MAGIX are well-known for producing software that enables you to use your own multimedia files to create high quality projects without the need to learn how to use complicated software. In this respect, PhotoStory on CD & DVD 9 is no different to other products from the MAGIX stables. As the name would suggest, the focus of the program is about making the most of your digital photographs, specifically transforming them into CD or DVD based slideshows that can be shared with others.
As we have come to expect from MAGIX, the program interface is entirely intuitive, and little guidance is needed to jump straight in and get started on a project. The wizard based interface can be used to simply select a number of images and create a basic, albeit impressive slideshow, in a matter of minutes, but each step of the process is open to a huge level of customisation for anyone wanting to take things a little further.
Creating your first project is easy. Images can be added to a project on an individual basis, or you can opt to import enter folders. Should any of your photos need a little touching, there are basic image editing tools available to help you to correct problematic colours. While this is certainly not an alternative to the likes of Photoshop, if you only need to make quick and easy changes, everything you need is here.
After dragging images onto the slideshow timeline you have the option of using the Slideshow Maker to quickly bring your project to a conclusion. This enables you to select a style of fade and special effects that will be applied to all images as well as producing a title screen and choosing background music. There are also a number of preset options to choose from to help you get results even faster.
Creating Photostory discs in this way will still create impressive results, but a far greater degree of control is afforded to you if you choose to work in manual mode instead. Transition effects can be added between images in a couple of ways – either by dragging thumbnails form the gallery to the timeline, or by clicking the transition icon that appears between images that have been added to the project. The range of transitions is fairly impressive and each can be previewed in advance so you can get an idea of how it will look.
As well as adjusting colour settings for all or individual images, it is also possible to add text to images to act as captions. This is in addition to the title screens that can be created and placed anywhere within a slideshow. Background music can be added to slideshows, but this option is easy to miss when working in manual mode unless you have opted to switch to timeline view rather than the default of storyboard mode.
Images that have been added to a slideshow can be easily re-ordered by simply dragging and dropping into the desired position. Once this has been done, the next stage is to prepare your disc menu. As you would expect, there are a number of interactive DVD menu templates to choose from and each of them is endless customisable by changing background colour, images and music as well as choosing a button style and default menu actions. It could be argued that this is one of the more complicated aspects of the PhotoStory on CD & DVD 9, and it is quite easy to get bogged down in menu tweaking.
Finalising your project
When you are happy with your project, it can be burned to disc – either CD or DVD – or uploaded to the internet. Uploaded slideshows are converted into video files and these can use the WMV or H.264 codec. The actual encoding process is relatively swift, but is largely dependent on the hardware being used and the number of photos included in a slideshow. Once the movie has been created you have the option of uploading it to your online MAGIX account or sharing on YouTube or Flickr.
Whether you are looking to create discs to show off your favourite photographs, find a unique way of backing up your images or sharing your images with others, MAGIX PhotoStory on CD & DVD 9 makes things very easy. Impressive results can be achieved very quickly but if you are willing to put a little time and effort into customising your slideshows, the results can be truly stunning.