The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 8.4 July / August 2003

Issue 8.4 July / August 2003


Multimedia/Graphics Reviews

Freeplay Music Library (MAC/WIN)
Freeplay Music Library is one of the largest collections of free watermarked (Verance's audio watermarking) music available for both professional and non-professional use. Many non-commercial and educational uses of the music are completely free, although airplay and other for-profit uses require a license.

The vast library is grouped by either the type of music style (hip hop, rock, guitar, country, etc.) or the media theme or feel (motivational, sports, business and finance, just the news, etc.). Most volumes are provided with multiple selections, and each selection is offered in about five track lengths, running from under ten seconds, up to several minutes. Virtually any musical need can be met with tracks from this extensive library. The tracks have been used on many television shows including Dateline, Law & Order: SVU, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah, Saturday Night Live, and others.

The Freeplay Web site has most of the volumes on-line for sampling at Each volume, which consists of two CDs is $69.95. Six volumes (12 CDs) are $375.95, any two series of six (2 CD) volumes is $725, and the three series collection of 18 (2 CD) volumes is $945.

Contact: FreePlay Music, Inc., 1650 Broadway, Suite 1108, New York, NY 10019, 212 974-0548,, fax: 212 664-7737.

Mac FlipAlbum 3 (MAC)
Mac FlipAlbum 3 provides users with the capability to create electronic books and photo albums that have the look and feel of traditional books. Pages flip with realistic 3-D effects, and background music, consisting of lists of MP 3 tracks, can be added. The software supports popular multimedia file formats, including .gif, .png, .jpg, .mid, .mp3, and .wav. Page layouts can include multiple photos and annotations composed from individually-selected photos, or automatically, from an entire folder. The software automatically creates thumbnails, a table of contents, and index, all hyperlinked to the actual image pages. The user can cut and paste the images to any page in the album, or drag and drop the thumbnails to rearrange pages. The user can add front and back pages as well as page backgrounds. $39.95

Contact: E-Book Systems, Inc., 1500 Wyatt Drive, Suite 15, Santa Clara, CA 95054, 408 919-6675,, fax: 408 919-6677.

Marine Aquarium 2 (MAC/WIN)
Marine Aquarium 2 is the most realistic, lifelife, and captivating screen saver that you are likely to see. The movement, colors, shadows, and overall underwater environment is so real that you are likely to tap your monitor screen glass to try to make the fish react. This program is the nicest thing that could happen to a computer, and the best use of idle CPU cycles that we have seen. Users can modify the aquarium and select from the 26 fish which are provided. $19.95

Contact: SereneScreen, c/o Prolific Publishing, 1400 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506,

Digital Audio

SmartSound SONICFIRE PRO Ver. 3 is an incredibly useful and productive application for adding precision-length music soundtracks to video projects. The program ships with two CDs full of royalty music, and additional volumes are available at extra cost. The music is arranged in customizable blocks that can be edited to fill a time duration of any length, yet blend together seamlessly. This new version lets the user preview, purchase, and download music from SmartSound Software that they do not own, but which may be particularly appropriate for their current project. The new Infinite Search Maestro enables the user to find, and mix and match, the sound that will best meet the needs of their current production.

The program also supports editing of virtually any sound file. The user can trim their own music or sound and use it immediately in their video project. The video, to which the soundtrack will be added, is displayed in a window on the screen so that the user can match appropriate music to each scene accurately, and with immediate feedback. There has yet to be another method as easy and effective as this. Digital publishers are encouraged to take a close look at what this software can do for for their creativity and their productivity. $299

Contact: SmartSound Software, Inc., 9836 White Oak Ave., Suite 209, Northridge, CA 91325, 818 718-9999,, fax: 818 718-9990.

Specialized Output Reviews

Business Card Composer (MAC)
Business Card Composer is a publishing application that facilitates the composition and printing of business and personal cards. The program is useful for commercial printers, service providers, copy shops, business owners, and even home users. The application incorporates all of the components and tools necessary to design and output professional quality cards either as a paid activity or an in-house service.

The program ships with over 100 business card designs and over 500 images, categorized, and previewable. Other features include: color graded fills and mask options; transparency; the use of background images; snap tool for object alignment; print out support for popular card stocks from Apli, Avery, Canson, and others; printing of crop and registration marks; selection of data directly from the Apple Address Book; and more. $39.95

Contact: BeLight Software, +380 48 738-58-40,, e-mail:, fax: +380 48 738-58-40.

Chartsmith v1.2.1 (MAC)
Chartsmith v1.2.1 is the first charting and graphing application built using Macintosh OS X technologies. The program is of particular interest to digital publishers, for its graphics publishing capabilities; to researchers, for its scientific data visualization features; and to professionals for its business presentation tools. The program enables the production of charts and graphs that are easy to generate and which result in clean, professional-looking output. The output can be exported for use in a wide variety of other applications, from Photoshop to Word to InDesign.

The publisher prides itself on the fact that many Chartsmith users do not need to rely on the program's documentation in order to get the results that they seek. The intuitive nature of the program puts all of the chart/graph-building functionality within easy reach. The program supports the import of data from Excel, Word, or other likely sources, or can be input manually. Charts can be modified using the context-sensitive Inspector, or from direct edits using the mouse. Completed charts can be saved in popular file formats or simply dragged from the Chartsmith document into any open application.

The program can produce a wide range of chart types including: bar, stacked bar, horizontal bar, horizontal stacked bar, 3D bar, 3D horizontal bar, 2D and 2D pies, 2D and 3D lines, 2D and 3D area and stacked area, bubble, high-low, high-low-open-close with Tokyo or Candlestick markers, base-error, xy, histogram, scatter, and more. $129

Contact: Blacksmith, 11654 Plaza America Drive #744, Reston, VA 20190-4700, 703 771-9440,, e-mail:, fax: 866 206-2349.


Hardware Reviews

Logitech Cordless Elite Duo (MAC/WIN)
The Logitech Cordless Elite Duo is a package containing a cordless keyboard and cordless mouse, each exhibiting significant ergonomic and productivity features.

The keyboard is low-profile, with zero-degree tilt. It can be moved to any position, and reasonable location (within 6 feet), to provide the user with proper and convenient access. The dedicated function keys simplify common tasks and reduce them to a single keystroke. A specially designed portion of the keyboard has been designed with controls for playing media, including music, videos, and movies. Another area of the keyboard provides single key access to Internet resources, such as searching. The large palm rest area provides support as needed.

The cordless MouseMan Optical mouse provides a high degree of accuracy, yet does not require cleaning. It contains two buttons and a scroll wheel, and can be used on virtually any surface.

The devices connect via USB, although a PS/2 cable is also provided. Digital publishers will find these devices a welcome relief from cord-bound peripherals. $99.95

Contact: Logitech Inc., 6505 Kaiser Drive, Fremont, CA 94555, 800 231-7717, 510-795-8500,

Logitech Cordless Navigator Duo (MAC/WIN)
The Logitech Cordless Navigator Duo is a package consisting of a cordless keyboard and mouse that enables the user to be freed of the cords anchoring them to their computer systems.

