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PhoXo 8.3.0

A fun and free image editor

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 08 November 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2209
Developer: Fu Li
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Back up your data with Acronis True Image 2016 with a 1-PC LIFETIME license, only $29.99, saving 40%, from store.downloadcrew.com
PhoXo 8.3.0
A fun and free image editor

PhoXo is an image editor which emphasises its fun extras, but also has some useful tools to explore.

Launch the program and you'll first notice the large Clip Art and Frame windows. Cartoon-style emoticons, car images, animals, flags and more are available to be pasted into your images, and a whole gallery of frames can be added with a double-click.

And there are other quirky options, too, like the ability to turn your photos into ASCII art.

The program has plenty of more useful features, though: four selection tools, simple paint and drawing options, lots of colour tweaks and adjustments, layer support and a batch watermarking tool, as well as the usual basics (crop, resize, rotate and so on).

We particularly liked some of the effects. While they're not exactly original, filters like "Oil Painting" and "Lens Flare" do deliver good results with minimal effort - they're not just the very basic and limited equivalents you'll sometimes see with other tools.

PhoXo does have a few interface oddities. It always opens full-screen, regardless of how you closed it; the lack of an Edit menu is annoying when you're so used to seeing it everywhere else, and the zoom option is a little clumsy.

On balance PhoXo is a useful tool, though, and it's entirely free: no ads, no nag screens, even clicking the "Sponsor Us" button on their web site asks only that you "tell your friends" about it.

Verdict:

It's not going to compete with Photoshop any time soon, but PhoXo is a good editor, fun for beginners yet also with the power to do more serious work

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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Value:
Free
Rating: