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|Type of Product|
Auto F/X's Photo/Graphic Edges, a plug-in and a stand-alone application, came into existence in 1994 when Cliff Weems, then an Art Director for an ad agency, literally went out on the edge to develop a concept that went beyond square: edge effects that could be applied to digital images and photographs. With Version 4.0 of Photo/Graphic Edges, Auto F/X has combined its creative edge techniques with special effects such as bevels, carves, sepia tones, grains, burned edges, shadows, lighting, distortions, textured and colored mattes, and mezzotints. The edges come in four volumes, with Volumes 1 thru 3, including over 300 unique edges each, that are arranged by effect type. Each volume is available separately or you can purchase them as a bundle containing all four volumes. The User Guide has thumbnails of each edge and full color thumbnails of textures, distortion tiles, and lighting tiles. There is also an onscreen catalog of all of these elements. Price: $149 per volume: any two volumes for $199; any three volumes for $299; all four volumes for $399.
|Since it is easy enough to apply the basic effects in this program, a beginner PC user with some knowledge of design or photography should have no problem with it. Because it works not only as a plug-in but as a stand-alone application, it would be an excellent package for a beginner who just wanted to play with special effects and image enhancement without having to buy or learn another program such as Photoshop. Often, when I recommend a software program to someone, they will immediately state that, "Oh no, I couldn't use that product. It is too difficult; it is for professionals." And then they proceed to go out and buy an item that is limited in its application and they soon tire of it. If I can do only one thing of value in these reviews, it would be to debunk this attitude and demystify the idea of "professional packages." If a certain program is used by professionals, it is because it is good, not that it is too difficult for the average user. The three images above were easily created in a few minutes using basic edges. Intermediate and advanced PC users or designers, aware of how time consuming it is to create certain effects in Photoshop, will appreciate the ease of use and unlimited possibilities of design that Photo/Graphic Edges allows. Combining multiply effects is limited only by your imagination. For the image to the left, I combined a grain tile that simulated weaving and a matte color.|
Create an unlimited number of edge effects for enhancing images and photos.
The program is easy to install and you have the choice of installing it as a plug-in, as a stand-alone application, or as both. It worked well in either mode. The interface is straight-forward and identical in each. There is a large preview window that allows you to see the effects on an image as you work.
Two bars at the bottom allow you to select effects by bringing up a tab dialog box that controls the options for the effect. By utilizing the sliders on these tabs, you can apply effects and change key elements of the effect without changing other effects. The various effect tabs are:
Below is a discussion of the various effects and what you can accomplish by combining them. I had recently taken
a trip to Chiapas, Mexico and had promised the other fellow travelers that I would put together some sort of book
to memorialize the event. The photographs I had to work with were limited, underexposed, overexposed, underdeveloped,
and boring. My background is not in artistic design and my photography ability, on a scale of 1 to 10, would be
about -1. But I thought this would be a unique way to accomplish two goals: a Web-based history of the trip and
a review of a product. After examining the innovations on Auto F/X's Web site, and again glancing at my photos,
though, I thought, maybe this was not such a good idea. It is easier to create impressive images when you start
with really great photos. It is harder when you start with poorer quality images, but then you get a better idea
of what you can really do with a program. And so the fun began.
|This is probably the longest review I will ever do. And hopefully I have not run out of space on my Web site because
of all the graphics I used; but I enjoyed every moment of it. It should be evident from this endeavor that there
are unlimited possibilities in Photo/Graphic Edges for a professional designer who really has talent and can utilize
all the bells and whistles the program provides. And maybe some of you novice photographers and designers who want
to let it all hang out with an edge will be tempted to give it a try.
Auto F/X has truly created a dynamic and non-linear design environment. This original concept of "edges" has not only produced Photo/Graphic Edges but has grown into a whole category of software that provides both the novice and the professional designer free reign with their imagination. With other Auto F/X products you can apply edges to pages and type for brochures, newsletters, and other layouts. They also have a Web utility product, WebVise Totality, a Web graphic compression, animation, and digital watermarking program. Their Web site is http://www.autofx.com They have tips on using this software, designer resources, beta versions of new software, special promotions and links to other related sites.
|An Eyedropper tool that allows you to extract a Background or Border color from an image.
Blend Modes similar to Photoshop.
Examples, in the User Guide, of how to create interesting effects. (I am always looking for ways to make programs more user friendly for the novice.)
|Operating System: Windows 95/NT
Memory: 32MB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 6MB
|At this time I would like to give recognition to Global Exchange for providing this Reality Tour to Chiapas. And many thanks go to the wonderful individuals who welcomed us into their homes and villages with such graciousness. Thanks to the women weavers. And to Auto F/X for giving me the opportunity to review this program and complete this visual picture of a great experience with a unique bunch of travelers. Kudos to all; and you're on the Web folks.|
Graphics: DeMorgan WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition