capsule review

Photo Edit 1.3

At a Glance
  • macXware Photo Edit 1.3

    Macworld Rating

If you use iPhoto (   ; April 2003) to organize your digital snapshots, you've probably reached the limits of that program's simple image-enhancing controls. The $30 PhotoEdit 1.3, from macXware, offers to extend your capabilities, but the program has some deficiencies that prevent us from recommending it as even an adjunct to iPhoto, let alone a stand-alone image editor.

Beyond (and Behind) iPhoto

PhotoEdit runs in OS X and OS 9, and it saves images in most standard formats (except GIF). The program has the traditional toolbox- and palette-based interface of other image editors, but its menus are poorly organized. This is particularly unfortunate because many of the program's most- powerful commands are buried in the easy-to-miss Image Filters dialog box, which offers alternative sharpening tools that are better than the more conspicuous Sharpen and Heavy Sharpen menu options.

You'll still want to use iPhoto to rotate and crop images and to fix red-eye; PhotoEdit doesn't offer easy ways to do these crucial things. However, the program does offer some interesting features: the unique Fracture effect breaks your image into fragments. The 3D Anaglyph feature produces 3-D images (glasses not included). The well-designed Brush Editor offers an intuitive approach to designing custom brush shapes (though the program direly needs an easy way to adjust brush size as you paint). And though it's unlikely to appeal to PhotoEdit's target audience, the Script Editor lets you use the BASIC programming language to create your own plug-ins.

When working with photos in the 3-megapixel range, PhotoEdit chugs along very slowly. And before you try to print your images, you'll have to visit the company's Web site to download a software patch.

Macworld's Buying Advice

As an image editor -- even as an adjunct to iPhoto -- PhotoEdit 1.3 comes up short in several important ways. While iPhoto can pick up most of the slack in these departments (such as red-eye removal and cropping), there are better low-cost image-editing applications than PhotoEdit. ArcSoft's $30 PhotoImpression 4 is one good candidate; it also offers layers and multiple undos, two features that PhotoEdit sorely lacks.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Good range of image formats
    • Powerful brush and script editors
    • Interesting special-effects filters
    • Variety of effects
    • Some effective image-enhancing features

    Cons

    • Poorly organized menus
    • Printing bug
    • Slow performance with larger images
    • Awkward cropping, rotating, and red-eye tools
    • No incremental brush-size adjustment
    • Inaccurate manual
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