Corel Painter Essentials – Enhance Your Photos!

Screen-Shot-2011-07-08-at-9.13.09-PMEnhance Photos and create art with this professional graphics package.

I am a big photography nut. If there’s one thing that I like to do is take pictures. However, in many cases, after the picture is taken and the shot enhanced, or retouched, that’s often it. That is unless you have Corel Painter Essentials. It’s a really cool graphics app for Windows.

With Corel Painter Essentials – now called Painter X3 – you can do a great deal with your photos. You can create digital photo art. Painter X3 has power full cloning and painting features that allow you to transform your photos into something beyond a simple photo. With the right effects, the results can be stunning.

If photography isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Painter X3 has you covered there, too. You can of course create traditional art from a blank, digital canvas. The cool think here is that Painter X3 can actually mimic traditional media. With it oils look and behave like oils, water colors like water colors, pastels or chalk like pastels or chalk, etc. The effects are pretty cool to watch and work with; but you’ll need to see and experience that for yourself.

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If you’re new to art as well, don’t worry. PX3 has you covered as well. It has tools that are easy to use and understand. It even has a training app called Painter Lite that can teach you to master the basics. You’ll be creating cool pictures in no time.

Ok… I was suitably impressed. There’s a reason why this is one of my favorite apps and has been for many years.

There’s a lot more that you can do with Corel Painter Essentials than I’ve listed here. Its one of the most interesting graphics apps that I’ve ever seen; but I’ve known that for quite a while. In fact, its always been one of my favorites. The only bad thing about it is that is somewhat expensive. However, if you want to do more with your pictures than simple enhancements, this is the app for you.

download Corel Painter Essentials

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Burn, edit, backup, rip, convert and play your media with Nero 12

Nero12Over the past few years, the biggest influx of consumer data has been in the area of multimedia. More than anything else, the increase in popularity of smartphones, tablets, digital cameras etc. have created a huge increase in the use and demand for multimedia – pictures, music, and video. This is one of the biggest reasons why I like Nero 12. Its one of the best optical media utilities available for Windows today.

With Nero 12, you can burn, edit, backup, rip, convert & play all of your multimedia. It’s one of the most-complete multimedia suites ever. You can use it to format your media for use with all of your computing devices.

NERO12

Nero 12 allows you to stream your movies, photo slideshows and music playlists throughout your home network. Nero uses the latest high-quality video formats to convert, edit and burn your data. The app supports streaming to your XBOX 360™, PS3™, Android tablet, PC, digital media adaptor, streaming-enabled TV, or other DLNA- or UPnP-supporting devices. Nero 12 supports virtually all the latest video formats, including AVC/264, MKV, MP4, 3GP, AVI.

The result of Nero’s support for burning and streaming is disaster-proof data; and Nero is Windows 8 compatible. It takes only seconds to schedule an automatic backup with Nero LIVEBackup in Nero BackItUp 12. Now, you can back up to hard drives larger than 2 TB. Nero also supports USB 3.0 storage devices. Should your destination be optical media, Nero supports burning to CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray.

Nero 12 is a great application; and one of my favorite multimedia burning suites. I’ve used it for years. While the app supports Windows 8, streaming, and nearly any multimedia format you’d be interested in, it is quite pricey, and there are other, suites that you may find more affordable. If cost isn’t a huge issue, then this is probably the best optical media app you can invest in.

Download Nero 12

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XnConvert – batch image-converter and resizer

XnConvert is an image converting program that supports over 500 image formats for easy single and batch image editing and converting. The software has all the standard tools for image editing, whether it’s cropping and watermarking, or adding slick effects to your images. The interface makes for a simple approach to your image editing and converting. Crucially, XnConvert’s interface allows for multi-image editing simultaneously and for the most part, the program is convenient to use for the these tasks.


There’s an easy ‘Clear All’ button for getting rid of your changes and starting fresh on the image but the lack of an ‘Undo’ button is a little testing at times. However, the simple ‘before’ and ‘after’ tabs above your image editing make for quick comparisons as you work. Similarly, there are arrow buttons below your work screen to move easily between each of the images you’re working on. XnConvert’s ease of use is definitely its greatest strength.

XnConvert isn’t an essential program but would be more useful for slightly more casual image editing and not for frequent, more in depth image editing. Other free programs like GIMP are better equipped for that.

Download XnConvert

 

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Create and edit movies easily with VideoLAN Movie Creator

VideoLAN Movie Creator (VLMC) is a free, open-source software program for creating and editing movies. It is based on the libVLC media player, and is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Unlike other free video editing tools VLMC offers more than just basic functionality.

The tool features a well designed interface that includes the standard positioning of a dual screen above a timeline found in so many editing programs. This means that it seems familiar from the very beginning. Importing media is simply a case of dragging and dropping it into the correct position. From there images, videos, and audio files can be manipulated in a variety of ways, such as adding effects.

VLMC accepts many different media file types, much more than other free video editors. Multiple layers of audio and video can be added, and the process for separating audio from video is remarkably easy. It is also possible to zoom into the timeline, which is a very handy feature that makes aligning layers hassle free.

Everything about VLMC has been designed to make it as easy to use as possible. The drag and drop interface is particularly user friendly, and there is even a wizard to guide you through creating your first project. With VLMC usability and functionality combine to form a very capable video editor.

For a free video editing tool VLMC is relatively powerful, and very easy to use. It has been extremely well designed, and allows users the opportunity to create high quality videos quickly and easily.

Download VideoLAN Movie Creator

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Record and edit audio files like a pro!

