KDP V6N5 The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing - Issue 6.5 September / October 2001

Issue 6.5 September / October 2001

This issue of KDP is sponsored by:


Feature Review: ShuttlePRO Multimedia Controller (MAC/WIN)

Multimedia Element Control, Navigation and Manipulation

Reduced to its fundamental operations, the non-linear editing (NLE) process is composed of assembling frames of digital video into a coherent whole. Just as the print page creation process consists of placing many textual and image elements on a page in a logical sequence, NLE requires the orderly positioning of video frames and clips. Dedicated high-end NLE systems provide specialized hardware for this process, whereas PC-based systems adapt the keyboard and mouse for this purpose.

At the heart of the NLE video editing process is the precise selection of individual video frames and frame sequences, or clips. A skilled editor must maintain the precise control necessary to locate and select any required frame sequence, and then apply the appropriate editing functions. The two actions that are key to this process are jog and shuttle. Jog is the process of moving left or right in single frame increments to display a particular image. Shuttle is the process of moving rapidly, at variable speed, either left or right along the clip, or the project's timeline, to locate a particular area of interest. These operations correspond to the familiar Play, Rewind, and Fast-Forward modes common to music and video players and recorders. Jog and shuttle are used together throughout the video editing process, and are likewise used in audio editing. It is, in fact, such a useful tool that many VCRs have built-in jog and shuttle dial/wheel controls to enable users to quickly locate scenes on a VHS tape.

Every significant software application, regardless of its purpose, has a multitude of functions and user-selectable options, settings and controls. Whatever the user interaction may be, it is typically executed through the use of the keyboard and mouse. For much of what we do with a computer, this is fine, and in most respects, applications have been created for this common means of input. However, there are applications, in particular digital video editing, wherein the keyboard and mouse are ineffective, inconvenient, or inappropriate. In PC-based digital video editing environments the software has been created to act as it does on expensive proprietary-based non-linear editing systems, which include specialized hardware to interact with the software on a precise frame-by-frame basis.

Although many software developers have done an impressive job of bringing professional NLE capabilities to the desktop, they have been constrained by the typical desktop computer input tools. A solution to this dilemma are third-party products, such as the ShuttlePRO Multimedia Controller, which provides a means of inputting and controlling a vast range of programs with an ease and precision previously unavailable to personal computer users. The ShuttlePRO, as with other jog/shuttle controllers, provides the user with a new level of physical connection, and more intimate control over the movement of their footage.

The ShuttlePRO, which connects via USB, is compact and has a very low profile, which makes it comfortable to use since the built-in palm rest curves gently downward towards the work surface desktop. There are 13 programmable keys, 9 above the jog/shuttle control with snap off caps which allow for the insertion of custom labels, and four larger curved buttons below.

The ShuttlePRO was devised to provide professional video editing control comparable to Jog & Shuttle Controllers costing far more. The device provides rapid, immediate, and precise control over selectable parts of the video editing process, simplifying access to individual video frames and the actions that are applied to them.

A feature of ShuttlePRO (available both for Macintosh and Windows 2000) is its programmability­to adapt to whatever application is being used. It can sense the operative application and adjust its programmable keys accordingly. The manufacturer provides many presets for the most popular programs, and in the area of NLE these are Final Cut Pro, Premiere, and iMovie. Buttons on the device, rather than keystrokes or mouse selections, execute common functions such as setting the In and Out points on a clip. The user can override any of the presets, and apply global changes that affect all installed applications. $125

Contact: Contour Design, 10 Industrial Drive, Windham, NH 03087, 800 462-6678, 603 893-4556, http://www.contourdesign.com, fax: 603 893-4558.

DTP Reviews

Aridi Designer Fonts Collection (MAC/WIN)
The Aridi Designer Fonts Collection is a remarkable library of meticulously designed historical revivals from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. These distinctive designs, drawn with care and superior artistry by Marwan Aridi, consist of a rich family of blackletter, Celtic calligraphy, gothic handwriting, and detailed Victorian scripts. These fonts, which include ornaments, borders, ligatures, and embellishments, is the essential font library for every designer of certificates, awards, and other expressions of achievement and social identification. In a world of look-alike typefaces, this set of elegantly designed characters and ornaments stands out. Each typeface offers the designer new opportunities for sophisticated yet graceful typographic design. Each of the fonts is priced at $42 (downloadable), 3 for $100, or 8 for $200. The entire collection on CD is $499.

Contact: Aridi Graphics, 17630 Squaw Valley Drive, Dallas, TX 75252, 800 755-6441, 972 381-1300, http://www.aridi.com, e-mail: sales@aridi.com, fax: 972 381-1301.

