updated 09:00 pm EDT, Wed October 10, 2012
Better sound syncing, Retina graphics, audio markers, more
Software maker Boinx has brought out a milestone release of its flagship slideshow creator, FotoMagico 4. The new version adds support for the Retina display of the new MacBook Pros, and adds a number of new features and a lengthy list of improvements, tweaks and fixes to the program, which goes beyond what Keynote, Powerpoint or iPhoto can achieve in terms of versatility and fine control of slideshow presentations. The update includes a more intuitive user interface, up to six layers on a single slide, a Timeline mode and more.
The Timeline feature allows for precise adjustment of each slide's duration along with easy control of how long transitions should last. It works in harmony with the original Storyline view that lets users drag-and-drop slides. Users can now see the audio waveform of the sound they are using for their presentation and adjust slides so that they arrive on a precise beat or change in the sound, as well as adjust volume and fades. The program also uses Audio Markers (now directly on the Timeline) to trigger when certain cues or sounds are to be used. Timescales can be adjusted with gestures on a trackpad or by using a slider, and both Storyboard and Timeline can be collapsed when not needed, making editing on a notebook screen easier.
Audio fades can now be done independently of visual transitions, and pop-overs will alert users to any authoring issues in the slideshow and provide possible solutions. Another big feature is the addition of layers, each of which can be panned, zoomed, faded or rotated independently of each other, allowing for example an animation of clouds to reveal a title -- a transition that wasn't possible previously.
The program, which combines the previous Home and Pro versions of FotoMagico, now automatically scales photos to the size of the slideshow to help avoid large file sizes and slow loading times. Layers can be locked if desired, and "placeholder" items can be created and saved as templates. Movies and images can have borders with selectable color and width, and slideshows can now also contain a single non-animated background layer in addition to the foreground. A new sharing menu allows users to easily post their creations to various social and video sites.
The program is now sandboxed and compatible with Gatekeeper on OS X Mountain Lion, and CMYK image files can now be used (though they are not recommended as ideal for slideshows). The new version also fixes some bugs, such as restoring the ability to tab between text fields, a fix for an issue where a slide that opens in the middle of a song might cause the song to begin playing again, and a fix for collapsing a chapter that has only one slide.
The move to Gatekeeper is not without its own issues, however; in exchange for the enhanced security, Flickr and iPhoto Events are being removed from the iMediaBrowser until issues with each can be resolved. The program is available for sale from either the Mac App Store or through FastSpring e-commerce, and costs $100. Because the price has been reduced from FotoMagico 3's previous $140 price, no upgrade pricing is available. Users who wish to move to the Mac App Store version with this release can take the opportunity without penalty. A remote control app for the iPhone is available for an additional $5.