Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10

by MaxPower

Almost everyone knows digital photography is taking off. Various family members who are not shall we say ?technologically inclined? are sporting the latest megapixel endowed cameras. Weddings, vacations and family reunions are turning into amateur camera free-for-alls, and Star Trekesqe camera phones/communicators are multiplying prodigiously. Even Kodak, the traditional film stalwart has all but given up the film ghost, shifting (for good or bad) towards digital technology.

Everyone is spending the big bucks to get the latest cameras which pack the most megapixels into the smallest package. Most consumers, myself included, spend all the money on the camera and give little or no thought to the processing required afterwards. But what good are megapixels if you can?t crop or fix your photos? Isn?t the ability to edit your pictures supposed to be the big selling point behind digital picture taking? It is, but there is a problem with the majority of the digital camera software. The software most digital photo takers use is the packaged stuff which comes with their camera. At the time of purchase this seems natural; you shell out a couple hundred to a thousand dollars for a camera, the maker should throw in a decent photo editor package should they not?

Well they should but generally the camera makers don?t. For the first few months, a new camera user will be fiddling with buttons and taking prodigious amounts of photos of family, friends, pets, vistas, plants, rocks and trees. And then the honeymoon ends, the photos are more mundane ? vacations, family reunions, weddings, and graduations. Events that you want to record and just have the pictures look decent. Users want to remove red eye, sharpen the picture, and adjust the lighting and colour. Most of all, users want some sort of digital library, a virtual photo-album if you will. But if you are like most typical users, you do not want Photoshop functionality. Photoshop is quasi-professional and for most users, akin to lighting a candle with a flamethrower ? it has features most people won?t understand let alone use. And that is where Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 comes in.

Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 delivers everything you need to manage, edit and share photos with family and friends. It is a comprehensive software package and includes Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10 for photo-editing and Microsoft Digital Image Library 10 for photo organization and archiving.

Digital Image Pro 10 is supposed to be a one-stop shop for fixing your digital photographs. It doesn?t claim to do things Photoshop can?t, however, it does claim to do many of the same things in an easier way. It is perfect for the type of person who wants to take pictures and clean them up a bit ? change the colouring or the lighting and take the red eye out. This is not a product for professional photographers, but they wouldn?t consider using this product anyway. When I had a chance to use Digital Image Suite 10 there were some features I immediately liked. You can load up a picture and then click four buttons and have a drastically better photo. Step one ? click on ?Colour Auto Fix?, step two ? click on ?Exposure Auto Fix?, step three ? click on ?Contrast Auto Fix?, and step four ? click on ?Levels Auto Fix?. Nine times out of ten your picture will look remarkably better. I tested this on seriously messed up pictures with bad colour or exposure and on relatively good shots (or so I thought). It did a better job fixing the bad photos than the good, but a respectable job fixing up both.

Another feature I enjoyed playing around with was the ?Smart Erase?. This was handy for removing offending telephone poles or ex-girlfriends/boyfriends from your photos. With Smart Erase you just drag around the offending area and the program replaces it with a corresponding background. Note to user ? this works best on a simple background such as the sky or sand. I removed some people in the distance on a great beach shot I have and now the photo looks like the beach was deserted. It only took me about 5 minutes of fooling around and no complex instruction manual reading needed.

I?m really talking up the ease of using this thing, but honestly, if you want to fool around with the colour saturation and change the CMY amounts or edit the exposure and lighting curves you can. You don?t need to, but you can. There are obviously a ton of other options too which I?m not detailing but you can find that information online through the link on the sidebar.

Digital Image Library 10 provides robust search capabilities that include sorting photos by rating, keyword and even photo characteristics so you can keep track of all your pictures rather than relying on complex and time consuming file folder libraries (however, you can do that as well if you like). The first time you use it you?ll spend a bunch of time going through all of your pictures and adding keyword associations. For example, a picture taken on vacation in Hawaii in 2004 with your family could be associated with the words ? Vacation, Hawaii, 2004, Family. If you want to pull up all of your Hawaii pictures then type the word Hawaii and it pulls up the list for you. However, if you wanted a more general search type the word Vacation and it pulls up all of your vacation pictures. Since you can customize keywords there is no end to the cross-categorization possibilities.

These programs are a great package for the amateur digital photographer who understands the need for organizing and fixing their photographs. I have enjoyed playing with the editing programs and organized my 400+ pictures in less than an hour.

  • Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10
  • by MaxPower
  • Published on October 1st, 2004

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