A plethora of new software applications, as well as improved versions of old favorites, are available for everyone's taste. Whether you're looking to organize your business, archive or manage your images, enhance digital photographs creatively with plug-ins, or rearrange your software "toolbox"--there's a title for you.
We asked a few photographers what applications they use religiously, from photo editing to image management to slideshow production. Read on to see what a few of our regulars told us. And go to imaginginfo.com to find out more details about new software released by the companies listed below.
"Obviously I use Photoshop CS4," says Gary Small of Photographic Creations, Inc. "Other applications that are always at arm's length are Lightroom 2, Nikon Capture NX 2, and Photodex ProShow Producer. I also use Adobe Acrobat Professional. To edit web pages on the fly, I use Adobe Contribute. Photoshop plug-ins I regularly use include Nik's Viveza, Sharpener Pro 3, and Color Efex. I also use PhotoKit by PixelGenius."
"Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2 are common fixtures in my workflow lineup. For slideshow presentations, I use SlideShowPro for Lightroom, and FotoMagico. I like working with plug-ins like PhotoPresets with One-Click WOW by onOne Software (for Lightroom, by Jack Davis), and Lightroom Presets by Matt Kelby (Adobe Lightroom Killer Tips). I also use Craig's Actions and PixelGenius Actions, including PhotoKit/PhotoKit 2/PhotoKit Sharpener."
"My favorite plug-ins are: Imagenomic Portraiture, Nik Color Efex, PictureCode Noise Ninja, and Alien Skin Exposure 2."
These companies all have software titles or new versions that have been recently released:
ACD Systems (www.acdsee.com)
ACD Systems is offering Photo Manager 2009, along with a bonus copy of the software to give away. ACDSee Photo Manager provides real-time viewing, management, and editing of multiple image files. Time-saving features of ACDSee Photo Manager include: Quick View mode, providing instant viewing of images received as email attachments; seamless access within ACDSee's browser window to popular photo-sharing sites such as Flickr; an Import tool that allows users to rename, back up, categorize, and add keywords to images as they are acquired from a camera, card reader, CD/DVD, or other storage device; and Auto Categories, which automatically organizes images according to camera metadata (IPTC and EXIF), so organization is completed as collections grow. ACDSee users enjoy organizing according to their own custom metadata, which include memory triggers like keywords, categories, and ratings.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 is upgraded with newly enhanced technologies like Content-Aware Scaling and improved raw image processing. Adobe also released Lightroom 2, which enables users to quickly import, process, manage, and showcase their images. With new and improved features such as multiple monitor support, flexible print package functionality, and streamlined Photoshop CS4 integration, Lightroom 2 allows you to process and showcase large volumes of photos with ease.
Album DS (www.albumds.com)
Album DS version 5.5 features up to 1,100 templates that can be opened at any size or aspect ratio, compatible with any lab or album maker. Album DS is available for PC and Macintosh and supports Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, and now CS4. A fully functional 30-day demo is available at the company website.
Alien Skin (www.alienskin.com)
Alien Skin Software released Blow Up 2. The new interface intelligently handles resizing, cropping, and sharpening. The software's most dramatic changes are the Smart Cropping Tool and Auto Rotate. Smart Cropping centers the crop area over the most interesting part of the photo; Auto Rotate adjusts the preset to match the orientation of the photo. With the addition of presets, Smart Cropping, adaptive sharpening, and built-in batch processing, Blow Up 2 takes the pain out of high-quality photo resizing.
Animoto for Photography is a web application that automatically produces professional videos from user photos with one click. Animoto analyzes user photos and music, and automatically orchestrates a completely unique video in minutes--from creating promotional video for your website to selling high-res videos to your clients.
Apple's Aperture 2 includes an all-in-one Inspector that consolidates the Projects, Metadata, and Adjustments panes and allows users to switch between them simply by pressing "W." Another convenience, the simplified Viewer and Browser setup, maximizes screen real estate for images. Quickly locate images in the All Projects view with project skimming (เ la iPhoto Events). Users can access their entire iPhoto library directly within Aperture 2 to import selected events, albums, or individual photos using the iPhoto Browser. Choose "Show iPhoto Browser" from the File menu to reveal the browser.
ArcSoft Cut-It-Out is a plug-in for ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5.5 or Adobe Photoshop that allows users to separate objects in digital photos from their backgrounds, creating a mask. Similar in functionality to Photoshop's Extract command, Cut-It-Out offers speed and accuracy in selecting object details from image backgrounds. Cut-It-Out has an easy-to-use interface that provides quick, precise options for fine-tuning the object extraction.
Athentech Imaging (www.athentech.com)
Athentech Imaging is now making the award-winning Perfectly Clear available to users as a plug-in for the Photoshop platform. The new plug-in features fast automatic corrections, which include perfect exposure, abnormal tint removal, full color spectrum, color vibrancy, contrast, sharpening, noise reduction, automatic red-eye removal, automatic skin-tone correction, and light diffusion. All patented corrections maintain accurate color throughout the image, unlike traditional luminance methods (brightness controls), which alter color. Users can fine-tune the automatic corrections with a very simple set of controls and can also save correction settings as presets to quickly apply to other similar photos in a series.
Auto FX (www.autofx.com)
Pixplug is a new way to enhance, present, and sell your photos online, featuring: access to thousands of creative enhancement effects; more than $600 worth of Auto FX software that uploads directly to Pixplug; 500 artistic slideshows and photo presentations; ability to upload directly from iPhoto and Aperture keeping set keywords, titles, and captions. Users can brand their site with custom logos, custom web addresses, and custom watermarks.
Backupandburn software allows users to quickly process their pictures. Images will be renamed and renumbered sorted by time, copied to two different hard drives, and then automatically burned to a CD/DVD. BackupandBurn is Windows-compatible, with a Mac version coming soon.