If you haven't got the cash to splash on Adobe's Photoshop, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives when it comes to photo editing and manipulation software. One such option is Avanquest Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0.

According to Avanquest this £40 program not only allows PC users to implement basic edits such as cropping and red-eye removal but also to enhance their images with artistic effects, remove blemishes and make them presentable for sharing on social networks such as Facebook and even create personalised gifts such as calendars and post cards from them. But is Avanquest Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0 as simple and easy to use as Avanquest claims?

Actually, it is. To begin with you need to install the Avanquest Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0 software on your PC, which takes around five minutes. Then you'll be presented with three shortcuts on your desktop; Photo Explosion Album, Photo Explosion Editor and Photo Explosion Project Studio.

By opening the Photos Explosion Album you'll be able to import the images and pictures saved on our PC into once place by simply clicking the get media button. The software will provide you with an explorer window that lets you search the different folders on your hard drive, looking for media to import into the album. It then lets you assign tags and search terms to each image, making it easier to locate them in the album.

Once you've created an album and assigned tags to you can then edit an image by selecting the ‘Fix & Enhance' button. This offers you four options; quick fix studio, instant artist studio, makeover studio and edit in Avanquest Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0.

The Quick Fix Studio allows you to make simple edits to fix common problems such as removing red-eye and straightening images, while the edit in photo explosion lets you access the full set of tools in the photo-editing software

In particular we loved the Makeover studio. This offers step-by-step instructions to airbrush people in images to create a perfect look, from smoothing out wrinkles and brightening eyes to adding a fake tan, ideal for use on Facebook and other social networks.

Meanwhile, the instant artist studio allows you to add artistic effects such as turning your photo into a pencil sketch or water colour. Once you've saved the changes, you are transported back to your album. Here you can either chose a new image to edit or make use of the ‘Create & Share' option. We loved this because it not only allowed us to print our images or email them to friends but also allowed us to directly upload them to Facebook or Flickr.

Alternatively, the more competent users can open Photo Explosion Project Editor directly and access all of the photo-editing tools available in the software.

And once you've fixed your images, why not make something featuring them? The Photo Explosion Project Editor offers templates for hundreds of projects from greetings cards and calendars to scrapbooks.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Avanquest Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0: Specs

  • PC running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, Intel Pentium III or faster, 256MB of RAM, DVD drive
  • PC running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, Intel Pentium III or faster, 256MB of RAM, DVD drive

OUR VERDICT

If you don’t have the cash to splash on Photoshop, Avanquest Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0 is a competent alternative. It’s simple to use and offers great editing tools alongside fun functions making it ideal for all the family and, in particular, image conscious Facebook fans.

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