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PicEdit: feeble image editing, but check out those annotation tools

03 August 2012, Mike Williams

As image editors go, PicEdit is what you might call “limited”. There are manual tweaks for brightness, contrast, hue and saturation, for instance, and a very short list of filters and effects (Mosaic, Blur, Sharpen, Noise, Invert, Grayscale), but that’s about it. You don’t even get a Resize tool.

PicEdit is fairly useless when it comes to photo corrections, then. But if you want to draw or annotate your images then it’s an entirely different story, because here the program turns out to be surprisingly capable.

Open the Stamps library, for instance, and you’ll find assorted images and icons which are ready to be added to your grab. Assorted mouse cursor images (“left click”, “right click”, “click and drag”) will help if you’re documenting software; assorted arrows, ticks, crosses and other icons will be more generally useful, and there are odd bits of clipart thrown in. You only get a few in total (just under 40), but there are already enough to be useful, plus you can import new stamps in a click or two.

Callouts provide a more interesting way to add text to an image

The Watermark tool makes it easy to customise your images. Just point PicEdit at the watermark image and you’re able to set its position, angle, opacity and more.

Need to add a text caption? The Text and Callout tools provide plenty of styles – boxes, thought and speech bubbles, more – all of which have customisable colours, line thicknesses and more. (They’re also confusing at first because clicking one of these and typing doesn’t display anything on your image, but once you realise that clicking and dragging on the picture displays your caption then all is well.)

And the surprising extras continue elsewhere. So when we clicked the Arrow tool, for instance, we expected just to be able to click and drag to draw a single straight arrow. But you actually get no less than nine arrow styles; we’ve seen flowcharting programs which offer less.

PicEdit is still too short on useful correction options to recommend as a general photo editor, of course. But if you already have your finished images and now want to dress them up with arrows, icons, watermarks or more then it could be useful, and we’ll be interested to see how the program develops in future.

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