Edit images, create animation and cool icons with Chasys Draw IES

Edit images, create animation and cool icons with this full featured Windows app.

chasys_draw_ies_128Having a creative outlet can be very important. I know that if I don’t have a way of expressing myself creatively, I’m not going to be a happy person in the long run. If I can combine that with my Mac or PC, its truly a double win for me. Apps like Chasys Draw IES help make this that double win. It’s a cool drawing and animation app for Windows.

Chasys Draw IES is actually a suite of applications that includes a layer-based image editor with animation, icon editing support. It has image stacking through Chasys Draw IES Artist, a multi-threaded image file converter with Chasys Draw IES Converter, a fast image viewer in Chasys Draw IES Viewer and a RAW camera file processor with Chasys Draw IES raw-Photo. The whole suite is UAC aware and is designed to take advantage of multi-core processors, touch-screens and pen-input devices, so it will work well with Surface Pro and other Windows 8 Pro tablets.

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Chasys Draw IES is a unique application. It does NOT imitate Adobe Photoshop, or try to. It is fast and stable, giving you the performance you need in a full featured drawing and animation application. Its also innovative, applying new techniques and different methods for getting the job done.

Chasys Draw IES is an awesome application. Its got a full set of features so that you can create the drawings you want with the tools you need. Its easy to use, so if you’re used to full featured drawing apps, you’ll feel at home. The best things about the app is that its donationware. While this makes it essentially free, if you find the app of value, the author is asking for a donation, nothing more.

download Chasys Draw IES

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Share photos with your friends and loved ones with Ashampoo Photo Mailer

photomailerOf all the things that I do on my computer, sharing pictures is perhaps the one thing that I do most often. I also think it’s the thing that most people do most often on their computers.  While sites like a Flickr, and Picasa and Facebook are great, but if the person you want to share with doesn’t do social networking, or if all you really want to do is shoot someone a couple of quick easy shots, then Ashampoo Photo Mailer is probably the app for you. It’s a cool photo utility for Windows.

Today, there are numerous ways to share your images online. However, what should be the simplest way still remains a pain in the rump – sharing images via email. Images have to be manually resized, trimmed and often split up into several mails to meet email provider constraints. Many times, you have to send, tweak, and resend in order to get everything sent.

Ashampoo Photo Mailer handles all of these tasks – the trimming and resizing, and turns photo sharing through email into a joyful experience. You can use any number of images.  Image splitting between emails occurs automatically, and then only when required.  You can send pictures to any number of recipients.  Ashampoo Photo Mailer has simple and efficient contact management built in.  You can send images at any quality level.  Trimming and resizing occurs automatically, and again, and only when required.

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The nice thing about Ashampoo Photo Mailer, is that it’s built around a rapid, step-by-step process.  You pick your images and adding recipients to dispatching your emails. The approach is highly intuitive and self-explanatory and requires no lengthy learning process.

Setting up existing email accounts is easy.  All you need is your name, email address and account password. Ashampoo Photo Mailer automatically recognizes different email providers and adds the required server settings.

At $20 bucks, the app seems a bit over priced for an app that optimizes photos for easy sharing via email, though its photo optimization slider is pretty cool.  What would be nice, is if this integrated with Gmail, Yahoo mail Outlook.com on the web and Outlook on the desktop, allowing you to call the app directly from your mail app or from within your open browser. It would also be nice if this allowed you to share photos via Flickr, Facebook and other social network sites.

download Ashampoo Photo Mailer

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Draw and manage your photo collection with Xara Xtreme

Summer time is the season of digital photos.  The beach, parties, vacations – if you aren’t doing at least some of these and taking pictures of family and friends having a good time, you’re clearly missing out on saving many valuable memories.  Having the right tool for processing and touching up digital photos is important. This is one of the reasons why I like Xara Xtreme. It’s a multiplatform graphics tool.

Xara Xtreme is based on one of the world’s most sophisticated, highest performing vector rendering engines. This makes it one of the fastest graphics apps anywhere. You’ll be processing through large corrections and retouches quickly and easily.

If you want to get into some serious editing, Xara Xtreme has you covered there too.  Its Direct Action Tools allow you to intuitively, create effects such as transparency, shadows, bevels or gradient fills with a simple drag and drop. In fact, many of Xara Xtreme’s tasks can be done via drag and drop, including importing files and photos.

Xara Xtreme’s photo handling tools are top notch. The app is much, much faster and  produces smaller files. As a photo composition tool, it’s hard to beat.

Xara Xtreme offers completely non-destructive photo editing. You can edit your photo as many times as you like without the loss of depth or resolution quality. It also uses a fraction of the RAM required by other products, insuring that your PC has ample resources for other tasks. It can handle multiple, high resolution images with ease, even on a modest PC. Xara Xtreme’s file handling techniques also insure that the files are anywhere from 3 to 100 times smaller than with other programs.

download Xara Xtreme

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Artweaver – a simple freeware program for creative painting

Available since 2009, but only recently issuing a first stable release Artweaver 3.0.2 is a painting application addressing the needs of beginners and advanced users alike. Similar to Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint, it is a joy to work and play with.

It comes in two versions; the freeware version, for non-commercial use, contains cut-down functionality and is available for two weeks. Artweaver Plus costs 29€ and includes many more features, in particular around customisations and configuration. Both versions include saving and playing back events, which is a great way of recording and playing back your greatest brush strokes.

There is something very attractive about this product: you can record all your steps and replay them afterwards or provide them to other users.

Painting and drawing is great fun with Artweaver and its comprehensive digital toolset. It is easy to work with and low cost. We think the authors have got it right and that the free version will draw new users into buying Artweaver Plus, even though there great competitor freeware artwork packages out there.

Download Artweaver

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Take charge of your graphics, icons and digital photos with irfanView

Taking control of your digital photos isn’t an easy task. If you’re like my family and have a lot of children and a photo happy wife, then you’re going to accumulate a lot of digital pictures over the years. This is why I’m happy I’ve got things like irfanView.  It’s a graphics and digital photo editor and management tool for Windows

irfanView (pronounced ear-fan-view) is designed to be simple for beginners yet powerful enough for professionals or advanced users.  It was the first Windows graphic viewer with Multiple (animated) GIF support, and one of the first graphic viewers with Multipage TIF support. It was also the first graphic viewer with Multiple ICO support.

irfanView supports many file formats, and includes support for select RAW file formats, so you may be able to edit files right off your digital camera, before you convert them to a more popular format. It also supports Adobe Photoshop filters, allowing you to bring power to an easier to use editing program, all this even before you consider its own drawing and editing tools.

One of the best things about irfanView is that it runs from a single executable file. It doesn’t require any dynamic link libraries (DLL’s) that may be installed or scattered across your hard drive in order to run.  It also doesn’t contain any registration or nag messages. The application is free, though the author does appreciate monetary support through donations.

read the full review | download irfanView

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