Snaps get smarter

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The Independent Online
HOLIDAY snaps may never be the same again after trials begin this week of the first in a series of machines giving amateurs more control over the way their photographs are printed.

The Digital Print Station, produced by Eastman Kodak, lets people create their own re- prints - altering the size or adding a decorative border. It will be on trial at 10 photography shops in the M4 corridor.

It is a simplified version of Kodak's Creation Station, to be tested here next year, which lets people improve or embellish their photographs. With it, they can take out lamp posts that appear to sprout from the tops of heads, smooth out fuzzy bits, and remove 'red eye', blemishes or even friends and relatives who have fallen from favour. The station has a large built-in screen to show how the final image will look. Prints are produced in minutes.

Customised gift cards can also be produced. Extra text and graphics can be added to a photograph or the background changed; Christmas cards with a picture of the family under the tree or the same group on a beach in Hawaii perhaps.

Kodak says it is easy to use. Customers feed negatives or a print into the machine, which scans the image into its computer memory. The picture is then held in digitally coded computer language which can be manipulated. Some shops already have machines that let customers create their own reprints, but without the facility to manipulate the images.