NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 1999 — Cathleen Chamberlain knows a good thing when she sees it. As a professional technology trainer, she quickly understood that Microsoft’s PhotoDraw 2000 would unlock her students’ creative potential and support their need to incorporate graphics into Web sites and presentations.
Her students are quick studies: they are teachers themselves. Chamberlain has spent the past five years as the technology integration specialist for the Oswego City School District in New York. Previously a second-grade teacher herself, Chamberlain took the assignment because she enjoys technology and believes that teachers must stay abreast of current technology.
Based on early positive reaction to her first PhotoDraw courses, Chamberlain moved quickly to develop a new course for the just-announced Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2, a major upgrade that features new Web functionality, tight integration with Microsoft Office 2000, and faster performance.
Her first course on Microsoft PhotoDraw made quick converts out of some teachers who previously had shied away from using graphics solutions because they were too difficult.
“PhotoDraw is easy to learn, so the program lends itself to a positive experience,” Chamberlain said. “A number of our teachers had tried other graphics solutions and found them difficult and frustrating.”
Ease of use is essential for the casual user who doesn’t have the time to invest in learning tools for high-end graphics professionals, said Lori Birtley, PhotoDraw product manager for Microsoft.
“Most businesspeople don’t think of themselves as professional graphic designers, but they want to make their ideas stand out,” Birtley said. “PhotoDraw allows casual users, be they teachers or business people, to create visually compelling business communications in very little time.”
Many more people are involved in creating Web sites. Because of the rich graphics found on Web sites, businesspeople need an easy-to-use program that quickly creates high-quality graphics.
“With PhotoDraw 2000, you don’t have to be a high-end user to create compelling Web sites, or to transfer images from one application to another,” Chamberlain said. “For instance, if a student has used photos or graphics in a report, teachers can now easily put that whole report on the Web, images and all.”
“PhotoDraw is like three programs in one; it uses the same tools for drawing, editing and layout, so the learning curve is short,” said Chamberlain, who noted that people sometimes find it difficult to work in different programs simultaneously. “Anyone who has a basic familiarity with Microsoft Office can quickly come up to speed on PhotoDraw. It works well with other Office applications, so it’s easy to create a graphic in PhotoDraw and send it to another application, such as PowerPoint or FrontPage.”
Oswego teachers are increasingly creating and using their own Web sites as a way to communicate with parents and students, said Chamberlain, adding that it’s become more important than ever to provide teachers with easy tools for creating pleasing Web pages.
“In today’s environment, our teachers really need to know how to create Web pages,” she said. “Teachers’ sites include such things as their teaching philosophy, homework assignments, and classroom tours. They also publish students’ work, and it gives students a tremendous sense of pride to see their work on the Web.”
New Web Effects Help Everyday Users Create Compelling Web Graphics
Chamberlain cited “Web effects” as one of the most significant enhancements to PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2.
“With PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2, you just click on an object, click on a Web effect — to make a button glow, for instance — and it’s done,” she said.
Creating graphically compelling Web sites is easier than ever with features like “rollovers,” which make elements in a Web site cursor-sensitive, such as buttons that say “new” or “free” and light up when users moves their cursors over it. Objects such as text or a button get a boost through enhancements like the “embed or emboss” feature, which makes the object appear as though it is engraved or popping off the page. Users can also easily add hyperlinks to their Web graphics using PhotoDraw.
PhotoDraw Images Can Be Reused Across Several Applications
One of the most attractive features of PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 is that its images can be reused across a number of applications, Chamberlain said. Once an image is developed, it can be used in a PowerPoint slide, printed out in a Word document or published to a Web site with no modification.
Like many corporate users, Oswego teachers are trying to create meaningful presentations in an increasingly visual and interactive world. According to Chamberlain, PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 unlocks the creative muse and brings professional-quality graphics to the everyday user.
Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 features a gallery of more than 200 artistic treatments; with the click of a button, a scanned photograph can be made to look as though it were done in charcoal or watercolor, or a modern photograph can be made to look antique.
“The effects are almost magical,” Chamberlain said.
Microsoft’s Lori Birtley adds that these artistic effects can be applied 70 percent faster than in the previous version of the product, and overall product speed has increased by 25 percent over the initial release.
PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 uses the same Installer and Administrative tools as Microsoft Office 2000 and allows for existing graphics from other programs such as CorelDraw or Adobe PhotoShop to be imported and reused. Images can be scanned, downloaded from a digital camera or created from scratch; because PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 includes the same graphic and color themes as Microsoft Office, workgroups can easily standardize on a common look even if they are geographically dispersed.