With the growing popularity of digital cameras, consumers need an easy way to correct photos. If the software bundled with a camera can't do the job, consider Q-Research's PhotoGenetics, a cheap stand-alone program that makes it easy to fix common problems, such as red-eye. The program is available as a $30 download. Q-Research also offers PlusPak, a $30 set of optional add-ons to download. PhotoGenetics doesn't try to be another Adobe Photoshop - there's none of Photoshop's extensive artistic and production tools here. PhotoGenetics focuses on fixing everyday digital-imaging problems - although it can be used to add some artistic flair. In fact, the program almost goes too far in distancing itself from Photoshop. For example, its genotypes are just filters with a cryptic new name.
The interface is simple, displaying an original image in a large main window, with easily identifiable buttons on the side for cropping, rotation, printing, and help. When you click on the Start Evolution button, the program displays modified versions of the image in a window that appears on the right. The Genotypes palette lets you pick from 15 image filters that adjust the image. With each change, you rate the modified image from no better or worse, to a little better or excellent. At any point, images can be saved as a TIFF, JPEG, or Photoshop file.
In addition to making adjustments through the Genotypes palette,you can also change the image's colour temperature, making it appear hotter
- toward the red end of the spectrum
- or cooler - toward the blue.
Along with performing basic image-correction functions, the genotypes can also produce X-ray and colourizing effects. And the Dewarp genotype removes the distortion caused by a wide-angle lens.
As a genotype is applied, you can adjust its intensity and save the setting as a new genotype. The PlusPak includes additional genotypes for enhancing specific colours, correcting lens distortions, and producing other effects.
Although the program's interactive image-correction functions are geared toward modifying images one at a time, it includes a batch-processing mode that can correct a whole folder of images with one keystroke.
PhotoGenetics targets consumers, but some graphic designers or photographers may find it a handy tool for performing quick changes on an image without launching Photoshop. Considering its light price tag, this simple one-trick pony is certainly worth trying out.