The best solution is printing them, but then most of the pictures ever printed are not placed in albums, but kept in the enveloped they came from the developer. Here come the new solutions – album making software. These programs offer the ability to create wedding, trip and family albums with relative easiness, while creating a professional looking book for everyone to browse. The market is split into 2 parts – expensive suites intended for pro’s, and the cheap ones for the hobbyist.
Here enters Picture Collage Maker Pro from Pearl Mountain, and changes everything. This software aims high, and with a few small exceptions, shoots accurately.
Using PCMP is easy – start or open a project, choose page size as recommended by your picture printer, remember that there are margins cut off with any printing service, and you are free to go in one of 2 directions.
1. Using built-in templates – PCMP comes with a large number of templates, and layouts to choose from. Each of them allows photo movement, scaling, cropping and all other imaginable translations. The templates can be used rigidly, or changed to fit your specific vision.
Templates can also be saves from the manipulated versions for future use.
2. Using blank sheets – PCMP starts with a blank sheet of the required size, and the placement of images is completely up to the user. The images can be moved, rotated, panned, cropped and enhanced. Each image is placed in its own layer, with the ability to move backward and forward, applying shadows, masks and so forth.
Picture Collage Maker Pro allows the user to import any number of pictures, from any source – digital camera, scanner, webcam, and create a lasting photo album.
Placing of text is windows-based, hence any language supported by the installed system can be used to annotate the album, as well as any fonts recognizable by Windows.
The 2 pictures show the interface with a. a default template selected by me, b. the same template, with pictures, with rotated, moved and edited pictures, mask applied, etc.
PCMP allows for certain features which are essential, but lacking in many of the comparable software applications, including the more expensive ones – making images the same size, refreshing mask/frame/clipart libraries while working and more.
Pros: Powerful, includes photo manipulation and enhancement, masking ability, can use non proprietary file formats for cliparts, masks, frames and so forth. Extremely cheap compared to the high-end competition.
Cons: Lacks thumbnail generation for photographs – requires reloading of images every time project is opened. Lacks used photo indicator – where an image is marked if used anywhere in the project. Creating copies of the same image for in-program manipulation is also impossible, like using sephia and b/w effect on 2 copies of the same image. Calling of external programs for image editing (adobe...) and updating of thumbnail is also a good option.
In general, the cons are simple additions which do not hinder the performance and workflow of PCMP. The software is powerful, easy to use, dummy friendly and extremely cheap. Even those of us who are prone to using the occasional non-legit software would do well to purchase their own copy of Picture Collage Maker Pro.
I give it 4.5 stars out of 5, and only because of the lack of features listed in the cons it’s not 5/5.