MathType 5.0 for Windows (WIN )
MathType 5.0 for Windows is the latest version of the standard application for generating mathematical composition for publication, the preparation of testing materials, and the creation of scientific and engineering presentations and academic papers. This is the professional version of the software that is licensed to Microsoft for use in its Office, Word, PowerPoint, and Works packages, to Corel for use in Ventura and WordPerfect, and to several other software companies.

The program is an OLE 2.0 object server, meaning that equation objects can be placed in documents created with any application that supports OLE, such as page layout, word processing, database, graphing, and presentation programs. In addition, equations can be produced as Windows metafiles (WMF), EPS, and GIF. Equations can also be converted into TeX, LaTeX, AMS-TeX, AMS-LaTeX, and MathML 1.0 and 2.0.

A significant feature of version 5.0 is its MathPage technology which enables the creation of Web pages containing math from MS Word documents. The user has the option of saving the math in such pages as either GIF images or MathML. Pages saved in MathML format can be enlarged within the browser using MathZoom, to show small accents, and subscripts and superscripts. $129

Contact: Design Science, Inc., 4028 Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803, 310 433-0685, 800 827-0685, fax: 310 433-6969, http://www.mathtype.com/mathtype/, e-mail: info@mathtype.com, fax: 562-433-6969.

Productivity Reviews

Keyspan Mini 4-Port USB Hub (MAC/WIN/LINUX)
The Keyspan Mini 4-Port USB Hub is an amazingly small device, about the size of a credit card and only 1 cm thick, yet its low-power design supports the connection of up to 4 USB devices. Despite its small size it includes a self-storing USB cable to connect to the host computer. The unit, which fits in the palm of one's hand, is the perfect accessory for laptop computers, and in its two available colors, silver and black, it complements most laptop models. $49

Contact: Keyspan, a division of InnoSys, Inc., 3095 Richmond Parkway, Suite 207, Richmond, CA 94806, 510 222-0131, http://www.keyspan.com, e-mail: info@keyspan.com, fax: 510 222-0323.

Addition / Extension Reviews

Primatte Keyer (MAC/WIN)
Primatte Keyer is a plug-in for Adobe After Effects that can generate exquisite mattes from any color background. The program solves the problems of extracting and compositing complex images and objects from unevenly lit and shadow-laden backgrounds. It is sufficiently capable to handle difficult transparent objects such as smoke, glass, water, and hair. The actual process can be executed using point-and-click operations. After the matte is generated the foreground image can be composited with other elements and positioned against a new background. Impressive samples can be seen on the Pinnacle Web site. $695

Contact: Pinnacle Systems, 280 N. Bernardo Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043, 800 4PINNACLE, 650 526-1600, http://www.pinnaclesys.com, fax: 650 526-1601.

iCorrect Professional 3.0 Plug-in (MAC/WIN)
iCorrect Professional 3.0 is a Photoshop plug-in that simplifies color correction by working through direct interaction with the image. The user modifies the memory colors in an image adjusting their brightness and contrast. By interacting with colors that are known, such as the sky, trees, and skin tones, the user can quickly adjust a photo to a pleasing condition. The plug-in provides a default set of memory colors, although the user can create their own sets.

The plug-in executes global color corrections on the basis of the defined set of memory colors, an analysis of colors that the user identifies, and the color management set-up in Photoshop. It is assumed that the user has accurately calibrated his or her monitor and loaded the appropriate ICC monitor profile.

The Auto White Point control moves the lightest color in the image to pure white, while the Auto Black Point control moves the darkest color to pure black. This process automatically causes an overall improvement in the image quality. Brightness and contrast are manually adjusted using the Less or More buttons. The color correction process involves the user selecting a particular memory color and making adjustments using the iCorrect tools to correct them. As the particular memory color is improved, the overall image improves as well. The available choices for memory colors are Neutrals, Skin, Foliage, and Sky. As each of these choices is selected, the corresponding colors are selected in the image, and subtle changes occur. The color correction settings can be saved (Save ColorCircuit) and applied to similar images. $99

Contact: Pictographics International Corporation, 2216 East 117th St., Burnsville, MN 55337, 952 894-6247, http://www.picto.com, e-mail: picto@picto.com, fax: 952 894-0784.

DreamSuite Series 1 (MAC/WIN)
DreamSuite Series 1 is a set of Photoshop-compatible plug-ins that also operate as a standalone application. The 18 effects (35mm Frame, Chisel, Crackle, Crease, Cubism, Deckle, Dimension X, Focus, Hot Stamp, Instamatic, Liquid Metal, Metal Mixer, Photo Border, Photo Depth, Photo Tone, Putty, Ripple, and Tape), produced by the largest producer of Photoshop plug-ins in the world, represent an amazing array of visually stunning graphic modifiers that help a visual artist or designer unlease an unlimited number of truly impressive image transformations. A wide assortment of samples are displayed on-line at http://www.autofx.com/dreamsuite/main.html.

