PROS / This program is no worse than average in every area except for sharing.
CONS / The sharing features in this program could stand to be improved.
VERDICT / If you want photo editing software that will get the job done without impressing anybody, we recommend this program.
Photo Explosion by Nova Development is a basic photo editing software enhanced with clip art, templates and other embellishments for turning photos into craft projects. It’s easy to use and offers photo gimmicks for fun projects. With each new installment, they make a number of improvements to their already superb user interface, which is reassuring to know they're dedicated to the quality of their product. This product keeps getting better and is on its way to becoming an industry standard.
Photo Explosion is laid out well with clearly marked tabs: importing, editing, printing, sharing, and web. Once you drill down, however, the functions become repetitious. You have to go through several steps to accomplish each task, unlike the better integrated functions in the higher ranked programs. However, we were pleased with the improvements they made on their latest interface.
Import photos directly from a digital camera, a scanner, CD-ROMs and online photo-sharing services. Unfortunately, you cannot import photos directly from a removable device like a SmartCard often used in digital cameras. Instead, you have to manually open them.
Photo Explosion comes with most of the features to fix common photo problems. You can straighten, crop, adjust the brightness and contrast, adjust the hue and saturation, focus, and remove red eye.
The new QuickFix Studio implements straightening, cropping, adjusting brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and focus with a single click. The studio includes the Extract Tool and Makeover Studio. The Extract Tool allows you to combine parts you cut out of your current photo with other photos. The Makeover Studio uses powerful retouching tools to perfect any picture.
Layers in this program are simply built-in objects, text or multiple photos that you can move and edit independently of the other objects. You can change the opacity of each object but you cannot apply a gradient transparency to merge the two together.
The text tool is easy to use, but involves an extra step. Type text in a text box and then apply and place. You can go back and easily edit the text at any time. Use batch processing to enhance, rotate or convert multiple photos to different file formats.
Scrapbookers can take advantage of over 2,000 new scrapbooking embellishments, props and frames. For drawers, you can use the freehand and drawing tools for drawing and outlining objects. Other useful features include the ability to morph one photo into another and the ability to create a panorama with automatic photo stretching, alignment and color blending.
Photo Explosion offers several ways to share your photos and animations. Use 4000+ print project templates to create greeting cards, calendars and scrapbook pages. Email photos. Optimize photos for cell phones, MP3 players, and PDAs. Post a web album or choose from 200 printing templates.
Using a separate application that comes with Photo Explosion, you can make photo slideshows and burn to a CD to play in a VCD-compatible DVD player. Photo Explosion can only use JPEG image files and .mp3 or .wav music file formats. The program can also create professional looking GIF animations and mobile users can share their photos online with their free iPhone App,
Photo Explosion supports 12 of the most common file formats adequate for the typical user. If you need to upload images for web pages though, you may want to consider a more highly ranked application that lets you see a preview of the different compression settings before you save it.
The ability to organize and search for photos is insufficient. It's a folder tree structure of your hard drive and searchable by keyword in the file name. There are no ranking or advanced search or sort capabilities.
If you want to have fun with your photos—apply simple effects, make greeting cards, send to a friend’s iPod, or post animations online—Photo Explosion is a good choice. Great for kids’ projects with more clip art and templates than any other software in this group. Photo Explosion is family friendly software at a good price.