Featured Freeware: PhotoScape

Leakier than the Titantic, at least when it comes to memory usage, PhotoScape is nevertheless a smart tool for users looking to jump ship from JPEG to higher quality digital SLR work.

Add another name to the roster of feature-rich freeware image editors: PhotoScape. Although it eats and leaks about as much memory as Firefox--no, really!--this editor is just about perfect for those making the jump between JPEG and am-pro digital SLR work.

The program loads fast and possesses an interface completely different from those familiar with Adobe's industry-leading tools. Users are greeted by a circular navigator complemented by a tabbed nav. on the top of the main screen. PhotoScape supports RAW, as well as all other major image formats from JPEG and PNG to animated GIFs. It comes with prebuilt templates for users to create photo collages, fumetti, and Web comics, and has a standard set of red-eye removal, light/shadow, and contrast-editing features.

One warning about the RAW processing: Although it looks like you can drag and drop, the converter doesn't change RAW to JPEG unless you load the RAW file from within the native file navigator. It's a minor bug, but one that can lead you to believe that there's no RAW support at all. You can also batch-edit images, combine them, and print them out one at a time or several at once. It might take some people time to get used to the unusual layout, but PhotoScape's only unusual for its genre. Otherwise, it's intuitive, fast, and lacks only the most advanced of image-editing features.

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