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Image Is All

A determination not to settle for second best led an innovative Hamilton couple to develop breakthrough image-correcting software technology that looks to raise the standard, while lowering the price, of corrective photo-editing.

'ImageAlign', from fledgling software developer company Grasshopper, is a software tool that removes distortion from digital images caused by the curve and angle of the photographic lens, at a fraction of the cost of conventional lens correction.

Frustration at the distortion of a backdrop photo, intended to illustrate a series of children's books, led ImageAlign creators Gavin Davey and Karyn Janelle to set up Grasshopper, and embark on a two year project to find a better way to correct existing digital images rather than reshoot using conventional on-camera lens correction.

Grasshopper received a $26,500 grant from Technology New Zealand's Grants for Private Sector Research and Development (GPSRD) scheme to help in the development and work alongside software developers to complete the project.

ImageAlign is a software product, which removes distortion caused by wide and ultra-wide angle lenses in 'still' images, with moving film and video being the company's next goal. According to Grasshopper's Managing Director, Geoff Knox, the software replaces the need for conventional movement-lens hardware approach to correcting perspective and curvature distortion, at a considerable cost and time saving.

"Hardware equivalents can cost several thousands of dollars and can still result in some limitations where distortion is still evident in the image," he says. "We've finished beta testing our software and we believe that it will sell at under $NZ700. While it competes with photo editing suites like Adobe's PhotoShop, it fixes distortions that PhotosShop can't. In fact ImageAlign plugs in to Photoshop to give even greater flexibility to imaging professionals."



Interest in the software's big potential has come, understandably, from professional photographers, graphic artists and website designers, as well as the military and forensic police photographers.

"We have also been told that ImageAlign technology will be of tremendous assistance in the security industry for editing images relating to crime scenes and military reconnaissance," says Mr Knox.

"The GPSRD grant from Technology New Zealand was very beneficial to us during the development period and the future is looking bright," says Mr Knox.
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