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With the growing popularity of digital cameras, consumers need an easy way to correct photos. If the software bundled with your camera can't do the job or seems too complicated to use, consider Q-Research's PhotoGenetics, an inexpensive stand-alone program that makes it easy to fix common problems such as red-eye and poor lighting. The program is available as a $30 download or $40 CD; Q-Research also offers PlusPak, a $30 set of optional add-ons you can download from the company's Web site.
PhotoGenetics doesn't try to be another Adobe Photoshop; you won't find Photoshop's extensive artistic and production tools here. PhotoGenetics focuses on fixing everyday digital-imaging problemsalthough you can use it to add some artistic flair. In fact, the program almost goes too far in distancing itself from Photoshop; for example, its genotypes are just filters with a cryptic new name.
The interface is simple, displaying your original image in a large main window with easily identifiable buttons on the side for cropping, rotation, printing, and help. When you click on the Start Evolution button, the program displays modified versions of your image in a window that appears on the right. The Genotypes palette lets you pick from 15 image filters that adjust the image.
Compare and Contrast As you adjust the image on the right, you can compare it to the original on the left.
With each change, you rate the modified image on the right in a range from no better or worse to a little better to excellent . At any point, you can stop to save your image as a TIFF, JPEG, or Photoshop file.
In addition to making adjustments through the Genotypes palette, you can also change the image's color temperature, making it appear hotter (toward the red end of the spectrum) or cooler (toward the blue).
Along with performing basic image-correction functions, the genotypes can also produce X-ray and colorizing effects. And the Dewarp genotype removes the distortion caused by a wide-angle lens.
As you apply a genotype, you can adjust its intensity and save the setting as a new genotype. The PlusPak includes additional genotypes for enhancing specific colors, correcting lens distortions, and producing other effects.
Although the program's interactive image-correction functions are geared toward modifying images one at a time, it includes a batch-processing mode that lets you correct a whole folder of images with one keystroke.
PhotoGenetics targets consumers, but some graphic designers or photographers may find it a handy tool for performing quick changes on an image without launching Photoshop. Considering its light price tag, this simple one-trick pony is certainly worth trying out.
RATING: PROS: Affordable; simple interface. CONS: Unnecessarily cryptic naming of functions. COMPANY: Q-Research (800/689-0639, http://www.q-res.com ). LIST PRICE: Download, $30; CD version, $40.
March 2000 page: 56