Review

Review: FotoMagico 2 from Boinx! - Mac Slideshow Creation

foto.pngCreating slideshows on your Mac is relatively easy. All Macs come with iLife when you purchase them new. Between iPhoto and iDVD, you can come up with some pretty impressive stuff. While you can create some impressive looking shows to non-mac people, sometimes you want something more to add that 'wow' effect. This is where Boinx Software's FotoMagico 2 comes in. It offers an array of features to create give your slideshow the edge that it needs. Creation When you start the program you are offered to choose your primary display device (Monitor, Television, or Projector). Each option offers different optimal setting and FotoMagico adjusts for optimal quality depending on your settings. For the highest quality you would want to choose 'Monitor' and then select the appropriate screen size. This uses all of the pixels available on your Mac. For my test setup, I chose to use a Television Widescreen TV (16:9) ratio. fotomag_0.jpg The first step is to add your photos. FotoMagico automatically recognizes your iPhoto, Aperture, etc. From there you can start selecting photos that you want to use. You simply find your photo, then drag and drop it onto the blank canvas. Once you do this, it then changes from one single pane to two. They both show the same image, but the left pane is how the image will start on the screen and other pane is your finished look. fotomag_5.jpg You can Zoom in/out, rotate, drag your picture around to different corners, resize it and more. This is extremely powerful. During testing, I started with a close up image of a statue's eye and panned out to show the whole thing. This is much more powerful than the standard Ken Burns effect. fotomag2_1.jpg Additionally you can create titles from all of the built-in fonts on your Mac, along with the same powerful zoom and rotational controls unique to your slide. To add extra power to this, you have additional options to control the opacity and animation of the text. I normally don't find myself titling each slide, but if you need granular control, FotoMagico 2 offers it. fotomag2_2.jpg Audio Addition What's a slideshow without audio? Boring. Luckily this app offers integration with your iTunes library as well as any iLife audio you may have on your Mac. You can use any non-drm file to add to your slideshow. It offers some basic looping and fade/in options. You simply drag the track you want to use to the selected slide/slides and it will play during that portion of your show. Easy enough. For the pro user out there, it also offers a timecode option, but that is beyond the scope of what most of us will do with it. Transitions The real key to a slick slideshow is the transitions you have available. FotoMagico offers 16 built-in options. Cube, push, wipe, and thumb through are all there. Being a program with this much power, I would prefer to see a greater quantity of transitions available. However, with what they do offer, you can do a great many things with them. Each one has it's own set of options. For example, the Angular Wipe transition offers settings for the duration and the direction it moves. I guess in effect, they do provide you with some customization on each one, so in theory you can have quite a few variations. My one annoyance is the lack of a randomize button. I would like to add 200 photos and then have random transitions on the ones I don't customize. I would definitely like to see this feature added. fotomag2_3.jpg Exporting & Sharing Why have a slideshow if you can't share it? This app offers a plethora of options for sharing your work. You can create a standalone player, DVD, web movie, iPod movie, Quicktime movie, HD movie, and even a screen saver. Clicking on each option gives you explicit instructions on how it can be shared with others. For example, if you choose Web Movie, it tells you that it will produce an H.264 Quicktime movie that can be embedded in webpages and played back with Quicktime 7 or later. It also provides you info on how the resolution and overall quality will be effected. Exporting time will vary according to the settings you choose and how powerful your Macintosh it. If you own the Elgato Turbo H.264 encoder your time will be sped up significantly since FotoMagico 2 makes use of it. fotomag2_4.jpg Once it's complete, it will then offer the option to send it to the specified device. For example, if you do the web video, it can upload it directly to your server. Want to send it to You Tube? No problem! It will ask for your account info and place it online for you. This makes sharing quite easy, and you can tell they have put a lot of time into making this important feature work. Summary If you are looking to take your slideshows to the next level, then FotoMagico 2 is a must. No other program on the Mac offers so much control of how your photo slideshows can be presented and shared with others. Conclusion: If you are looking to take your slideshows to the next level, then FotoMagico 2 is a must. No other program on the Mac offers so much control of how your photo slideshows can be presented and shared with others. To create great looking slideshows on the Mac, FotoMagico 2 is a must.