ACDSee 7
A Step By Step Guide To Digital Workflow Page 2

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Step 5: Even though all of the remaining images of Farrah doing her Buffy the Vampire Slayer impersonation may be acceptable, some are obviously more acceptable than others, so why not label the best ones? When clicking on any thumbnail, you can use ACDSee 7's Set Rating command (from the Menu bar) to assign a number from one to five. Rating "1" might be your highest or lowest rating, just be consistent. Set Category is another pop-down menu choice from the Menu bar to help organize your image files better. When you assign a category to the image files the program lets you search for specific photographs later on.

Step 6: ACDSee 7's Image Comparison tool lets you compare up to four photographs side by side, even using exposure and histogram filters to make better choices about the image's technical quality. Working with this tool (it's the Compare Images icon in the Menu bar) makes reviewing bracketed shots or sorting through thousands of photographs from a photo shoot faster without having to look at each image one at a time to find the best one.

You can edit up to "four" photographs side by side using ACDSee 7's Image Comparison tool. It's especially useful when reviewing bracketed shots or sorting thousands of images--without opening each image.

Step 7: Next make a CD or DVD to hold all of the images. The Create Disc (Create>Create Disc) command automatically launches a Wizard that takes you step by step through the burning of a CD or DVD. Oh yeah, you need to have a writable CD or DVD drive installed on your computer to make this feature work.

After the disc is recorded, test it to make sure it works, then label the disc so when you pick it up next month, you'll know it contains pictures of Thomas' 1st birthday party. You can take that CD to your friendly neighborhood photo kiosk to make prints or use the disc as a backup. When the files are temporarily stored on the hard disk, I pick my ones to crop, color correct, or manipulate to produce better-looking photographs. These retouched image files are kept in the same folder as the originals and I usually save them in the PSD format using the camera's numbering protocol but adding a "-1" or whatever. When my hard disk gets crowded, I look at the oldest folders and before dumping it in the Recycle Bin, copy all of the data, including the manipulated files, onto a new CD/DVD. Then I toss the old disc, stick the new one in the case, and file it.

The Create Disc command takes you step by step through the burning of your image files to a recordable CD or DVD.

Yikes, Not More Buzzwords?
HighMAT (High-Performance Media Access Technology) is a multimedia technology developed and supported by those twin bastions of open standards, Microsoft and Panasonic. It's supposed to provide a standard way of combining music, photos, and video onto one disc, with a one-click menu allowing it to play on a DVD player, CD player, or car stereo.

MPV? It's not a Mazda minivan a.k.a. MultiPurpose Vehicle, although Google agrees with me. Instead, I got the answer from that other stalwart supporter of open industry standards--Sony. MPV (MusicPhotoVideo) their website says, is "a new open standard format to enhance the way consumers store and enjoy collections of personal music, photo, and video content on storage media, such as data CDs and DVDs." If that sounds a lot like HighMAT, you aren't the only one that's confused.

ACDSee 7 PowerPack also includes ACD FotoSlate 3.1 digital printing software that lets users create greeting cards, calendars, and contact sheets.

Point/Counterpoint
There is more to software than code, as witnessed by a reader's experience with that most overlooked yet important part of any computer program.

"ACD Systems has been the ultimate in frustration for me and I finally decided to give up trying. I shelled out the bucks, installed, and immediately found the menus would not work properly. (They do not unfold large enough horizontally to read most of the contents.) I registered, e-mailed, e-mailed again, and again, to no avail. All I get is a computer-generated answer that my e-mail will be forwarded. I didn't get to read your review of their software, but did you add that their (customer) support is Zero?"

ACDSee 7 PowerPack includes ACD Photo Editor 3.1. It's not Adobe Photoshop CS, but includes all of the tools needed to let you make quick edits to digital photos such as brightening a slightly dark image.

I have not experienced this reader's particular problem with this or any previous version of ACDSee, but sent his
e-mail to my contacts at ACD Systems, including the head of Customer Support, for comment. Two of the e-mails bounced back but my PR contact later told me "ACD Systems' customer service department would be happy to respond to your reader's questions. We provide phone numbers and an online form for the public to fill out. Please see the `Support' section of our website."

ACDSee 7 also includes features like Folder Exclusion, Database Rebinding, Archive Reminders, and Direct Backup to CD to let you search and retrieve photographs from your image database. Capabilities are enhanced with an Image Well that allows users to view their entire image collection in a single window. For narrowly focused searches, you can match criteria from folders, categories, and calendar dates.

System Requirements
ACDSee7: Microsoft Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000, or XP; Intel Pentium III 500MHz processor or equivalent; 128MB RAM (256MB recommended); High Color (16 bit) or high display adapter; 100MB free hard disk space.

ACDSee 7 PowerPack: Microsoft Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000, or XP; Intel Pentium III 500MHz processor or equivalent; 128MB RAM (256MB recommended); High Color (16 bit) or high display adapter; 150MB free hard disk space.

ACDSee 7 is a Windows-only product and available as a stand-alone product or part of the ACDSee 7 PowerPack Suite. ACD Systems offers a Mac OS 1.6 that hasn't been updated since the McKinley administration. ACDSee 7 costs $49.99 and is a $39.99 upgrade from ACDSee 6; ACDSee 7 PowerPack sells for $79.99 or a $49.99 upgrade.

For more information, visit the ACD Systems website at: www.acdsystems.com.

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