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Ulead's PhotoImpact 5

By Derrick Story

Rank: 2

PhotoImpact 5

by Ulead Systems
Platform: Windows
Image editor, gif animator, Java rollover assistant, 3D graphics creator, and lots more.

PhotoImpact packs so much punch for the buck, you'll wonder why it isn't swaggering across every Windows desktop. What the folks at Ulead did is take a close look at the typical functions web designers need from their graphics applications. Then they grouped those functions into a smart, affordable package. PhotoImpact could easily contend for the "If I could only take one graphics editor to a desert island for web designing..." title.

Even though we're trying to keep these reviews short, I've just got to give you a brief overview of PhotoImpact's capabilities:

  • Comprehensive image editor complete with lasso, magic wand, cropper, and cloning tool.
  • GIF animator for easy-to-create animated web graphics.
  • Image optimizer to intelligently shrink those web graphics for faster downloading.
  • Special effects and 3D graphics functionality to make, for example, 3D text that glows.
  • Java rollover assistant to create animated buttons even if you don't know scripting.
  • Image slicer for faster loading of those big web graphics. PI creates the code for you too.
  • Integrated screen capture to take screen shots of everything but PhotoImpact's UI itself.

Most of the functions work smoothly, especially items on the "EasyPalette," which allows you to drag and drop redesigned special effects on to the image itself. Some functions, such as the screen capture, seem to require more effort than they should. But the overall package is smart and capable.

Ulead's terrific web site removes all practical barriers to getting your hands on the software. You can download a free trial version, buy a registered download, or order a shrink-wrapped copy—it's your choice, and it's all a snap. In their "Resources" area, you can download free templates, browse FAQs, get tips from the experts, and learn about basic web design concepts. If you already own PhotoImpact, you can upgrade at the site for $49.95.

About the only thing you can't do there is download a Mac- or Linux-compatible version. That's because PhotoImpact is designed for Windows 95/98/NT. If you're a Windows user and haven't found the right web image tool yet, you gotta consider Ulead's offering.

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