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While the phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword" is dubious advice for many practical situations (fending off invading barbarian hordes, etc.), the phrase "the pen is mightier than the mouse" is almost always true when you're talking about digital painting and graphics work. Wacom Technologies has long been the market leader for pressure-sensitive graphics tablets, thanks to their innovative tablet design and excellent battery-free, cordless pen.


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Pros: Puts iPad publishing into the hands of average publishers, with access to dramatic new effects and features.


Cons: Thanks to Apple, submitting an app is a convoluted affair and requires an iOS developer account. There are also two Flash-related bugs that, while they won't apply to every user, will require some people to employ workarounds to fix the bugs' effects.


Rating: 8/10


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Pros: Selections are more precise. Interface is more streamlined. Effects look like they were created by hand, not by computer.

Cons: As in previous versions, Snap Art does not work with CMYK images, only RGB.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10


Some of Alien Skin's most inspiring products have been its artistic filters for Photoshop. The images they produce are artistic and organic, as if they were created by a human hand rather than a computer.


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UI Sketcher from Box UK isn't just another sketching app for the iPad. It's based on principles followed by user interface experts and includes tools to help you quickly capture your initial thoughts in sketches, then develop those ideas into UI mock-ups you can share with colleagues and clients.
UI Sketcher's pen palette, which you summon with a three-finger tap on the iPad, holds five drawing tools:

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Pantone has taken the wraps off of a nylon brights collection for Pantone Fashion + Home. The $99.95 collection includes 21 fluorescent shades in a nylon material:

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If your photo image-editing needs aren't of the professional variety, Akvis ArtSuite might be of interest. This software ($49 as a Photoshop plug-in and $69 as a standalone app) is ideal for adding frames and other effects t0 images destined for postcards, calendars, scrapbooks, etc.
Version 7.0 is the first version of Akvis ArtSuite to accept photos shot in the RAW format. It also adds 105 new patterns to the app's Pattern Library, and 75 new sports-themed frames (available only in the standalone version)
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The $700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is a small, lightweight micro four-thirds camera, yet it has many features that you expect to find in a traditional digital SLR:
- An external Mode dial. Settings include Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual, Custom Modes, Scene Modes, and a Creative Control Mode.
- Built-in flash and hotshoe for connecting external flashes.
- Electronic viewfinder with 100% field of view

The 16MP Lumix G3 also includes the following:
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Filter Forge is a plug-in for Photoshop that helps you create unique filters and effects inside the image-editing program. There's also a Filter Forge community that has contributed more than 8,000 of its own free filters, which you can use and modify.
Now the Filter Forge developers are releasing a beta of version 3.0. If you're the adventurous type, you can download the beta and try out its new features.
Download the Mac version of the Filter Forge 3.0 Beta (85.2 MB)
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Did you know that the ring flash, a circular flash that fits around a camera lens, was invented in 1952 for dental photography? Nowadays, it's a great way to add even lighting to all sorts of photographic situations where unwanted shadows might be a problem.
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The software that began life as iView MediaPro was bought by Microsoft in 2006 and had its name changed to Expression Media. Its star didn't rise high in the pro photography sky, and last year Microsoft sold the app to photo equipment company Phase One. Now Phase One has made some changes of its own, rebranding the app as Media Pro.
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