Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Print Master 16, Fun with Photos

By Christina VanGinkel

My daughter has gotten into the habit of purchasing me ink for my hp photo smart printer whenever there is a gift-giving event, such as a birthday or this most recent Christmas. It is the perfect gift for me, as I love to print photos at home. She bought me the printer itself on my birthday last year, and I could not even start to guess how many packs of paper and cartridges of ink that I have gone through. When she gave me the ink Christmas Eve, I peeked in the gift bags she had placed the ink in, was thrilled as I always am to receive the ink from her, (our own little modern day tradition!) and set the ink aside.

Yesterday, as I was putting some things from Christmas away, straightening up, and generally replacing order to our small home, I took the ink out of the gift bags she gave me them in and was intrigued when I noticed that the one package said it had a free CD inside. It read that it was the Printmaster 16 / HP Holiday CD and HP Idea Booklet. Well, let me tell you that I had that package open as quick as can be, because if I like anything as much as getting more ink to print whatever pictures strike my fancy, it is getting a new software program to play with. As I sat down to install it, I had a small thought that it was probably a limited version of the title, or one that would only be active for thirty days, and then expire. No, and no again, as it was the full program with no restrictions, now how cool is that?

I have been using the program since yesterday and could not wait to play around in it again this morning. A full-fledged graphics program for the home user, it makes banners, brochures, business cards, calendars, certificates, note cards, regular cards, iron-on, labels, envelopes, cards, fax covers, post cards, assorted crafts, and I could hardly contain my excitant when I realized that it also made stickers! As a scrap booker, I am always looking for fresh ways to add to my layouts and photographs, and stickers are one of my favorite things. With all the included graphics that came with the program, this would be one more place for me to turn when I need just the perfect addition to a current project.

Another interesting feature of this program, the Print Master 16, is that it also has included sentiments for the fronts and insides of the cards that it helps you make. They are broken down into Humorous, Sentimental, Traditional, Contemporary, and Spiritual. From these headings, you can then choose the perfect saying for everything from a birthday to a Bat Mitzvah, or a retirement, to a wedding, and almost every other occasion you could think of.

The program also lets you use an image already stored on your computer, one of the included ones from the program, or even scan one direct. Once you have the graphic you want to work with, Print Master 16 gives you the tools to edit the photo in a variety of ways, including crop and orientation of the photo, adjust the color, adjust the brightness and focus, even fix flaws such as red eye, dust and scratches, pet eye, even shiny faces. Print Master 16 also included numerous photo effects that you can apply with ease to your photos such as embossed frosted sepia, and pastel. If you want to only apply one of these effects to a small portion of your photo, this program will also allow you to do that with their built in area effects tool. There are also numerous artistic stamps included, that you can apply right onto your photos for even more added fun with your pictures.

With all of these tools in one program, I have a feeling I will be suing this as much as some of my programs that I actually paid top dollar for. When I mentioned the included CD to my daughter late yesterday, she said she never even noticed it on the package, but I am sure glad that she bought it!

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