Each effect has a variety of sliders and other controls that allow the user to interact in precisely the right area, and to the precise degree required. All effect settings can be saved, and can be applied, independent of resolution, on any image...a feature that simplifies digital workflows for print and the Web. A unique feature is Memory Dots, which let the user click to mark a given design state, and then experiment freely to return at any time to the saved memory condition.

These plug-ins are a highly useful set of graphic modifiers that represent both a valuable addition to a designer's arsenal of digital tools and a good value for his or her money.

The environment supports importing and exporting in .psd (with layers and full transparency in export), .tif, .bmp, .jpg, .gif, and .png file formats. The software is optimized to take advantae of dual processor computers. Individual plug-ins are $50/each, the set of 18 is $299.

Contact: Auto F/X Corp., 31 Inverness Center Parkway, Suite 270, Birmingham, AL 35242, 205 980-0056, http://www.autofx.com, fax: 205 980-1121.

Badia LiveKeys(tm) XT 1.0 (MAC/WIN)
Badia LiveKeys(tm) XT 1.0 is an XTension for QuarkXPress that enables the user to define keyboard shortcuts for menus, tools and other commands. Keyboard shortcuts have been shown to save time and streamline production. Any operation that enables the user to keep their hands on the keyboard rather than reach for a mouse or other input device is certain to increase operator efficiency. The software is compatible with QuarkXPress 4.1 and higher, including QuarkXPress 5.0. $39.99

Contact: Badia Software, 81 Penbroke St., Unit 2, Toronto, ON M5A 2N9, Canada, 416 926-1817, http://www.badiaxt.com, fax: 416 926-8225.

Printing Reviews

AwardMaker 2001 (MAC/WIN)
AwardMaker 2001 is a self-contained award and certificate production environment. The program accepts database files, as well as maintains its own database editor, and uses the variable content for producing personalized output. The program is bundled with all of the trappings necessary to produce professional-quality awards, including more than 350 pre-written verses, 330 graphic titles, 450 award-related graphics, 20 custom-designed award fonts, 186 printable seals, 72 printable borders, 64 award emblems, and more. Additional border, font, and graphic discs are available separately at additional cost.

The award composition process is presented on-screen in a step-by-step manner, with the user making selections of the award paper type, award title, fonts, and all related content. As selections are made the result is displayed on-screen. Awards can be printed using virtually any connected printer, and can be enhanced by printing on specialty paper available from Baudville and other sources. A starter supply of certificate paper is provided in the box.

The program's database capability is relatively simple, yet it is powerful enough to support the production of an unlimited number of certicates for a given event or presentation. The program can import tab- or comma-delimited files from any database source, and can also merge images (logos, photos, signatures, etc.) to customize each award. Individual graphics can also be imported in a wide variety of popular file formats. The program is highly polished, elegantly simple, and infinitely useful. $129.95

Contact: Baudville, 5380 52nd Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512, 800 728-0888, http://www.baudville.com.

Image Collection Reviews

Photo Galaxy (MAC/WIN)
Photo Galaxy is a collection of more than 1200 royalty-free digital photos contained on a single CD-ROM. The license provides for commerical use at no additional cost, a perk not often provided in standard usage contracts. The JPG images are provided at a resolution of 1760 x 1168, which translates to 4" x 6" at 300 dpi. Contact sheets are provided as a means of seeing many images at once.

The collection is quite diverse, comprising 74 different categories, such as Animals, Beach, Buildings, Cars, City, Flowers, Fruits, Landscape, Market, Night, Sky, Trees, Water, and Zoo. The images were taken in various locations in England, Wales, France, Spain, Germany and Austria. A demo can be downloaded from http://thepluginsite.com/products/photogalaxy. $29.95

Contact: The Plugin Site, Harald Heim, Tucholskystr. 120, 90471 Nurnberg, Germany, 49 911 868516, http://www.thepluginsite.de, e-mail: info@thepluginsite.de.

Mutation (MAC/WIN)
Mutation is a collection of 1000 royalty-free textures on a single CD-ROM. The textures, which are provided at two resolutions, 2100 x 1500 (300 dpi) and 400 x 286 (72 dpi), in JPG format, are computer-generated, and quite diverse in their patterns and colors. The textures can be used with a wide variety of image and video editing, animation and 3D application software packages. A demo and contact sheets are available at http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/mutation. $29.95

Contact: The Plugin Site, Harald Heim, Tucholskystr. 120, 90471 Nurnberg, Germany, 49 911 868516, http://www.thepluginsite.de, e-mail: info@thepluginsite.de.

