What retouching software can do for photos

• Improve/change the color, contrast, brightness, hue and saturation (intensity).

• Change color images to black and white.

• Change black and white to duotone (two colors), tri-tone (three colors) or quad tone (four colors).

• Change mono (black and white) to color using hand coloring tools.

• Remove dust specks, scratches and other damage.

• Invisibly remove parts of an image.

• Repair damaged sections and reduce the effects of ageing in old photos.

• Apply effects to the whole picture or just parts of it.

• Alter images to create stunning artworks.

• Include your images in calendars, cards, report covers, school projects, business cards, letterheads, invitations and more.

• Save to different file formats suitable for web, print and desktop publishing.

• Convert photos into a web page complete with links and animated effects.

• Create special web page buttons and animations.

• Create index or contact sheets.

• Convert your pictures to different color spaces, e.g. CMYK, LAB color, RGB and Grayscale.

• Add artistic effects.

Figure 29.2 Entry-level programs like Google's Picaso use a simple, easy to follow interface designed to get users editing their pictures quickly.

are a good place to start. For instance, Adobe's Photoshop Album is a program that is often included.

Besides purely edit-based programs, you will also see a range of products targeting the younger digital imager: programs for morphing one photo into another and liquid paint programs used for creating cool effects. These are tremendous fun but limited in their scope. No detailed restoration or retouching is possible with these!

Semi-professional programs (see Figure 29.3) In the mid-range category, Adobe Photoshop Elements is definitely a favorite, being essentially a cut-down version of Photoshop, the world-class standard in image retouching programs. Designed to compete directly with the likes of Jasc's Paintshop Pro, Ulead's PhotoImpact and Roxio's PhotoSuite, Adobe's mid-range package gives desktop photographers top quality image editing tools that can be used for preparing pictures for printing, or web work.

Tools like the panoramic stitching option, called Photomerge, and the File Browser are favorite features. The color management and text and shape tools are the same robust technology that drives Photoshop itself, but Adobe has cleverly simplified the learning process by providing step-by-step interactive recipes for common image manipulation tasks. These, coupled with other helpful features like Fill Flash, Adjust Backlighting and the Red Eye Brush tool, make this package a digital photographer's delight.

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