Arsoft Photo Studio 5.5 is an affordable and a relatively easy to use photo-editing software targeted for use by photo hobbyists and advanced amateurs. Unlike Adobe Photoshop, which is the industry standard for image editing, there is no steep learning curve required. It is loaded with features and has a friendly interface that can turn not-so-perfectly taken shots into amazing photographs.
Install Arcsoft Photo Studio 5.5 into your computer. Insert the installation CD into your hard drive and follow step-by-step instruction. The program can be bought for £48.70, but a 15 days trial version is also available online.
Open Arcsoft 5.5 Photo Studio from your program list. As a first time user, you will be asked to enter the activation code to start the software. You will have the option to select the user language: English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese or Chinese.
Import a picture file. On the menu, click on "File" and then "Open" to choose the image you want to work on from your disk drive. You can also click on the "Thumbnails" button for easier selection of photos from your folder.
If the tools palette is not shown on the right side of the screen, click on "View" and then "Show Tools Palette". This palette contains the most commonly used actions for working on an image. Hover your mouse on the palette icons and a description will pop-out over each icon.
To crop an image, click on the "Rectangle Select" in the Tools palette. Make a rectangular selection on your image and then click "Crop" to finalise your cropping. You also have the option to make an ellipse, square or circle selection in the "Select" tool.
To improve the exposure or overall look of your photo, click on "Enhance" on the menu to adjust brightness and contrast, hue and saturation and tone adjustments. Clicking on "Auto Adjust" is also a useful and quick way to do this. You always get a small preview of results before finalising your choice of enhancement.
To remove facial blemishes on a close-up portrait, click on the "Clone" tool. You will have the option to select brush size and opacity. Press the "Shift" key on your keyboard and then click on the "clone source" or the area that you want to copy to cover up the blemish on your image. Repeat this process on all the blemishes you want to fix.
To add text to your photo click on "Text" on the tool palette. Click on the exact point where you want to position it. A tool option will pop-up where you will type your words. It will also give you options to set the font type, size, shadow and 3D effects.
To add effects to your photo, go to "Effects" on the menu. There are more than 40 selections offered in this drop-down menu, including old photo, motion blur, film grain and emboss. There are also subcategories on the following additional effects: fine art, liquid, distort, create texture, lighting, framing and weathering. On each selection, there is a slider to set the intensity of the desired effect.
Save your edited image file. On the menu, click "Save As," type a file name, image type (photo studio file, jpeg, tif, bitmap, gif, or png, ) and quality. Type a file name different from the original file to have both original and edited image files on your computer.
Don't be afraid to experiment with the different menus, selections and tools in using Arcsoft Photo Studio 5.5. It has 99 levels of "Undo" that more than sufficiently allow you to step back to multiple previous states of your image.