Internet Reviews

E-Commerce Construction Kit 2.0 Deluxe (WIN )
E-Commerce Construction Kit 2.0 Deluxe is an all-in-one solution to building and launching an on-line store. The package consists of several components, the most significant of which are: Shopping Cart Creator, for managing and calculating customer purchases; Visual Site Manager, for viewing a graphic representation of the site; Web Editor, for constructing the various site elements; Database Wizard, for entering and managing item information; and more. The package includes pre-designed electronic store templates, and secure communication and encryption technology. $39.95

Contact: Boomerang Software, Inc., 90 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02178, 617 489-3000, http://www.mosaiccom.com, http://www.boomerangsoftware.com, fax: 617 489-1486.

Photo.web Deluxe 4.0 (WIN )
Photo.web Deluxe 4.0 simplifies the process of preparing and publishing photo albums on the Web. The wizard-enabled interface leads the user through the process of selecting the album style and page animation motion, selecting the photos and placing them in the album, and managing the album contents. Photos can be acquired from a scanner, digital camera, or video footage. $19.95

Contact: Macmillan Digital Publishing, 201 West 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290, 800 571-1097, 317 817-7290, http://www.macdigital.com, fax: 317 817-7025.

Internet DesignShop XL 2002 Release (WIN )
Internet DesignShop XL 2002 Release is a Web site creation, management, and publishing application that supports advanced features such as dynamic HTML, Active Server Pages (ASP), hits analysis, and more. With over 700,000 units shipped, this package has proven its usefulness.

The site manager presents a visual image of the site hierarchy, showing the exact locations of pages, images and other site elements. The user can zoom-in and out, and can cut and paste to reorganize the site. All page links can be easily detected.

The visual editor enables the user to place graphic objects on each page, and move them as needed. Text and other page elements can be dragged and dropped into place. The Magnet ruler lines assist in aligning objects. The user can also utilize MSNBC Online Information Components to provide their site visitors with headlines and other news feeds directly from MSNBC.

Other key features include: a thumbnail viewer for previewing images and graphics; a Visual Active Server Page Generator which automatically produces ASP code; a Forms Control Validation function which checks input forms for validity; Cascading Stylesheets which enable the application of themes to sections, banners, backgrounds, etc.; MapQuest map components for adding maps to Web pages; and more. $59.95

Contact: Macmillan Digital Publishing, 201 West 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290, 800 571-1097, 317 817-7290, http://www.macdigital.com, fax: 317 817-7025.

Utility Reviews

TechTool Pro 3 (MAC)
TechTool Pro 3 is an excellent operating system maintenance and repair utility for all Macintosh users. It not only guards against computer viruses and software conflicts, but can perform several drive repair routines that are likely to recover data. Among its most significant capabilities are: disk structure repair, volume/file recovery, undeleting trashed files, block reassignment, disk optimization, virus checking/repair, directory rebuilding, repairing PRAM, rebuilding the desktop, hardware checking, and more. A lite version is available at no cost at http://www.micromat.com. $97.98

Contact: Micromat, 1055 W. College Ave., #333, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-6504, 707 566-3831, http://www.micromat.com, fax: 707 566-3871.

My Privacy (MAC)
My Privacy is a program that provides military strength protection for the storage of private, secret, data, such as passwords, credit card numbers, bank account information, PINs, software license numbers, and other personal data. The program uses the Blowfish algorithm which has never been broken. The user can enter data in any of 11 categories. $19.95

Contact: Voget Selbach Entertainment, Reuterweg 71, D-53332 Bornheim, Germany, http://vse-online.com.

Macintosh Explorer (MAC)
Macintosh Explorer is a flexible file browser that simplifies the file management process. In the Macintosh Explorer window the user can see the contents of any mounted volume, navigate through the file structure, and locate files quickly and easily. The window provides a view similar to MS Windows' Explorer, and simplifies the transition to Macintosh by Windows users.

From the window view the user can duplicate files and folders, delete files, store favorites, see invisible files, change finder flags, preview files, save file lists, and much more. Virtually all file management is executed through a single window.

The program also provides security by making it possible to quit the Finder, yet view the computer's contents through the Macintosh Explorer window. When this is in effect the user can not alter the system. $15

Contact: Rage Software, http://www.ragesw.com, e-mail: support@ragesw.com.

StuffIt Deluxe 6.5 (MAC)
StuffIt Deluxe 6.5 is the latest version of the industry standard file compression utility for Macintosh. New to this version is StuffIt Express(tm) Personal Edition (also available as a standalone product), which enables users to create hotfolders that can be programmed to automatically compress and transfer files. The process is simplified through the use of wizards which not only lead the user through the process, but also shield him or her from the necessity of applying any programming or coding. Other new capabilities include smart expansion of Palm OS files, which moves Palm files to a defined Palm folder for transfer during the next HotSync, and a drop box compression utility for Unix files called DropTar(tm).

