ShineOff – Facial Glare Fixing for Photoshop

If you’ve ever noticed unnaturally shiny skin in your photos, you may have also wondered how the heck you can fix it. This is usually caused by a combination of slight perspiration from the person reflecting the harsh light of a camera flash back at the image sensor. In extreme cases, shiny skin may be due to solarization in the image. While you can avoid this altogether using diffused light, sometimes you need a fix. ShineOff is among the best plugins I’ve tried for removing shine from skin tones of all hues. It automatically softens the skin in shiny areas to create a more natural looking skin tone. Unlike trying to apply filtering myself in Photoshop, ShineOff seems to leave the sparkle in teeth and eyes, while toning down unwanted shine on skin, giving photos a more polished look. Batch convert a series of images to reduce shine or work on one image at a time. If you have a tool like the full version of Photoshop with Action support, you can combine this with PearlyWhites Teeth Whitening to complete two image tweaking tasks at once. [Windows 9x/2k/XP $49.95]

PearlyWhites – Teeth Whitening Photoshop Plugin

Bleaching your teeth is both expensive and likely not a healthy solution for having white teeth in photos. Color correction is a much more cost effective solution and it works on everyone with no trips to the dentist. There are ways to achieve white teeth in Photoshop through a combination of built-in tools, but I find it much faster to use a plugin built specifically for the task of making teeth white. Enter PearlyWhites from Image Trends. Install the plugin for use with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or any other app that supports the Photoshop plugin method and you’ll get great looking teeth in every photo. Support for one off fixes or batch fixing of all teeth in a series of photos is supported. [Windows 9x/2k/XP $49.95]

PSTCompactor Home Edition

Outlook is far from a perfect mail client, but it combines everything I use daily in one common location better than anything else I’ve tried, so I live with the shortcomings. One of the places Outlook really needs improvement is the bloated PST storage file where all that data collects. PSTCompactor helps shrink your PST file by as much as 38%, optimizing in areas where Microsoft hasn’t managed to fix some glaring issues. Compress attachments, force compacting of data and permanently eliminate deleted messages and information. By keeping your PST file clean, mail data is less prone to corruption and failure. The home edition is limited to compacting 5 PST files. Compatible with Outlook 98, 2k, XP and 2003. [Windows 2k/XP $24.95]

Wallpaper Cam

Wallpapers remain one of the quickest ways to spice up an otherwise stale looking desktop. Change the picture with one of the image rotation options or simply rotate something new in when you need a refreshing view. I recently ran across a slick application that takes desktop wallpaper to a whole new level. Combining webcam images with desktop wallpaper, you get a truly dynamic view of your favorite location or destination, live on your desktop. Activate the included Times Square webcam and refresh your desktop with a new image as often as every 5 seconds to see people passing on the street. Add one of the traffic cams from your commute to see traffic jam up live on your desktop. You can even watch for sightings in Elvis Graceland bedroom. Aim a webcam at your kids in the other room and keep a watchful eye from the next room. This is by far the coolest application for both webcams and wallpaper I’ve seen in ages. The app isn’t free; give it a try before writing it off. [Windows 9x/2k/XP $19.95]


Turn your neighbor’s cat into a rutabaga. Put your sister’s face on the family goldfish. Become a Seattle Mariners slugger with some photo trickery. Morphing can be clever or cruel, either way, it’s irresistible. Morphing takes some practice to master the basics, but Morpheus offers solid tutorials to get you started. With a few trial runs under your belt, make use of features like AVI support, key framing and dot delay, for use in movie morphs (available in the pro version). A preview feature lets you check out individual morph frames, before they happen, making it easier to create a seamless morph. Also to new to this version, a built in method for sharing your morph creations via e-mail and zooming for easier manipulation of larger images. [Windows 9x/2k/XP $29.95/49.95]

Flash Video Studio

Publishing movies to the Web as Flash files with a SWF extension is the easiest way to deal with managing things like playback controls, fast forward, rewind and volume control. There’s no need to figure out how to embed QuickTime or Windows Media player in a browser. Most everyone uses Flash, so you don’t need to worry about people watching your movie having the proper codecs installed. In general, using Flash guarantees your movies will just work. The one trick to all this is you need a tool capable of turning AVI, WMV and MOV files into flash FLV or SWF files. Sorensen Squeeze can do it for about $119. You can use Macromedia’s Flash suite to do it automatically, but that will set you back at least $400. Flash Video studio converts AVI, WMV, MPG, MOV and ASF files to SWF or FLV for a small fraction of either price.
If affordable Flash conversion isn’t enough reason to like Flash Video Studio, the app includes several handy publishing features. You can add clickable links in your video. Flash Video Studio supports calling a new SWF file from your video (so you can do something like the play next video option on YouTube). The app supports configurable output options, including batch conversion, watermarking, a handful of effects and masks and a simple set of video and audio compression choices allowing you to maximize quality while minimizing file size. When you output SWF, the app automatically generates the HTML for your page and offers customizable play controls. Built-in FTP makes upload almost automatic. So far, I haven’t found any other app I like better for this purpose. [Windows 2k/XP/Vista $49.95]

Just Screenshots

TechSmith’s SnagIt remains my favorite tool for taking screenshots and tweaking the images. For manipulating screen captures after the grab, this app is an awesome alternative. For screenshots destined for display on your Web pages, without needing a full featured graphic editor, Just Screenshots has everything you need. Crop pieces out of the shot, overlay sections of the shot to highlight a particular screen area, distort your screenshots for artistic effect or to build a more interesting page layout. If you want to effectively present static screenshots on your Web pages, this is a must have for more effective communication of ideas. [Windows 9x/2k/XP $29.95]

Willing Webcam 3.0

Willing Webcam 3.0, as the name makes clear, is a web camera software application that makes it possible to broadcast video or pictures over the Internet. Besides web cameras, the program also works with camcorders and digital cameras that have FireWire, S-Video or Composite output, USB based video capturing devices as well as IP Network Cameras with JPEG output.

PC TimeWatch

Designed for the Windows platforms, the application enables its owner to set limits on the time computer users spend on particular software programs. You can specify an individual time budget for each person who uses the computer and schedule time slots within which she can run programs. Based on these settings, PC TimeWatch locks and unlocks programs. Along with programs, PC TimeWatch gives you the ability to limit Windows logon hours and set the maximum duration of all Windows sessions for a day or a week. As distinct from other software, PC TimeWatch makes use of the Windows security features. Therefore unauthorized users have no chances to disable the program or tamper with its settings.