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  Freeware & Shareware
October 2002

Tim Hoke

Tim Hoke is the Sr. Pastor at Faith Presbyterian Church, a long-time member of Alamo PC and an avid computer user who loves to try out new programs, especially shareware and freeware. He gets excited about a good deal.  More than that, he enjoys sharing good deals with others.

Why not send him a note about your favorite shareware or freeware programs.

This month’s theme focuses on multimedia stuff, which although very interesting, can be quite expensive. Hence a little research for shareware that is affordable and freeware that is even more affordable (grin). Below are some applications that just might arm you with the right software while helping save you an arm and a leg.

LView Pro 2002 is a graphics package that enables you to create images from scratch or edit existing image files. The program supports TWAIN-compatible devices, such as scanners and frame-grabber cards. Along with the usual assortment of file operations such as copy, move, delete, and rename, LView Pro features extensive cataloging options, slide shows, format conversion operations, and support for image animation. It also offers transparencies, painting tools, color matching, special effects, and even the ability to store thumbnail images with text descriptions. Additionally, it contains histograms and curves for image adjustments, support for pressure-sensitive tablets, and enhanced brushes and painting options. This is shareware to try for free and costs $41 if you want it for keeps.  

DivX 5.0 is a freebie that might interest you video folks: Formerly known as Divx Player and DivX Codec, this major update to the popular video software introduces a new generation of DivX technology, and contains all the software you need to create and watch videos in the popular DivX video format. DivX 5.0 includes many new features, such as enhanced video quality, more effective compression capabilities, and full support for the MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile decoding method. Version 5.0 is also optimized for AMD Athlon and Athlon XP processors and supports the new MPEG-4 based DivX file format. DivX Video Bundle also includes the new DivX Player 2.0 alpha, which supports the MPEG-4 format and offers a skinnable interface system. Version 5.0.2 is a bug fix release that fixes issues discovered in DivX 5.0.1. 

Attention digital camera users! Here’s something for free that might just help you tweak all those pics you are taking. Digital Camera Enhance 1.1 is a free tool that helps you clean up your photos, whether you have a digital camera or not. With a push of a button, it automatically reduces noise, performs skin smoothing, and adjusts color balance. The program works best with pictures that were taken under poor lighting conditions. If an image is already fine, you won't see much of a difference. Sliders for Auto Balance, Midtones, Color, Enhancement Details, and De-noising let you make precise adjustments, with the difference clearly shown in the Original and Result panes. Digital Camera Enhance opens images in the BMP, JPG, PCX, PNG, TGA, TIF, WMF, and PAX formats. 

InfraView 3.75 is another freebie that is a fast, simple image viewer and editor that supports all major graphic formats, including BMP, DIB, JPEG, GIF, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, multipage TIFF, TGA, and more. In addition, it features drag-and-drop support, directory viewing, TWAIN support, slide shows, batch conversion, and modifications such as color depth, crop, blur, and sharpen. Version 3.75 features support for ICS format (Image Cytometry Standard) and CDR/CMX format, and adds RAW saving. MPG/AVI frames can now be extracted from the Options menu, and much more. 

Image Broadway 4.0 is a $69 image editing tool that you can try for free or buy as shareware for $69. It is powerful enough for most graphic designers, Webmasters, and photographers, yet simple enough for the occasional users who just want to edit, fine-tune, or create new images. Image Broadway lets you create and edit graphic images in minutes. With just one click you can correct red-eye in your digital shots. Image Broadway features include retouching tools that allow color corrections and tonal adjustments; crop, rotate, scale, and perspective tools; rendering tools that let you enhance buttons, logos, and images; transparency and composition tools; alpha channel; multiple channels; image mapping; and optimization. The program also includes samples and tutorials with step-by-step how-tos.Version 4.0 features a Quick Paint mode with new color and palette management features, sliders, additional paint and brush options, as well as new mask and remask options that make creating or editing images quicker, easier, and more precise! Free to try; $69 to buy. 

If you work with 3-D you may want to try 3D Canvas 5.7a, a real-time 3D modeling and animation tool that incorporates a drag-and-drop approach. Complex models can be constructed from simple 3D primitives or created using 3D Canvas' Object Building Tools. Creating an animated scene is as simple as positioning the objects within your scene for each point in time in your animation. 3D Canvas will ensure that the resulting animation runs smoothly. Get it free.

WizFlow Flowcharter 4.1 is a tool designed for creating flowcharts and similar diagrams. It allows you to work with a single object or a group of objects, drawing boxes or symbols of many shapes and connecting them with lines of various types. You can enter explanatory text at any location, using a grid that helps you keep your work symmetrical and aligned. Wizflow contains extensive features, such as full zoom, OLE connectivity for inserting charts in other documents, poster printing, graphics import and export, automatic routing, curves, flow symbols, and much more. It is $44.95 shareware.

CyD GIF Studio Pro 7.2 is a specialized graphics application well-suited for Web production. It is designed for creating animated GIFs, 3D text, and optimized images. GIF Studio Pro supports many file formats, including GIF, BMP, JPEG, AVI, MOV, PIC, TRGA, TIFF, PCD, and even PSD (Photoshop) files. It also provides integrated functionatity with most major scanners. Online help and built-in tool tips are provided for easily accessible assistance. GIF Studio Pro lets you edit individual properties of each project through the Options palette, or set global palettes for optimization and other oft-repeated processes. You can add, adjust, import, and export animation frames with ease, and apply a variety of transition effects. Take total control over your project, or create practical graphics in mere minutes with step-by-step wizards. This download includes CyD GIF Studio and CyD Image Viewer. You can try it for free and pay $29.00 if you decide to keep it. 

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