Imagina - Virtual Lightbox


Imagina - Virtual Lightbox

An excellent photo viewer and editor


Our rating: 


Pros & Cons:

Focuses on digital photography particularly whole images; Excellent Raw processing; Has basic and advanced options; Assistance from descriptive tooltips, inline help; HDR support from the start; Color management is excellent.
No painting/drawing tools and no layers because Imagina focuses on digital photography; Online help links are broken; Online feature descriptions are for an older version.

Our Review:

Rob Baker's Imagina - Virtual Lightbox is, as the name suggests, a photo viewer and editor and an excellent one at that. Of all the image editors, Imagina has more of the most important features that I would want for photo editing.

The problem for most users will be that it is not good for image manipulation as it has no drawing or painting tools. If you want every, or even many, visual effects then you should also look elsewhere. It does have some and I had the most fun with the Period Style which allows you to simulate historical reproduction methods including '70s and '80s Instamatic snaps. This is also where you find a limited form of vignetting to simulate fading from the edge of a photo print. But that is the limit of its fancy effects. It also has no tools to correct lens distortion and perspective problems.

Imagina's forté is editing your photographs without losing any information in the process. The first time you use it you will be asked whether you "prefer quality over speed". I did so all images were processed at higher (floating point) quality which is noticeably slower. Imagina read every image file I tested including the Raw and HDR formats for which it has the best options to digitally 'develop' them. It is also the best at displaying any photograph on screen - for a moment I thought that I'd accidentally saved enhancements to some of my test images. It turned on Windows Color Management (WCM) automatically and told me most of what I need to know each step of the way. As you will see if you click on the screenshot, there are basic and advanced options for most tools (advanced options are displayed here), the tooltips and inline descriptions are very good, there is a reset button if you pick-up a mistake in the preview, and you have the option to undo and redo.

On the website there is a very good summary of Imagina's features, including video demonstrations, which will enhance your understanding of both the program and digital photography. A minor issue is that the examples all use an older version of the program interface. A bigger issue is that Imagina help is online and all the links are broken so when you do need more assistance it is not there. It could also do with an undo/redo list so you can see what you are undoing. If not for issues like this, and the lack of distortion correction, then I would probably recommend it for every aspiring photographer.

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