The keyboard is very light and flat and is easily positioned within its six foot range to offer the user the flexibility of moving it off of the computer work surface if necessary. When co-workers are collaborating on a project it is easy to pass the keyboard for shared input.

The keyboard is arranged into functional areas above the standard keyboard arrangements. Single key controls are provided for common computer tasks, as well as dedicated key areas which serve to access multimedia resources (music, movies, video), and the Internet.

The cordless optical mouse provides two buttons and a scroll wheel. It is endowed with twice the accuracy of standard optical mice. Its shape is designed to be held comfortably in either hand.

The keyboard and mouse have a five year warranty and are an outstanding value and a wise investment. $79.95

Contact: Logitech Inc., 6505 Kaiser Drive, Fremont, CA 94555, 800 231-7717, 510-795-8500,

Logitech MX 700 Cordless Optical Mouse (MAC/WIN)
The Logitech MX 700 Cordless Optical Mouse is the ultimate handheld input device. It not only drives like a sleek, well-engineered machine, it provides extremely accurate on-screen positioning control (800 dpi). Unlike other cordless mice, the MX 700 has its own charging base, which recharges the two supplied AA NiMH rechargeable batteries. The base also serves the function of being the receiver unit.

The supplied MouseWare software enables the user to customize the use of the mouse, and assign functions to its additional buttons. With the touch of a finger the user can switch applications and documents.

Digital publishers will find this mouse to be the best in every respect. $69.95

Contact: Logitech Inc., 6505 Kaiser Drive, Fremont, CA 94555, 800 231-7717, 510-795-8500,

PrimeFilm 1800 AFL (MAC/WIN)
Through the end of the 1990s, the cost of flat-bed scanners steadily decreased, making them a common computer accessory. Until recently, however, there was no comparably priced film scanner which could convert a 35mm slide into a high-resolution digital file. Although some flat-bed scanners include a slide attachment, they are often of poor quality, and yield unacceptable results. Traditionally, film scanners have been expensive, reserved for professionals and serious 35mm photographers who had both the need for their output, and the resources to pay for acquiring them. The significant price differential has remained in effect due to the smaller potential market for film scanners, growing smaller with the increased use of digital cameras, and the more precise and complex imaging components used to construct them.

The cross-platform PrimeFilm 1800 AFL, is priced well under $400, and as its name implies, scans at an optical resolution of 1800 x 1800 dpi (see The bit depth is 42-bit for color, and it has a 14-bit gray image depth. The linear array color CCD image sensor responds to its cold cathode fluorescent lamp light source, producing a 12.76 MB scan in about 23 seconds. Although it is an entry-level product, users can yield semi-professional results from this compact (238mm (L) x 103mm (W) x 177mm (H)), and versatile unit. In addition to scanning individual slides, the device will accept film strips, and automatically scan an entire roll unattended. This batch scanning feature is uncommon in a consumer-level film scanner.

The scanner connects using either a USB or Firewire connection (models have one or the other, or both). The hardware installation consists of plugging in the power cord and making the appropriate cable connection. The CyberView software is accessible from within a host application, such as Adobe Photoshop. The user sets the application preferences for the prescan resolution setting and advanced auto-color setting, and any other settings that may be specific to the particular scan. Although it is not required, the image can be pre-scanned and the appropriate image specifications can be set, such as exposure, variations, curves, and color balance. The scan is executed by selecting the scan button, and can be directed to appear in a window within the host application, or saved directly to a file. $349.99

Additions/Extensions Reviews

Mask Pro 3 (MAC/WIN)
Mask Pro 3 is a Photoshop plug-in that provides exceptional masking capabilities. The extensive toolset empowers the user to precisely, yet easily, select even delicate image elements for compositing and other image manipulation operations. The program is based on an entirely new masking engine which enables highly sophisticated and complex masking operations that can be applied to image elements such as fine hair strands, smoke, glass, and other semi- and totally transparent objects.

New features of this version include: Color Decontamination which improves the masking of semi-transparent objects; Keep/Drop Highlighting which simplifies the selection of areas that are to be held or deleted; Enhanced Touch-up Tools and Controls to refine mask edges; Real-time Preview; and more. Masking can be a very time-consuming and frustrating process, and can produce disappointing results. Mask Pro 3 is the best tool for ensuring that a proficient user can produce professional output. A free 30-day demo is available at $199.95

Contact: Extensis Inc., 1800 S.W. First Ave., Suite 500, Portland, OR 97201, 800 796-9798, 503 274-2020,,, fax: 503 274-0530.

pxl SmartScale (MAC/WIN)
pxl SmartScale is an Adobe Photoshop plug-in that enables users to increase the resolution of images without materially affecting their quality. It is well known imaging dogma that enlarging a bitmap image results in image blockiness and jaggies. The PixelLive™ technology, from Celartem, Inc., supports up-scaling to a limit of 1600% with no perceivable loss of print quality. The scaling process, called \"image resampling,\" is accomplished by using a new set of pixels that is based on the original image data.

As images are processed their brightness and color data is maintained, producing an enlarged replicant which is visually identical...just bigger. The scaling process is interactive so that the user can see the affects of upscaling in realtime. The user can adjust sharpness, edge contrast, and edge detail, and can crop the enlarged image at any time. The SmartScale settings can be saved to later application to other images that need to undergo the same processing steps. The program provides a number of preset image sizes that are likely to be used in print workflows, from 5 x 7 to tabloid.

Processed files can benefit from the PixelLive image compression file format (VFZ) which produces visually lossless compression. The user can select from six different levels of compression. Even when the highest image quality level is selected the resulting file size is 60% the size of a comparable TIFF image. The user can also apply password protection to the file using the PixelLive protected file format (PFZ). PixelLive images can be viewed by any Photoshop user with the use of the royalty-free PixelLive viewing plug-in.

Digital publishers will find this plug-in indispensable since it will free them from the burden of maintaining all images at their maximum resolution. $199.95

Contact: Extensis Inc., 1800 S.W. First Ave., Suite 500, Portland, OR 97201, 800 796-9798, 503 274-2020,,, fax: 503 274-0530.

Vector Studio 2.0 (MAC/WIN)
Vector Studio 2.0 consists of eight exciting and creative plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator 10. The plug-ins (also available individually) provide the user with highly sophisticated and feature-laden capabilities that are certain to spark creativity and boost productivity. The plug-ins include: Palette Shepherd, which allows the user to take snapshots of their working environment, and recall a particular set-up instantly; Direction Handler, which supports the simultaneous editing of multiple paths so that only half of a symmetrical design needs to be edited, while both sides are adjusted in unison; Wrinkle Remover, which magically removes extraneous points while maintaining the integrity of the curves; and many more. Readers show view the on-line demos at, or download a demo version. These plug-ins are first rate. $129

Contact: Virtual Mirror Corp., 4040 Civic Center Dr., Suite 200, San Rafael, CA 94903, 415 472-3359,

Reference Source Reviews

Adobe Acrobat 6 Essentials Training Series (MAC/WIN)
Adobe Acrobat 6 Essentials Training Series consists of three volumes (with optional field-specific volumes for Government, Creative Professions, Enterprise and General Business, and Engineering) which comprise a complete in-depth course. The instruction is presented by Ted Padova, who is the author of several books, including ""The Acrobat PDF Bible"" and ""Creating Adobe Acrobat PDF Forms."" Mr. Padova's style is clear and understandable.

