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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 17:12 PM IST

If you love to create collages of all sorts from your pictures, then you know that positioning and moving individual pictures for a collage can be a time consuming process that requires many hours of experimentation. Naturally, all those extra hours mean that there is a limit to your creativity since you would not want to start all over again with a collage product.

Shape Collage, our review product frees you from these time concerns and lets you focus entirely on your creativity. Well, that’s not entirely true since it also bundles oodles of creativity. Even better, the program is freeware and can create layered Photoshop files for your collage! When I saw this for the first time, it did look too good to sound true.

Read the review here…

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Thursday, February 12, 2009
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 13:16 PM IST

OutWit Images is a cool, free Mozilla Firefox add-on includes a powerful image search and save engine. This Firefox 3 add-on is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

You download and install this add-on from the Firefox Add-ons site, and end up with an OutWit Images button on your Firefox toolbar (see Figure 1).

OutWit Images Icon
Figure 1: OutWit Images button on the Firefox toolbar

Thereafter when you are browsing a page that has too many pictures, or some pictures you like — just click the OutWit Images button to launch the OutWit Images application in a new window that starts with a black background filled with image previews, and little else as shown in Figure 2. In addition to using the active page as a starting point to launch OutWit Images, you can do the image searches within OutWit Images too (the top right of the interface shows a search box).

OutWit Images Sample Screenshot
Figure 2: The OutWit Images interface

Click on any image and you’ll see a larger preview of the image. Notice the horizontal pane below the search results — that’s called the Catch — yes, that’s “catch” as in fishing! You can drag any thumbnail you like, and drag it to the Catch area as shown in Figure 3.

OutWit Images Drag Screenshot
Figure 3: Drag an image to the Catch

Once the images are in the catch, they remain there even if you shut down the OutWit Images interface unless you clear them on your own. Images in the catch can be played in a slideshow, or saved as well. You can also send image links for all the images saved in the catch.

So what is the catch in providing an amazing add-on that’s more like an application for free? Ariane Chang of OutWit Technologies says “there is no catch to our free software other than that we would like to get out name out there and make searching, collecting and saving many images at a time in a search — thus especially useful when compiling presentations”.

Thanks Ariane — and for all of you who want to use OutWit Images to search for images to use in your PowerPoint presentations, make sure you you use only images that are copyright free, and allowed to be used in presentations!

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Saturday, December 27, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 15:48 PM IST

Many times, using PowerPoint may not be enough. You might want a presentation with moving backgrounds, shaking pictures, and the ability to output to Flash or DVD. Most of the time, I won’t recommend creating a business presentation on those lines, but I do know that there are occasions where such presentations are required — especially if you want to create a quick kiosk presentation, something for a tradeshow booth, or even a quick advertisement video! And if such presentations can be exported to Flash or AVI files, then there’s no reason why you cannot add those movies to the opening slide of your PowerPoint presentation!

Our review product today is called Slide Effect — while it uses the presentation and slide metaphor, it creates output that looks more akin to something created with more expensive and complicated programs.

Read the review here…

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Friday, November 14, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:24 AM IST

RoyaltyFreeMusic.com is from JupiterTunes, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia that provides a large online library of royalty free music. Each of the over 10,000 royalty-free music tracks and 12,000 sound effects in the RoyaltyFreeMusic collection can be previewed without a subscription, and can be purchased as a single track, or as an album in MP3, WAV or CD format. There are around 566 albums in the music library. The RoyaltyFreeMusic packages, such as Music on Hold, Corporate Presentation, Children’s Music, etc. are collections of background music, loops, sound effects, etc.

Read the review here…

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Monday, November 3, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 16:48 PM IST

Flash Gallery Factory creates quick Flash based photo galleries and slide shows from your pictures — and it’s easy enough to use even if you haven’t used a similar program before. The program also makes it easy for you to share your output on web sites, blogs, MySpace, etc.

Read the review here…

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Thursday, October 30, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 11:18 AM IST

For users with tons of pictures, it’s always a challenge showing and sharing these pictures in ways that are different, yet easy to create. One great option is to create a slideshow from the pictures with a cool style and some music and titles — and then burn them on a DVD, or save them in a format compatible with the iPod, Zune, etc.

Photo Story Platinum can help…

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 21:16 PM IST

This is not one of the most capable paint programs out there, but it certainly is among the nicest ones — and although it is meant for kids, there’s no reason why someone who’s a little young at heart can’t play with this one!

Tux Paint is a free, open source program from New Breed Software that includes fun stuff like sound effects and a cartoon mascot as well.

The figure below shows you the Tux Paint interface.

Tux Paint

Tux Paint is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux — download it here…

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Friday, October 10, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:31 AM IST

I ran into this novel tutorial that lets you add a clone of the same person in another picture — and create a panorama from the two pictures so that you end up with the same person in two places within the stitched panorama. Very cool — take a look here…

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 11:03 AM IST

I have been using muvee’s range of tools to create quick movies and slideshows for a long time now — not only are these tools very intuitive to use, but they make sure that anyone can create professional looking movie montages in minutes — these same results could take hours and days using other video editing tools. Sure, you get a lot more control in the other high end tools, but most of the time you just want to get in your camcorder footage and make something presentable — and you want it fast.

muvee recently sent me a new version of their product — it’s called muvee Reveal, and it’s a completely rewritten program that makes creating professional looking movies even easier.

Read the review here…

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:51 AM IST

What if you browsed to any of the video sites like YouTube using the Safari browser on your Mac, and selected one of the movies to view on the site — maybe this was a music video, an interview, a trailer, or just something else. And then you checked out another YouTube movie — and then you shut down Safari altogether and launched your iTunes to hear the sound track of all the movie clip pages you visited. So how did the sound tracks get into your iTunes in the first place?

That was AudioExtractor at work — like the best things in life, this one does its work quietly without you being aware — and you can reap the rewards and take the software for granted!

AudioExtractor is from PocketMac, based out of California, USA — my contact was Tim Goggin.

To use AudioExtractor, you just launch it and minimize it to the dock. Then browse any video site as you would do normally. Behind the scenes, AudioExtractor does its work — and that’s all there is to this program!

However, nothing is stopping you from watching it work — and it does have a rather cool interface as you can see in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: The PocketMac AudioExtractor interface

Do remember though that since most movie videos at sites like YouTube are compressed, you may not get extremely high quality results suitable for professional use — however, you wouldn’t be able to use any of the extracted sounds for non-personal use anyway due to copyright restrictions.

PocketMac Audio Extractor costs only $9.95 — just wish they make a version that works on Windows as well!

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