• Price: £84.99 plus VAT

  • Company: Laurence King

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

Picture Publisher 10 is a surprisingly comprehensive graphics application given its budget price point. The latest version in a long line from Micrografx – now acquired by Corel – it manages to pack a punch with the sheer quantity of tools and features built into it. Okay, so having loads of tools isn’t necessarily a good thing – it could just make things incredibly confusing. But to Micrografx’s credit Picture Publisher 10 is fairly easy to use. As befits a new version of any application, Picture Publisher 10 is replete with new features and functions. Web-site designers will be pleased at the inclusion of a pair of useful Web tools, the Image Slicer and the Rollover tool. The Image Slicer offers the usual range of functions; you can optimize individual slices, set up slices as hot spots or buttons by applying a URL to them and set rollovers for individual slices. So far so standard. The interesting wrinkle is that you can import pre-sliced images for further manipulation or to make changes, perhaps the URLs for some of the buttons need changing, for instance. HTML slideshows Because Picture Publisher 10 treats every item you place into an image as a separate object, it’s very easy to create rollovers using the frame manager. By creating a series of slightly different frames for an object you can create the rollover and simply apply JavaScript mouse events to the object. Along with a lot of graphics applications, Picture Publisher 10 has jumped onto the HTML slideshow bandwagon with a built-in wizard to create them. But is this really a useful feature? I don’t think so. I’ve been working in Web-site creation for seven years and I’ve never required this kind of Web-based slide show. One of the most welcome tools in Picture Publisher 10 is the ability to place text on a curved path, a feature that has yet to find its way into Photoshop despite the warping text features introduced with Photoshop 6. While the text-on-a-path tools isn’t the most versatile to appear in a graphics package, the fact that it’s here at all makes Picture Publisher 10 a useful addition to any desktop. Effects tools What makes Picture Publisher 10 so useful are its effects tools. It’s packed with painterly effects such as oil painting, water colour and so on, but it also has some effective ‘nature’ effects such as lightning and fire that are really different and are usually found in purpose-designed plug-ins. Other effects also caught my eye; photographic effects such as night vision and infra-red offer a distinctive look to your work while the Light Studio enables you to manipulate the lighting of your images in all kinds of ways using image bump maps, multiple light sources and about 50 different presets. In my opinion, the effects features alone make Picture Publisher 10 a worthwhile tool, saving valuable time to achieve impressive results. Overall, while Picture Publisher 10 definitely has a place as an entry-level graphics application for a budding Web designer or keen amateur digital photographer. It best serves as an addition to a graphic professional’s toolkit rather than being the mainstay of his arsenal. And let’s face it; it’s a lot less expensive than most Photoshop plug-ins.