Personal Publisher Grows Up
Magic a good bet
seems as intent on making its mark in the consumer graphics market as
it has in the professional graphics field.
Corel Print House Magic (for
Windows 95/NT 4.0), contains Print House 3 design/publishing application,
Photo House 2 bitmap editing program, and Family & Friends "mini-PIM."
Thats a lot of stuff for the price and Corel also throws
in its usual extras, like some 25,000 clipart images and Netscape Navigator
Corel has done its homework;
Print House 3, which competes directly with products like Broderbunds
Print Shop, is head and shoulders better
than was Version One.
Print House comes with about
a thousand samples, including pre-written greeting cards, banners, stationery,
and other projects. We used a greeting card sample to create a Christmas
card, easily replacing Corels generic copy with our own, and the
final colour printout was very nice though on one of our cards
the text ran off the edge, which was a pretty annoying example of operator
Photo House lets you do lots
of neat tricks to your favourite bitmaps, including touchups, artistic
effects like embossing & blurring, and the addition of text. You can
also use masks, crop, flip and rotate images, and use a "clone"
tool to recreate part of the image on another part of it.
latter is nice for covering up flaws in the original image.
Theres even an "image
sprayer" tool borrowed from Photo Paint thats an easy way to
add supplementary images to your picture. Weve used this feature
a couple of times (albeit in Photo Paint) to add fake pine trees to photographs
we were transforming from summer shots into Yuletide scenes. You dont
get as large a selection of image lists in Photo House, but otherwise
it appears to work exactly the same as in its big brother application.
"Family & Friends"
is a scaled down database that includes an address book, calendar, and
"list book" that tracks everything from recipes to personal
contacts. It interfaces with Print House as well, so you can drop addresses
into your greeting cards or do a mail merge with the two apps.
Corel has done a nice job of
making Print House Magic easy to use. The programs are laid out in a point
and click "Wizard-like" step-by-step approach that walks you
through the process in a non-intimidating way thats quite intuitive.
Even accessing clipart from
the CD-ROMs is childs play: the programs automatically go
off a-hunting when you tell you want clipart, and prompts you for the
correct disk if the dont find it. And the thumbnails are now big
enough to see easily a major improvement over the original version
of Print House.
While Corel Print House Magics
applications are admittedly stripped down (for instance, Friends and Family
is definitely no Paradox or Access), they offer excellent features &
value for the home user whod never in a million years use all the
features of the bigger versions.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think