I’ve been using for a long time a very sophisticated and expensive software to create my own ring-tones for my phone with the parts that I want from a song or to edit any audio file that I want. Yes, it was expensive, and I can’t believe that now there is a FREE software almost as good as other PRO versions.

Free audio editors are everywhere, so it’s always hard to know which to use. Free Audio Editor is an award-winning audio editing tool, and it is easy to understand why. Free Audio Editor features editing capabilities, effects units, basic audio recording tools, CD authoring and basic audio conversion. Free Audio Editor, unlike many freeware audio suites, has evolved as Windows has been updated. There’s no aged-looking graphical user interface in Free Audio Editor, instead you have an Office-esque ribbon, with a logical and easy-to-navigate button setup. With this interface, Free Audio Editor rarely feels like a chore to either use or learn. Everything is exactly where you would expect it.

Free Audio Editor – it’s LIGHT, runs fast, has plenty of options that allows you to do whatever you want to any audio file, or something you’ve recorded! You can remove the background noise (the annoying noise that you hear when you record something at home in the background), add echo effects, amplify, apply restoration, and many other filters!

Another cool feature is that you can download anything from Youtube and edit the audio file immediately! Maybe you would like to record yourself singing an instrumental version of one song… you just download the song, and record your voice over the instrumental version! It’s never been that easy!

After you have recorded your tracks, you can use the mixdown option to merge them into one single track and get your final result! At the last, Free Audio Editor allows you to burn your audio files directly on a disk whenever you want, making your task even easier!

Download Free Audio Editor

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Capture, burn, convert, copy and share digital media with Toast Titanium

Having a Mac usually means having a lot of multimedia on your PC. Having a lot of multimedia on your PC usually means you’re going to need a tool to help you capture and preserve it. That’s one of the reasons why I really like Toast Titanium. It’s one of the premier multimedia tools available for your Mac.

Toast is the fastest way to capture video from your AVCHD camcorder, with no lengthy imports. You can use just about any HD video source. With it, you can create stunning Blu-ray video or HD DVD discs for playback on compatible set top players as well as your PC.

Toast allows you to edit video clips. You can trim start and end points, remove unwanted segments in the middle of video clips before export, or even apply audio effects. You can capture any streaming Internet audio on your Mac, without interference from other apps or system sounds. Toast’s MusicID automatically adds artist and title tags to captured music for easy syncing to your iTunes library.

Capturing streaming web video is just as easy with Toast. You can save streaming video from your favorite web sites and then burn the content to DVD for viewing on your big-screen TV. Toast can even send it automatically to iTunes for syncing with your favorite iDevice.

You can digitize and restore your LP’s and tapes, without the pops, clicks and hisses. Toast’s audio filters and tools help you clean up your audio and then burn it to CD or DVD, or send to iTunes for syncing with your iDevice. Ripping audiobook CDs to iTunes, with chapters, pause/resume support and variable playback speeds is also easy with Toast. You can convert for enjoyment on iPad, iPhone, or your favorite on-the-go-device with just a few clicks.

Toast Titanium is THE audio and video editing and capture application for your PC or Mac. There are very few apps out there, in my opinion that are better at these tasks than Toast. It’s that good. The biggest problem, however with this app, is its price. At $79.99 as of this writing, it’s a bit on the pricey side unless you do a lot of audio-video editing on a regular basis or have a large project ahead of you, like converting your VHS-based home movies to DVD.

Download Toast Titanium for Mac

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Quickly and easily create industry compatible PDF’s with Nitro PDF Pro

Creating PDF’s is pretty common place now-a-days. There are a number of different products that you can download and install to quickly “print” to PDF. Having in one is important, as sharing information in a non-editable format is often important.  However, sometimes, you need to edit those PDF’s you get. It’s at times like those that I really like using Nitro PDF Professional. It’s on my short list of must have Windows apps.

Nitro Pro lets you quickly create, convert, combine, edit, sign, and share 100% industry-standard PDF files. It’s easy-to-use PDF tools make working with digital documents pain free. You can save time and effort with easy-to-use PDF creation tools that don’t require you to open a file before converting it.

One of Nitro PDF Pro’s best features is its tight integration with Microsoft Windows. This integration means you can create PDF files the way you prefer, such as drag and drop, right click, or within the application. The conversion process is very easy.  You simply drag files from within Windows Explorer or the Desktop into Nitro Pro. Its integration also extends to Microsoft Office.  You can print to PDF from the ribbon toolbar in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  If needed, Nitro PDF Pro also supports batch convert collections of different files – like reports, spreadsheets, drawings, and presentations – all in one task. It’s easy to combine documents into a searchable, easy-to-share PDF file.

Read full review | Download Nitro PDF Pro

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Open, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, mount and extract ISO files with PowerISO

The one thing I really like about Macs is its ability to distribute software on disk images. Most software is actually distributed in downloadable disk images and run or installed right from the image. This is one reason why I really like PowerISO. It’s a disk image editing and creating tool for Windows.

PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD/BD image file processing tool, allowing you to open, extract, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, split, convert and mount ISO files as internal, virtual drives. It can process almost all CD/DVD/BD image files including ISO and BIN files. PowerISO provides an all-in-one solution, allowing you to do manipulate and use your ISO and disc image files as you need.

PowerISO doesn’t just allow you to mount and use CD/DVD/BD-ROM images like any other disk your computer connects to.  It also allows you to create a DAA (Direct-Access-Archive) file, an advanced image file, which supports compression, password protection, and splitting the image to multiple volumes, if needed.  PowerISO also supports creating and editing ISO, BIN, NRG, CD file formats as well.  Creating bootable CD/DVD’s is also supported in both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows.

Read full review | Download PowerISO

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