Ulead’s PhotoImpact 12; A Powerful Photo Editor At An Affordable Price Page 2

Color Adjustments
PhotoImpact 12 includes several color adjustment filters, including Style, Color Adjustment, Color Replacement, White Balance, Hue and Saturation, Color Balance, Color Cast, and Correct Chroma. One of my favorites is the Color Replacement filter, which lets you change a single color or small range of colors without having to make a selection, and without having to alter color on the entire image (#7).

#7 The PhotoImpact Color Replacement filter.

In the Color Replacement filter, you use the cursor to select the color that you want to change. You can then adjust the Similarity slider, which tells PhotoImpact how much of a color range you would like to adjust. For example, if you select a yellow color with the cursor, you can then use a high Similarity setting to tell PhotoImpact to change not only yellows, but similar colors such as light pastel yellow to dark brown. Hue, Saturation, and Lightness controls are then used to enable complete control over your selection of a replacement color.

In #8, I wanted to get rid of the dying yellow and brown vegetation and replace it with green vegetation. This was easily accomplished using the Color Replacement filter. I selected the yellow vegetation with the cursor, set a moderately high Similarity setting so that dark yellowish-brown colors would also be changed, and moved the Hue slider until I found the replacement color that I wanted. The result is shown in #9. Note that although all shades of yellow have been changed to green, the shades of blue in the water are completely unaffected, and retain their original blue coloring in both #8 and #9.

#8 A beautiful shoreline with less than beautiful vegetation.

#9 The vegetation brought back to life with the Color Replacement filter.

Lens Filters
Traditionally, photographers have used specially cut glass lenses to create unique effects in their photos. Of course, lenses have their negatives: They're bulky to carry, they can be expensive, and perhaps most importantly, once they're used in a photograph, it's virtually impossible to remove their effects from the image. PhotoImpact 12 provides a digital workaround for this issue: lens filters that can add lens effects to any photo.

PhotoImpact 12 has five lens filters available: Diffraction, Gradient, Multivision, Spot, and Star. I'll take a closer look at one of the most popular of these, the Star filter. Star filters are used to pick up bright areas in a scene and create points of light emitting from them. The PhotoImpact 12 Star filter interface is seen in #10.

#10 Unlike hardware star filters, each of which can only create one kind of star effect, the PhotoImpact 12 Star filter offers a multitude of options.

Star filters create some of their nicest effects when used in a dark scene with bright points of light, such as a night skyline or cityscape. Images #11 and #12 demonstrate a night cityscape before and after using the PhotoImpact 12 Star effect.

#11 The night scene before using the Star filter.

#12 The PhotoImpact 12 Star filter accurately simulating a photo taken with a glass star lens attached to the camera.

No discussion of PhotoImpact seems complete without mentioning its superb GIF/JPEG/PNG export module. In late 1996, PhotoImpact Version 3.01 was the first major photo editor to include a special module for previewing and exporting GIF and JPEG images. A few years later, PNG export was added to the module. Eventually, all of the other companies caught on, and added similar preview/export modules to their own products.

If you read my article "The Case For JPEG" in the April 2007 issue of Shutterbug (archived at: www.shutterbug.net/techniques/digital_darkroom/0407thecase/index.html), you may recall my concern that most software vendors won't tell us at what quality level they turn off JPEG subsampling. Ulead has never made this issue a proprietary secret. PhotoImpact always has, and still does, leave compression and subsampling decisions up to the user, by supplying separate controls for each value.

Pricing And Availability
Ulead's PhotoImpact 12 is available from www.ulead.com/store/pi/runme.htm, at the price of $89.99 for the full version, and $49.99 for the upgrade version.

PhotoImpact 12 is available for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, and Windows XP Service Pack 2. The Ulead website also makes available a free downloadable patch for Vista users.

For more information, contact Ulead Systems, 970 W. 190th St., Ste. #480, Torrance, CA 90502; www.ulead.com.

Anthony Celeste appreciates feedback from his readers. You may contact him via e-mail at Anthony.Celeste@gmail.com.