With the digital camera market expanding, and more and more of us having digital cameras at home, what are you supposed to do with all the pictures on your hard drive?
At the moment most of us have a bunch of images, no doubt in the Microsoft folder “My Pictures” just sitting there, not doing too much and no even being printed. Adobe, the imaging experts, that have in the past brought us the industry defacto Photoshop and in the last couple of years Photoshop Elements for the home user, now bring us Photoshop Album.
The premise; to finally sort all those images out, the result; a simple, but in depth program that organises, sorts, arranges, prints, exports and fixes.
Based entirely around a drag-and-drop principle(something that all programs should adopt more of) Photoshop Album can at times be too easy to use. Within minutes of loading the software, we had imported images from the scanner, the digital camera and a folder on the hard drive, selected the images we wanted, put them into a pre-designed PDF photo album and sent it to the folks in France. Done deal in less than five minutes.
The interface is the strong element here and Adobe has worked hard to make this as open as possible to people that are new to digital photography. The whole system is based on the idea that you have one window with all your images and then from there you drag and drop tags onto those images. Once the image is tagged, with topics such as family, events and places, you can then search for and display just those images. Sounds simple and it is.
In addition to be able to search via what images are tagged, Adobe have also included a month-by-month timeline at the top of the screen at all times. Here, as the name suggests you can search your images over the time you have taken them. If for example you took 15 images at an event in october, the software will represent this. What is clever though is that the software references when the file was taken rather than when it was imported into Photoshop Album. This means that even if you import a picture taken 3 years ago the timeline reflect this.
Once you've imported your files you can do a number of different things including tarting them up. Using basic options Photoshop Album allows you to reduce red-eye, auto balance colour levels, brightness and contrast settings. The original is still saves in case you mess up and an a new version is saved. Further to that you can also arrange your photos in a number of different guises to export them elsewhere. Here Photoshop Album execs even further.
Here you have the chance to import your file into an album, slide show, onto a video CD, greeting card, e-card, calendar, a photobook that can be ordered online, even a web gallery to be uploaded to a website and Adobe Atmosphere 3D Gallery.
All are straightforward and easy to set up and offer plenty of styles that are actually not too crazy, stupid or Americanised. The Adobe Atmosphere 3D Gallery is the only one that you might consider using only once and allows you to create you images as if they were in a photo gallery.
Once created you have another set of options to chose to export to, including print to pdf, print to a printer, send an email, burn a CD or go to the online services area of the program.
On the surface the online services section is a clever inclusion into the program, from here the idea is that you can send your prints to an online developer who will then process your order and automatically and send you the end result without you even having to leave the house. In principle this sounds great, in practice however users will soon find that the printing service is in the US and there is no UK support at the moment. Strange when you consider a company that offers digital processing in the UK could make a killing with all the new digital camera users that are likely to use this option because of its simplicity.
Overall this is a great product for those who either have loads of images or are thinking about taking loads of images. Yes there are still a few niggling issues, like scanning your hard drive does offer you every image possible including graphics buried deep in game folders, but these are simple things that can be easily ironed out from the start. If Adobe can get more online support for UK users, then this will become a killer element within the product and ultimately make this an even better product than it already is.