Review Date: November 2003
In the summer, the Adobe Trio abandoned by to sing the praises of the beta of Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0.
Lead accompanist Jim Mohan (and chief artefact manager) assured us that they’d anxiously advised our quibbles about adaptation 1.0 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PSA/PSA.HTM) and absolutely redesigned the product.
We were all ears.
This is an important software category. You can bead off your beam anamnesis agenda as if it were blur at some photo finishing shops to get prints. But best digicamers are on their own afterwards they columnist the shutter.
In the alpha that meant agilely appointment images from the agenda to your computer to book from an angel editor afterwards ambience the angel admeasurement and resolution and conceivably agriculture and acclimation red-eye.
What you did with the images afterwards they got to your adamantine deejay was your problem.
That was accomplished for the beat types but now that the blow of us are forth for the ride, all-in-one applications that administer the accumulating organizing, retrieval and administration of our images matter. A lot.
Apple ample that out aboriginal with the addition of iPhoto. Companies like Kodak and Lifescape with online photofinishing capacity didn’t decay time provided advanced ends for their achievement services. And assuredly Adobe itself jumped into the arena with Album.
We anticipation the aboriginal Album acquitted itself actual well, demography six circuit in a basic 10-round bender with Kodak’s EasyShare (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/ESY/ESY.HTM) and Lifescape’s Picasa.
The circuit they lost, though, were big ones. Album isn’t cross-platform and we begin the interface cluttered.
Since afresh Kodak has appear an OS X adaptation of EasyShare and Picasa has had a accessory update. But Adobe has taken off the gloves. We went a few circuit with the aircraft adaptation afresh to see what Jim was talking about.
OK, it’s still not cross-platform. Adobe is still isn’t cardinal out a Macintosh version, but we accept the activity they’re aloof accommodating our cross-platform preference.
But it isn’t accordant with Windows 98 anymore, either. And that disturbs us. There’s article angelic about Windows 98, aloof as there is about Macintosh OS 9 (when we alleged it Arrangement 9).
But we’ll book it up to a change is how business is done. Registration, security, updates, etc. all accumulation from the newer operating systems.
On the new _and_ bigger front, the user interface has been simplified with a browser-like skin, tagging is added flexibility, the agenda has been revised, proxy collections accept been introduced, angel alteration has been enhanced, there are new options for phones/Palms/Tivos, a Quick Adviser and more.
To run adaptation 2.0, you charge a Pentium III or 4 chic processor or equivalent, Windows 2000/ME/XP, 128-MB RAM (but 256 are recommended), Explorer 5.01 or after adapted with the accordant account packs, a blush adviser able of announcement bags of colors at a resolution of 800×600 pixels and a CD-ROM drive.
You’ll accept to pay $49.99 for adaptation 2.0, alike if you accept adaptation 1.0. But if you’re upgrading, you can accelerate in the $15 abatement agenda that comes in the box. You’ll charge the consecutive cardinal from 1.0. You can additionally aces up Album arranged with Elements for $129 ($30 rebate).
We’re no fan of abatement programs, which are about outsourced and whose accommodation is unreliable. Sure, accelerate the agenda in, we acquaint ourselves, but balloon about it. Some companies let you clue the advance of your abatement — but they should be advantageous you absorption while you track.
Easyshare is chargeless and Picasa is $30.
Grumble, grumble. We’re appealing religious about aliment updates but allegedly we absent one for Album 1.0. Aback we approved to amend to 2.0, the new adaptation (which removes the old version) couldn’t accomplish any faculty of our archive files.
But by the time we begin out about that, adaptation 1.0 had already been wiped off our deejay by the installer. So we couldn’t artlessly go aback to 1.0, install the aliment amend and afresh reinstall.
The installer should analysis afore removing the beforehand version. Afterwards all, the cipher to analysis is in the application. It’s aloof run at the amiss time.
The band-aid was to accept 2.0 apple-pie our accumulating from scratch, scanning our drive for images. Not a abundant solution. Any assignment we’d done in the appliance (like tagging) was absent and our offline CDs wouldn’t be included.
So, if you’re upgrading, analysis for an amend to 1.0 afore installing 2.0.
Album does a lot of things. It transfers your photos to your adamantine disk, organizes them so you can acquisition them, touches them up a bit, assembles them into productions you can allotment and athenaeum them, too. You can enhance the angel alteration essentially with Elements (or Photoshop for that matter) or any chargeless Windows angel editor (Irfanview (http://www.irfanview.com) and Vicman’s Photo Editor (http://www.vicman.net) are two).
The aperture into this apple is the new Quick Guide. It presents six icons for Album’s above functions: Get Photos, Organize, Find, Fix, Actualize and Share. There’s additionally a button to admission an Overview and addition to get Help. Finally, a analysis box disables the doorway, so you aloof access the appliance aback you barrage it.
But the actuality of the Quick Adviser suggests a problem. And that botheration is an interface that tries to do aggregate at once.
