Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
Corel Snapfire Plus
by Morris Turpin
Let me say right up front that I do not
own a digital camera so I dont have a need for a
heavy-duty photo manipulation program, but having said
that, I do regularly handle images that I scan myself or
receive via email.
When Evelyn Watts of Corel demonstrated Snapfire Plus at
our March meeting she hit on one feature that I knew
would be incredibly useful: the ability to easily
straighten up images. Anyone who has worked on a scanned
image knows that it doesnt always come out straight
no matter how much care you take to position the
original. In my experience, scanned images coming from
other people only tend to be worse. Watching
Evelyns demo I was intrigued, very intrigued.
So, how does it work? In short,
very well. Clicking on Straighten in the Menu
Bar puts a horizontal line on the image youre
working on with grab-bars on the each end.
Grab and drag these bars so that the line between them is
on what you want to be the horizontal plane, click on the
Apply button and bang, its done. The image rotates
so that the line you set is horizontal. You can also drag
the line to the vertical plane if your image has vertical
references that you prefer to use. Believe me; it takes
less time to do it than to explain the process.
Of course Snapfire offers more than just an automatic
straightening feature. Quick Fix analyzes and adjusts a
number of parameters to optimize your image. In my
experience I found that it worked well about 7 or 8 times
out of 10. By that I mean that I couldnt do a
better job manually than Quick Fix did. For those times
it didnt work the Undo button quickly restored the
The Photo Fix menu allows manual control of brightness,
contrast, warmth, saturation and focus. Ive found
that the focus setting is particularly useful with jpeg
images which can tend to get a little blurry.
Fixing red eye is pretty straightforward. Selecting this
option from the menu changes the cursor to a circle. You
must adjust the size of this circle to suit your image,
then its as simple as point and click.
The Makeover menu allows you to make cosmetic changes to
your subject. You can fix blemishes, whiten teeth and
even add a suntan. Other features let you embellish your
images with the Picture Tube tool, choose a picture frame
from dozens of different styles, add text to your
pictures or change your photos to either black and white
The cropping tool has a nice
feature; in addition to allowing free form
that Im used to, it allows you to set the final
size you want with several fixed sizes ranging from 3x4
in. to 8x10 in. Selecting the cropping tool creates a box
over your image that you drag around until you get the
result youre looking for. Click on Apply and
Other Snapfire features that I havent used are the
ability to create slideshows and share these via email.
It can also create videos from your pictures and video
clips through the use of a downloadable add-on called the
muvee autoProducer and includes a link for a
free trial. Owners of digital video cameras may want to
give this a try.
There is no printed documentation provided with Snapfire
Plus, but it does come with an extensive help file. In
fact, all the images in this article were copied from the
help file. The only complaint I have with the program is
that the font used in the help file is difficult to read
with my 1280x1024 screen resolution. Changing my screen
resolution to 1024x768 didnt help. The option is
provided to print the entire file, the selected topic or
the selected heading and all subtopics. Checking the
Corel website I see that Snapfire version 2.0 has been
released (Im reviewing version 1.2). Looking at the
Snapfire 2.0 Release Notes I see that all the comments
Ive made here will refer to rev 2.0 as well.
So, what do I like best about this program? Well,
certainly the straighten tool but I also like and use
Quick Fix and Photo Fix; specifically the Focus tool.
These tools are invaluable with either scanned images or
cell-phone photos. I also like its ability to add text to
Snapfire is available as a free
download from Corel (http://www.snapfire.com).
Snapfire is a reduced feature set of Snapfire
Plus and leaves out a number of the more desirable
functions (like the straighten feature) but it does allow
you to try out many of its features for free
Snapfire Plus (the commercial version)
sells for $60 locally but for some reason sells for $40
at FutureShop. It is also available directly from Corel
for the club price of US $40 plus shipping.
Click here to view the
full OPCUG website with frames.
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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