Other noteworthy features are the Magic Menu(tm) which allows access to many StuffIt capabilities from the Finder; Return Receipt(tm), which sends a notification when an archive is expanded; single-click stuff and mail; ArchiveSearch(tm) to search for files within StuffIt archives; and more. $79.95

Contact: Aladdin Systems, 165 Westridge Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076, 408 761-6200, fax: 408 761-6206, http://www.aladdinsys.com, e-mail: info@aladdinsys.com.

Quick Rename 2.1 (MAC)
Quick Rename 2.1 is a highly useful utility which, as its name implies, quickly renames files. The need for this is apparent when a batch of files needs to be renamed, and manually doing so promises to be a burdensome use of time and effort. Digital camera users encounter this routinely, and have many photo sessions that appear with sequentially-numbered images that look like this: DSC00001.JPG, DSC00002.JPG, etc. Quick Rename is a feature-rich solution which provides several ways of renaming, and also includes a failsafe preview to check how renamed files will appear.

The target files can be renamed by using a variety of creative methods such as replacing one word or letter with another, appending text before of after a string of specified text, forcing the filename to change shift case, trimming the name, and more. The user can devise renaming schemes that can be saved and reapplied as necessary. $30 shareware

Contact: Kindred's Soft, c/o Stephen Hardie, 1049 Grand Ave., Sacramento, CA 95838-3555, http://www.kindreds.net/, e-mail: stephen@kindreds.net.

TransType 2.0 for Macintosh (MAC)
TransType 2.0 for Macintosh is an easy-to-use and highly valuable utility for converting fonts between formats and between platforms. It is a useful tool to be used only with fonts that have been properly licensed, are original to the user, or which are public domain. It can perform the following conversions:
* Macintosh TrueType and PS Type 1 to PC platform
* PC TrueType and PS Type 1 to Macintosh platform
* TrueType fonts to PS Type 1
* PS Type 1 to TrueType
* Multiple Master fonts from PC to Macintosh
* Multiple Master fonts from Macintosh to PC
* Multiple Master fonts to TrueType
* Multiple Master fonts to PS Type 1

The conversion process is fast and reliable, and provides an optional preview.

The conversions are processed in a two panel interface, with source fonts in the left panel, and destination fonts in the right. Selected fonts are identified in a message area at the bottom of each panel. Although the conversion process is simple, the user does need to ensure that the proper settings are in place to yield a converted font with the necessary characteristics. One element of that is, of course, to specify the format, and a second, in the case of PC fonts, is to specify the encoding. There are other details that are significant in ensuring a proper conversion which are covered in detail in the TransType manual. $97

Contact: FontLab Ltd., Box 465, Millersville, MD 21108, 509 272-3260, http://www.fontlab.com, e-mail: info@fontlab.com, fax: 509 272-3260.

ACDSee 1.6 for Mac (MAC)
ACDSee 1.6 for Mac is one version of the utility that is rated as "the world's most popular imaging viewer and browser." This version, which is compatible with OS X, includes TWAIN image acquisition support, and the capability to read metadata contained in Exif JPEG images. The software supports over 40 popular multimedia formats, and can export images to 10 common formats. Batch processing can be applied to renaming, rotating, and exporting. There is also an easy to use HTML export feature for sharing photos on the Web. $39.95

Contact: ACD Systems (US), 800 819-2207, 2201 North Collins, #100, Arlington, TX 76011; ACD Systems (Canada), POB 730, Victoria, BC V8W 2P9, 250 382-5828, http://www.acdsystems.com, fax: 250 544-0291.

Bar Code Pro 4.0 (MAC/WIN)
Bar Code Pro 4.0 is the "best in class" utility for producing professional bar codes for virtually any publishing and labelling process. The program produces any of a wide variety of custom bar codes, in virtually any standard bar code format, outputting in EPS, JPG, or other popular file formats. The easy-to-use user interface is designed for rapid production. The software incorporates the exclusive Varibar technology which virtually insures that the bar code is properly formed. Varibar utilizes a unique visual inspection system that eliminates the need to check the completed bar code with an optical scanner. The program is provided with a 236 page manual in PDF format, containing complete user instructions, along with one of the best tutorials on bar coding available. If bar coding is any part of your business, this program deserves your consideration. $279.95

Contact: SNX, 692 10th St., Brooklyn NY 11215, 718 499-6293, http://www.snx.com, fax: (718) 768-3997.