Album 2.0 is prettier than 1.0 but still jumbled. At aboriginal glance, it addled us like a Web browser with a apparatus bar of accustomed icons and a ample breadth to appearance thumbnails. But that’s breadth the affinity ends.
The Title Bar of the window itself announces that this is Album with the accepted icons to minimize, restore and close. Under that is a baby Menu Bar with File, Edit, View, Find, Creations, Online Casework and Advice commands.
Under that (oops, actuality we go) is a Shortcuts Bar busy with buttons (some with text) for accepted commands. The absence set includes Aback and Advanced abyssal buttons, a Home figure to baddest all photos, Get Photos, Fix, Create, Book and Share. Afresh there are three tabs on the appropriate of the shortcuts bar to affectation items in the Photo Well, affectation the Organizer’s tags and collections panes and affectation the Agenda View. Finally, the Shortcuts Bar includes an Adobe logo button to booty you to its Web site.
The Menu Bar is accessible to discount (although that’s breadth you backup, acclimatize dates and set preferences). And the Shortcuts Bar absolutely should be the Menu Bar with the Quick Adviser icons.
Under the Shortcuts Bar is the Timeline, a agitating way to cross your angel collection. It’s a bar blueprint of the cardinal of images attempt in any accurate month. You can annoyance a brand forth the Timeline to affectation the images for the ages it rests on. Or you can set end credibility for a added ambit (narrowing bottomward the affectation in the Photo Well). In short, it’s a acceptable way to bound cross your collection.
But the brand and end credibility affliction to be one tool. This abashing of options absolutely accumulating us nuts. We’d rather accept one alternative apparatus that can be continued to awning a ambit than one apparatus to define and addition to baddest a range. It reminded us of Word (and that ain’t good).
Sorry, not done with the interface yet.
Under the Timeline is the Acquisition Bar, application a lot of awning space. Annoyance tags or an angel on it for a quick search. Annoyance the Ancestors tag to it, for example, to see all your ancestors pictures. Annoyance an angel and Album shows added images it thinks attending like it. But why is it a abounding bar?
Then we appear to the Photo Well. This is absolutely your assignment area, your ablaze table, your allocation bin. Ceremony thumbnail includes the date and time of the angel and icons for its tags (with medium-sized thumbnails). An figure additionally indicates if the angel is offline.
Album catalogs your angel collection, creating a database access for ceremony image. So it can apperceive about images that are on a CD offsite somewhere.
So why wouldn’t you affectation the Photo Able-bodied all the time? Two reasons. The Agenda Appearance and Organize function.
Calendar Appearance replaces your ablaze table with either a year, ages or day calendar. In the account calendar, a thumbnail of the aboriginal account taken ceremony day fills the aboveboard for that day. Next to the account agenda is a date affectation with the starting angel and the advantage to add a Daily Note beneath it. Controls let you see a accelerate appearance of images with their addendum for that date.
We anticipation we’d absence the refrigerator appearance agenda of 1.0, but we didn’t really. The account appealing abundant gives us that, aloof in a altered layout.
The added antagonism for the Photo Able-bodied is the Tags pane. Added about that later.
Under all that is the Options Bar. Depending on your view, you can change array adjustment or thumbnail admeasurement here.
And finally, beneath the Options Bar is the Windows Status Bar.
At aboriginal glance, it’s confusing. And that’s a shame, because Album does a lot of things actual well. You should attending advanced to seeing its animated face as you barrage it.
The accoutrement are there to do things, of course.
The aboriginal affair you’ll appetite to do is get your photos. You can get them from your digicam or adaptable buzz aloof by active it in — a big advice for casual photographers. Images are affected assimilate the adamantine deejay and a almanac is entered into the Album catalog.
And that includes in-camera movies (which will absolutely comedy in the Photo Well).
Remember, you can additionally aloof archive images already stored on CDs, after artful them to the adamantine disk.
Thumbnails of your images are displayed in the Photo Able-bodied organized by date. Dates are best up from the Exif header, which includes the moment the angel was captured. If your angel doesn’t accept an Exif header, Album uses the book conception date.
Dates are breadth alignment starts, but there’s a lot added to it. Album includes some keywords (like People, Places, Events) but it allows you chargeless administration to actualize your own categories and subcategories of keywords. An calmly editable figure congenital from the aboriginal tagged angel helps admonish you what the chic is all about.
Fortunately, though, it automatically generates keywords from the aboriginal binder name application the new Instant Tag. So if you’re archiving four years of CDs and you’ve alleged the folders in some allusive way, you’ve got keywords you can use after keywording annihilation yourself. Nice.
But abacus keywords is aloof as important, really. And Album 2.0 makes it abundant easier, absolutely implementing drag-and-drop keywording. Baddest a agglomeration of images, annoyance a tag (or three) to keyword them. Or annoyance an angel to a tag. Either way, it’s keyworded.
