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A Software Masterpiece For Artists?

Bits & Bytes


Computers have never been as cheap or friendly to artists as they are to writers. Touching up photos or merging images requires hefty computing horsepower. And professional systems from companies such as Scitex Corp. can cost up to $250,000, while PC packages such as Adobe Systems Inc.'s Photoshop can be painfully slow. And both cramp the artist's flexibility. Now, Paris-based FITS Imaging has come up with an affordable program for creating complex onscreen images with the ease of a brush on canvas.

FITS' product, Live Picture, gives the artist a toolbox to paint, rotate, and enlarge any digitized image. Each change is stored in a different layer, or file, that can be manipulated independently from others. That gives the designer freedom to rework any element at any time--and see the change instantly. By contrast, systems such as Scitex store all changes as a list of operations, then apply them in one shot. That means if something's not right, the designer must go back and start over. Experts say the $3,495 Macintosh software could revolutionize image editing.EDITED BY BART ZIEGLER

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