I recently had the opportunity to preview this remarkable, user-friendly and powerful new software for Windows-based PCs from Jasc.

As I watched to demo, all I could say was WOW!  Among my software pet peeves is the number of clicks it takes to get the job done. Not so with Jasc Paint Shop Photo Album 4.  I was impressed with the ease of use.  Not only is it comprehensive in that it can do anything that most of us would want of such a program, but you just don’t have to work to make it work for you.

The software has more than the average user would need to enhance, organize and share digital photos.  If you want to dig deep for advanced features, they are in there, still not more than a very few clicks away, yet not on the surface so as to present an overwhelming palette of possibilities.  As the demo progressed, I found myself smiling continuously and thinking I had just witnessed something done just right.  These people really do get it!

Usually, as I sit for these demos, I find my mind wandering off, creating a wish list of what are, to me, obvious absent, essential features or user interface flubs. This did not happen during the Jasc demo.  It was as if they had anticipated exactly the features I would ask about.  They were well prepared and obviously listen well to their users as to what needed to be in this version.

Whatever editing and enhancement tools most consumers could want are there, in a customizable menu.  Add the functions YOU want into the toolbar.

Organizational tools are there, too. Using flexible, powerful keyword searching, you will NEVER lose your photos no matter how many are on your computer.  Naming photos is a snap, as well as categorizing them.  This, singularly, is a terrific and useful tool.  Add comments, search based on the date the photo was taken (automatically stored info), search based on the relatively recent industry-standard EXIF information the newer cameras automatically send to the PC.  Rename and resize groups of photos all at once. Take the usual automatic unusable names such as “0312007” and fix the entire set to a more recognizable name such as “Vacation 2003” followed by a number, starting with the number YOU select.  Yes, the entire set, all at once.

Their Quick Fix tool is easily as good as I have experienced on any platform in any product.  Colors, contrast and brightness are just plain fixed in one click. Apply Quick Fix to a batch of photos all at once!  Their proprietary new Thinify feature changes proportions to provide a slimming effect!

The photo panorama stitching was spectacular.  Take a few photos, say, left to right to take in the full scope of the landscape.  Nothing fancy. No tripod needed. So long as the images are pretty closely in line, the software figures it out, automatically cropping out the area above and below that cannot be matched.  Amazing and fun!  I could not detect where one photo stopped and the next started.  It was that good.

Within the software, create a CD or a Video CD.  Albums can be exported to CD. Send images to cell phones with built-in I-mode support.  You can even create QuickTime movies!

If you make a mistake and find it several steps later, use the multiple undo feature to get back to the point just before the boo-boo.

The features and ease-of-use just don’t quit.  They even offer UNLIMITED FREE technical support for released products.

When it comes to printing, choose to print at home using over 40 included templates for just about any need, from multiples per page to printing album pages.  Or, through their online photo-sharing and –printing partner, Shutterfly, hit the link to have photographic prints made and sent to you.  I also like to remind my visitors with a Costco membership that I use the store’s in-store service to make outstanding 4 x 6 photo prints, not inkjet, from selected digital photos for 19 cents each – the best deal around!

Jasc Paint Shop Photo Album 4 integrates seamlessly with their high-end Paint Shop Pro 8 (what many users find is better and easier to use than Adobe’s venerable PhotoShop).

Visit their website and spend some time, taking your time to browse through their comprehensive and well-done product tour.  ALL your questions will be answered and you will get the true flavor of this very cool program.

List priced at only $49 in the retail pack or via download from Jasc for $45, this is powerful, comprehensive software at bargain prices.  Try it, yes TRY it FREE for 30 days and you will never look back.

There is NO way for me to go into all the details here.  You can do more to convince yourself that it is everything I am telling you it is by taking advantage of the free trial.  Even the free trial includes free tech support.  Do it!  Once you love it and make the decision that you have to buy it, look for where-to-buy.  Remember, you can also simply download and buy from Jasc (ideal if you are connected through a cable modem or DSL).

For more information, visit Jasc at www.jasc.com or call 1-800-622-2793.

Bravo, Jasc!  Thank you.  Well done.

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