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Professional Imaging Tools

(June 2011) posted on Tue Jun 07, 2011

Software for image editing, manipulation, and illustration.

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Creating, editing, and manipulating images can be a time consuming and, in some cases, daunting task that precedes a print shop’s real glory moment: the output. But before you can show off that perfect print, you must be able to help your client ready the perfect image.

For whole-scale image editing and other image enhancement and augmentation, professional graphics software can provide you with many of the necessary tools to take images from ordinary to extraordinary. Adding special textures and effects, retouching imperfections, sharpening, upsizing – these are just a few of the capabilities that you can add. Plus, this software typically can also help you better your up-front workflow efficiencies, drastically reducing, for instance, the amount of time your shop might have to spend working on multiple client images.

Another factor to consider: With the current economy, print providers are under pressure to serve as a “one-stop shop” for more than just output – image editing and augmentation are no longer capabilities that can be neglected, as fewer and fewer companies enter your door seeking print services alone. To cater to the broad front-end needs of your clients, mastering the art of image preparation is a must.

The list that follows comprises a sampling of image design and editing tools encompassing professional-grade software and plug-ins that can help you during the front-end of your journey to create the perfect print.


ACD Systems
ACDSee Pro 4 features advanced editing and processing capabilities as well as tools for managing/organizing, viewing, and online publishing. In Process mode, ACDSee Pro 4 allows users to: attain correct white balance, color, exposure, and fine-tune tonal distribution; adjust details (sharpen and reduce noise, etc.) and correct geometry, while previewing those adjustments in real time; and render and process raw files.

In addition, once global non-destructive image adjustments have been completed, ACDSee Pro 4 allows users to add finishing touches at the pixel level and edit specific areas of images with its Selection tools. Multiple edits can be applied to multiple photos at once for express editing. Processing presets can be created and continually refined, and copied and pasted from one image to another.

Price: $239.99; includes a free 2-GB account on the ACDSee website.

Adobe offers a wide range of well-known photo-editing and illustration software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Freehand MX.