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Review: Posterino - Create Life Posters and Postcards

Now that 2006 is gone, create a life poster to highlight the memories from 2006.Posterino Posterino from Zykloid (pronounced like cycloid) is a feature rich life poster & post card creator for the Mac. We've been having fun playing around with it for the last few weeks. Keep reading to see what we thought.

Tmac (click to enlarge)

Posterino is a new application that makes it very easy to create custom 'life posters' and postcards. A life poster is a collage of pictures framed together. It's a great way to bring together a series of pictures that are special to you.

Features:

- Automatic creation of Life Posters and Postcards. - Integration with iPhoto & Aperture. - Customizable Templates. - Export to Mail, iPhoto, or Disk. - Easy to follow tutorials. - Universal Binary - works for PPC & Intel Macs.

System Requirements:

- Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) or greater. - 20 MB of free disk space. - Lots of Ram. The more the better. - iPhoto Update: The developer notified me that iPhoto is no longer a requirement.

First Run:

When you start Posterino, you are greeted with the template manager. You can choose some predefined templates of posters and postcards, or choose a blank page. If you choose a 'blank' page, you have to create a frame for each item individually, and if you are going to add lots of images, it quickly becomes time consuming. Templates-2 click to enlarge

The predefined templates look great, and you can customize them to the size that you are going to use for printing. It shows all of the standard sizes - A1-A6, 3x5, 8.5x11. During my testing, I always opted to go with the predefined templates.

Personalize with your photos:

Once you have the template selected, you can drag and drop images into the predefined frames, right from the photo browser. It allows access to all of your iPhoto, Aperture, and Pictures folders. You can even add your own custom folders for the app to search. This is great if you have your images spread over various folders. Dragging and dropping individual images on a poster can be tedious. To automate the scheme, you can choose simply select 'Choose random selection', and Posterino will populate a random selection of photos into the frames. If your library didn't have enough images to fill all of the frames, you can select from another library, and then have it choose another random selection. You can continue to do this until they are all filled. If you don't like the order that they are sorted on your poster, simply drag & drop images around on the poster, and it the pictures will switch places. If you really didn't like the result, you can 'Shuffle' the images and come out with a completely new result. Alternatively, you can arrange them by date, order, or ratings. Posterino With Placement-1 click to enlarge

I found the best method was to create a library in iPhoto with all of the pictures I wanted on the poster, and then I let Posterino populate from that library. This gave me more control over what photos were placed on the poster. Since it grabs the data from iPhoto, you can take advantage of iPhoto smart albums. For example, you could make a library with criteria set to '2006' photos with greater than 4 star ratings. iPhoto is very powerful, and if used properly, you can leverage the power of it with Posterino.

Postcard Interface Browser

Once the images are in place, you need to go through them and make sure no heads are cut off or anything else that would draw attention from the focus of the picture. You can simply double click and change the image placement. Ideally, I would like to double click on the picture, have it zoom in, and let me modify it that way. I hope to see this feature in an upcoming release.

Customize the Text:

If you like, you can add any text you want to the poster. The predefined templates show years, such as 2006, but you can change the text,font, and it's properties to anything you like. You can even create a new frame and add text to it as well. If you prefer to have no text on the poster, Posterino supports that too. full poster demo

Very Customizable:

The developer didn't leave out much as far as customization. You can change the postmark & stamp on the postcards, create custom page sizes, save your own templates, add drop shadows & borders, and more. You can even change which side the photo browser is on. You can add frames anywhere on the page, and configure the number of rows and columns on the poster. 14 rows x 7 columns of pictures not your cup of tea? No problem. You can go to the layout generator and tweak the settings to fit your project. If you want to remove some of the frames, and create some larger ones inside your poster, it can be easily done. You can delete the predefined frames, or just resize the frame you want larger, and it will be on top. Playing around with Posterino is the best way to learn all of the features. The built-in tutorials are also very insightful, and step you through the process of creating a poster or a post card.

Custom PaperPostcard Interface

Postcards:

Posterino is also great for creating postcards. I sent out a few holiday cards this year using Posterino. For friends I had lost touch with, I thought this was a great way to send a quick note and a picture of the family. I used Email to send the postcards, but you can create hard copies as well. Simply export them to iPhoto and print them to postcards, or save the file to disk, and use any one of the online services to do your prints. Stamp Creation

Printing:

I really have enjoyed playing around with Posterino. I had never even considered making a life poster until I started using it. I already ordered one from Kodak, from within iPhoto. The 20x30 is going to run about $23 USD before shipping. You simply export your poster to iPhoto and then use the 'Order Print' option under the Share menu. Printing directly from Posterino is not an option. You have to do some type of exporting, and print from a different source. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If you export your image to iPhoto, it's a snap to print from there. I would like to see this implemented in a 2.0 version.

Issues:

- Can't drag/drop into the frames from other apps or images you have in a folder. The image must come from the image browser. - There is no 'Make it fit' button. For example, if your image is large, you can't resize it to fit inside the frame. - It takes a lot of Ram. I have 1.5GB, and if I am rendering a large poster, it slows the system down for a few minutes while it renders. This is to be expected though, especially dealing with a large number of photos. - No 'Printing' options inside of Posterino. You must do it with iPhoto or save it to disk and use another app or printing service. - The introductory price is $19.95, which I think is reasonable. However, if a price increase occurs, I would imagine that people would be less likely to purchase, since it is not an 'everyday' application. Conclusion: Posterino may not be a day to day app for most, but when you want to create something special, this app really shines. Think of what you can do with it: make a team poster of your kids soccer season, an anniversary collage, or send email greetings with it. It's a very unique app that integrates very well with iPhoto. The few problems I did find with it, aren't enough to take away the usefulness of the app. 

Zykloid Software

Posterino - $24.95 USD