Keyspan USB PDA Adapter (MAC/WIN/LINUX)
The Keyspan USB PDA Adapter is a miniature device that facilitates the connection of serial PDA devices to a Macintosh or PC USB port. This 2 oz adapter supports the connection of PDAs such as Palm organizers, Sharp Wizards, Psion organizers, and Windows CE Pocket PCs. Software is provided. $39

Contact: Keyspan, a division of InnoSys, Inc., 3095 Richmond Parkway, Suite 207, Richmond, CA 94806, 510 222-0131, http://www.keyspan.com, e-mail: info@keyspan.com, fax: 510 222-0323.

eGEMS Collector Pro Suite (WIN )
eGEMS Collector Pro Suite is a utility devised for the efficient collection, organization, and application of research from the Internet. Using drag and drop operations, researchers, educators, students, writers, and others can collect and track an unlimited number of facts from Web sources. The program appears in a corner of the user's screen and allows the user to capture information and organize it to fit a bibliography. $39.95

Contact: Macmillan Digital Publishing, 201 West 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290, 800 571-1097, 317 817-7290, http://www.macdigital.com, fax: 317 817-7025.

GoBack 3 Deluxe (WIN )
GoBack 3 Deluxe is a utility program that boots independent of the operating system and allows the user to return the system to a previous state...before a system crash, or before data was lost, or before a virus struck. The user has the option to return the system to a condition that existed minutes, hours, or days ago.

Special features include an Auto-revert to return a public-access or shared computer to a predefined "clean state"; Password Protection to prevent unauthorized users from reverting the hard drive to a previous state; and File Rescue, to instantly restore files that have been changed or deleted by a hard drive revert. $49.95

Contact: Roxio, Inc., 6900 Wedgwood Road, Suite 200, Maple Grove, MN 55311, 763 494-7240, http://www.roxio.com, fax: 763 494-7301.

ACDSee 4.0 (WIN )
ACDSee 4.0, the flagship version of a family of image viewing and browsing products used by over 24 million people worldwide, incorporates almost 40 new features. The user interface has been redesigned, providing a clean and efficient view for novices, and a customizable view for pros. In either case the user can browse quickly through thousands of image thumbnails displayed in over 50 image and multimedia formats.

Additional key features include image management capabilities for organizing images in album folders, CDs, and offline volumes; viewing video files; ordering prints online through ACDSee photo service partners; posting images to ACD's free SendPix(tm) photo sharing service for viewing on the Web; capturing images from screen grabs, USB storage devices, and a wide range of digital cameras; capability to add descriptions to multimedia files; adding optional plug-ins from ACD Systems or third-parties to extend capabilities; batch image processing for resizing, rotating, and exposure adjustment; image enhancing to remove red-eye, crop, sharpen, colorize, and add sepia and embossing; and more. $49.95

Contact: ACD Systems (US), 800 819-2207, 2201 North Collins, #100, Arlington, TX 76011; ACD Systems (Canada), POB 730, Victoria, BC V8W 2P9, 250 382-5828, http://www.acdsystems.com, fax: 250 544-0291.

Multimedia Reviews

Poser 4 (MAC/WIN)
Poser 4 is a remarkable and seductive program for creating 3D-character animation. The user can create (with the use of sophisticated morphing tools), pose and clothe characters of all kinds (human, animal, and robot) and generate movies and 2D still graphics for use in print, video, the Web, and CD-based interactive presentations.

New to Poser 4 are Sketch Designer, which provides the application of brush strokes to render a scene with a hand-drawn quality; Interchangeable Clothes that act as Poser figures and conform and snap into position; Deformers that can be used to act on a figure or object extending an anatomical feature, rippling clothing, or causing an explosion; Hierarchial Selections to simplify the process of selecting and grouping figures and their elements in order to apply functions; Support for Transparent and Reflecting Materials for added realism and higher quality rendering; New Lighting Types and Controls that support the addition of an unlimited number of lights to the three default lights; Morph Transformations, for body and face, that are controlled by easy-to-use sliders; and much more. There is simply no other program like this one. $219

Contact: Curious Labs, Inc., 655 Capitola Road, Suite 200, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, 831 462-8901, http://www.curiouslabs.com, fax: 831 462-8925.

Poser Pro Pack (MAC/WIN)
Poser Pro Pack is an integrated set of tools and program enhancements for Curious Lab's Poser 4 program. The tools are aimed at extending Poser's functionality into a production-ready character animation tool with several exporters for moving Poser figures into other 3D program environments, including Flash (.SWF). Plug-ins are provided for Lightwave and 3D Studio Max enabling these applications to open Poser files directly. Other features include: Support for Python Scripting, Multiple Camera View Panes, 2D Motion Blur, Animation Sets, and more. $159

Contact: Curious Labs, Inc., 655 Capitola Road, Suite 200, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, 831 462-8901, http://www.curiouslabs.com, fax: 831 462-8925.