The training series is presented on-screen using QuickTime videos which are controllable using VCR player-like controls. The user can easily pause, repeat, or jump forward or backward. Each volume is well-organized, and leads the learner through a logical progression of tasks. The set serves as both a comprehensive course and a ready reference. Here is the contents of the main course components:

Volume 1: THE GRAND TOUR Lesson 1: Getting to know Adobe Acrobat Professional Lesson 2: Creating PDF Files Lesson 3: Editing Lesson 4: Interactivity Lesson 5: Layers Lesson 6: Review and Comments Lesson 7: Printing and Prepress

Volume 2: INTEGRATING ADOBE ACROBAT Lesson 1: Viewing and Printing Lesson 2: Using Acrobat Distiller Lesson 3: Scanning and Capture Lesson 4: Saving Files Lesson 5: Commenting Lesson 6: Distributing Content

Volume 3: INTERACTIVITY IN PDF FILES Lesson 1: PDF Interactivity Lesson 2: Adding Movies and Sound Lesson 3: Creating Presentations Lesson 4: Securing PDF Files Lesson 5: Digital Signatures Lesson 6: Working with PDF Forms Lesson 7: PDFs and the Web

Work files are provided so that the user can benefit from completing presentation-related exercises. $99

Contact: Total Training Inc., 324 Encinitas Blvd, Suite B, Encinitas CA,  92024, 888 DO TOTAL, 760 944-3900,, e-mail:

Utility Reviews

Norton Internet Security 3.0 for Macintosh (MAC)
Norton Internet Security 3.0 for Macintosh contains utilities which work to reduce the risk associated with exposing one's personal computer to the Internet. The suite of programs include exceptionally strong solutions for insulating the user from outside threats, and maintaining the system in a stable and healthy state. The components of the software suite include: Norton Privacy Control, which can be used to shield children from selected Web content that may not be age-appropriate, using either a list devised by the parents or downloaded from Symantec, as well as blocking banner and pop-up ads; Norton AntiVirus 9.0 for Macintosh, which provides a complete solution for eliminating both Macintosh and PC viruses, worms, and Trojans; Norton Personal Firewall 3.0 for Macintosh, which can control the flow of Web traffic, both in- and out-bound, and track hacking attempts; and Aladdin Systems' iClean, to remove the vestiges of Web surfing. It is rare to find a single collection of software that is so well-tuned to address the security issues associated with the use of the Internet. $99.95

Contact: Symantec Corp., 20300 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014, 408 253-9600, 800 441-7234,, fax: 408 446-8152.

Norton SystemWorks 3.0 for Macintosh (MAC)
Norton SystemWorks 3.0 for Macintosh contains a suite of programs that work to maintain a Macintosh at peak operating performance. The components of the collection include: Norton Utilities 8.0 for Macintosh, which is among the most competent set of tools for disk repair and data recovery; Norton AntiVirus 9.0 for Macintosh which scans a system for both PC and Macintosh viruses and is easily updated using Symantec's LiveUpdate; Dantz Retrospect Express Backup, for data backup and restoration; and Aladdin Spring Cleaning, for eliminating unneeded files and uninstalling unwanted applications.

Norton Utilities has a long history as an essential repair and maintenance tool. The user can not only recover lost or damaged files, but can optimize hard drives by defragmenting them, resulting in faster response times. The Wipe Info utility will completely remove sensitive or personal files so that others will be unable to recover them. The UnErase tool will recover files that have been erased accidentally.

There is no other single package that provides the user with such a broad array of system maintenance tools, nor such a depth of solid performance and value. $129.95

Contact: Symantec Corp., 20300 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014, 408 253-9600, 800 441-7234,, fax: 408 446-8152.

PopChar X (MAC)
PopChar X is a highly useful font utility that is accessible from the Macintosh menubar. It provides the digital publisher with the means to locate any character, in any font, and instantly insert the character into an open document. The user is able to browse all of the installed fonts in the system and easily determine each character's key combinations. The program simplifies the process of locating any character in the font by dividing them into three categories: letters, digits, and accents. By selecting one of the like-named buttons, the user can display that particular part of the character complement. Users will appreciate that they can resize the characters to see their forms easier than using the Apple KeyCaps program. $39 mailorder, $29 download.

Contact: Uni Software Plus, Softwarepark Hagenberg, A-4232 Hagenberg, Austria,, e-mail:, fax: +43 7236 3338 30.

Unix Utilities for Mac OS X (MAC)
Unix Utilities for Mac OS X is a broad and diverse collection of Unix programs that integrates easily and seamlessly with the Macintosh Aqua desktop environment, which is itself based on Unix. Despite the reputation of Unix for complexity, this collection provides easy access to a slew of powerful applications that enable the OS X user to turn their desktop into a Unix workstation. The single CD contains programs in these categories and more: audio, databases, editors, games, graphics, mail, math, net, news, print, security, and www. $39.95

Database Reviews

Dragon Web Surveys 6.5 (MAC/WIN)
The Internet enables immediacy…to information and to people. It is also a powerful tool for the systematic gathering of data, through surveys and questionnaires. On-line surveying provides instant results, allowing the survey source to see each survey response as soon as it has been submitted. Although the Internet can also be used for data gathering through the use of Web forms and on-line survey services, each of these has its shortcomings. Web forms, which can be produced fairly easily, lack the essential elements that are characteristic of a standard survey. On-line survey services although usually convenient, are often fee-based. The better option is to run a survey on one's own Web server or properly configured client workstation.

The best solution that we have found for creating, managing, publishing, and tabulating surveys and questionnaires is Dragon Web Surveys 6.5*, software that works within the FileMaker Pro Unlimited environment. The program is cross-platform, and requires a dedicated IP address. The software provides an easy-to-use interface for creating a wide range of survey instruments, without programming or coding. The program also supports the creation of on-line quizzes, with two types of questions (single choice and value choice) that can be assigned individual scores. The program supports branching, so that a respondent can be routed to a particular section of the survey instrument based on their response to a particular question. As quizzes are submitted, the scores are compiled and an individual score card, summarized by each quiz section, is tallied. Although respondent-specific data gathering is the usual case, the program also supports anonymous submission, so that the respondent's identity remains confidential. Conversely, the survey may be set to one of four levels of authentication, which might include the respondent being assigned a password and user name, or provided access only from a particular IP address. The Dragon administrator can remotely view the status and results of surveys from anywhere, at any time, using a Web browser.

