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The family photo album goes digital with Ulead's PhotoExpress. With the advent of technologies like Kodak's PhotoCD format or digital cameras, it's never been easier to shoot hundreds of pictures of the family vacation or the new baby. The problem, though, is one of cataloging and organization.
To complicate things, photo files on disk often carry obscure names--usually a combination of letters and numbers with a .JPG extension. They may not all be stored in the same place either. Some may be on a PhotoCD, some on a Zip disk, others in various directories on your hard drive.
PhotoExpress is designed to help bring order to such chaos by working within a photo album metaphor. Images can be grouped and cataloged, and thumbnail images can be viewed on "pages." Albums can be named according to content, and the photos within the albums can have additional comments. Also, a search feature can be used for finding specific keywords, which assumes that you've added these same terms to whatever image you're looking for.
PhotoExpress is more than a digital photo album. Photos can also be retouched: scratches removed, red-eye can be doctored up, colors can be tweaked, and even edges and frames can be added. There are also countless printing templates for calendars, business cards, greeting cards, invitations, etc. Each template can be edited to specific needs.
The program's interface requires a monitor setting of at least 800 x 600 in high or true color. This might put a strain on older computers, but any contemporary system should have no trouble meeting the demand.
PhotoExpress is friendly and easy to use; it's loaded with pop-up help boxes and tool tips. The predefined templates make printing easy, but the real value and power is in the album catalogs. --Mike Caputo
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