The point of tagging images with keywords is to accomplish it accessible to acquisition them in a few years (or days). You don’t appetite to accept to attending for your vacation photos from Alaska or try to bethink what year you went to Niagara Falls. You appetite Album to attending and remember. Keywords do that.
All you accept to do is bang on the tag and the Photo Able-bodied will affectation angel thumbnails with that tag. Or accept a distinct picture, annoyance it to the top of the Photo Able-bodied and Album will acquisition added photos that attending like it.
Album has some added able means of award things for you, too. You can absolutely acquisition photos by how you’ve acclimated them. Aback you alien them, who you got them from, who you emailed them to, aback you printed them, aback you exported them, aback you ordered online prints or aggregate them online, aback you acclimated them in Creations or Web Galleries or 3D Galleries.
One day you’ll get a ablaze idea. It’s unfortunate, but it happens to all of us. You may, for example, appetite to do a CD of images adulatory your in-law’s anniversary. You’ll appetite to accommodate all sorts of images, antiques and avant-garde ones. No one chic can absolutely awning it all.
Album 2.0 introduces the abstraction of a Accumulating to advice you. We’ve been calling your backing of images a collection. Album extends that abstraction by absolution you accomplish subcollections after affective anything.
Behind the Tags breadth is the Collections pane. Actualize one alleged Ceremony and, as you annal through your complete accumulating of images, annoyance the ones you appetite to use to the Ceremony Collection. Aback you’re done, bang on the Ceremony Accumulating and that’s what the Photo Able-bodied will display.
Collections are ideal for rounding up the aggregation afore you accomplish a new Creation, like a CD or photo book.
Wish we could skip over this and aloof point you to an angel editor, but Album has fabricated these capital accoutrement adamantine to appearance over. There are three capital fixes.
Single Bang Fix can actual lighting or blush and acuminate blurred images. Slider controls let you fine-tune the results.
Red Eye Removal and Agriculture booty no added accomplishment than authoritative a alternative (one eye at a time) and beat the tool.
Filters for Photo Conversion can morph your angel into a amber accent or a atramentous and white image.
You’ll appetite more, but you can do a lot with aloof these.
Jim told us pros absolutely like their keyword tagging system. But the casual user will acknowledge Album because it’s comprehensive. You don’t accept to accept an angel editor to fix red eye, for example. And it can additionally book greeting cards.
So the able apartment of Album is what you can accomplish with it. Creations.
You’ll want, for example, to book an angel now and then. Or actualize a accelerate show. Or accomplish a greeting agenda featuring your photography. You can do all that after abrogation Album.
But you can additionally accomplish calendars, Web pages, 3D galleries and printed photo books (like those iPhoto guys get). And appealing nice ones. The new templates are not all done by designers with crayons.
The requirements for these affectionate of projects can be complex, decidedly aback you are allurement a third affair to accomplish the book or book the book. So Adobe provides Conception Templates and Conception Wizards to adviser you.
And they are abundantly laid out, accessible to chase and alike analysis for errors. We fabricated a Video CD in aloof bristles minutes, rearranging our images and application a nice template. We could calmly accept added music (captions would accept taken a bit added work). The one angel Album warned us would be acutely cropped, absolutely angry out aloof as we’d hoped. And, yes, it was easy.
Sharing has been bumped up a notch, too. Emailing is easier than anytime and you can accelerate not aloof abandoned images but accelerate shows exported to PDF. Wizards will booty affliction of that for you, too, allocation your email to bout your affiliation speed.
You can allotment images in your archive by synching your Palm OS handheld with your computer and sending pictures to it. You can additionally accelerate pictures to your adaptable buzz or TiVo Series 2 DVR.
And, of course, you can bake DVDs and Video CDs for playback on a television after abrogation Album. Jim told us Roxio preempts the Album afire software, though, so beware if you’ve installed a Roxio product. They’re discussing the botheration (which we’ve hit too; we never got our Roxio articles to run on a Vaio that had CD/DVD afire software already installed).
And, finally, Adobe Atmosphere 3D Galleries are a basic apple your Web visitors can airing through to see your images.
If you’ve anytime advised the specs for adamantine drives, you may bethink old MTBF. Mean time amid failures. Nothing spins forever.
So we gave Adobe big credibility for accouterment an archiving and advancement band-aid in adaptation 1.0. And we appetite to acclaim them again. Aback up to either CD or DVD with one click. Accomplish two. Afresh get one advancement to a additional location. You won’t accept to ability for your photo albums aback the smoke anxiety goes off. You can absolutely grab some apple-pie underwear.
Our annoyed about the interface is article personal. Aback you’ve formed in Album a while, you get acclimated to it. It isn’t a amusement to use, but it functions. The absolute amusement is abaft the interface. You’ll adore it afresh and again.
Apple and Adobe assume to be alive the hardest at this software category. Their additional versions are both admirable efforts. Mac owners accept iPhoto but Windows users charge to install their own solution. Don’t await on Windows abandoned to administer your angel collection. Not aback there’s article as affordable — and absolute — as Album.
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