Get started with
Satori PhotoXL
by Frank Charlton

Forget about Photoshop. Ignore Paint Shop Pro. PhotoXL is capable of beating both, and it’s free on this month’s cover disc! Frank Charlton shows you how to get started.

One of the many things your PC makes possible is photographic manipulation. Once the preserve of the professional photographer, now anyone can remove little imperfections from family photos, eradicate that ex-partner from a treasured picture or even just fool around with images for fun. With this month’s Windows Answers we’ve given you one of the very best tools for experimenting and working with image retouching and manipulation – Satori PhotoXL, worth a massive £295.

In some ways, Satori has sadly been overlooked by graphics professionals and amateurs alike, usually in favour of heavyweights like Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. If you’ve never heard of Satori before, don’t let that worry you. Satori PhotoXL is an immensely powerful piece of graphics software – it can do just about anything Photoshop can do, and it has tricks up its digital sleeve that Adobe’s product can only dream about.

Big images
For starters, Satori excels when working with large images. We don’t mean a couple of times bigger than your screen, either – we’re talking seriously large sizes here, which would bring most graphics packages to their knees. Even though it works with bitmapped images (where the picture is made from millions of individual coloured dots), Satori was designed to be resolution-independent. It does this by using its own special image format while you work, the RIR file, or Resolution Independent Raster.

When you zoom into a normal bitmap, you’ll see the image become progressively blocky and pixellated. Zoom into a large Satori image, and you’ll see the same effect to begin with. Hit the Hi-Rez button in the Zoom palette and you’ll see the difference – Satori does some heavy number-crunching, then displays a superb high-quality smooth version of the zoomed portion of your image in a new window.

As we mentioned, Satori is excellent for working with large files. With a normal bitmap package, zooming in and out can be both time and memory consuming. Not so with Satori, as the smooth views of your image are only generated when you click that Hi-Rez button – making it swift to use when navigating large images.

Loads of extra power
As well as all the standard drawing tools, Satori offers superb extras like Bézier curves and a wide range of brush types, including felt-tip, crayon, pastel and chalk. Every one of Satori’s drawing tools can be altered and customised to a degree other programs can only envy. You can set the pressure and limit factors for each brush, as well as altering the size from a single pixel to huge proportions. What’s more, once you’ve created a custom brush design, you can save it separately so that Satori will make it available for all your future work.

When it comes to image retouching, Satori stands as tall as any other package, too. Everything you’d expect is there, including standard filters to blur, lighten, tint, emboss and sharpen an image. Satori also offers its own CanvasFX filters, which include such offerings as Alpha Glow Electro, Frosted Glass and Warhol. Satori supports Photoshop-compatible plug-ins, so you can use the wealth of digital filters available both commercially and as freeware or shareware. If you already have Photoshop installed, just use Satori’s Preferences dialog to show it where to find the Photoshop Plug-Ins directory, restart Satori, and you’re off.

Once you’ve read our tutorials this month, don’t forget to check out the full Satori manual on disc. It’s in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, and gets installed to the Satori folder on your hard drive, as well as being on the CD. You can find the Adobe Acrobat Reader 4 on this month’s CD, too.

In the meantime, try our two tutorials and our 20 Tips feature with more hints and pointers. Then check out the CD inlay for some upgrade offers.



Reproduced with kind permission of Windows Answers magazine, Future Publishing.