Carrara Studio (MAC/WIN)
Carrara Studio was originally introduced by MetaCreations, as the advanced development of their Ray Dream Studio and Infini-D programs. Carrara is a self-contained 3D environment for modeling, assembling, shading, scene building, animating, rendering, and special effects. The program incorporates SmartFlow, a digital workflow production process which uses the metaphor of "rooms," which leads the user through the logical steps from image creation to final product. The new user can benefit from eight interactive orientation tours that show major program functionality. Both spot and final rendering is very fast. $399

Contact: TGS, Inc., 5330 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite 201, San Diego, CA 92121, 858 457-5359 http://www.tgs.com, http://www.eovia.com, e-mail: info@tgs.com, fax: 858 452-2547.

Bryce 5 (MAC/WIN)
Bryce 5 is the undisputed leader in photorealistic 3D landscaping and animation software. The program enables users to create incredibly complex and natural-looking environments, complete with user-controlled terrains, waters, skies (using the Sky Lab), rocks, clouds, fog, and trees and vegetation (using the new Tree Lab). Users can import 2D images and transform them into 3D objects that can be placed in a scene.

The scenes, which are created using intuitive tools arranged in accessible palettes, are quite sophisticated, and can be output as animations or still frame images. Complete fantasy worlds can be output as QuickTime VR movies. Rendering time can be reduced by using Bryce's Network Rendering capability by which a pool of computers on a local or global network are used as a render farm.

The photorealism of Bryce 5 is enhanced by a new Light Lab, in which users can precisely control the lighting effect on objects and in landscapes. The easily manipulated controls include Intensity, Edge Softness, Color, Range, Type, Render Type, Shadow Casting, Falloff, Gel, Gradient Display and Editing, Radius, and Shadow Ambiance.

Bryce enables users to import several file formats including United States Geological Survey Digital Elevation data (.dem), as well as the more common 2D image formats, such as JPEG. The .dem files, which are available at no cost, allow the user to create realistic landscapes of familiar places such as the Grand Canyon, or even local environs. Files can be exported in almost 20 different file formats including HTML. $299

Contact: Corel, 1600 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON Canada K1Z 8R7, 613 728-8200, 800 722-6735, http://www.corel.com, e-mail: custserv@corel.com, fax: 613 761-9176.

DesignCAD MAX Version 12 (WIN )
DesignCAD MAX Version 12 is a full-featured computer assisted drafting program that is compatible with AutoCAD files. Among its more notable features are free form solid modeling, double line mode, insert door and window, 3D aerial view, isometric drawing mode, and animation/walk-through mode. The program provides direct TWAIN scanner support, and autotrace functionality.

The program, which as been refined over 17 years, provides tools to add and subtract solid 3D objects, as well as segregate them. Through the use of flat, Gouraud and Phong shading, the user can create realistic objects, buildings and environments. Models can be used in animations, presentations, and publications. $299

Contact: Upperspace, 600 SE 49th St., Pryor, OK 74361, 800 233-3223, 918 825-4844, http://www.upperspace.com, fax: 918 825-6359.

AIST MovieDVSuite (WIN )
AIST MovieDVSuite is a self-contained digital movie production package containing both the software and bridge hardware required to produce a movie for CD, DVD, computer, or Web viewing. The package includes a IEEE1394 Firewire card and cable enabling users to connect their DV camera and capture digital footage. Imported clips are arranged on the storyboard in viewing order. Transitions and titles are then easily applied. Music, sound effects and narration can be added using compatible peripherals, and sources such as music CDs, and MP3 and .WAV files. The low-cost package is among the most affordable ways of adding digital video editing capability to a PC. $99.95

Contact: Macmillan Digital Publishing, 201 West 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290, 800 571-1097, 317 817-7290, http://www.macdigital.com, fax: 317 817-7025.

OCR Reviews

OmniForm 2.0 for Macintosh (MAC)
OmniForm 2.0 for Macintosh is a unique program for converting paper forms, even multiple-page forms, into intelligent electronic versions. The paper forms are scanned or faxed to the computer, and the software converts the form into a digital equivalent. The software incorporates the OCR engine refined by Caere, and also uses their Logical Form Recognition technologies and spell-checking. Processed forms can be used "as is" or modified using the forms-specific drawing tools, for the addition of custom logos, graphics and fonts. Forms can also be enhanced with automatic calculation and data validation capabilities. Completed forms can be saved in a database for rapid access. Data can be imported or exported in standard tab-delimited format. Paper forms are everywhere, and OmniForm is an excellent tool to make the conversion. $149.99

Contact: ScanSoft, Inc., 9 Centennial Dr., Peabody, MA 01960, 978 977-2000, http://www.scansoft.com.