The Dragon Web Survey tool is a finely-tuned survey construction and delivery tool that has been refined through years of real-world use. It is among the most flexible solutions for gathering all sorts of data, assigning weighted points (if necessary), and managing the data submission and reporting process. It can be set-up fairly quickly, requiring the administrator (i.e. user) to fill in just a few dialog boxes, and add users, if required.

The program runs within the FileMaker Pro Unlimited environment. Unlike the standard version of FileMaker Pro, which limits remote access from ten unique IP addresses, the Unlimited version is just that. This program is a powerful yet user-friendly database application that provides the easiest and fastest way possible to share and gather data over the Web, combining the database application, CGI, and Web Server in a single package. For certain kinds of data gathering, users may find the capabilities of FileMaker Pro Unlimited sufficient.

The creation of a FileMaker Pro database is very simple, and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. By clicking a few checkbox selections in appropriate dialog boxes the new database can be published to the Web, and made available to anyone who has the correct IP address and authentication (if necessary). The process is a marvel of modern programming and frees the user from the onerous burden of high-level coding which would otherwise be necessary, time-consuming, and expensive.

Dragon maintains a list of all of the surveys and quizzes that have been created in its Surveys window. The listing shows the name of the instrument, its start and end dates, the target size of the population, the actual number of surveys returned, the number processed, and a progress bar showing the percent of response. The user can add comments about any survey, create a new survey, export or import a survey, print survey questions, or view an overview report. Through this one window the user can manage the entire inventory of survey instruments.

The survey question interface is very direct. It consists of three options: Demographic, Add/Edit, and Branching. The Demographic section allows for the input of up to ten items that relate to the individual filling-in the instrument. Common field entries are first name, last name, address, city, state, zip, telephone number, e-mail address, etc., but can consist of any data that the user cares to include. The Add/Edit section is the heart of the program. It is here that sections are established, questions are entered, answers are indicated, and points are assigned. The Branching section provides a simple way to direct the respondent to a new section on the basis of a particular response. After the survey has been constructed, the program generates the URL for the survey so that it can be sent to respondents.

The authentication capabilities offer a rich set of tools including the option to generate automatically, unique passwords for each of the individuals who are to be invited to participate in the survey. Dragon Web Survey provides the means to compose a message and batch e-mail it to the list of potential respondents along with their passwords. Surveys of a general nature can also be conducted with no authentication requirements.

As surveys are submitted the user can get a variety of reports showing such things as the number of respondents and the percentage of expected results. The user can search the responses and save the search criteria, which is handy when there is a concern to monitor, over time, the number of responses of a certain kind, such as all dentists from Ohio. At the conclusion of a survey period an Overall Report can be generated which shows each question, the number of responses, and the number of responses to each answer. $895

Contact: Waves in Motion, 4131 North 24th Street B101, Phoenix, AZ 85016, 602 956-7080,, e-mail:, fax: 602 956-6754.

Digital Video Reviews

Camtasia Studio 1.1 (WIN )
Camtasia Studio 1.1 is the best available solution for capturing on-screen activity and recording and editing it for output in a variety of formats. The program can be used to produce Macromedia Flash presentations, with new playback controls that mimic the movie selection controls that are obtainable on a DVD. The new Theatre for Camtasia enables users to select from a variety of movies through the use of an integrated menu that can be presented either on CD or online.

Camtasia Studio is an entire production environment that supports the initial screen capture, and then provides tools for making polished professional presentations. The Recorder captures any activity that occurs on-screen, including mouse movements, dialog box interaction, drop-down menus, and more. The Producer provides complete editing features, including the application of transitions, audio tracks, and more. Movies can be output in AVI, Flash, GIF Animation, RealPlayer Streaming Media File, RealPlayer Movie File, QuickTime Movie File, and Windows Media Streaming Media File formats. The Effects module enables the user to add text boxes, shapes, arrows, and callouts, to clarify the video content. The MenuMaker supports the construction of a menu interface not only to Camtasia videos, but to PowerPoint files, Word documents, and more. Finally, the Player, which occupies only 320 KB, can be freely shared without further payment. $349

Contact: TechSmith Corp., 2405 Woodlake Drive, Okemos, MI 48864, 517 381-2300,, ftp:, e-mail:, fax: 517 381-2336.

Digital Hotcakes Grand Slam (MAC/WIN)
Digital Hotcakes Grand Slam is a collection of royalty-free motion graphics comprising eight volumes from the Digital Hotcakes library. The media, which can be used with virtually any non-linear digital editing system, is provided in a convenient binder case with full-color thumbnail images of each digital asset. Somewhat unique to the collection is the inclusion of lifetime product support. The library can be purchased in a variety of media formats, including DVD, SVHS tapes and NTSC Mini-DV tapes.

This diverse collection covers a wide spectrum of needs, and can easily form the basis of a digital videographer's core of essential motion graphics. Few libraries of digital video contain the variety and potential utility of this set of professionally produced volumes. Users will find them infinitely useful for generating titles and credits, logo design and enhancement, DVD menus and navigation systems, blue- and green-screen effects, virtual sets and faux backgrounds, show intros and closings, picture-in-picture effects, and much more. Its innate value is in having a resource at hand that can solve a particular production need immediately.

The library consists of the following volumes (each available separately): Vol. 1: Animated Backdrops­42 backdrops that portray popular themes and images such as waving flags, floating balloons, and streaming bubbles. Vol. 2: Organic Backdrops­84 visually exciting images that can enhance any video production having a contemporary or high-tech look. Vol. 3: Animated Skydrops­50 sky scenes that represent most of the common sky conditions, from sunny to stormy. Vol. 4: Animated Aquadrops­36 water-themed scenes ranging from rain to the underwater world. Vol. 5: Pyromations­56 scenes, complete with alpha mattes (for compositing) portraying flames, explosions, sparks, and more. Vol. 6: Acid Drops­36 colorful and visually active animations. Vol. 7: Grids & Grunge­40 stylish animations that suggest a high-tech feel. Vol. A: Alpha Mattes­32 animations, with alpha mattes, that cover a variety of elements including snow, lighting, fireworks, rain, and more. Each effect, in each volume, can be seen on the Digital Hotcakes Web site. $579

Contact: TriLab Productions, 3135 Green Terrace Rd.,  Shreveport, LA  71118, 318 603-0236,,   fax: 318-603-9022.

Digital Hotcakes Wedding Essentials, Vol. 1 (MAC/WIN)
Digital Hotcakes Wedding Essentials, Vol. 1 consists of a professional collection of48 animations, including backgrounds (which loop seamlessly), transitions, overlays, compositions, and 3-D animations. The media is royalty-free and works with all popular non-linear digital editing (NLE) systems.

This exquisite collection of video media provides the user with a valuable library of images that are certain to enhance any wedding production. The media represents a broad, diverse, and valuable collection that will endow any video production with the look of elegance, and suitably enhance any live footage. Wedding videographers are likely to find that the package pays for itself within a short time.

The collection is available in four different media formats: Data DVD ($119), CD ($119), MiniDV tape ($139), and SVHS ($139), supporting a variety of NLEs. A description of the various formats is on-line at

The Digital Hotcakes Web site at, has a very useful tutorial section that provides clear instructions on using many of the digital media effects in a variety of editors.

