Software Show-Offs! These Aren’t Your Daddy’s Slide Shows Page 2

The Manage tab is used primarily for editing. The editing tools include Remove Red Eye, Blur and Sharpen filters, and Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation levels. Additionally, there are several Photoshop-style filters, including Sepia, Wind, Impressionist, and Swirl (#7). There is also a large selection of clip art, all of which can be applied as still frame or animated, which is a unique touch.

#7

Applying a Swirl filter in the PhotoShow Deluxe 5 Manage tab.

Once your presentation is complete, the Make tab offers additional options, such as using your presentation's photos as alternating desktop wallpaper, and revolving screen saver images. However, some of the options seem overly commercial in nature, such as the options to "Order Prints" and order "Photo Gifts" (such as your photos on a coffee mug). The Share tab is used to burn CDs and DVDs, e-mail presentations, and upload presentations to a free website.

PhotoShow Deluxe 5 Pros And Cons
Unless you want to create a presentation with as few clicks as possible, you may find that Nero's PhotoShow Deluxe 5 does not offer the customization ability you've come to expect from presentation software.

Pros: Full-screen preview, redeye removal, animated clip art, and free website for presentation sharing.

Cons: I could not find a way to add DVD style menus, and Nero's public relations department never replied to my inquiry. Also, there's no ability to use the VCD format when burning to a CD instead of a DVD (VCD is the most widely supported CD format playable on household DVD players).

Nero's PhotoShow Deluxe 5 is available from www.nero.com and retail outlets, at $39.99 for the full version (no upgrade version is advertised).

Photodex's ProShow Gold 3.0
Photodex's ProShow Gold 3.0 also started out with some initial irritations. At the end of the installation, a message box appeared stating it would install an "SCSI Layer" for CD and DVD burning, and that I should accept the installation, even though it may say that it's not WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Lab) certified. I clicked OK, since it was the only way to get rid of the message box. Fortunately, that was the only real issue; the rest of the program is quite impressive.

#8

The Photodex ProShow Gold 3.0 interface.

Unlike the guided workflows you've seen thus far, the ProShow Gold 3.0 interface will be familiar to conventional Windows program users (#8). Each photo that you add to your presentation can be set to a default play duration, or set to a custom duration by clicking a text box next to the photo's thumbnail. You can also set the transition style to be used after each individual image, selecting from a list of almost 300 variations (#9).

#9

A zoomed-in look at part of the ProShow Gold 3.0 Transitions dialog box (each small icon represents a transition--when hovering your mouse over an icon, a sample of the transition is displayed in the window in the lower left).

ProShow Gold 3.0 ships with an impressive selection of backgrounds in a variety of categories. These backgrounds lack the clip art feel often seen, many of them are finely detailed vector drawings or montages of carefully anti-aliased photos (#10). Multifunctional dialog boxes are available for editing and fine-tuning just about every presentation option. This includes a photo-editing dialog with controls for Red Eye Removal, Brightness, White Point, Black Point, Contrast, Hue, Sharpen, Outline, Drop Shadow, and Colorizing. In addition, there's support for Photoshop-style layering.

#10

Four of the over 100 backgrounds available in ProShow Gold 3.0.

Perhaps the most surprising feature, PhotoShow Gold 3.0 includes a basic audio editor for controlling the fade in and fade out of your presentation's background music (#11). In addition to burning to CDs and DVDs, you can also create Flash FLV files, screen savers, and even self-contained EXE files that can play back on any PC, without any additional software required.

#11

The Audio Editor dialog box in PhotoShow Gold 3.0.

ProShow Gold 3.0 Pros And Cons
Although Photodex's ProShow Gold 3.0 costs more than the other programs reviewed here, professional photographers will appreciate the highly customizable content that can be created with this program. Also, at press time (December 2007), ProShow Gold was upgraded to Version 3.2, which supports output to a variety of new devices, including the Blackberry, iPod Touch, and Nintendo Wii, plus direct uploading to YouTube from within the ProShow Gold interface.

Pros: Powerful interface, convenient photo-editing options, and free website for sharing presentations.

Cons: Steepest learning curve and highest price of the software in this review.

Photodex's ProShow Gold 3.0 is available from www.photodex.com and retail outlets, at $79.95 (box + download), and $69.95 (download only), upgrade pricing (multiple levels, depending on prior product ownership and box vs. download), from $44.95 to $59.95.

Anthony Celeste appreciates feedback from his readers. You may contact him via e-mail at: anthony.celeste@gmail.com.

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