Entertainment Reviews

Planet Fighter (PILOT)
A shoot em up space ship game requiring hand/eye coordination using the Palm buttons to maneuver. The game works on both gray and color Palm devices. A good diversion from work-oriented Palm applications. $14.95

Contact: Macmillan Digital Publishing, 201 West 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290, 800 571-1097, 317 817-7290, http://www.macdigital.com, fax: 317 817-7025.

Miscellaneous News and Reviews

The MiniPRO Ti is a compact, portable, two-button, optical mouse made to compliment the look of the Apple G4 Titanium PowerBook, although it is compatible with USB-compliant Windows systems. The unit is light-weight, contains a 32" cord, and comes in its own plastic carrying case, adding to its portability. It is highly functional, and can work reliably on virtually any surface due to its optical technology.

When used with Mac OS X, the second button, which is located directly behind the main, large button, defaults to a contextual menu. The Contour Overdrive software allows Macintosh users to program the secondary button to perform scrolling, contextual menus, double click, and more. $34.95

Contact: Contour Design, 10 Industrial Drive, Windham, NH 03087, 603 893-4556, http://www.contourdesign.com, fax: 603 893-4558.

Book Reviews

Director 8 for Macintosh & Windows
Persidsky, Andre

This book, like others in the Visual QuickStart Guide series, quickly brings the reader up-to-speed on the basic and more advanced functions and operations of a particular software product, in this case, Macromedia Director 8. The author has arranged the chapters in a logical production order: Director Basics, Assembling Casts, Building a Score, Animating Sprites, Playing & Refining Movies, Using Paint Tools, Drawing Vector Shapes, Working on the Stage, Managing Color, Adding Digital Video, Adding Text, Adding Sound, Creating a Projector, Making Movies for the Web, Using Xtras, Adding Behaviors, Scripting Lingo, and Shockmachine. The book has step-by-step directions and numerous illustrations.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0201702584

0201702584 436 pp. $19.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 2414 Sixth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

Director 8 Demystified: The Official Guide to Director 8 Shockwave Internet Studio
Gross, Phil; Jason Roberts

An in-depth hands-on guide to the workings of Macromedia Director and the Lingo language. The authors cover everything from Director basics to undocumented Lingo commands. Hundreds of pages are devoted to :"A Lingo Lexicon" providing an alphabetical listing of Lingo commands, their purpose, use, and pertinent notes. The book is supported both by a companion Web site at http://www.demystified.com, and a cross-platform CD-ROM.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0201709201

0201709201 1180 pp. $49.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 2414 Sixth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

Macromedia Director 8 and Lingo Authorized for Windows and Macintosh
Gross, Phil

This book provides 30 lessons consisting of over 50 hours of hands-on instruction provided both in print and on a cross-platform CD-ROM. The user is presented with sufficient information to create animations and interactive presentations for standalone and Web use. Each lesson is provided in step-by-step fashion, with sufficient explanation and clear illustrations.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0201702622

0201702622 802 pp. $49.99

Contact: Peachpit Press, 2414 Sixth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

XML and Java from scratch
Chase, Nicholas

A book devoted the process of building a sample Web site using both XML and Java. The book is designed to introduce both technologies at a basic level, assuming that the reader is a beginner. A companion Web site located at http://www.quepublishing.com contains all of the code used in the project.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0789724766

0789724766 486 pp. $39.99

Contact: Que Corporation, 11711 North College Ave., Carmel, IN 46032, http://www.quecorp.com.

CorelDraw 10 Graphics Suite, The Official Guide
Bain, Steve

The exclusive officially sanctioned guide to the sophisticated CorelDraw 10 program for Windows. The author not only covers all of the functions and tools, but provides professional tips, tricks, and techniques. A companion Web site is provided at http://www.designer.com, featuring additional information and program-related resources. The accompanying CD-ROM includes an additional six chapters in PDF format, as well as tutorial files, examples from the book, graphics, and other digital assets.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0072130148

0072130148 878 pp. $49.99

Contact: Osborne McGraw-Hill, 2600 Tenth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

McGraw Hill Computer Desktop Encyclopedia, 9th Edition
Freedman, Alan

An incredibly complete and clearly written encyclopedia containing over 15,000 combined terms and explanations, many illustrated. The terms span a wide range of subjects from communications and networking to graphics and desktop publishing. The accompanying Windows-only CD-ROM contains an additional 5000 terms and 1000 illustrations.

Available for on-line ordering at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=thekleperreporto&path=ISBN%3D0072193069

0072193069 1124 pp. $49.99

Contact: Osborne McGraw-Hill, 2600 Tenth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

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