ArcSoft’s PhotoStudio 5.0 is the latest incarnation of their primary graphics editing
program. It is a bitmap based program used for editing scanned or digital
images. You may think of it as a somewhat watered down version of Adobe
Software’s Photoshop, which you probably know, is the industry standard.
Just because it doesn’t have all the features of Photoshop, doesn’t mean
it isn’t a worthy piece of software. It is just a solid graphics editor
without all the bells and whistles of Photoshop. It will still allow you
to do the majority of what Photoshop does, which is namely to use filters,
color editing, layers, digital enhancement, some special effects, text
enhancement, blends, merging of layers, and several other manipulations.
It comes with several sample files which you can experiment with along
with the ability to acquire digital or scanned images from any twain compliant
device, such as a scanner or of course a digital camera.
Unfortunately, my CD did not come with an instruction manual, so I had
to kind of wing it, but the interface and help file were fairly intuitive,
and I was able to get a fairly good idea of what the program was capable
of. Since I had no manual, there were no listed minimum requirements, but
I would guess that you should probably have at least Windows 95, a PIII
processor, running at least at 333 MHZ, with at least 64 MB of RAM.
You should probably also have minimum of 20-25 MB of hard disc space.
All of my guesstimates are based on the fact that most graphic editing
programs are fairly memory intensive and need a fair amount of horsepower
to run smoothly.
Installation was simple and the program ran smoothly. The interface is primarily run by mouse clicks, and toolbars which are easily configurable to your desire. After starting the program, you basically just open a graphic file such as a JPEG file, and then begin to add, subtract, and change whatever you dont like about the image. If you have ever worked with a graphics editor before, you wont find anything new here. The toolbars contain all the standard tools such as text, crop, paintbrush, pen or pencil strokes, free-hand crop, erasers, blur or sharpen filters, color saturation, light/darkness, stamp, clone, and so on. As stated before, there are also a set of sample JPEG images to edit for practice. I found the layers feature to be more difficult to work with than Photoshop.
It just wasn’t as intuitive and user friendly. Support is good at the
ArcSoft Website. Once
there, I was actually able to find a PDF online manual which I assume is
downloadable or printable. Also listed were the minimum system requirements
which are very close to my estimates. There is also an online database
to hopefully answer the most common questions and problems. ArcSoft products
are apparently not available in retail outlets locally, but can be downloaded
for evaluation or purchase. There is a demo version of PhotoStudio there,
but it is Version 4.0, as Version 5.0 is apparently not yet ready for release.
Overall I would say that PhotoStudio is a solid, well constructed editor.
It will definitely give you a good experience in graphics editing, with
enough features to keep you busy. On a scale of 1-10, I give it a solid
8. It definitely has a good beat, and is easy to dance to. Whoops, my bad.
I temporarily drifted off to Rate A Record, instead of Rate An Editor.
Till next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the