Contact: TriLab Productions, 3135 Green Terrace Rd.,  Shreveport, LA  71118, 318 603-0236,,   fax: 318-603-9022.

MovingParts (MAC/WIN)
MovingParts is a plug-in that is compatible with several popular nonlinear digital video editing systems that enables a videographer to animate images and effects that will appear over a video. The program is capable of animating up to 32 images, each with independent movement, resizing, and rotation.

The program can be applied to several specialized functions, such as blurring the name of a commercial enterprise, or obscuring the features of a face, effects that are commonly applied on television. The user can add arrows and other forms of indicia to highlight a movement, or direct the viewer's attention. Instructions, captions, and pop-ups can be added, and logos can be animated.

Each image that is added to the scene can be dragged into position and resized and rotated by using the framing box icon that appears on top of the image. The images may be considered as animatable brushes that can affect the video below by blurring, pixelating, or tinting. The animation can be previewed without rendering at any time. $129

Contact: StageTools, 34313 Welbourne Road, Middleburg, BA 20117, 540 592-7001,, fax: 540 592-7060.

MovingPicture (MAC/WIN)
MovingPicture is novel program that enables videographers to pan and zoom around a single high resolution image of up to 8000 pixels square. The effect has been dubbed the \"Ken Burns Effect\" due to his use of the technique in his documentary filmmaking. MovingPicture supports several industry standard image file formats, including TIFF, BMP, PSD, and Targa.

The program, which is available either as a plug-in for many popular nonlinear digital video editing applications (Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid, Media 100, Lightworks, Ulead, and others), or as a standalone application, enables the user to use a computer in place of expensive and large motion-control rigs or animation stand set-ups.

The standalone version, called MovingPicture Producer, has the advantage of not requiring a host video editor, and due to its cross-platform availability, provides digital videographers with the flexibility to compose effects on almost any computer in the environment. Even a laptop computer can be used for blocking moves and saving the motion paths for import into a desktop system with more power, and the capability to quickly render a clip. The Producer version also supports loading up to 64 images on a single timeline. Dissolves can be added between images by dragging the green triangle above the clip to the time to which the dissolve should end.

The use of MovingPicture is easy. The user simply opens the image, positions the resizable framing box, which serves as a virtual camera, and moves it around the image, adding key frames to the Timeline as he or she makes each move. Whatever appears in the framing box is also displayed in the Viewfinder screen, which provides an interactive preview. Output can be to AVI, Macromedia Flash, or QuickTime formats.

The motion can be previewed at any time without rendering, in realtime, in the Viewfinder. The motion paths that are instantly created are smooth, splined, and tapered. Controls beneath the Viewfinder are used to play the scene, to add keyframes, and to monitor the length of the show.

The Timeline, which resembles that of a nonlinear editor, appears at the bottom of the screen, below the Stage, which holds the still image. The user can add keyframes and control the move over a straight or curved path.

A rotation option is available at a cost of $69. It enables the user to rotate the framing box, and simulate another dimension of movement to the still image. The framing box can be rotated beyond 360 degrees to create multi-revolution spins, such as used in the spinning newspaper headline effect. This option also includes the capability to skew the image in 3D.

Additional features include: easy transfer of MovingPicture shows between Windows and Macintosh systems; support for Alpha Channels; moves on curved or straight paths; motion blur; contrast and brightness image controls; Timeline scrubbing; 32 levels of undo/redo; full cut and paste of keyframes; adding a colored border around the image; and more. MovingPicture (no rotation), $199. MovingPicture with Rotation, $268.

Contact: StageTools, 34313 Welbourne Road, Middleburg, BA 20117, 540 592-7001,, fax: 540 592-7060.

Sorenson Squeeze 3 Compression Suite (MAC/WIN)
Sorenson Squeeze 3 Compression Suite is a self-contained video media compression environment that delivers output in Apple QuickTime, Macromedia Flash, and MPEG-4 file formats. The Windows version also supports output to RealMedia and Windows Media. Completed video productions that are produced in such NLE applications as Final Cut Pro and iMovie are processed in Squeeze to produce streaming or progressive output using a simple four-step process. Squeeze solves one of the main problems with is big...and requires lots of time to transfer and deliver, and lots of space to store. The application of quality video compression solves both of those problems.

Sorenson is known for the impressive compression ratios, and quality output, that their encoding codecs produce. The Squeeze 3 Compression Suite, which utlizes Sorenson Video 3 Pro, Sorenson Spark Pro, and Sorenson MPEG-4, adds an easy-to-use interface to that processing power, enabling almost anyone to produce highly usable results with a minimum of training. Users can apply presets and simply drag and drop files onto the program's interface. When a video is added it appears in the preview window where it can be viewed using standard VCR-like controls. Advanced users can tweak the settings to generate exactly the results that they require, and can encode in more than one format during a session.

The program interface is designed to allow the user to produce the best, most compact, video based on the intended audience. After selecting the target format the process is essentially reduced to pressing the \"Squeeze It\" button.

In addition to compressing video, which is its main function, the program can apply filters while the video is being processed. Filter settings are provided for gamma, contrast, color, and black-and-white restoration.

Among the unique features of the program are its capability to produce an output file to a prescribed size; take DV capture in directly via Firewire; batch process multiple files through the use of a watched folder; allow the user to set in and out trim markers; and much more. $449

Contact: Sorenson Vision, Inc., 2060 Walsh Ave., Suite 194, Santa Clara, CA 95050, 888 767-3676, 408 970-0696,,, fax: 408 970-0906.

WinDVD Creator Plus AVDV (WIN )
WinDVD Creator Plus AVDV is a software/hardware solution that includes both the WinDVD Creator Plus video editing software and the ADVE-9011H Analog/Digital Video Capture Combo Board. This combination enables the user to capture video from both analog and digital video sources. Users can also burn their video directly to VCD or DVD using InterVideo's Direct Recording technology.

The capture board provides a FireWire input/output interface that can be used to transfer video from analog devices, such as DV/D8 camcorders and VCRs at speeds of up to 400Mb/sec. The captured video can be edited without further image degradation. The user can also convert 8mm and VHS tapes into high-quality video formats without the need to pay a third-party for expensive conversion services. The process can help to preserve tape-based media, which has a life of only10-15 years, by converting it to DVD, which can last up to 100 years. The process also enables the user to combine clips from digital and analog sources into new media forms.

This single package provides the tools necessary to complete the entire video production workflow, including capturing video, editing it, adding titles, inserting transitions, integrating effects, producing a sound track, constructing DVD menus, and ultimately during the finished production as a DVD, VCD, SVCD, mini-DVD, MPEG-4, DivX™, or WMP movie. $129

Contact: InterVideo, Inc., 47350 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, CA 94538, 510 651-0888,, e-mail:, fax: 510 651-8808.

Productivity Reviews

Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional (MAC/WIN)
Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional extends the extensive set of PDF creation, use, review, management, and distribution capabilities of this essential digital publishing technology. Users have new document review features which efficiently track and organize edits/suggestions/changes made by those collaborating on a particular document.

