in different styles but as may be obvious in the image it is not clear how to apply or finish inserting them on an image.

PicEdit has a restore button that acts as multiple undos to reset the image to its initial state. However this didn’t work when I applied several random lines to an image.

PicEdit does not write to the system registry and should run on Windows XP and newer.

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Mar 252012
 

Comment to win a copy of the Picture Collage Maker Pro Easter Edition!

Picture Collage Maker Pro has been reviewed here on RGdot.com (Here, here and here!), along with giveaways, before and the folks at PearlMountain Technology are back again with another giveaway.

Picture Collage Maker Pro Easter Edition

This time Picture Collage Maker Pro is ready with the Easter Edition which comes with 16 templates to use to create photo collages, scrapbooks or greeting cards for the Easter holiday.

As noted in previous reviews and giveaways Picture Collage Maker Pro makes it pretty easy to create everything from collages to calendars to posters for many occasions, and not just for Easter. It supports the drag and drop of photos into templates with customizable shapes, cliparts, masks, frames and backgrounds to share via email, print or set as wallpaper.

To use the Easter Edition templates simply click the Download More Templates button and download the Easter pack and run the downloaded exe.

 

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Feb 272012
 

PearlMountain Technology Co. has generously provided a number of Photo Watermark licenses, valued at $19.90 each, comment below to win one!

PearlMountain Photo Watermark is one of the more advanced watermark tools available. It features several ready made text or image watermark templates for protecting photos or images. The user can also create others with one of the many options available.

PearlMountain Photo Watermark

On startup the user can decide to use a template or just click the Load button to go straight to the main program interface. The first step would be to add or drag and drop an image into the image area or alternatively use the Add drop down to add an image, folder of images or to import an image from the web.

The first options are to configure text watermarks. Here any text can be added and fully configured in position (on the image), offset from that position, color, font, justification, edge or border, shadow, opacity and rotation. The text can be anything of course but the program offers lots of options for automatically adding text ranging from special symbols, EXIF meta data, date and source or destination folder path (see image above).

The image watermark tab can be used to add an overlay image instead of text and offers the same flexibility for position, opacity and rotation as the text option. The image watermark can also be tiled to fill the whole photo. The program also comes with a set of 77 images to use for this purpose (see image below).

PearlMountain Photo Watermark

The task area to the left has options to modify the output image(s) to .jpg, .bmp, .tiff, .png, .gif, .pdf, .tiff or .psd. The original image can be resized and renamed. When working with a set or folder of images the output file name can be in the form of increasing increments (image1, image2, etc.) or similar to those offered for the text watermark, as mentioned earlier. Corrections has setting for brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpen/blur. Finally a border can be added to the original image.

The workflow concludes by clicking the Start button and optionally configuring the output folder. PearlMountain Photo Watermark works on Windows 2000 and newer and is good for both 32bit and 64bit systems.

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Dec 262011
 

Easy Photo Effects (Version: 2.0 as of this post) is a photo or image editor that presents all its settings or features in one screen, a departure from the usual or traditional design. It is very easy to work with, however the undo function – named ‘reset image’ – is somewhat less user friendly in that it asks for confirmation every time and as implied by its reset name is not a step by step undo, all applied effects are undone at once.

Easy Photo Effects

Each effect comes with its own settings button to control transparency, thickness, contrast, colors, editable night and sepia colors, preset and arbitrary resize and others that belong to the effect being used. These Easy Photo Effects effects or features are as follows: Black & White, Sepia, Brightness, Contrast, Topaza (yellow, blue mix), Movie, Night Vision, Embossed, Analogica (horizontal and vertical vignette), Borders, Colored Grid, Tilt Shift, Resize and Rotate/Flip. The image above has analogica and colored grid applied to it.

Easy Photo Effects is true to its name and a good lightweight freeware alternative for fast image manipulation. It is a single executable file and runs on XP and newer versions of Windows.

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