PhotoImpact has always offered a wealth of features and extras like web and component design tools. Ulead continues this trend with added features such as templates for greeting cards and labels for DVDs and CDs. In fact, we'll be using the Christmas CD template for a special mix for family and friends. The software also includes more filters and effects and the UI is more attractive and still very easy to navigate. Ulead makes good use of the right mouse click for accessing features and options and the program requires very little experience to get up to speed fast. In fact, for a lot of our work we prefer it to blown versions of Photoshop, Fireworks and Corel's homegrown products.

We've always complained about how much time it takes for PhotoImpact to load. It's a chunky program and doesn't exactly pop-up when launched. A minor annoyance we know but one that can make a program feel clunky. We also think, while the program does contain a lot of useful templates, effects and other content, it also has a lot of extra junk that isn't very useful and could probably be eliminated. For example, some of the web banner templates are so terribly dated they're laughable. Out with the old and in with the new should be Ulead's motto going forward. Keep the good stuff but lose the dated stuff.

Overall, PhotoImpact 12 continues to be one of our favorite programs for image editing and other creative endeavors and still delivers tremendous value for the dollar. If Santa's bringing a new digital camera for Christmas this year let's hope he also brings a nice software package to go with it.

Visit Ulead for more information.