NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Adobe Photo Deluxe 2.0
Bob Frye, April 98

Photo Deluxe is a powerful, but user friendly, image-editing program. Besides editing scanner images, this Adobe program can handle input from digital cameras, internet or CD-ROM based files, as well as clip art. Photo Deluxe 2.0 is MMX aware, which makes for peppy performance on MMX-equipped machines.

The tabbed interface leads you through step-by-step in acquiring, editing and saving your image, even for first time users. I especially like the floating tool palettes. I found this feature saved some scrolling when doing detailed touchup work (you can zoom in up to 800%). Besides image editing, Photo Deluxe has templates for creating calendars, cards, signs, certificates, labels, gift tags and T-shirt transfers. Since this program is aimed at home use, business-oriented templates are limited. Similar to other image packages, Photo Deluxe includes special effect tools for hand tinting, distortion and collage, as well as overlays like pencil, charcoal, emboss, solarize or neon glow. If these choices aren't enough, you can use your images as a screen saver or wallpaper. Photo deluxe supports up to 99 layers on a single image, although you are limited to one undo/redo. If you run out of ideas, Photo Deluxe provides easy access to Adobe's Internet site for additional images, projects and tips. As you'd expect from Adobe, there's a collection of fonts too.

So far, I have spent most of my time using the advanced tool palette. With these tools, I can cut, paste, copy and duplicate (multiple images within the same file) images. I can adjust color balance, contrast, saturation, or sharpen images. The crop and size tools are easy to use to modify images to fit a defined space, be it in inches, centimeters, points or pixels. I especially like the smudge and erase tools to de-emphasize or eliminate those extraneous elements that I find in many of the images I use. Add some fills, drop shadows, feathering, image outline or color change and even stock images can be made into one of a kind custom creations. One limitation is images can be only rotated in 15-degree increments, so I had to be extra careful when aligning documents on my scanner bed.

The best feature I believe is the multiple formats that Photo Deluxe supports. You can use grayscale, BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, EPS, as well as Adobe Acrobat and PhotoShop 3 formats. Better yet, you can convert images from one format to the other. This is especially handy for distributing images via paper, network or the Web. After a little experimentation, I found I could significantly shrink file size while preserving image quality by saving different types of scanned images in various formats.

Photo Deluxe takes about 28 MB of hard disks space, with an additional 3 MB for the included Adobe Acrobat reader. Although my copy of Photo Deluxe came bundled with my UMAX flatbed scanner, I have seen retail packages for about $50. I highly recommend you look at this application for all but the most demanding image editing projects.

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