Review: Boinx Software FotoMagico

Easy to use slideshow software (January 19th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Boinx Software

Price: $79 US

The Good

  • It is easy to use. Company listens to user feedback.

The Bad

  • No manual, only the built-in Help menu, which is limited. It is a bit pricey. Cannot export slideshows with music bought from iTunes because of copyright issues.

Boinx Software announced FotoMagico version 1.5 at Macworld Expo San Francisco last week. FotoMagico creates versatile slide shows out of all those photographs gathered on your Mac. This new version adds ten slide show transitions, titles, the ability to match your slide show length with your music, plus it is Universal Application. This means it will run on the new Intel-based Macs and older Macs running at least Mac OS X 10.3, Panther.

A closer Look

FotoMagico workspace looks much like iMovie and is as easy to use. In the Images tab, you can bring up your iPhoto libraries, a folder, or CD of photos. You view thumbnails on the right side of the work area and drag and drop each thumbnail to the track along the bottom. You can easily arrange your photos within the track. When you click on a slide in the track or the thumbnails, it appears in the image-viewing window, called the Stage Area. FotoMagico lets you size and crop your image in a predefined opening within the Stage Area.

How It Works

In the Options Tab, you control the actions of each slide. A slider control determines how long each slide appears on screen. You can also set your slides to change with the click of a mouse or at a point set on the audio track.

With the use of the Pan & Zoom Option, you can pan across a slide or zoom in or out of a photo. To set up the Pan & Zoom effect, FotoMagico gives you two slide images side by side. The first image shows the beginning point of your effect and the second, the end point of the zoom or pan. For example, a group of five people are in the beginning view. Zoom, zoom, zoom, there is the face of Uncle Sid in the middle. If you want to pan across a photo or panorama of the Grand Canyon, just show in the start window where to start the pan and put the end point in the finish window. If you want your photo to cartwheel across the screen, use the rotation selector next to the zoom selector.

The Transition Option between slides has ten options, including fade, dissolve, wipe, push, and twirl. You decide how long the transition takes. If you want a slow dissolve, drag the duration slider all the way to the right or set the number of seconds you want. For a smoother slide show, MacNN recommends you stick with one or two transitions per show, or you might make your audience dizzy.

Below the photo track is the sound track area. Click on the Audio Tab and drag and drop sound or music files from your iTunes Library. The Audio Option lets you loop that audio file to cover the whole slide show or select one tune to cover one or several slides. Use as many audio files as you want. In a third party sound recorder, you can prerecord an audio message to narrate each slide. Use the volume control to raise or lower the volume in each slide for emphasis. If you want a slide to show up in relationship to a point on the music track, you can do that in the Audio Markers area. For example, you could play "Old Mac Donald had a Farm," and at "On his farm he had some ducks," show your duck photos. This creates educational possibilities that haven't even been explored yet.

In the Title Option you can select font, style, size (36 to 360) color, kerning, and leading. Apple's font menu is also available. Your text can fade in or out at the beginning, end or somewhere in the middle. You can also pan your text left to right, top to bottom or bottom to top like credits in a movie.

You can save your work as a slideshow or as a self-contained slideshow package for others to view. You can also export your show as a QuickTime movie or burn it on a DVD for your friends to watch. FotoMagico also lets you export your slideshow to the web or to your new iPod. You can make a continuous loop of your slideshow to play at a trade fair, in a kiosk, or as a continuous demo.

Try It Out

Over all, this is a great program, once you figure out its many features. You can drag and drop a simple slideshow in fifteen to twenty minutes. If you need a slideshow to dazzle a client or to use in a presentation, FotoMagico may be able to do everything you need. Use it with clip art and midi files to make an activity book for your children. There is a five day demo version available on Boinx's website for you to try out.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Rick Curran


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