At a Glance
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PhotoPlus X5 is an image editor with a true Photoshop-like feel without the painful pricetag.
A Layer Manager lets you work with layers and masks, as you would in Photoshop. Selection tools include a lasso-like Freehand tool. You can adjust the hue and contrast of an image (though you can't experiment with levels and curves, because that option is not available here).
Other features in PhotoPlus 6 are specific to preparing graphics for the Web. The Image Slice and Image Map tools allow you to add hyperlinked hotspots to navigation elements and other online graphics. A PhotoPlus 6.0 companion PDF with instructions and a few tutorials is also available. A tutorial for creating an animated GIF image is included.
Serif developed PhotoPlus 6 in 1999 and offers it free without limitations. Later versions aren't terribly expensive, either. PhotoPlus 8 can be ordered on a CD for just $10. The most recent version, PhotoPlus 11, costs $80. Many Serif customers continue to be partial to PhotoPlus 10, which is available for $40.
--Leigh Anne Jones