Most folks are pretty generous when it comes to sharing photos with family and
friends. It just seems to be part of human nature to want to show others
the special people and moments in our lives. And, of course, e-mail and
the wonders of the Internet have made photo sharing fast and convenient.
Cousin Eddie can zap you images of Aunt Tillie’s birthday party faster
than you can say “attachment.” But what happens when Eddie e-mails you
pictures that appear three times larger than your monitor screen? Aunt
Tillie looks like she’s the size of Godzilla, and her birthday cake is
a frosted, two-story condo.
Three words — Photo Editing Needed.
Upperspace Corporation offers a fast, easy to use product called Instant
Digital Photo Fix that can remedy most digital photo problems without taking
the fun and convenience out of sharing those special Kodak moments.
Instant Digital Photo Fix is an easy program to install. On my simple
200 MHz Sony, the program loaded in five minutes. The numerous .jpg and
.dll files found their way to my hard drive without a hitch. The installation
disk also came with a 30-day trial version of Design CAD 3D Max, which
I decided to install and preview later. The load time for the CAD program
was three minutes. With the installation complete, icons for each program
popped up onto my desktop, and everything was good to go.
I have always found it handy to be able to see my tools at a glance,
rather than clicking and searching through sublevels to find them. So when
I opened Instant Digital Photo Fix for the first time and saw thirty-two
buttons displayed beneath the top menu bar, I knew this arrangement was
going to save me time and lessen search frustration. Almost two dozen of
the tool buttons were image editing types. Each button’s graphical look
was similar to designs I’ve seen in other image programs. In fact, I immediately
thought of buttons in PaintShopPro. Most of the familiar types were there:
shapes, text, paint bucket, eyedropper, cropper, rotation, color, line,
magic wand. Two that I did not see and really missed were the paintbrush
and pencil — both can be very handy. Nonetheless, the overall arrangement
and familiar look made the program appear comfortable and easy to navigate.
Just above the tool bar is the menu bar with fairly standard menus:
File, Edit, Image, Color, Draw, View, Tools, Windows, and Help. I gravitated
to Help because I always like to check out the tutorial to see if I can
learn something new. I found the tutorial and proceeded to explore each
of the topics: Opening Images, Rotating Images, Copying to the Windows
Clipboard, Copying an Image or Image Portion into the Selected Area of
Another Image, Saving Images, E-Mailing Images, and Printing Images. Not
much new here. The explanations were sparse because most the functions
were rather simple. I did notice that the rotation function had both preset
angles and Arbitrary, a function that allows the user to type in any angle.
The Copy Image feature was a normal copy/paste function, and the Printing
Images offered a choice of landscape or portrait and the size of the image
to be printed. The E-mail Images feature offered suggestions for resizing.
All right! Now that’s a function that all photo senders need to know.
With that in mind I decided to test Instant Digital Photo Fix in two
ways: check the resizing feature for setting the dimensions of a photo
to be e-mailed; and check out several other functions that will change
the look of a digital photo. For the resizing test, I chose a digital picture
my son had just taken of his recently polished car. Since I knew that many
digital cameras are set by default to capture images using a great number
of pixels—for clarity and other reasons—I expected the file size to be
large. I wasn’t disappointed. Opening the photo in Instant Digital Photo
Fix, the information beneath the picture showed the horizontal size as
1024 pixels and vertical size as 768 pixels. I was hoping the program would
also give the dimensions in inches, but no such luck. So using another
program, I found that 1024 x 768 equated to 14.22 x 10.67 inches—way too
large. Back in Photo Fix, I clicked on Image and then on Resize. The screen
showed the same huge horizontal and vertical dimensions in pixels and gave
the option of changing the number of pixels or their percentage. I chose
the percentage and reduced it from 100 to 50. I clicked Ok and Photo Fix
reduced the dimensions by half, 512 x 384 pixels. I then saved the new
image under another name. To complete the test, I e-mailed the photo to
myself using two features of my browser, Insert and Attachment. Both images
showed very nicely when I opened my e-mail screen. What originally had
been a file of 133 KB was now 36 KB. The smaller file produced not just
a viewable photo, but one that downloaded rapidly.
For the second test, I selected a photo of my niece’s son, Ryan. The
image was already well sized, but I wanted to perform a few modifications:
cropping, border, and text. The opening screen of Instant Digital Photo
Fix displayed the picture with a caption giving the path of the file, C:\MyPhotos\Ryan;
the resolution, 538 x 355; and the color depth, 24 bits. I first cropped
the picture, trimming slight areas from the left and right sides of the
photo. Next, I decided to add a border. I went to Tools, then to Border.
The screen that opened displayed three options: color of border, outer
thickness, and inner thickness. My border would be multi-dimensional, so
I proceeded to select a teal color, 12 for an outer thickness, and 9 for
the inner thickness. The result looked good and it hadn’t taken very long
to make the changes.
Next was adding text. This was the more challenging part because I would
be selecting a font that would have to look right and fit within a limited
area, a text box. First, I would have to create the text box. So from the
Tool Bar I chose the rounded rectangle tool, moving it to the bottom of
the photo and resizing it to dimensions that I wanted. Then I clicked on
the Set Drawing Color tool and selected a shade of yellow from the color
palette. Next I clicked on the Fill Selected Area and yellow flooded into
my rounded rectangle text box. Not too bad. That went quickly and was easy
Step One was complete. On to Step Two. I clicked on the large A in tool
bar, opening the text tool. The first box in the newly opened screen is
the Sample Text. Here I typed what would go inside my text box — Ryan’s
Favorite Spot. The default style is Drop Shadow, and my newly typed text
appeared with a drop shadow on the right side of the text screen. Clicking
on the down arrow in the Style window, I discovered a dozen more 3D-text
effects. After trying most of them, I decided I didn’t want to use any
of them. Instead, I opted for No 3D Effect. From the color palette, I selected
a maroon color, and from the fonts display an 18 point Book Antiqua Bold
Italic. Let me say that it took me a while to find the type of font and
the size of font that I liked and that would fit inside my text box. Since
I don’t do this everyday, I had to use trial and error. The program worked
fine. It was my lack of font savvy that delayed me. The final effect pleased
me. I had cropped the photo, framed it with a border, and added a text—all
done easily and efficiently.
Instant Digital Photo Fix is a good program for a quick touch-up of
photos, especially those that you may want to e-mail to family or friends.
It offers a wide variety of tools for simple enhancements. I liked its
ability to resize photos and add text, borders and colors. Its familiar
design and accessible, multi-functional tool bar makes finding the right
tool a snap. I highly recommend it for those just learning to edit images.
Instant Digital Photo Fix is probably not for those who are used to working
with more sophisticated editors, like PhotoShop or Illustrator. Even PaintShopPro
users may be frustrated at times because Photo Fix does not provide the
same type of information nor exactly the same tools. However, Instant Digital
Photo Fix is program that does deliver on its promise to enhance digital
photos in an efficient manner. It is definitely a program to consider when
you are touching up pictures or preparing to e-mail them.
System requirements include 16 MB of RAM and Windows — Windows 95, Windows
98, Windows Millennium, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. It is
available through retailers like J & R Music World Computer, Micro
Center, TigerDirect, Fry’s, Hastings, and others. San Antonio consumers
will have to order it directly from the company for $79.95.
Instant Digital Photo Fix is made by:
600 SE 49th Street
Pryor, OK 74361.
Phone: 800/233-3223 or 918/825-4844.