Fotomagico by Boinx Sofware - $99
If you are a professional photographer or an enthusiastic amateur, the chances are you may have been asked by camera clubs to give a talk about the photographic work that you create. Choosing the right software for a presentation may not be as straightforward as you thought, as there are many packages out there on the market.
When I migrated from PC to Mac as my mobile computer, I was told that Keynote would become the go-to slideshow software of choice, but I have to say I found it a little difficult to use. I was a long term user of Pictures-to-Exe on the PC and although it did the job for quite some time, I was never too happy with it either. Rather than allowing you to ‘run’ the slideshow from the software, it required you to make an ‘.exe’ file of the images. This would then run as a standalone program not only a PC but also a MAC too. Although a definite strength, there was never a MAC version of P-to-E, so I went looking for an alternative - enter Fotomagico.
Everything seems very straightforward on opening the software. It asks you what sort of slideshow you would like to create and then your slideshow canvas awaits. There is a navigator panel on the right hand side that allow you to peruse your hard drive and folders can also be added into the panel. I added my Slideshow folder into here, so I could add images from multiple folders.
Building a standard slideshow is really easy. I suggest making the following folder hierarchy -
Make a root folder called Slideshows, then add a working folder inside this, lets say Low Light Photography and then inside here another folder called Images. Make a hi-res selection and add some 1920px images into there, or even hi-res jpegs. All your projects should be saved into the root folder and once saved you’ll be pleased to know the program does a lot of autosaving so your won’t end up losing your work.
BULLET POINTS - It's not so easy but easy to work around... here I made one master slide (13) and copied them backwards, deleting text layers.
You can add blank slides and add text to them, just like a text later in Photoshop. You can create introduction slides rather easily, but when it came to bullet points, things needed a little working out. Let’s say are making bullet points that you wish to reveal with each press of your digital pointer. The way to do this is to make one slide with all your bullet points and copy it over, deleting a bullet point as you go from each slide, in other words you create a master slide (13 in the example above) and copy it backwards. We will say there are five bullet points on my slide - so copy the slide five times. On slide one, delete four bullet points, leaving just my first text layer, slide two delete three etc until you have five slides, the fifth slide containing all the bullet points. Why do it this way? Well its easy to get the alignment all wrong otherwise. Start at the end slide and work backwards - far easier.
There are transitions in abundance, but I find most of these look a little unnecessary as I want the images to speak for themselves. If you are a fan of the moving frame, you know the one that American photographers love, a subtle zoom over five seconds, then there is a great feature for this.
AMERICAN ZOOM - if you want a more animated slide you can set up a start and end value and the slide will zoom between them.
Right click on the slide - select Animation > Zoom In. Then you will notice a duplication of the slide. You can set the zoom of each slide using the wheels underneath. I suggest only using 20% and no more otherwise you can make your audience feel nauseous, especially in 1920HD.
Reliability is very good, the platform is solid. the only time I could get the program to crash was when I did something a little unorthodox, like trying to connect it to a projector with the software running in a display mode. No, it doesn’t like it.
Overall, I don’t think I am using Fotomagico to its full potential. In my field I require a reliable program more than I do a feature laden one and it certainly does that well. I haven’t had the need to use the audio and video features in my talks yet, but I feel confident they will work well. Although a rethink to the text and bullet points idea would benefit the program, I don’t see this as too much of a hindrance. I just finished five weeks of crucial talks for Canon UK with Fotomagico at the helm and it didn’t once cause me problems. It’s fast to use with a clean user interface, well programmed and straightforwards. Boinx Software have done a great job here and yes you guessed it … I still haven’t opened Keynote.
CLICK HERE to visit the Boinx Software site.