MAGIX Photo Designer 7 is a straightforward tool that will help you to get more from your digital photos.

It provides all the basic image manipulation options, for instance: rotate, flip, resize, crop and so on. Problem-solving tools will help you to remove red-eye, and automatically fix exposure, colour or white balance issues. And there are a selection of filters that will sharpen or blur an image, distort it in various ways, or transform it into a mosaic or oil painting.

The "special effects" list isn't too lengthy - we've seen many free tools that offer more - but Photo Designer makes up for this with its sheer volume of configuration options. When you choose the "Painting" effect, say, your image will be transformed into a work of art immediately. But if you don't like the results, then you can tweak the brush, brush size, direction of stroke, colour, paper and transparency, as well as choosing from more than 27 predefined styles - it's really very comprehensive.

And it's a similar story elsewhere. As you explore Photo Designer you'll notice apparent deficiencies at first, like its distinct lack of drawing and paint tools. But every so often you discover impressive options that more than make up for this, like the powerful selection tools, its ability to create panorama pictures from multiple photos, or a batch processing tool that can resize, rotate and apply any set of Photo Designer effects to a folder full of images, all at once.

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It's short on drawing and paint tools, and sometimes awkward to use, but MAGIX Photo Designer makes up for this with a host of useful editing features that can help to transform your digital photos