8GREAT SOFT WARE FINDS
Photodex ProShow Gold/Producer 5
They’re called slide show programs, but Photodex’s ProShow Gold and
ProShow Producer—now in version 5—go far beyond that. Perhaps the
most capable slide show software on the market (it’s certainly my personal favorite), ProShow Gold and its even more sophisticated sibling,
ProShow Producer, incorporate stills, video, audio and, now, 3-D tilt effects.
In addition to a long list of new features in version 5, both programs
offer extensive editing options and controls, including the ability to customize effects and captions. Transitions, layers, voiceovers, sound effects
menus and a new Fx manager (a centralized location for all your effects)
are only a few of the reasons ProShow has been our go-to slide show software for a number of years.
ProShow Producer, although quite a bit more expensive, is designed
with the pro in mind. Advanced editing capabilities, custom branding,
key-framing, masking, adjustment layers, watermarking and HD output
are among the many features that make the extra investment worthwhile. Optional StylePacks are available for additional animations, layouts,
themes and transitions.
Want to take your slide show on the road for client presentations? No
problem. Photodex also offers a Devices plug-in that automatically converts your slide show for viewing on a huge list of devices including those
from Apple, BlackBerry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony and even Palm.
PRICE: $69.95 (ProShow Gold 5); $249.95 (ProShow Producer 5)
Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2 Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 isn’t new but it’s certainly one of the best (and one of our favorite) black-and-white conversion programs out there. The latest version offers enhancements includ- ing new algorithms, expanded adjustment con- trols and the ability to apply selective color. The user interface, with only minor changes, remains highly intuitive, even for first-time users, and the revamp of the preset list makes it easier to view and find the application’s various effects. A welcome addition is the history browser, which presents a chronological list of all the edits per- formed and, while you can’t turn each effect on or off, you can go back to a previous state. With version 2 of Silver Efex Pro, some fine-tun- ing has been added thanks to additional sliders for brightness, contrast and structure. And while pros may turn up their noses at selective coloring, it’s a style that’s still in
demand from clients and Nik Software’s U Point technology provides a simple-to-im-plement process.
Silver Efex Pro 2 is compatible with several versions of Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom
and Aperture. Download a trial version from the Nik Software Web site and we’re sure
you’ll quickly be singing the plug-in’s praises and ordering a full copy for yourself.
PRICE: $199.95; $99.95 for upgrade
Nik Software Snapseed
Nik Software’s first mobile app—Snapseed—
quickly gained its claim to fame and was
named by Apple as the iPad App of the Year,
an honor that’s well deserved. Snapseed is also
available for the iPhone, and Nik Software recently announced plans for a Mac desktop version as well as an Android 4.0 (or later) app.
Snapseed combines practical and creative
features that are, as is typical of Nik Software,
Beyond the surprisingly effective one-click auto adjustment, Snapseed provides
global controls for parameters such as brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance
and white balance. And don’t think Nik Software’s going to skimp just because this
is an app; you can use U Point technology for selective adjustments in Snapseed too.
Sharpness, cropping and straightening tools are also available.
After that, head into the creative effects and styles for additional options including
black-and-white, vintage films, grunge and tilt & shift, just to name a few. Finish up
with some frames and you’re ready to share your work with clients or friends. Snapseed
goes way beyond cool, even though it’s that, too. This is a special app that deserves a
place in every photographer’s toolkit.
PRICE: $4.99 (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android); $19.99 (desktop)
INFO: www.snapseed.com or the i Tunes Store