Hi, I'm Jessica Dolcourt from CNET Download.com, with a first look at IrfanView, a solid freeware image viewer and editor. This app's gotten a few more whistles and bells since the last time we looked it over, making it an even more attractive image editing alternative.
During set-up, you'll be able to associate IrfanView with nearly 70 file extensions for your images, and audio and video clips. But photos are what this program handles best, so we'll focus on those.
IrfanView is strong on adding custom fields to the basic image editing tools. One example is custom cropping, where you can choose to shrink your photo within a certain aspect ratio. Other features are batch processing and plugins for achieving lossless JPEGs-weirdly, these JPEG optimizations are set part in the Options menu.
IrfanView also lets you annotate images with text, or with art from the integrated Paint dialog. There are a ton of extras thrown in to complement the usual color adjusting tools. You can bathe an image in a sepia glow, turn it to stone, or make it appear frozen over. The effects browser lets you compare visual treatments side-by-side with the original image before you commit to something too funky.
Yellow eye and green eye corrections join the red eye reduction tool in the effects browser. A neat idea, but I haven't found these to be as good as professional programs like PhotoShop.
IrfanView has also thrown in a nice way to quickly select other images in the same subfolder for touch-up. Just double-click the image to open a slide show in the app, scroll through with your keyboard, and press "Escape" when you reach the next image you want to edit.
When you're done editing, you can package your multimedia files into a slideshow. Preferences let you loop the slideshow, add background music, and hide the cursor. You can burn the slide show to disk or export is as a Windows screensaver or a stand-alone executable.
As a freeware image editor, IrfanView gets a thumb's up for medium-weight image-tweaking options that shouldn't overwhelm novice users and shouldn't bore the more advanced ones. You can get it for free from www.download.com. I'm Jessica Dolcourt and this has been a first look at IrfanView.
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