Masking Tool feature. Internet Google Image Search. Opacity Control and Tile Effect. Accurate templates.
Too many black and white images in ClipArt Collection. User Guide could be more comprehensive and easier to follow. Program has some bugs that need to be ironed out. No automated uninstall.
After trying out many disc label templates for various programs with little success, I gave up, until I found BeLight Software's Disc Cover. This application lets you create your own designs and add customized text, plus it prints directly onto CD or DVD media and onto labels. Our new writer from Australia, Margaret Boyles, gave this program a good workout and wrote the majority of this review.
As Marg personally likes an Instruction Manual to follow when learning new applications, she printed out the Disc Cover Help found under the Help Menu. There were some sections of this Guide that she found quite difficult to understand. By playing around and experimenting with all the buttons, she learned about various features of the application that were not adequately covered in the User Guide. I used the hunt and peck method, so we ended up using very different features of the program.
While Marg stumbled over the Masking feature, I had my own problems with importing photos from various folders on my hard drive. Marg found that a quick email to BeLight Support provided her with a very prompt answer to her problem. They provided screen shots and even a brief QuickTime movie to explain the Masking procedure that presented her with difficulties. Marg notes that BeLight must be commended for their excellent support.
The Assistant helps you choose a template from four categories Music, Photos, Files & Data, DVD, General and Blank. The included templates are actually nice. When working with images in the Image Tab Inspector, the Opacity Control allows you to fade an image right down to use a very subtle background for your disk. The Tile Effect, also in the Image Tab Inspector, also provides some very interesting effects.
Marge notes that the Masking feature is brilliant when you work out how to use it. This feature allows you to crop your images into all sorts of shapes using Basic Shapes in Clipart. In addition, you can place them wherever you like into your Design Element.
Selected shapes from Basic Shapes in ClipArt are also useable as a decoration around the centre of the disc for a Background. More than one shape can be placed on top of another to create even more effects.
The Text feature is also very good. Text can be in blocks or inserted in a circular fashion around the disc and there is very good control over what the text looks like by using the various features. Features such as, font size, space between letters, space between lines, and color allows co-ordination with backgrounds, and with circular text. You can use the Angle button and the handles to place the circular font exactly as desired.
You also have access to all the fonts in your system, but you have to choose one to see how it looks. A Font menu, instead of the Font Book style palette might have been easier to use. A spell check feature is one very important advantage as it saves potentially embarrassing blunders.
Importing Play Lists from iTunes is simple, as is importing pictures from iPhoto. The software gets a little funky when you import pictures from a different folder though. It is very slow to read and show thumbnails, but once they show up, simple clicks serve to move the photos to designated templates on your design.
The direct Internet access to download images is a brilliant feature. Disc Cover uses Google Search Server. This feature dissipates the slight disappointment that Marg had with the largely black and white ClipArt collection. I actually thought the variety of art was just enough.
Odd Implemenation of Good Features
While the program is relatively easy to use, some of the features are implemented in odd ways. The interface is similar to their other programs though. A more comprehensive manual is needed, but even if you read it, experimenting is the only way to really discover all the features. In addition, Ilene had the program up and quit on her no less than five times while importing custom photos and printing a CD insert. The label layouts were correct though, plus printed correctly, so that's a major frustration laid to rest.
Although the program has a few problems, it does provide a better way to customize your label creations than most of the plug-in templates available for other programs. In addition, the well done Assistant's artwork gives you a wide variety, even in the downloadable version. Here are the fruits of our efforts: