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Software Review of:
DreamSuite Series One
Auto FX Software

 

Bill Klutz does consulting work, primarily in the areas of Management and Computer Applications/Hardware/Software.

From the October,2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Founded in 1994, Auto FX Software has grown to become the largest market developer of Adobe Photoshop plug-ins, but most applications can also function in a stand-alone configuration. Auto FX Software is exclusively focused on the development and marketing of visual imaging software for creative professionals. The software, however, can also provide benefits to the business and home user community. Auto FX products are distributed in over 45 countries around the world and are also available for digital download, at the company Web site.

On 8/15/01, after two years of hard work and careful planning, Auto FX Software released a major new graphics application called Dreamsuite. It is a visual enhancement program created to work with images, type and graphics. It works as either a stand-alone application DreamSuite Series or as a plug-in to several popular photo editing programs. One is the first of several DreamSuite series planned to be released by Auto FX Software.

DreamSuite Series One Key Features: DreamSuite works as both a stand-alone application or as a plug-in for image editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements and Paint Shop Pro; Effects are Resolution Independent. You can apply an effect to a small image and get the same result on a different sized (including much larger) image. This feature is useful for preparing content for both print and the web; Memory Dots allow you to click and capture a look so you can explore and then come back to that same look at a later date; Users can add an unlimited number of multiple light sources and shadows, each with independent controls; Supports a Marquee Zoom and Pan capable adjustable full screen preview; Paragraph length ToolTips containing detailed instructions pop up when the mouse is held over a control for several seconds; User defined presets can be saved for capturing the exact look of an effect for later use; File loading and saving support for: .psd, .tif, .bmp, .jpg, .gif, .png file formats. Saving in Photoshop .psd format will export the effect onto a layered document with full transparency; Customizable interface colors and desktop textures allow the user to pick their favorite look; Optimized for single or dual processor machines on both Mac and Windows; Optimized for G4s (GeForce4 - nVidia's powerful new 3D accelerator); Apple Certified compliant with OS 10; and supports dual monitor configuration.

Included with Series One are 18 premium effects that are unrivalled in their photo realistic quality, ease of use and creative options that can produce the effects listed below. (Descriptions are mine and do not do the product justice. Material Being Worked is listed as MBW, for ease of description. Selected effects are provided for reader viewing, but the gray scale presentation does not do the color images justice.) The effects in Series One include: 35mm Frame - MBW is placed in one or more 35mm frames; Chisel - Surface of MBW (primarily for numbers & letters) has chiseled look; Crackle - Surface of MBW looks like cracks on old paintings or old pictures; Crease - MBW has folded or wrinkled look; Cubism - Cannot describe (Fig 1); Deckle - MBW has torn picture look (two pieces); Dimension X - MBW (primarily for numbers & letters) has flat top pyramid look; Focus - MBW has area of interest viewable with surrounding area appearing hazy or fuzzy; Hot Stamp - MBW (Primarily numbers & letters) has "flaming edge" outline; Instamatic - MBW has appearance of being on a Polaroid snapshot; Liquid Metal - MBW (primarily numbers & letters) appears like mercury (liquid) on a flat surface; Metal Mixer - MBW appears to be like "Liquid Metal" but with an ocean wave surface; Photo Border - MBW appears in a picture frame; Photo Depth - MBW appears to be depicted through a slightly "winter frosted" window with the image being readily visible; Photo Tone - MBW is given lighting effects and/or shadows (Fig 2); Putty - Cannot describe. Background appeared to have browninsh-gray coloring; Ripple - MBW appears to be viewed through rock-in-the-pond ripples; Tape - MBW (as picture) appears to be taped to a wall.

The estimated street price of DreamSuite is $299 (probably a little steep for the home user). DreamSuite ships as both a physical and as an electronic download. Physical product is available on a hybrid Mac/Windows CD-ROM.

The program is probably best suited for guys like Paul Vaughn (The Graphics Guy). (In recent months he has told us and shown us, on pages of PC Alamode, what can be done with Photoshop, Apple systems and graphics in general.) But, the business and home user could benefit from the available features. The program sounds complicated, but seems pretty straight forward for the average computer user. Finding ways to use the features may be a little difficult, if you aren't tuned in to graphics type work on a somewhat regular basis. If you use the program, you just might release your "creative" personality that has been hidden within.

System requirements: 

  • Windows
    • 400mhz processor
    • Windows 98/NT/2000/2000 ME, 128 MB RAM (256+ recommended)
  • Macintosh
    • G3 or higher processor
    • OS 9.0 or higher (native support for OS X), 128 MB RAM (256+ recommended)
[CD-Drive for both systems, if not electronically downloaded].

Contact Information: 

Auto FX Software Corporation
31 Inverness Center Parkway, Suite 270
Birmingham, Alabama 35242
PH: 800-839-2008 or 205-980-0056, Fax: 205-980-1121


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