Why spend big bucks on graphics software when you can get many, if not most, of the same features from freeware? Here are three mui-expensive graphics apps and their free counterparts:Adobe Illustrator Available for Windows only, Creative Docs .NET (yeah, weird name) is a vector-based graphic design tool for creating illustrations, manuals, flow charts, icons, and the like. It offers advanced features like Bezier curves, styles, convert-to-curves, and curved-path text. Adobe Photoshop You've actually got two choices here: GIMP, which is available for all platforms, and Paint.NET, which is Windows-only. Both programs offer powerful, Photoshop-caliber image-editing tools, … Read more
Do you want a simple way to bring life to your photos? Photo to Movie is a fairly basic concept which adds drama to average photographs. Once you have your chosen photo, use the intuitive tool set to choose your starting and ending frames to create a camera path across the image. The end result is a slow motion pan across a photograph or several photographs, making for excellent slide shows with extremely smooth animations. You can even add music to make it more dramatic. If you're looking for a way to make a photo DVD, a personalized screensaver, … Read more
Photobucket, the massive photo-sharing site that was acquired by News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media last year, has partnered with Scrapblog, a start-up that lets members create online scrapbooks.
Through the partnership, whose financial terms were not disclosed, Scrapblog's drag-and-drop application will be available within Photobucket so that users can work their Photobucket albums into scrapbooks and then share or embed them on the Web. Starting in September, printed versions of Scrapblog scrapbooks will be available for purchase.
"Scrapbooks have traditionally been an important part of how people have kept and shared memories offline for many years, and … Read more
The technology, which takes a grouping of photographs and stitches them into a faux 3D environment, can now be implemented with photos you've taken on your digital camera or mobile phone, and converted right on your computer. Previously, the process of stitching these photos together took weeks of processing on specially configured server arrays. With its latest version, Microsoft has managed to shrink that into around the time it takes to upload … Read more
It only took Flickr four months to get around to it, but user-created videos now sit alongside photos as part of the widely-used slideshow tool.
Previously videos, which are still a beta feature for paying pro members, resided in their own island. If you were putting together a special set for a slideshow, you'd have to open up the videos separately. That problem no longer exists--much to the bemusement of vacation photo and video enthusiasts.
Flickr has also increased the presence of slideshows around the site, including where you can fire one up. This is most noticeable on search … Read more
My favorite types of Web apps are those that try to emulate the look and feel of software. Cutting-edge UI can be useful, but sometimes you just want something that feels familiar. In the case of Pixlr, a new browser-based photo-editing tool, the target is clearly Adobe's Photoshop.
Pixlr lets you grab photos from your hard drive and edit them in a software-like environment. Included are some advanced tools like customizable brushes and multiple layers. Most people won't need these features, but they're there--and free of charge. There's also a small collection of filters and adjustments. … Read more
Monday marked a milestone for Epson printers, as the company revealed a new line of all-in-one and photo printers designed for the small- to medium-size business consumer.
The two single-function WorkForce 30 and 40s, as well as the higher-end WorkForce 500 and 600 all-in-ones, promise to deliver speed, quality, and utility in an attractive package. Judging from the initial pictures, the WorkForce 600, the new line's flagship model, appears to have a comprehensive set of buttons on the faceplate surrounding its 2.5-inch LCD screen.
According to the release, the 600 is both speedy and efficient, capable of printing … Read more
Developers at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research have conceived a system called Photo Tourism that will allow the viewing of large photo collections in 3D. For example, if you have 20 photographs of the Eiffel Tower taken from various angles, the algorithms will map them together, and as you drag across the image, the picture "turns" and shows you different angles of the structure.
This is achieved by using a technique called Orbit Stabilization, which fixes "the orbit across all angles for a more consistent view." The result? Smoother transition and a more realistic … Read more
A video from Microsoft Research and the University of Washington has been causing a stir online. The seven-minute clip, which was presented at Siggraph 2008 this week in Los Angeles, gives a small peek at some photo-viewing technology that's effectively the next generation of Photosynth, one of Microsoft Live Labs' most eye-popping technology demos.
Photosynth's technology puts hundreds of photos on a 3D map that users can browse and navigate in a similar fashion to real life. This new technology lets the viewer see several sides of a captured object using the varying angles from multiple photos. It … Read more
Everyone wants a cool device to whip out of a bag or pocket to showcase photos--lord knows I've had plenty of iPhones shoved in my face for just that purpose. But somehow, products like the recently announced Jobo S4, a traditional digital photo frame shrunk to 3.5 inches and powered by a 2.5-hour rechargeable lithium-ion battery, don't seem to do it for me. Especially since the Jobo only has 4MB (yes, that's megabytes, not gigabytes) built-in storage, which holds 90 low-resolution photos appropriate for the 320x240 display. That means you really have to store the … Read more