Computer programs are a bit like butlers. Some are rather old, scruffy looking, unpresentable beggars who are past their best. Others simply don’t provide a very good service, taking so long to serve the digital soup that it becomes cold. And of course, there are those that do other things with the digital soup that are best not discussed (yes, malware-laden bloat-bags, we’re talking about you). However, Nero PhotoShow Deluxe 4 has no truck with such negativity.
It’s a dapper fellow with gleaming white gloves – they’ll be the crisp and clean, very smartly presented menus – which takes you by the hand, installs itself painlessly and then does its level best to help out with organising your digital photo collection.
We were quite impressed with its efficiency when we plugged in our external backup drive to copy some old holiday snaps onto the hard disk, as it immediately chimed in and asked us if it could copy the images it had just found to our picture directory. It even gave us the option of renaming all the images to the same name as the folder we were going to store them in. Now that’s service with a binary smile. Naturally, the program searches your local disk and catalogues any pictures already present, too.
Organisation of your photos (and videos) is the first core function of PhotoShow, and as well as the obvious cataloguing, the program lets you mark favourite pictures, or rate them out of five stars, so you can quickly locate your masterpieces. You can also search by various other methods such as date or keyword tags.
Any photo can be edited within the program simply by double-clicking on it. The image editor is quite well featured: there are standard rotate and crop functions, facilities to add text and clipart, over twenty filters (from basic tints through to impressionist and water colour) and a simple but effective red-eye tool. It’s all very user friendly, although the one-click “autofix” button, which is suppoed to automatically improve the quality of an image, generally didn’t provide good results in our opinion.
The second core element is the “Make” section of the program, in which you concoct the eponymous photoshow – a slideshow of photos which can be put together in a matter of minutes. After selecting a number of images, you can specify the speed and type of transition between slides (with varying effects from gradual zooms to pictures exploding onto the screen in stars). Opening credits can then be designed using a simple menu, and background music chosen from a large range of genres.
Basically, it’s dead easy to knock out a lively photoshow, and you can embellish the proceedings further by adding animated text and clipart to each frame. There are even standard templates for instant use, such as a wedding theme complete with a love-hearts backdrop, wedding march music and gentle dissolve fades.
Other options under the “Make” category can be used to produce your own screensaver or dynamic desktop theme (meaning a selection of background pictures which are automatically cycled through). It’s also possible to burn images straight onto a CD, or burn a complete photoshow onto a CD or DVD so you can watch it on TV.
Furthermore, PhotoShow Deluxe incorporates sharing facilities which allow you to upload your pictures or shows to the PhotoShow Circle Web site; then you can send links out to friends and family. The program comes with a free, one year, premium membership to the site, which means that your picture Web page is permanent (as long as you remain a member) and you can upload video clips too.
Contact: +49 724 89280