The most convenient way to show your photos to someone is by using Windows Photo Viewer or some other photo viewing application such as Picasa or IrfanView; you either use the mouse or arrow keys to flip through the photos manually or use the built-in slideshow function that displays photos serially at the set interval. This works out the quickest for casual viewing, but you would want something fancy to present or share your fond memories. Magix PhotoStory on DVD 2013 Deluxe lets you do just that—it helps you create fantastic-looking slideshows with much ease and export them to videos or burn them to DVDs or Blu-ray discs. Want to know what you can do with this software and how easy it is to use? Keep reading.

An software to present your photos in an innovative way!

A software to present your photos in an innovative way!

User interface and features

You can either start a new project and go the manual way, or create a new slideshow with a wizard, which is the easier and quicker way out, especially if you’re new to the software. Let’s consider the wizard for now, and later move on to the manual way. The first step in the wizard prompts you to select the image format (widescreen 16:9 or standard 4:3) and the disc format (DVD, DVD DL, Blu-ray and AVCHD). In the next step, you have to specify the photos and videos you wish to add to the slideshow and set the display duration of each photo. The thumbnails of photos get displayed as you add them. The next step is where all the action lies—stylising your slideshow! You can either choose from a bunch of style templates or set the fades, effects, text boxes and background music manually. The way you set fades and effects is very easy. The type of fades and effects are listed (with appropriate icons for reference) and you have to drag the slider alongside each type to set the frequency of occurrence. A preview pane is located to the right to preview the slideshow.

Drag the sliders to adjust the frequency of effects

Drag the sliders to adjust the frequency of effects

In the final step of the wizard, you can either choose to continue editing the slideshow manually or proceed to designing the disc menu and finally burning the disc. The Export tab at the top gives you the option to save output as a video file or share it in your online album. So, creating a slideshow takes only a couple of minutes using only the wizard. The results look good, but the real fun lies in going the manual way. Let us tell you, it’s not as daunting as you think it may be. In fact, you’ll prefer the manual method (especially if you’re meticulous about getting the best results) because of the fine-grain customisation options the software offers.  

Transition templates

Transition templates

The manual method is similar to using a video editing application. The photos you add to the slideshow appear on a timeline at the bottom of the window. At the top, you have the preview pane with playback controls and a tabbed browser where you can add and customise transitions, effects and titles (text boxes). The photos on the timeline are linked together by transition tabs (AB). Clicking the tab brings up a context menu where you can choose from a list of transitions. Selecting the ‘More Fades’ option takes you to the Transitions tab in the browser. Here, the transitions are grouped into categories such as shapes and objects, effect transitions, movement, 3D and so on. The most common ones are Blinds, Blur, Door, Draw, Flying, Waves, White fade and Zooming. There are more than 20 effects to choose from. Applying a transition is as simple as dragging it from the browser and dropping it on the photo of your choice on the timeline.

 

The thumbnails on the timeline have icons for Titles, Rotation (90 degrees clockwise) and FX – pretty self-explanatory. The Titles shortcut takes you to the corresponding tab in the browser from where you can format the text box (font, font size and alignment). You can also apply animations such as Carousel, Fade in, Typewriter and Rotation from over a hundred effects. Then there are effects specifically for use with subtitles, final credits and ticker. The text effects and transitions cannot be customised unlike effects you can add to photos. The functions in the Effects tab are what you’ll have to master to jazz up your slideshows. These are categorised into the following:

 

Image optimisation

This section offers controls to manually tweak the brightness, colour level and sharpness, plus there are over 50 templates including effects such as Green sky, Negative, Jigsaw puzzle, Solarization, Color Shift etc.

 

Distortion

These effects are categorised into Art filter (Dilate, Emboss, Quantize, Colorise), Distortion (Echo, Whirlpool, Fisheye, Mosaic, Sand) and you have over 30 templates. Using the templates is much easier, as creating effects manually using sliders requires getting used to. You have to use markers on the timeline to mark in and mark out the start and end of the effect respectively. Also, you can combine and overlay effects. 

Effect sliders and timeline

Effect sliders and timeline

View and animation

These effects mainly involve zooming, panning and rotation. Again, going the template way is much more convenient because customising and creating effects may require a lot of tinkering. Over 40 templates including effects such as pan, zoom in and zoom out (all in different directions) should include what you need.

 

Design

This includes decorative elements (similar to clipart), backgrounds and intro/outro effects to add some bling to your photos. 

Effect templates

Effect templates

Features continued…

Once you’re done with previewing the slideshow after adding effects and transitions, you can proceed with burning the project to the disk or exporting the slideshow to a video file. Or you can add more slideshows to the same project. The Burn tab takes you to a disc mastering interface. You get a virtual remote control to simulate menu playback and navigation. The Burn icon lets you select the disc format (DVD, Blu-ray and AVCHD) and proceed with burning the disc.

Disc mastering interface

Disc mastering interface

The Export tab lets you archive the entire project on the hard disk or optical media and output the slideshow in various formats:

  • Video: MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and WMA formats
  • Output as individual photos
  • 3D Video: Anaglyph or Side-by-Side
  • Share in your Magix Online Album
  • Publish online: Upload your photos or slideshows to YouTube, Flickr or Facebook (with keywords and descriptions wherever applicable)
  • Output for mobile device: Android (phones and tablets), iPhone and iPad
  • Export as media player to embed slideshows in webpages 

Output options

Output options

Verdict and price in India

Priced at Rs 5,100, Magix PhotoStory on DVD 2013 Deluxe doesn’t come in cheap. However, the kind of results you can get with this software justifies the price to quite an extent. You’ll find it expensive if you mostly use the wizard and built-in templates to churn out quick results. But if you create slideshows frequently and want plenty of effects and granular control, you’ll find this software perfectly tailored for you.

Publish date: January 12, 2013 4:23 pm| Modified date: December 19, 2013 6:46 am

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