A simple one-step photo page creator with funky interface. (July 11th, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: SmileOnMyMac, LLC
Price: $29.95 US
- Creates pages in most popular album sizes. The final pages look great. Reasonably priced. Works equally well in OS X 10.4 and OS X 10.5
- Suffers from poor interface design. Some edit options in odd places. Not enough album and page templates. No clip art included. Clunky interface to switch photo positions on a page. No option to have a photo album printed online.
Many people engage in scrapbooking and create albums for their treasured photos. Craft and hobby stores have a huge assortment of scrapbooking supplies including fancy papers, stickers, boarder cutters, and more. By the time you finish a project, the total time and money investment can be enormous. PhotoPrinto from SmileOnMyMac helps you design and print digital photo albums with their templates or your own designs at a much-reduced cost.
With PhotoPrinto v.2.1.2, you can create and print customized photo albums, scrapbook, and single album pages. You can add text, captions, and masks to your photos. You arrange your photos on a page with frames, soft edges, and special effects. PhotoPrinto parts company from scrapbooking because it contains no cute clip art or fancy text elements in the program, but you can stickers and other items after printing.
The InterfacePhotoPrinto has a one-window interface, which is a bit confusing. I recommend you click on the Help menu first and read the step-by-step guide in the getting around section. It covers the non-standard interface in the work area and tools. There are many options in the program, but few of them where you expect them to appear. A downloadable PDF version of the Help Manual is also on the support web page.
When you first open the program, the left column displays a selection of templates and blank pages. The Templates include SmileOnMyMac logos as photo place holders. The bottom tools area for the Templates screen has a button to choose your iPhoto album or photo folder, a Category pop-up menu, and the name and description of the template you choose. You must click the New Album from Template button or click in the photo window to open your workspace. When you choose an iPhoto album or photo folder, PhotoPrinto automatically inserts all the pictures into the template you choose, so be forewarned. Editing the album is much simpler if you've moved only the photos you want into one album or folder.
Once you select a template and move into the Work area to edit, the left column displays all of the albums you have made. You can click on one to continue working or create a new album. The Store button takes you to the SmileOnMyMac web store. They are working on adding custom templates from various designers to sell as add-ons to the product, but none are available yet. The work area displays in the middle. Here is where you edit pages and photos and view your album. Individual pages in your album appear in the right column. When you create a new album or press the Edit button the bottom tool area with a number of function icons displays. A small arrow on the bottom right, called the Page Selector, expands your view, so that you can see pages and individual photos in the whole album.
Functions AreaThe bottom of the Edit window holds all the tools you need, but it is referred to as the Functions Area in the manual. To the left of your tools is a link to your photos. If you use iPhoto or some other photo catalog, PhotoPrinto works easily. It can also go to a photo folder of photos or a photo CD.
The select tool drags, moves, resizes your photos, while other icons handle cropping and rotating your object. Six object tools create a place for photos, masks (oval, square, star, circle), photo and text, circle text and line. You can also align, crop, and zoom your photos. If you want to arrange a group of photos into a circle with each photo of equal distance from each other and the center, it is easy to accomplish. Thankfully, all the icons have tool tips, so you don't have to guess what each icon does.
In addition to the icon buttons are four tabs on the right that contain many other options. You can digitally frame your photos with several choices including a drop shadow, solid color, soften edges and a choice of six wood frames. The Mask menu under the Photo and Image tabs provides cut outs, including hearts, diamonds, stars, and ovals. Under this option are also additional effects include convert photos to gray scale or sepia, distort, stylize, sharpen or blur, as well as halftone, color and tile effects. This is an odd place for these photo-enhancing commands, but at least they are included. Some effects are more bizarre than others, but you can try them out, because fortunately, you have a number of undoes.
OverviewThis is a photo album page software rather than scrapbook software. There are no artsy crafty things here and no clip art library or large fancy type, but there are a few themed pages as in Happy Birthday and vacation. You can put a banner over the top of the page and caption photos, but no 40th Birthday banner through the middle of the page or over photos. On the other hand, it can create a great wedding album or a remembrance of some other activity. The basic photo editing tools work well, but don't provide tweaking, so you should make your photo edits in some other program before you import them into PhotoPrinto. If you want to print large pages for 12 x 12 photo albums, you will need to go to a commercial printer or purchase a hefty-priced large format printer.
If you want to print pages with two or four photos or photos in a circle with captions, PhotoPrinto does the job nicely. If you want to create sports photos with the team photo at the bottom and two photos at the top, this is the program to use. It should work nicely for a model's photo composite too.
Bottom LineIt isn't the greatest program I have ever worked with, but if you need what it does, it works well; that is why I gave it 3.5 stars. If you have baby pictures or wedding photos or vacation snap shots, it is a nice way to organize them and print them into pages. You can even caption each photo and tell who is in each picture; that is really handy for us family historians. It is better than a shoebox full of photos. This is not a difficult program, but it may be confusing to a newbie. Download a demo copy before you make a purchase.
* Photos © Ilene Hoffman, 2008; ** Photos © Rick Curran, 2008