Photo Collage Creator

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Build photo collages and other graphic documents
  • (8 more, see all...)

There are more and more events that we capture in photos or home made video ever since the outburst of digital technology. There was a time when we used to take pictures of our beloved and store them in albums, but sometimes the films were lost and our photographs gone forever. With the help of digital photo cameras, this problem has been long forgotten, as now we can save all the pictures on computers and just print them whenever we like. Moreover, we are able to create collages where we can include a large number of pics like a preview to the entire album, or make posters enlarging the photo we like best.

Picture Collage Maker is a software which enables us to create collages from the photo collections we have stored on the computer over the years. It is a friendly application, as its results can be seen after three easy steps. It allows you to create a mixed-image page by compiling various pictures of different sizes. The accepted file formats are JPG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, WMF, TGA, PNG etc., and you can overlay, arrange, adjust and configure the images to match your taste.

Picture Collage Maker comes with a large number of templates. You can try the preset ones, or create your own page layouts. Don't forget to make use of the large number of borders, frames and backgrounds which are available in the collage program. If a photo is too big for your collage but you don't want to modify its aspect ratio, it ca be trimmed for the best fit. When you've finished using the masks and clipart decorations included, you can save the result on the computer as a JPG file, or set it as wallpaper onto your desktop. It can also be e-mailed to friends or relatives if you desire.

You need absolutely no experience or computer skills to use this software. As soon as the program is launched you'll be asked how you want to start the new project. The wizard can be used for a template or a grid collage, or you can start the project from scratch. Wizards are of great help as all it takes is to add the photos you want to include in the paste-up, select a template and customize its size, choose its orientation and you are done. In the final step, you can shuffle the pics (the frames do not change the position, only the content), save it as a picture on your computer, send it as an email or set it as wallpaper. On clicking the Finish button, you are able to edit your masterpiece as you wish.

The difference with the Grid Collage Wizard is the ability to create collages with the same size photos which fit perfectly into an A4 page. You can automatically set the number of pics to be included by adjusting their number on the vertical and horizontal axes. The spaces between them can be increased or decreased as you wish and the thickness of margins can be adjusted accordingly. If you have set a default frame, this can be enabled, and pics can have a shadow projected onto the background.

You might try the Collage Pane Setting if you feel the need to have the collage more personalized. Here you can change its size and orientation, define a background color or set an image instead (this can be chosen from the program's patterns or imported from the computer's files, and it can be tiled up to 10 times, stretched or set in the center of the file).

No matter which method you choose when using this software, you will be able to make adjustments to your collage at one point or another. Starting from scratch, a predefined template or one of your own files can be used for the job. Add more photos if you like, or try personalizing it with a bit of text. If for the latter the font, its style and size can be customized, as well as the background color, alignment and round radius, for the former a lot of modifications can be made: enable a shadow, check its smoothness, opacity, and its size on X and Y axes.

When there is no need to use the whole picture, the program can crop it and only the selected section will be part of your collage. Positioning is not restricted in any way as you can move its content anywhere within the "canvas", change their location and size and you can rotate either the photo or the entire frame.

There is nothing to worry about if you like the template but not its background too, as it can be changed as you wish. Adding a frame to each picture individually could be the next possible choice, unless you think a mask is more appropriate. Clipart objects can be inserted, choosing from the ones the program provides, or importing them from the computer files.

Have a look in the effects tab, because I am sure you are going to find something interesting and useful at the same time. There are about 16 different effects which can be applied individually to the collage's photos (grayscale, mirror, inverse, radial or zoom blur etc.). If undecided, you can return to the picture's original form.

One of the software's nice touches is the files' slideshow feature. In order to enable it you have to choose the wallpaper files and add them to the program's list. The list can be saved for further use or opened for modifications. The files can be randomly displayed and the slide frequency is adjustable (in seconds). The feature can be set to run at system's startup for the current or all users.

As for the program's customization, there is a choice of four skins in different color and you can choose what tabs to be seen on the main screen and their order. The explorer menu from the right hand side can be hidden, set floating or docked.

As a review version of this software was used for testing, I was able to download an additional 269 files of masks, frames, templates, cliparts and backgrounds, a fact which has to be taken into consideration.

Resumed in one paragraph, Picture Collage Maker is a handy and easy-to-use application which lets you construct well designed and customized photo collages. It has a pretty large number of templates, backgrounds, masks, frames and cliparts, and you can insert additional ones from your computer, or check for more with the "Download Additional Resources" feature.

The Good

It is an easy-to-use tool which allows creating mixed image collage pages. The results can be saved in a JPG file and emailed to your friends. Wizards are a quick way to finish a collage. The objects within are highly customizable, as text format can be changed, photo's size cropped and rotated (just the photo or the whole frame), and different effects added.

All modifications can be seen in real time with no file saving and reopening. The software has quite a few templates, masks, layers, cliparts and frames included, and you can import your own, or download new ones from the producer.

The Bad

Assistance menu is a bit undeveloped and it doesn't have the same interface the program does, and the FAQ from the developer's website looks like s/he wanted an easy day at work. Photo resizing is not done in the best way possible.

The Truth

Although I'm not an adept of paid software products, I believe the Picture Collage Maker's price is close enough to what you get. The publisher can drop off a few bucks as it is indeed a well thought application, but it is not a must-have for all computer users. In the end, there might be a free application on the way with the same features and functionality, but will it be as easy to use and lovely to play with as this one?

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:


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user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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