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Adobe PhotoDeluxe 1.0: A Review

by Stuart Bonwit

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

Broad Brush

After looking at the first five pages of the Adobe PhotoDeluxe User Guide and seeing the stunning examples of what could be done, my first reaction was to rush out and shoot a roll of pictures, send them off to be a Kodak PhotoCD (for which a discount coupon is included!), and play with them! (Adobe PhotoDeluxe is a very junior-grade version of Adobe Photoshop which I have not used but have seen in action.)

The User Guide tells you to begin in the Guided Activities area. However, I couldn't stand seeing all those folders without knowing what was in them. So, I started poking around. I found a wonderful three minute non-interactive QuickTime movie (6.9 MB) that describes many of the things PhotoDeluxe does. I think this ought to be the first thing to be presented to the new user. This movie is not in the PhotoDeluxe folder installed on the hard drive; it is back on the CD-ROM inside the "Extras" folder. As near as I can tell, it is not mentioned anywhere.

The Guided Activities area is an excellent on-screen lead-by the-hand tutorial which plays off the PhotoDeluxe 591MB CD-ROM. (See the Screen Shot. Unfortunately, the screen shot you see is monochrome and this is all about color.) Each step is clearly explained down to which button to push. It is uncanny how fast you can go through the steps producing spectacular effects. For this part of the process you can forget the User Guide!

The rest of the User Guide tells you how to begin working on your own, how to get photos into, and out of, PhotoDeluxe, how to make collages, and tips and troubleshooting.

This package is OK!


The Main screen is divided into Guided Activities and On Your Own. A dazzling array of photo manipulation operations are available. In the Guided Activities area these manipulations are divided into three main categories: Touch Up Photo; Transform Photo; and Cards and More. A section explains how to get digital photos via scanner, PhotoCD, or digital camera. However, 140 sample photos of animals, backgrounds, people, props, scenes, and things are available to play with.

[Photo Deluxe screen shot]

Under Touch Up Photo there are Size/Orientation; Quality; and Remove Red Eye. If Quality is chosen the result is seen in the Screen Shot. When you follow instructions to "Start Here" and click on the Step 1 tab, you are invited to get a picture. Then you are advised to click on tab "Step 2." You are led by the hand! Under "Quality" you can control brightness, contrast, and color balance. All options allow you to save and print. (Gotta buy a color printer!) "Remove Red Eye" is a simple painting feature that allows changing colors pixel by pixel.

Under Transform Photo there are Collage, Fun, Art, and Cool. "Collage" allows you to take pieces of different photos and combine them to your taste. "Fun" allows spherical, twirl, and ripple distortion, motion blur, text coloring, perspective distortion, and coloring book (finds edges for large area coloring). "Art" allows changing photo to be a pencil sketch, an old faded photo, be posterized, made impressionist, be hand colored or block tinted. "Cool" allows page curl, vortex (produces a fractal-like image), charcoal sketch, and "Glass Lens" (appears to be reflected in spherical mirror).

Under Cards and More there are Calendar, (greeting) Cards, (picture) Frames, (book) Covers, Flyers and Signs (including certicates and labels).

From the Main screen the On Your Own area is divided into Get Photo, Modify, Save and Print. The Modify area is where you can let your imagination go wild. Areas of the photo can be selected and modified in a myriad ways: copied, colored, pasted, duplicated. A neat tool is the Color Wand that allows selection of an irregularly shaped area of more or less constant color.

The CD-ROM has tryout demos of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere. I was particularly anxious to see what Photoshop did that PhotoDeluxe did not. It was not even necessary to install the Photoshop demo to find out! The Photoshop Brochure (on the CD-ROM) provided the answer: plenty! Wonderful as PhotoDeluxe is, Photoshop is many times more powerful with many more features.

A borrowed CD-ROM of personal photos from a friend was very easy to use with PhotoDeluxe. I printed out (in b&w) several "modified" images of his relatives for him.


Adobe PhotoDeluxe is an ideal photo manipulation package for the amateur photographer. It has a generous supply of effects as well as photo and sketch samples to play with. Help is provided for bringing in your photos via scanner, PhotoCD, or digital camera. The screen page layouts make each step of the manipulations very easy to follow. I recommend it.

System requirements:

PhotoDeluxe is a product of:

Adobe Systems Incorporated
1585 Charleston Road, P.O. Box 7900
Mountain View CA 94039-7900


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Revised Saturday, January 10, 1998 lic
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