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Review CornerSoftware
Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Pro 7.0
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
Exceptionally easy to use digital image editing software that allows users to tweak photos and images effortlessly, with professional results.
Ages: 9-up   Subject: Utilities   Brand: Microsoft
Review Sections: Product Overview  Technically Speaking  Dollar Value
image Product Overview
While there are other digital image editing programs available that contain more features than Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Pro, this program offers the tools to satisfy most families' needs while featuring superior ease of use. With little effort required to learn how to use the program, more time can be invested in perfecting and enjoying digital images.

With this program, digital images can be improved or altered for creative ends. With its intuitive interface and plenty of sliders that change the images in real-time, these tasks are truly made simple. This package is especially useful for families who own digital cameras, simply because it provides tools that help resolve many of the problems and complaints users have with the images they capture with digital cameras.

Users can easily resolve problems with composition and lighting. They can add flash to photos that need them, reduce backlighting, use a clone brush to cover distractions, cut out portions of a photo, airbrush imperfections, and more.

The program offers plenty of hand-holding and includes a number of very helpful instructional videos. These contain tutorials and opportunities to practice on sample photos. Demonstrations include basic photo touching, face touchups (including removing red-eye, wrinkles, and blemishes), advanced photo editing, and cutouts and filters. The "Face Touchups" video, for example, walks users through steps for common touchups, such as whitening teeth, removing red eye, obliterating different types of wrinkles, and even removing a double chin.

Creative project templates are included. There are templates for scrapbooks, calendars, greeting cards, address labels, CD labels, business cards, flyers, collages, and more. Additionally, the second CD in the set includes images for use in the projects. Of course, users' own photos and images can be inserted into the projects for one-of-a-kind results. Kids' projects include animations, stickers, postcards, and various photo crafts.

While the features and tools offered are good, there are other products on the market that offer more. For example, for a similar price, Jasc Paint Shop Pro includes more features and options that will satisfy the needs of advanced users. However, Digital Image Pro stands out for the average home user because it offers excellent control and ease of use for people who don't want to invest too much of their time into learning how to use a product. The results are excellent. Although there are "automatic fix" options, the program's sliders are exceptionally easy to understand and control.

The interface is intuitive and very organized. The program walks users through each step involved in the image editing process. Thumbnails of current images apear at the bottom of the workspace, and the current project's layers are displayed on the right hand side. Photo sharing options are included in the program, making it easy to email photos or publish images on a web site, for example. We love the mini-lab feature that allows batch processing of images—very handy for routine editing tasks.

Photo editing that is made this easy can provide lots of entertainment for the whole family. Users can touch up old photos that are imperfect or torn, eliminate red eyes or thumbs from those "would have been great" photos, and adjust levels so that pictures come out just as wanted. Users can add text to their photos, or use special effects to add soft edges, distort, colorize, borders, and more. Fiddling around with contrast and brightness can greatly improve a cherished photo. Cloning allows the user to eliminate distracting objects in an almost-perfect photo. A fun option involves transforming a photo into a watercolor painting! Very fun designer edges can be added to photos, and users can change color photos to black-and-whites easily.

Web designers will want more than this program offers, but for many people, this is a high-quality photo-editing program that makes it extremely easy to get creative with photos and to enjoy a number of fun projects. The program is easy enough to use for a beginner or dabbler, yet sophisticated enough for a perfectionist as well.

Technically Speaking
Minimum system requirements are Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium 300 MHz or faster, 64 MB RAM (128 MB or higher recommended), and 4X CD-ROM. The program requires 250 MB of hard drive space.

Dollar Value
This set carries a suggested retail price of approximately $100 US.

Released: 2002
Reviewed: April 2003