Digital publishers will appreciate the new capabilities for print production. These include a color separation preview window (and the printed output of color separations), preflighting tools, and the production of PDF/X-compliant files. The program is optimized for soft proofing, eliminating, in many cases, the need for costly hardcopy proofs. In addition, PDF digital workflows ensure that complex layouts can be shared with customers immediately, and that changes can be recorded and executed accurately. The new Loupe tool allows the user to magnify a given area of a document easily, and view it in a split screen mode.

Based on user perceptions, Adobe has renamed the Acrobat Reader as the Adobe Reader, although it can't read any Adobe file format except Acrobat PDF. $449

Contact: Adobe Systems Inc., 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110-2704, 408 536-6000,, fax: 408 537-6000.

Office Applications for Mac OS X (MAC)
Office Applications for Mac OS X is a productivity suite that consists of proven Unix applications that are commonly used for business use. These include the Office Suite (, a word processor (AbiWord), a graphics application (Gimp), an Instant Messenger (Gaim), a Web Browser (Chimera), an IRC client (XChat), and more, including games. The user need only click on the installer to add the applications and have their icons appear on the desktop. $39.95

Contact: Cylogistics, 809B Cuesta Dr. #2149, Mountain View, CA 94040, 800 749-2734, 650 694-4949,, e-mail:, fax: 877 818-3383, 650 694-4953.

PhoneValet (MAC)
PhoneValet is a hardware and software package that provides an extraordinary set of telephony capabilities that give the Macintosh user total telephone management control. The software integrates phone listings stored on the computer, so that numbers can be dialed by voice control or double-clicking in the phonebook, and each call can be logged for reference. Digital publishers, and others, will find this invaluable in tracking customer calls, documenting job-related changes, and billing for time.

The system is easy to set up, and consists of a small hardware connector, called the Voice Dial Manager (VDM), that plugs into a USB port. A modem is not required. One end of the telephone cable is plugged into the other end of the VDM device, and the other end of the cable is plugged into the wall jack. Multiple devices can be purchased to control multiple phone lines.

An LED on the Voice Dial Manager gives a visual indication of the system status, and if an active line is available for dialing.

Incoming calls are announced by computer-generated voice (if the user has subscribed to Caller ID service from their telephone company). The user can customize the way that the announcement will be made. Notice of an incoming call is also displayed on-screen in a pop-up window. When a call is answered, or made, it is logged for reference. The log fields include the name of the person on the line, the date, the time, and the duration of the call. The log also indicates if the call was a placed call (P), an answered incoming call (A), or an unanswered incoming call (U). The contents of the log can be sorted, and can be exported in comma or tab separated fields for use in databases, spreadsheets, and word processors. The user can search the log by using the Quick Search text box which is a part of the Call Log window. Listings from the log, text files, contact managers, databases, or the Apple Address Book can be imported into the PhoneValet phonebook. In addition, the user can run a script, or have an e-mail message sent when a call is received.

Numbers can be dialed in any of three ways. First, the name can be spoken aloud; second, the name can be selected from the PhoneValet phonebook; third, the number can be copied from any application using the Apple Services menu. The user simply picks up the phone and the call is processed. This is the phone solution that Macintosh users have been waiting for...and it is well worth the investment. $129.95

Contact: Parliant Corporation, 866-864-2334, 812 Proctor Ave. Ogdensburg, NY, 13669,

DTP Reviews

CrossFont (WIN )
CrossFont is a handy utility that enables Windows users to convert Adobe PostScript Type 1 and TrueType fonts between Macintosh and PC platforms. The program preserves character outlines, metrics and hinting, and supports Mac OS X data fork fonts (.dfont). The program can execute batch conversions, and can locate supported file formats using an automatic folder and subfolder search.

The user interface is simple and clean, and consists of fields for specifying the format to convert from, the encoding method, the format to convert to, a listing of the operative fonts, and the specification of the output folder where the converted fonts will reside. $45

Contact: Acute Systems, P.O. Noc 37, Algonquin, IL 60102,, e-mail:

FontBook version 3.9 (MAC)
FontBook version 3.9 is a very useful font management utility that provides access to the entire complement of characters in each of the user's installed fonts. The user can display and print professional quality specimen sheets in a wide variety of layouts. The layouts are designed to highlight special features, such a range of point sizes or font styles, or long text passages, or a number of different fonts (up to 75) on a single page, and much more.

To begin the user selects a font from the Font menu, which lists all of the installed fonts. After a font is selected, and appears in one of the selected layouts, the user can either change layout, or change fonts. The next or previous font can be selected from options in the Font menu, or by using keyboard shortcuts (Command + or Command -). The user can elect to print a single font, or all of the fonts that are contained in a single suitcase.

The user can modify the program through the Preferences submenu in the Edit menu. There the user can change the sample text, modify the footer line to identify themself, set the magnification of the screen view, change the header font used to identify the selected font, and turn the page layout frames on or off, and more. Shareware. $10

Contact: Lemke Software, Erich-Heckel-Ring 8a, 31228 Peine, Germany, Internet: or, fax: +49-5171-72201.

Gudrun and Hermann Zapf Collection (MAC/WIN)
The Gudrun and Hermann Zapf Collection of 143 typefaces (in PostScript with some fonts available inTrueType) is a rare treasure of typographic artistry produced by the husband and wife team of master type designers. The pair is unequaled in their production of exquisite type designs, decorations, flourishes, dingbats, and pi characters. Their body of work is among the most tasteful and timeless ever produced...these are the true jewels in the treasure chest of typography. The price of the collection represents a discount of 80% off the price of individual fonts. $696

Here is a showing of many of the typefaces (note that not all typeface family members are shown, nor are all typefaces).

Contact: Linotype Library, Du-Pont-Straße 1, D-61352 Bad Homburg, Germany, +49-(0)6172 484 424, -425, -426, 427,, fax: +49-(0)6172 484 429.

MultiAd Creator Desktop Professional 6.5.5 (MAC/WIN)
MultiAd Creator Desktop Professional 6.5.5 is the industry standard application for the creation of advertisements for all forms of media. See our reviews at:*) and

The program provides a palette of specialized tools that are optimized for creating or importing all ad elements; and positioning, orienting, and integrating them into a completed format. A good example of the program's specialized capabilities is the border tool, which enables the user to draw a border, and apply a design from a library of border categories (celebrations, children, corners, coupons, etc.). The user can modify the color or background, even insert a graphic or photo, add a shadow, resize, rotate, and reposition. The Border Editor (Macintosh only) is also provided so that the user can add to their border library. Almost any imaginable layout task can be accomplished.

The Border Editor allows the user to modify any of the borders that are provided with Creator, or to create their own. In order to create a new border the user must generate the four corner and four side panel elements of a border design at 300 dpi, and then copy them, through the Clipboard, into the editing window. This is usually accomplished by using Photoshop, although other programs that support copying PICT files to the Clipboard can also be used.

