REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 8, 1997 — If you haven’t yet discovered the fun of turning good photos into great ones with photo-editing software, now is the perfect time to experience this hot category. Microsoft Corp. today announced the newest version of the award-winning Picture It! photo-editing software. Picture It! pioneered many of the key technology features now emulated by other applications. The new version exceeds the functionality of other consumer photo-editing applications by providing a more complete set of powerful image-editing tools and fun, creative opportunities, in an interface that makes it easy to find and use everything the product has to offer.
Picture It!, a comprehensive application for users’ PC imaging needs, offers capabilities in image capture, photo editing and creativity, cataloging, printing, and sharing photos over the Internet. It performs the function of a darkroom, shoe box, photo-finishing counter and slide projector – all on the PC. It currently leads retail sales in the fast-growing digital photography software category and leads the industry by employing the latest imaging technologies to help PC users quickly and easily turn good pictures into great ones.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen phenomenal growth in consumer photo-editing software – greater than 400 percent,”
said Ann Stephens, president of PC Data.
“And in that same time period, which includes heavy holiday sales, Microsoft Picture It! has emerged as the leader.”
(Source: PC Data Retail Report, time period July ’96 to June ’97, based on revenue.)
“Picture It! was built from the ground up to be easy to use for consumers and small-business users,”
said Chris Peters, vice president, desktop applications division at Microsoft.
“We are really excited about the changes – we’ve added new editing tools and worked hard to make it so intuitive that anyone can use it. We hope to bring digital photography to the broadest range of computer users.”
Highlights of the new release include the following:
SmartTask for downloading images from new digital cameras
Free offers ($30; offers are good in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada only) from Microsoft and Eastman Kodak Co. for scanning and printing photos.
Easy photo restoration with automated removal of dust and scratches
Cataloging to let users easily organize and search for photos quickly
Paint tools to let users paint freehand with a variety of brushes, including chalk and stamps.
Distort tool to let users bulge, smear and twist photos, creating outrageous effects
Artistic effects that allow users to transform their photos or text instantly.
Wide array of professional-quality projects
Integration with Microsoft Greetings Workshop lets users easily combine any photo with Hallmark content and verse.
Projects for home and small business, including cards, calendars, flyers and photo business cards.
E-mail postcards with sound let users send photos with sound instantly over the Internet (a MAPI-enabled e-mail client is required). Recipients can view postcards on any Windows® operating system version 3.1-compatible system, and on Macintosh, using their browser.
Link to new Kodak Picture Network for online image sharing and archiving.
Open photos from Photonet online photo center, edit them in Picture It! and, for a fee, save them back to Photonet to share with friends on the Internet.
Building on the Success of Version 1.0
Picture It! 1.0 won more than a dozen awards and recommendations. With version 2.0, Picture It! adds a wide variety of innovative new features and even greater integration with imaging hardware, ensuring a good experience for consumers – and great results. For instance, SmartTasks, which automated typical operations in version 1.0, have been expanded to include a quick download of photos from new digital cameras. Picture It! addresses the No. 1 consumer complaint about imaging: the need to use multiple software applications to capture images from a scanner or camera, touch up images, distort them, and catalog them. With Picture It! 2.0, people can perform all the tasks associated with getting images in, editing them, and generating great results, without having to learn multiple applications for different tasks.
“Picture It! 2.0 is a clear demonstration of the remarkable advances achieved by second-generation consumer imaging software, in response to feedback from the market and growth of the ‘imaging ecosystem,'”
said Alexis Gerard, president of Future Image and publisher of the Future Image Report, based in Burlingame, Calif.
“There’s a lot of leading-edge technology ‘under the hood’ of this product, but the interface is very intuitive. It’s also noticeably faster and addresses a broader spectrum of users’ needs – for instance, helping to organize images as well as work with them. The integration with other devices and services, both local and remote, is impressive. Picture It! 2.0 should be a powerful force in growing the market for home imaging.”
Projects the Whole Family Can Enjoy
Picture It! inspires people to be creative with their photos by offering a wide variety of tools and projects for personalizing and sharing photographic memories. Wizards walk consumers through the process of creating their photographic masterpieces, such as collages, calendars, cards, slide shows and e-mail postcards including sound. With more than 500 photographic-quality templates and backgrounds, Picture It! provides a great deal of inspiration, and consumers with online access can download additional content from Kodak or from the Picture It! Web site directly from within the application.
Pamela Parker of Hueytown, Ala., a longtime user of Picture It!, said,
“Microsoft has outdone itself with this version of Picture It! I cannot say enough about the Touch Up features, the new text feature adds more fun and creativity, and the Organize feature makes hard drive housekeeping so much easier. I have let several of my friends play with Picture It!, and they could not get over how simple the program was to use.”
Picture It! was the first photo-editing product to utilize the FlashPix file format, which was co-developed by Microsoft, Kodak, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Live Picture Inc. It also includes exclusive Kodak creative content as well as direct links to the Kodak Image Magic Print Service, a service that will enable consumers to create photographic prints from their digital pictures and photographic creations, and to the Kodak Picture Network, for online retrieval, archiving, and sharing of images.
“With Picture It!, Microsoft has delivered a powerful, fun and easy-to-use photographic image editing software package. Kodak recommends it to consumers and small businesses interested in expanding their picture taking into digital imaging,”
says Robert LaPerle, vice president and general manager of digital products business, consumer imaging of the Eastman Kodak Company.
Picture It! 2.0 is also packaged with the HP PhotoSmart printer, scanner and digital camera as well as the HP Pavilion PC, which enable consumers to print real photos from home.
“Picture It! provides strong integration with digital imaging hardware,”
said Vyomesh Joshi, general manager, home business unit, Hewlett-Packard.
“This ensures compatible file formats, making it fun and easy for people to enter the world of PC photography.”
Picture It! is MMX-enabled to provide customers with a significantly improved experience in opening, manipulating, printing and sharing images over the Internet. Although the application does not require MMX technology, those using an MMX-based machine will see performance improvements, making it as easy and quick to work with digital photographs as it has been to work with text.
“The combination of Microsoft Picture It! 2.0 and Intel’s Pentium processor with MMX technology or Pentium II processor will deliver a rich PC imaging experience in the editing, printing and sharing of images over the Internet,”
said Peter Green, general manager of Intel’s digital peripherals division. Picture It! also supports Intel’s recently announced Portable PC Camera ’98 design guideline, enabling PC users to more easily acquire, enhance and share images with programs such as Microsoft’s Picture It! Picture It! 2.0 will be the featured product on Intel’s Software Showcase site the week of Sept. 9 at (http://www.intel.com/) .
Pricing, Availability and Requirements
Microsoft Picture It! version 2.0 is scheduled to be available nationwide in early October. It has an estimated retail price of $54.95 (U.S.). Customers can call (800) 426-9400 for more information on a reseller in their area.
To use Microsoft Picture It!, consumers need a multimedia personal computer with a Pentium 90 or higher processor running the Microsoft Windows 95 operating system or Windows NT® Workstation operating system version 4.0 or later. In addition, users need 16MB of RAM or more, 90MB of available hard disk space, a CD-ROM drive, a Super VGA color monitor, a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device, and an audio board with headphones or speakers (recommended). A modem is required to use the Kodak Image Magic Print Service; Internet access and a MAPI-enabled e-mail client are required to send photos over the Internet (connect-time charges may apply). Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 or higher, or a compatible browser, is required to download additional templates from Kodak.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Picture It!, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All rights reserved.
Hallmark Connections is a trademark of Hallmark Licensing Inc.
Kodak, Image Magic and FlashPix are trademarks of the Eastman Kodak Company.
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