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Review CornerSoftware
Print Artist: Print Kit Deluxe 2003
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
Although not immediately intuitive to use, this program offers robust tools and a large variety of projects and graphics to inspire creativity. A good choice for families' print and publishing needs.
Ages: 9 and up  Subject: Utilities/Reference  Brand: Sierra Home
Review Sections: Product Overview  Technically Speaking  Design  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview

This all-purpose print software program is bound to satisfy most families' basic design and print needs. Children will find many uses for the program, such as designing report covers for school projects and just-for-fun activities; and their parents can rely on Print Artist's ability to produce last-minute birthday cards, themed party sets, nice-looking family newsletters, and even home business-related products. Hundreds of pre-designed templates and the tools to create projects from scratch are featured in this 6 CD-ROM set.

Print Artist Print Kit Deluxe 2003 features a large variety of project types and templates, as well as plenty of royalty-free graphics to choose from. This latest edition of the program offers the bonus Freedom Art and Holiday Art Collections in addition to a healthy quantity of graphics, pre-designed layouts, quotes and sentiments ready to use as-is or personalized, and AGFA fonts. A Photo Lab is included and the Print Artist Graphics Grabber is a handy tool for finding and inserting graphics into projects.

Users begin by browsing for a desired project from the project screen. They can either open a pre-designed project or start a new one. The project screen is well-organized into broad categories like Activities, Calendars, Cards, and so forth.

Once a project is opened, users are presented with the Print Artist workspace. This is where they will personalize and tweak their project. Text can be added and adjusted, and special effects like "shadows" and "blended" can be added to title text. Graphics and personal photos can be "grabbed", manipulated, and inserted into projects. In fact, users can easily import their own images and save them in the program's Graphics Grabber catalog.

The print project possibilities are tremendous with this title. Besides business cards, users can design personalized business card holders! Some of the many projects users can design include advent calendars, bags, gift tags and wrap, magnets, t-shirts (projects must be printed onto t-shirt transfer paper), personalized coloring pages, party sets for the holidays and other special occasions, stationery sets, envelopes, greeting cards, signs, certificates, recipe cards, CD labels, clock faces, door hangers, decals, bookmarks, and magnets. Business-related items include booklets, newsletters, brochures, mailing labels, letterheads, and more.

Buried in the Activities section is a special "Kids Activities" set of projects. These feature children's themed graphics and templates that empower kids with the ability to create many of the "regular" projects found in the main section as well as things like "shrinkees", trading cards, masks, and finger puppets.

Many photographs can use some touch-ups, whether it is about correcting red-eye or sharpening a slightly blurry image, and Print Artist includes a Photo Lab for jobs such as these. This lab is rather easy to use and allows for adjusting brightness and contrast, making custom cut-outs, and so forth. Once edited, photos can be inserted into the program's scrapbook page templates or into regular projects. An address book and merge feature facilitates bulk mailings, and special dates (such as birthdays and anniversaries) can be attached to entries.

In comparison to Print Shop, this program lacks a separation between business and personal projects and the ability to preview projects before opening them. However, most users will be pleased with the collection of graphics and wide variety of projects in Print Artist Print Kit Deluxe.

In the right hands, this print program can inspire creativity. Although children will need to invest some time into learning how to use the wealth of options available to them, the experience is likely to be rewarding.

Technically Speaking
Minimum system requirements are Windows 98/2000/NT4 with Service Pack 3 or more/Me/XP Home or Pro, IBM-compatible 200 MHz or more, 32 MB RAM, and 4X CD-ROM. Note that the program requires a minimum of 400 MB of free hard-drive space.

Design
Although a manual (over 100 pages) is included on the disk and a short tutorial is offered, the program takes some time to learn. The amount of disk swapping required will depend on the install option selected, of which there are three choices. Minimal install will require changing of CDs for both browsing and grabbing graphics, recommended install will allow users to browse (not grab) additional graphics without changing CDs, and custom install eliminates the need for the CDs altogether, but takes up a fair chunk of hard drive space.

Dollar Value
This program carries a suggested retail price of $29.99 U.S.

Released: 2002
Reviewed: January 2003