Continuing the theme of photo projects, I wanted to share a few more tools and techniques that I have been using. These, too, are free for personal use.
The first thing I wanted to share is Microsoft PhotoStory 3. PhotoStory is a free tool from Microsoft that is a slide show creator. The slideshows can be published as videos that you can then share on the internet, view on your computer or burned to a DVD. The latter option can be done one of two ways: you can use an external DVD package to convert the WMV video file to an appropriate format and then burn it to DVD or you can purchase an add-in that allows DVD burning directly from within the application.
PhotoStory has a ton of features to let you customize your slide show in a number of ways. It has a number of transitions including crossfade, wipe up, wipe down, fade in and out and more. Special effects include sepia tone, black and white and others. You can do the ‘Ken Burns effect’ which simply gives you the ability to focus on a part of the photo and do a slow pan in any direction. Using this capability, it is possible to make a whole slide show using just one photo. However, it is better to use many different photos.
You can add narration to your story and background music. PhotoStory has a nice feature where you can either use a pre-recorded MP3 track OR let the application create the music for you. You can choose from many different styles of music and then set the tempo. The effect can be pleasing or, depending on the settings, quite cheesy.
PhotoStory is one of my favorite tools. Unfortunately, it appears that Microsoft is no longer developing the application. It is still available from the Microsoft website and is free.
Photoscape is nice application that has quite a bit of flexibility and packs a lot of power in a free application. Perhaps the best features though, are the RAW to JPG converter and editor. The editor has a cool little feature where you turn a photo into a comic book like panel. You can choose from many different items and move them around the photo and add captions in speech balloons, just like a comic. There are also ‘serious’ editing features such as color correction, cropping, various filters and more.
Photoscape lets you arrange multiple photos on a sheet and print a contact sheet or a package of photos that you can print and give away. It includes a combine and a splitter where you can either combine multiple photos into one or divide a single photo into many parts.
The application is free and is available here.
Inpaint is nifty little application that has one purpose: to remove unwanted objects or people from a photograph. The effect can be quite good or really bad. You need a photo of decent size and the object to remove cannot take up much of the photo. However, it does work well. Say you have a photo of a nice, tranquil beach, but there’s an oil tanker in the photo. Simply use the lasso tool and draw an outline around the tanker and then select INPAINT->RUN from the menu. The tanker will vanish and your photo is instantly made better.
Inpaint is a shareware product and costs $39.95.