Introduction Program CodedColor PhotoStudio 4 Pro is a picture display
program you probably haven't heard about. Yet, it is one of the most powerful picture display programs out there. A 30-day
free trial is available, and if you decide to buy it, the cost is $39.
Complexity One gets the impression that CodedColor tends to suffer from bloatware - it's display window
is subdivided into four panes, and some of these panes can be further divided. Once you've selected
an album or folder, some of these panes are unnecessary, but hang around anyway. PicViewPlus shows
you one window, with the option of bringing up other windows if you choose.
Sorting Both CodedColor and PicViewPlus do automatic picture ordering/sorting. But sometimes you want
to do the sort yourself (manually). CodedColor requires that files be renamed to do this. PicViewPlus
lets you simply move thumbnails around.
Picture Selection Picture selection can be done by thumbnail in both programs. CodedColor displays a strip of
thumbnails than becomes tedious when browsing a large collection of pictures. PicViewPlus displays
its thumbnails in a resizable window, so you can see more at one time.
CodedColor offers First, Previous,
Next, and Last picture navigation in preview mode, but only Previous and Next in slide show mode.
PicViewPlus offers all four choices in both modes. Furthermore, it also has the ability to skip
up to 10 pictures in either direction - in either mode.
Pan and Zoom CodedColor does a better job than most programs when it comes to pan and zoom, offering point
and box zooms. PicViewPlus also offers a point and box zoom, but has a slight edge in that you
can easily do a best-fit zoom with the keyboard or mouse. This operation is often done while
browsing pictures, and while CodedColor has it, it's difficult to access.
Audio Both CodedColor and PicViewPlus can play an audio file associated with a picture. But only
PicViewPlus can play background audio files.
Picture Information CodedColor does a very good job of accessing EXIF, IPTC, and picture file information. PicViewPlus
cannot access most IPTC picture information. But PicViewPlus has the edge in EXIF data, since it
handles some tags CodedColor doesn't: Photographer and GPS data. Both let you edit the important
EXIF tag Image Description with multiline data. But PicViewPlus also lets you edit tag
User Comment. Almost all other programs have trouble with this tag.
Captioning Surprisingly, CodedColor is very weak when it comes to captioning. No caption appears when you
browse pictures. One does appear when you are in slide show mode, but it consists of the title,
date, and filename in small yellow text at the bottom of the picture. There is no ability to change
this. PicViewPlus, on the other hand, is better than any other program when it comes to captioning.
You can specify what text goes in the caption, its size, font, color, and effects. This block of
text can be placed at one of four standard locations on the picture, or at a custom location. It
can also be placed in a scrolling text box above or below the picture.
Transition Effects Both CodedColor and PicViewPlus offer a variety of transition effects, with little control
Background CodedColor has no way to change the picture background. PicViewPlus lets you visually select
from a variety of colors and textures.
Picture Frames CodedColor has no ability to display simulated picture frames.
PicViewPlus offers dozens to select from, along with the ability to change their thickness.
Printing CodedColor has very basic printing capability - one picture, or a "contact sheet", where a
contact sheet is really only 1 picture per page. Captioning is minimal, and only available on
the contact sheet. There are no templates. PicViewPlus offers many templates, allowing you to
print many pictures per page. You can select the orientation of each picture box within the
template, choosing among several ways to do a best-fit. You can optionally include the picture
caption exactly as it appears while in the slide show. You can optionally also include any
picture frame you have selected. No other program has these print features.
Search Both programs feature the ability to search for pictures by their tag content. CodedColor
offers more search options, such as the ability to search by IPTC keywords. While both have
good search ability, that of CodedColor appears far more difficult to use.
Cost CodedColor costs about twice as much as PicViewPlus.
In summary, CodedColor is generally comparible to PicViewPlus in pans and zooms,
picture information, and picture searching. But it offers no background sound, no background
color selection, and no simulated picture frames. CodedColor is far behind PicViewPlus when it
comes to flexible picture captioning and picture printing. Finally PicViewPlus is half the cost of