Software Review: ACDSee PowerPack 3.1 - Power graphics management at a low price

By Jayne A. Hitchcock
as it appeared in the May/June 2001 issue of LINK-UP

ACDSee has been around for a while. I tried it out a few years ago (now called the “Classic” version) and recently upgraded to their PowerPack 3.1. Priced at a low $79.95, it includes ACDSee 3.1, FotoCanvas, FotoAngelo, and two plugins - LuraWave and LuraDoc.

ACDSee combines graphics management with graphic conversion and manipulation, which is great for web page design. With digital camera support and an HTML Album generator, you can whip out web page graphics in a snap.

Installation is fast, you don’t need to restart your computer, and you can get to work right away.

Starting the program brings up a default “album” of thumbnails of graphics in a certain folder on the right of the screen. You can it to open up a folder from the previous session or to open a specific folder/directory each time you start it. The thumbnails show a small version of the graphic, it’s size (such as 1280x960x24b) and the name of the graphic. Placing the mouse over the graphic will pop up more information about the graphic, such as the previous information, plus its size and the date it was created/updated. If you click once on the thumbnail, a larger version of it appears in the lower lefthand corner of the screen so that you can make sure it’s the one you wanted to select. This is great, because sometimes the thumbnails are too small if you have a group of graphics that do look similar.

The top left portion shows the directory/folder you are in and all the other directories/folders on your computer so that you can select another one with a mouse-click.

I opened up a photograph already saved on my hard drive in .jpg format in 1240x960x24b and 141,509 bytes in size (my sister acting goofy, which is normal for her). This was a lot larger than I wanted to have on my hard drive, but before I resized it, I wanted to manipulate the photo a bit (you can also acquire a graphic/photo using your scanner or digital camera).

I clicked on EDIT in the TOOLS pull-down menu and the FotoCanvas program automatically opened up in a separate window. I could change the color photo to black and white, 16 or 256 shades of gray, 16 or 256 colors, HiColor or leave it in its present selection, TrueColor. You can also edit the palette to customize colors and so on. I decided to try out the 256 shades of gray, which looked pretty good. The levels can be adjusted automatically or manually. I selected AutoLevels and the photograph lightened up and the contrast changed and the photo looked even better.

Under Filters, I could change the photo into a “negative” or emboss it. I saw there were other options, but I couldn’t select them, so I clicked on the UNDO button until the photograph was back in its original TrueColor state. I found that the Filters options were all available, including:

Blur, sharpen, red-eye reduction (always great if you have pets - gets rid of those devil eyes), despeckle, sepia, negative, colorize, emboss and even more options with the plugins. I found the choices in FotoCanvas to be almost as good as Adobe Photoshop and definitely at a much lower price.

I despeckled the photograph, sharpened it and let the AutoLevel do its thing. I then resized it to 640x480. I closed FotoCanvas, went back to ACDSee, clicked Reload and there was the new and improved photograph - my sister never looked better.

I could now open more graphics, change them if I wanted, then create wallpaper, a slide show, a contact sheet, an archive file, send them by e-mail and more. I decided to try the HTML Album generator. I selected the size I wanted the photo of my sister to be, 3x2, titled it Nancy (her name), saved it in a separate folder and clicked on OK. My web browser was automatically brought up and there was my sister on her own web page. When I clicked on VIEW SOURCE, all the HTML had been taken care of for me. This I definitely liked! I clicked on the thumbnail and up the full-size photo came. This is a wonderful way to design photos or graphics for auctions, if you’re selling many products or have work you want to show on your web site, but don’t want to burden the viewer with too many graphics to download. What a timesaver and it’s so easy to use.

I could go on and on about the rest of the features of the ACDSee PowerPack, but then I’d be writing a book. Go to their site and download a free trial version today - I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

ACDSee PowerPack 3.1 - $79.95

Also available:
ACDSee Classic $34.95
ACDSee 3.1 $49.95
ACDSee 3.1 Suite $69.95
Includes ACDSee 3.1, ImageFox and PicaView
ACDSee PowerPack Suite $99.95 Includes ACDSee 3.1, FotoCanvas, FotoAngelo, FotoVac, ImageFox, and PicaView

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at

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