Provides: Slide show presentation creation/formatting
System Requirements: Mac OS X v10.5, G5 or Intel-based Mac, 1GB RAM, graphics card with 64MB VRAM recommended (NVIDIA GeForce 5200 and ATI Radeon 7500 not supported)
Review Computer: 2.2GHz 13″ Macbook Pro, 2GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM
Processor Compatibility: Universal
Price: $149 (demo licenses available upon request)
Version Reviewed: 3
Availability: Out now
FotoMagico fills a very specific niche of people who need to do slide shows that are image or video-based, rather than communicating through text (like Powerpoint or Keynote). Because while Fotomagico does have a simple text tool, it’s based around the idea of visuals swimming by the viewer.
It’s an ideal application for creating a photomontage; you can bulk import images and FotoMagico (FM) will assign each one to a new slide and automatically apply a pan and zoom effect to make it more visually interesting (something like the “Ken Burns Effect” from iPhoto). FM gives you a two-up display of the start and end positions of each slide using this effect, which you can easily change by dragging the photo or using two sliders to change its zoom and rotation. Like I say, it does all this automatically—a real time saver if that’s the effect you’re after.
There are 16 types of transitions in FM (dissolves, wipes, etc.), and you can assign them individually, in groups, or randomly. The same panel that controls the transitions lets you set the duration and whether the slide changes automatically or waits for a mouse click or audio cue, and also gives you color correction features.
FM integrates well with Mc OS X. While you can import pictures, movies, and audio from anywhere on the computer, its sidebar gives you one-click access to iPhoto, your pictures and movie folders, GarageBand, iTunes and iMovie sound effects.
You can apply the same animations to the video as you can to images. Drop an audio track onto the slide show (or record your own narration), and (as with iMovie) you’ll get a track underneath the slide show that shows you how long it runs.
As a test, I used it to create a slide show for my nephew’s graduation. I imported the images, randomized the transition, added an audio track, then shortened the duration of the slides to match the audio. I had to tweak just a few of the animations to make sure the subject’s heads weren’t cut off, but other than that, I had a professional-looking photomontage in about 15 minutes.
The only place where Fotomagico feels kludgy is in the “title” tool, which is simply for putting text on a slide. While you can control the look of the font (face, color, size, justification, kerning), you can’t have more than one text box on a slide, nor do you have any formatting options such as bullet points or numbering (unless you add them yourself). Also, I ran into a few technical glitches where I’d add a blank slide but couldn’t see it in the timeline, and the sidebar windows wouldn’t collapse. Restarting the application fixed both of these problems. If you have two displays connected to your Mac (another monitor or overhead projector) you can use FM’s teleprompter function and attach notes to the slides (which only you will see) to keep you on track.
Once you’re done with your presentation, FM gives you a plethora of sharing options, such as turning it into a movie of various sizes (including presets for iPhone, iPod, and AppleTV and HD movies), burning it to a DVD (through iDVD or another external app), formatting it for YouTube (though not directly uploading it), or creating a standalone player that works on any Mac running OS X v10.5. It also gives you the option of adding motion blur to the final project, which will vastly increase the size of the final file (creating a DVD changed it from a 1.3 GB to a 10 GB file!).
Fotomagico 3 Pro is a fantastic tool for quickly creating image and video-based presentations, whether you plan on presenting them yourself as a slide show or creating a montage that runs on its own. It simplifies the process of creating a dynamic feel for images and movies, and if you don’t need a lot of textual output, it’s a great solution.
(Author’s note: in addition to the Pro version, there is a “Home” version which disables some of the high-end features like support for multiple audio tracks, color correction, and certain exporting options. A full list of differences between the $149 Pro and $29 Home versions is spelled out at Boinx’s website.)
Buy Fotomagico 3 Pro