Essentials 2 for iPhoto improves digital photos

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onOne Software on Monday introduced Essentials 2 for iPhoto. It's a suite of software utilities designed to help improve the quality of digital photos, and it's designed to accompany Apple's iPhoto software. Essentials 2 for iPhoto costs $59.95.

Essentials 2 for iPhoto includes "Make It Better," a tool that lets you compare color, contrast and brightness adjustments side-by-side. You can then pick the best-looking images, and adjust your picture accordingly. It's designed to combine several image adjustment steps you might have to make in a more expensive image editing tool down to one step.

Blur It lets you manage depth of field control in your photos, plane of focus control and selective focus. onOne describes it as having a control that's "much like using a lens." You can define the "sweet spot" either as a round shape or a plane, then control how much and what kind of blur you'd like to add.

Frame It lets you add edge and border effects that mimic what you can do with film in a darkroom; effects like torn paper, for example. You can also use this tool to add brush strokes or incorporate frames and mats. Frame It lets you stack multiple edges and frames—more than 500 to choose from all told.

Enlarge It increases the size of an image without losing sharpness and details like what you'd expect, according to the developer. It can resize images up to 400 percent without losing sharp edges and small details.

The tools are based on the same technology found in some of onOne's professional Photoshop plug-ins Phototune 2.2, FocalPoint 1.0, PhotoFrame 3.1 and Genuine Fractals 5.

If you're wondering where Essentials 1 for iPhoto was, don't be alarmed—you didn't miss it. This is the first edition of this toolset for iPhoto, but onOne has named it Essentials 2 to keep the product in step with a similar product for Photoshop Elements that was recently upgraded.

Essentials 2 for iPhoto requires Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later, G5/1GHz or faster (including Intel), 1GB RAM and 1GB hard disk space. Video graphics card with 128MB RAM or more required.

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