The program simplifies the construction of large grids of repeated items through the use of the matrix function. This function is used to step-and-repeat a text box or other element at precise intervals, in rows and columns. This is particularly useful in the creation of advertisements that are composed of elements that are repetitive, such as car or supermarket ads.

This latest version provides several new features. These include: the placement of single-page PDFs, or the placement of the first page of a multiple-page PDF; the PDFs that Creator exports are now smaller, and the user has more export options; EPS is now rendered to the screen and to non-PostScript printers; EPS export has been enhanced so that customized export settings can be retained; text on a path supports almost all character formatting options; the Magic Wand tool masks the background of a graphic or a given area of a graphic; the enhanced Crop tool crops containers without resizing contained items; Contextual Menus (Mac OS only); and much more. $750

Contact: Multi-Ad Services, Inc., 1720 West Detweiller Dr., Peoria, IL 61615-1695, 309 692-1530, WWW:, e-mail:, fax: 309 692-6566.

ScanFont 4 (MAC)
ScanFont 4 is a remarkable Macintosh OS X application (also available as ScanFont 3 for Windows) that enables the user to convert virtually any picture into a font. Examples of the kinds of images that can be converted are signatures, handwriting, line drawings, logos, dingbats, decorations, borders, and more. Users can also convert old type specimens into complete digital fonts. Of course, copyrights must be respected.

The program supports an impressive list of import and export formats, ensuring that most user needs can be met.

The conversion process begins by acquiring the image of the target font character(s), either by opening an existing digital file, or scanning in the image directly from within the ScanFont environment. After the image is acquired, the program can separate automatically, the individual glyph images that will compose the new font. Any imperfections in the scan, or the separation, can be adjusted in the bitmap editor. After the glyphs are edited, the user selects those that will be converted into vector glyphs for the new font. The program then converts the glyphs by autotracing them, and places them into a font table. The placement of the characters in the font table can be edited by dragging and dropping them to their respective keyboard layout position. Characters that need to be edited can be opened in a glyph edit window by double-clicking on them. This action reveals a full set of vector editing tools, as well as transformation tools for scaling, skewing or rotating. Character combinations can be previewed, their sidebearings (intercharacter whitespace) can be adjusted, and kerning pairs can be specified in the Metrics window. When all of the characters have been satisfactorily edited, the font is saved. A quite impressive and useful program. $199

Contact: FontLab Ltd., Box 465, Millersville, MD 21108, 509 272-3260,, e-mail:, fax: 509 272-3260.

Internet Reviews

Contribute 2 (MAC/WIN)
Contribute 2, which has defined a new category of software called \"Web Content Contribution,\" is what every non-technical person, who has any responsibility for maintaining on-line content, has been waiting for. The program provides an easy-to-use interface for making changes to existing Web pages, adding content to extant sites, and adding completely new pages. The application also enables Web professionals to implement a total digital workflow with Macromedia Dreamweaver, to create, upload, maintain and monitor, Web sites of any size or description. Because the program is cross-platform, it supports the full inclusion of individuals in almost any enterprise. Of the billions of Web pages available, a large number are out-of-date, abandoned, or neglected, due in part because of the difficulty of editing them and the time required to do so. Contribute 2 can change that by empowering the content creator to do it him or her self.

According to research conducted by Macromedia, Web professionals spend from 15% to 50% of their time making simple content changes rather than working on the design, usability and functionality of their Web sites. Most agree that they would like to see the content creators take responsibility for that function.

The program is very robust, as it must be to maintain an on-line connection while editing. For this purpose it incorporates what Macromedia calls a Third Generation Site Connection System, which ensures that connections will be held reliably. This feature, which integrates threaded architecture with file caching, is responsive to the great variability in server and network configurations. In addition, Contribute 2 supports SFTP secure site connections, with encrypted transfers of all data.

Those whose businesses have Web sites, but whose technical expertise has prevented them from implementing e-commerce, will appreciate the new PayPal Merchant Tools that are now a part of the program. The optional wizard-based system simplifies the process of adding payment buttons to selected pages. The user pays only transaction fees. There are no set-up nor monthly charges.

Windows 2000 and XP users can benefit from Macromedia's new FlashPaper Web Document Publishing technology. Through the use of FlashPaper, any printable document can be converted into a trim (up to 80% smaller) Flash format file that can be added as a part of any Web page. The user need not have the application that was used to create the original document (nor does the end-user need the original application to view FlashPaper), and any number of documents can be processed by simply dragging them onto the Contribute 2 edit window, or selecting Insert>Document as FlashPaper.... As the documents are embedded into the target Web page the user can align and size them as needed. All that an end-user needs to view FlashPaper documents is a current version of the Flash Player, which is available for free, and is, in fact, used by almost all Internet users (98%). Although FlashPaper enables the sharing of document content, it does not have the rich feature set (searching, annotation, text selection, encryption, etc.) found in Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Although Contribute 2 can be used with Web pages that were produced using any Web development application, there is a benefit in using it with pages that were created using Macromedia Dreamweaver. First of all, Contribute recognizes and responds to Dreamweaver Templates, so that areas of a page can be identified as editable by Contribute users. Second, both programs share the same check-in/check-out system, so that users can work together safely, and there will not be accidental overwrites. Those Dreamweaver users who buy or try Contribute 2 can also get a program update that enhances Dreamweaver to work in a workflow that integrates Contribute 2.

The program enables Web page editing and correction in four steps: Connection, Browse, Edit, and Publish. The Connection step may be preconfigured by a Web site administrator, or established by the user with the connection wizard. After connecting, the user browses the site using the built-in Web browser and Contribute tools to locate the page that needs editing. By clicking the Edit Page button, the user enters Edit mode, and Contribute transfers a temporary copy of the page to the user's computer. At this point, edits are made, spelling can be checked, tables and bullets can be inserted, and standard text-formatting can be applied. Users can also insert Web page links, and create new Web pages. The user can save a page for later editing, or publish it immediately. Using the Publish button the page is sent to the Web site and the process, at least for one page, is complete. $99

Contact: Macromedia, Inc., 600 Townsend, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415 252-2000, 800 326-2128,, e-mail:, fax: 415 626-0554.

Digital Imaging Reviews

DeltaGraph 5 for Mac OS X (MAC)
DeltaGraph 5 for Mac OS X is a graphing and charting application that takes advantage of Apple's Aqua interface and Quartz Extreme Graphics capabilities. In addition to its exceptional 2-D and 3-D graphics performance, exemplified in over 80 chart and graph types, and over 200 styles, the program incorporates data analysis functions that give additional meaning to the visual display of the data.

The program incorporates a unique Formula Builder that contains 50 statistical and other mathematical functions that can assist the user in understanding and analyzing their data. Digital publishers will appreciate the fact that DeltaGraph can publish its output either as paper reports, electronic presentations, or Web documents.

Data can be imported from a variety of sources and file formats, with a capacity of up to 32,000 rows and 256 columns. Graphics can be imported in PICT, BMP, Photoshop 4, PNG, GIF, TIFF, QuickTime Image, JPEG, EPSF, and movie file formats.

