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Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 introduction
Mark Peters : August 31th 2004 - 03:00 CET
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MicrosoftOn a high-resolution digital camera or a camera phone, great photos are just a click away with Microsoft Corp.'s latest digital photography offering. Microsoft announces the availability of its new line of digital imaging software, including Digital Image Suite 10, the comprehensive yet easy-to-use photo solution for organizing, editing, sharing and safekeeping digital photos. Digital Image Suite 10 combines the power of two digital imaging software applications, Microsoft Digital Image Library 10 for organization and Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10 for editing, to offer an end-to-end solution with powerful panoramic stitching in two dimensions, intuitive color-correction tools, and even more one-click fixes.
Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 introductionFixing With One Click

It doesn't get any easier than one-click correction, and Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 includes three new Auto Fixes to solve common photography problems. The new Exposure Auto Fix automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of an image, and the new Color Auto Fix analyzes and automatically corrects the color and light in the image by changing the source lighting, saturation and color balance. By using these two new Auto Fixes along with the existing Contrast and Levels Auto Fixes, users can quickly improve their photos to achieve the best results.

Camera phones make digital imaging even more accessible, and Digital Image Suite's third new Auto Fix significantly improves pictures taken on a camera phone. Cellular phones with imaging devices already outsell digital cameras worldwide, and this year InfoTrends Research Group Inc. estimates camera phones will account for about 60 percent of the nearly 300 million digital-image-capture devices in use worldwide. While camera phones are fun and increasingly popular accessories, the quality of the images produced is often substandard. This year, Digital Image Suite 10's new Camera Phone Auto Fix is a one-click fix that specifically addresses color casting and noise issues, the problems that frequently plague camera-phone images.

"Today's camera phones have inherent limitations, so the ability to quickly and easily enhance these images with one click is invaluable," said Jill Aldort, consultant at InfoTrends. "Microsoft is providing a simple way for consumers to improve their spontaneous shots."

Advanced Editing Features Made Easy

Microsoft is committed to providing features that are powerful and easy to use, yet that also help consumers grow and learn with their software. That's why Digital Image Suite 10 includes two completely new toolsets for color and lighting correction. All the tools needed to correct issues with color and lighting have been consolidated into two central locations for more efficient editing: the Color and Saturation toolset and the Exposure and Lighting toolset.

Users can easily adjust everything from the color temperature to the source lighting and saturation levels of their pictures. In addition, both toolsets provide the powerful new Levels and Curves tool to alter the luminosity, color and saturation properties of an image, features professional-level photographers will appreciate. The ability to adjust the saturation curve is only available in Microsoft digital imaging software.

Digital Image Suite 10 also includes superior panoramic stitching that not only stitches images horizontally but supports vertical stitching. Images can be merged above and below each other as well as side by side to create one all-inclusive image. The unique algorithm developed by Microsoft Research is powerful enough to handle multiple image files from the highest-resolution cameras.

"As customers purchase increasingly advanced cameras, they need imaging software that can keep up with their hardware," said Jeanna Peterson, group product manager in the Home Retail Division at Microsoft. "The panoramic stitching available in Digital Image Suite 10 provides the cutting-edge technology customers demand while maintaining the ease of use they expect from Microsoft digital imaging products."

Cutting Through the Clutter

InfoTrends reports that digital camera owners keep an average of more than 250 images per year. To help users sort and find those photos according to their personal preferences, Digital Image Library 10 provides countless options for organization, including the 5-Star Rating System, the option to assign keywords and the ability to find photos with shared characteristics. In addition, Digital Image Suite 10 adds new flags, which enable photographers to create a virtual to-do list by identifying important photos for future tasks. Four of the six flags in Microsoft Digital Image Library 10 designate common tasks: For Review, Needs Touchup, To Share and To Print. The remaining two can be customized for specific needs, making it quick and easy to find photos.

Additional Offerings From Microsoft

Microsoft recognizes that not every customer needs the full spectrum of editing features available in Digital Image Suite 10, but all consumers can benefit from the enhanced organizational functionality of a powerful library application. For that reason, Microsoft Picture It!® Premium 10 now includes Picture It! Library 10. All the tools needed to easily keep track of a photo collection, as well as the new option to assign photo tasks with flags, are available with photo-editing tools and built-in wizards that make it easy for everyone to improve their photos.

Availability

Microsoft's 2005 line of digital imaging products is available today. Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 will be available for an estimated retail price of $129 (U.S.). Microsoft offers up to $60 (U.S.) in rebates, a $30 mail-in rebate open to all consumers who acquire Digital Image Suite 10, and an additional $30 digital camera mail-in rebate (if consumers purchase any digital camera within 30 days of acquiring the software). Digital Image Pro 10 will be available for an estimated retail price of $89.95 (U.S.) before a $40 (U.S.) mail-in rebate. Microsoft Picture It! Premium 10 will be available for an estimated retail price of $49.95 (U.S.) before a $15 mail-in rebate.
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