Funhouse photos

Twist, warp, and stretch photos with this kid-friendly program.

Magic Mirror is a basic photo-editing program that allows users to warp, stretch, and otherwise play with their images. Although we've seen similar programs before, this one isn't bad, especially for kids.

The program's interface is basic and colorful, although we wish it were better labeled--or labeled at all. There are four unmarked buttons on the left, a slider numbered zero through 100 on the right, and an unmarked slider that looks like a volume control at the top. On one hand it's kind of fun to play with the effects not knowing exactly what's going to happen, and eventually users will figure them out, but it would have been nice to know from the start what we were dealing with. The program doesn't have a Help file, making its features even more of a mystery.

Aside from not knowing exactly what each button or slider does, we found the program intuitive and easy to use. Opening, saving, and resetting images is easily done using buttons at the bottom of the screen, meaning that young users won't have to search through menus to perform basic functions. The program enlarges, twists, shrinks, and warps parts of images, and users can control what portion of the images is affected and how strong they want the effect to be. In general the program didn't wow us, but it's a fun way to play with photos, especially for kids.

Magic Mirror has a seven-day trial period. It installs desktop icons without asking but uninstalls cleanly. We recommend this program to all users.

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