The construction of charts is simplified with the use of the Chart Advisor. This wizard-based interface helps the user to select the appropriate chart type based on the intended audience, 2-D or 3-D chart, and the data provided. Charts can be customized using PANTONE Color Matching, customized layouts, the application of backgrounds from a stored library, importation of pictographs, and the use of built-in drawing tools. $299

Contact: Red Rock Software, 10 West Broadway, Suite 475, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, 801 322-4322,, e-mail:

DVD PictureShow for Mac (MAC)
DVD PictureShow for Mac is an application that enables the user to produce digital photo slide shows on both CD and DVD media. The software provides capabilities for assembling slide shows using templates (43 in all) which can be customized with text, background music, and imported background images. The templates are categorized in five groups: Festive, nature, Romance, Techno, and Others. The resultant CD or DVDs can be played back on standard DVD players or on a computer with a CD or DVD drive.

The program provides a step-by-step workflow, allowing the user to provide input at each point along the way. Professional-level menu navigation can be added, and can be tested using the DVD remote control emulation. $29.95

Contact: Ulead Systems, 20000 Mariner Ave., Ste 200, Torrance, CA 90503, 310 896-6388,, e-mail:, fax: 310 896-6389.

Expression 3 (MAC/WIN)
Expression 3 is an innovative drawing package that offers the expressive richness of pixel-based painting with the editability of vector graphics. The painted image is maintained as Skeletal Strokes which can be defined in a number of ways to produce various artistic effects, such as a dry brush, or a fuzzy stroke. Strokes can be made to look like polished metal (reflection-mapped embossed paths), or soft-edged paths with a fringed texture, or a virturally limitless variety of options. Digital publishers will appreciate the extensive text options that can be combined to produce breathtaking typographic effects with three-dimensional features and flexible control of the baseline, tracking, horizontal scaling, leading, and more. The program enables the generation of images that can not be produced in any other single application. Readers might recall that the program was originally marketed by MetaCreations. Graphics can be rasterized for output and exported as PSD, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, and JPEG. The software includes an instructive 193-page manual with full-color tutorials. $159

Contact: Creature House Ltd., P.O. Box 1559, Shatin Central Post Office, Hong Kong,

Photoshop 7 (MAC/WIN)
Photoshop 7 adds several important and useful features to this essential digital imaging application. Among them are: the File Browser, a tool that provides the capability to view thumbnail images of an entire folder of files and sort, rank, rotate, and batch rename, in addition to viewing EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data that is recorded in some digital cameras; the Healing Brush that provides an easy method to remove dust, wrinkles, blemishes, and other image flaws while leaving he shading, lighting and texture of the original image intact; new Scripting Support for AppleScript, JavaScript, and Microsoft Visual Basic that enables the automation of simple to complex repetitive tasks; the inclusion of ZoomView technology (provided by Viewpoint Corp.), which enables the use of large high-resolution images online; the automatic removal of color casts using the Auto Color feature; the generation of seamless patterns using the Pattern Maker; an enhanced Liquify command that can be used with low-resolution images for preview and then applied to high-resolution images when ready; a Workspace option that enables the user to create and save custom palette arrangements for projects, clients, or particular kinds of work; the capability to edit and save new paintbrushes; spellchecking using a multi-lingual spell checker; the use of passwords to protect Photoshop documents; new options to print multiple images on a single page using the enhanced Picture Package features; easy creation of Web image showcases using the new Web Photo Gallery templates; and more. $609

Contact: Adobe Systems Inc., 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110-2704, 408 536-6000,, fax: 408 537-6000.

Book Reviews

GATF Guide to Direct-Image Presses, The
Adams II, Richard M.; Frank J. Romano

This book is the most authoritative and up-to-date source on the subject of DI (Direct-Image) presses. In it the authors cover the considerations that potential buyers must consider, and the opportunities that are awaiting recent buyers. The content includes coverage of the enabling technologies, new workflow processes, and the technologies that enable direct image printing.

Available for on-line ordering at

088362379X 129 pp. $75

Contact: GATF Press, 200 Deer Run Road, Swickley, PA 15143-2600.

Google Hacks
Calishain, Tara; Rael Dornfest

Google Hacks is subtitled \"100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools.\" It is an exhaustive listing of ways in which the Google user can extend their on-line search hit rate by utilizing the extensive capabilities of the Google search engine. The authors have gathered a fascinating collection of expert input that can be used to easily enhance the effectiveness of any serious Web user. Readers can learn how to apply Google syntax, and tap Google's special services, to become more productive.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596004478 329 pp. $24.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 103 Morris St., Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

Google Pocket Guide
Calishain, Tara; Rael Dornfest, D.J. Adams

This handy little guide empowers the Google user with the knowledge necessary to increase their on-line searching effectiveness. Most Google users don't begin to tap the power of the Google search users have a nifty book that shows all of the techniques that are likely to make searches more productive. Readers are certain to learn some useful tips.

Available for on-line ordering at

0596005504 129 pp. $9.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 103 Morris St., Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

iPod: The Missing Manual
Biersdorfer, J.D.

This book uncovers the many roles for the Apple iPod: MP3 player, PDA, hard drive, e-book, and videogame player. The author explains how to use each feature of the hardware and software, and how to maximize the benefits of iPod ownership, from extending battery life to composing playlists.

Available for on-line ordering at

059600477 331 pp. $24.95

Contact: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 103 Morris St., Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 800 998-9938, 707 829-0515,, e-mail:, fax: 707 829-0104.

Mac OS X Maximum Security
Ray, John; William C. Ray

A very detailed technical guide to protecting a Macintosh OS X workstation or server from attack or unlawful use. The authors provide solutions for ensuring that the operating system does not become vulnerable to hackers.

Available for on-line ordering at

0672323818 747 pp. $44.99

Contact: Sams, 201 West 103rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46290.

Macintosh iLife, The
Heid, Jim

The first book devoted to the suite of software that Apple Computer defines as iLife: iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD. The author considers them as integrated resources that empower the user to be creative, and maximize their digital lifestyle. The colorful and well-illustrated book shows the user how to create professional-quality projects. The included cross-platform DVD, which runs on a Mac, PC, or DVD player, provides 90 minutes of interactive instruction keyed to the pages of the book.

Available for on-line ordering at

0321170113 192 pp. $29.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 1249 8th St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 800 283-9444,, fax: 510 524-2221.

Using Microsoft Windows XP, Platinum Edition
Cowart, Robert; Brian Knittel

A very thorough, in-depth, coverage of the Windows XP environment. The information is well-organized, and the tabbed chapters make quick access to specfic information more likely. Digital publishers will find this book an excellent reference since it also deals with using XP in a mixed platform environment. This is one of the few books that covers the integration of the Macintosh and Linux. The accompanying CD contains more than one hour of video produced by

Available for on-line ordering at

0789727900 1402 pp. $59.99

Contact: Que Corporation, 11711 North College Ave., Carmel, IN 46032,

Copyright and Distribution Information

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