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Nova’s Photo Explosion Deluxe.

Photo Explosion Deluxe from Nova Development is aimed at the rapidly growing population of digital photographers–and film photographers with scanners or photo CDs. This four-CD program provides one-stop shopping for virtually anything you might do with a digital image.

While digital cameras, scanners, and printers usually bundle separate programs to organize and edit your photos, Photo Explosion does both with an extensive toolkit, and contains an abundance of features for creating “projects” from your images. These include over 1,200 templates for things like frames, borders, calendars and CD labels; over 400 fonts that can be warped, wrapped and shaped; and over 600 special effects like textures, stars and bubbles.

A separate module lets you stitch together panoramas up to 360 degrees from multiple overlapping shots. Another creates slide shows that can be put on a CD playable on a PC or recent DVD player. Yet another lets you create slide shows for your PDA. And for products like photo mugs, mouse pads, or just photo-quality prints, Photo Explosion has a discount arrangement with online photo site Club Photo.

Photo Explosion has three modes: Browse (organization), Photo (editing and manipulation), and Project (composites creation from templates and other tools). As a Mac user for 14 years and a Photoshop devotee, I found the interface clean but a bit quirky in spots. (This impression may be more due to what I’m used to than real shortcomings.) One carp, particular to a smaller monitor, is that the photo workspace apparently can’t be resized; a fixed-width tool space on the left takes up about a quarter of the screen.

All told, Photo Explosion is an excellent value for its $49.95 price (which rebates regularly reduce further), and provides more than enough capability for any digital photo hobbyist. Now, if they’d just come out with a Mac version…

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