Time to send some photos of the kids to the grandparents ?
In desperate need of creating Greetings or Congratulations Cards ?
Do you love Scrapbooking ?
…Or just updating the family album ?
Collage maker, let you do exactly that, the easy way !
First off, I’m a Graphics Designer by trade and personality, and I’m used to the “Pro Tools” like Illustrator, Photoshop, inDesign etc. So I’ll be honest up front, I tend to compare programs for the “non-pro” user against the Professional ones – and that isn’t fair, I know. My preferences may very well be on a different level (or planet even) than yours. However …
When I first began to review the Collage Maker, I did compare it to what I could do in my usual programs, but soon found that – Hey! This actually works. I actually started to like this program, once I found out how it was built, and how it was meant to work.
Program Content and Functionality
Collage Maker has everything a ScrapBooker would want. Backgrounds, Masks, Textures, Fonts, Transparency, Cut and Paste, Shadows, Tweaking of Color, Photo Colorization, Adding Sephia Colors, Turning a Photo into Black And White … and the list grows by the minute.
Collage Maker has two main features; Manual Scrapbooking and “Auto Collage” where you let Collage Maker, take a selection of photos and create a random Collage for you.
And it’s all there in the Context Menu.
Right Click an item, it being a textblock or a photo, every tool you need is there. Once you have chosen your Template and your media (Printer, Email or Photo Center), you Right-Click a Picture Frame and choose: “Replace Photo”. This allows you to place your picture into the existing mask or create a new one.
If you are not satisfied with the mask you have applied, then, Right Click it, Choose “Apply Mask to Photo” and look through the list of available Masks. You can also put Frames and Borders to a Photo and even make it transparent. Again, using the Right Click Button.
And let’s not forget about stamps. A true Scrapbook has stamps – and so does Collage Maker. You can set up a group of stamps and then stamp away at will.
After a few minutes I found myself enjoying the program. It feels light and everything works smoothly. An Interesting function is the one called Layout. Layout allows you to rearrange the photos without the masks and graphic elements, and then return to the layout-mode when done.
Another great asset is that, even thou you can use templates to make your design look nice, you are not totally bound by them. If you like, you can very well work without the use of templates. You may at any time switch backgrounds, layout, masks and borders. This makes the program very versatile, even for a “pro” designer.
Saving and Printing
When you are done with your work, you can choose to save your work as a Project or a Flattened Jpeg Image. If you are going to send your finished Collage to a Photo Center or a Print Shop, then Jpeg is the file format you need to use.
Overall I am very impressed with the program, and what the developer has managed to put into this lightweight application (it takes no more than 20MB). In my book it’s worth the prize ($34,95) and I will gladly recommend that you try it for yourself.
There are of course a couple of things I would want the developer to look into. There are no Undo-Function (Ctrl+Z) in the program (except when you play around with stamps). If you make a mistake, like deleting a photo, you have no other option than to add the photo manually all over again.
I would also like to see an easier or more accessible way to finish up. A button that allows you to Export your work when you are done. The functions are there, but not as intuitive, as they could be. For novice users who want to send their finished work to the Photo Center, there really should be a Wizard helping them export their files onto a CD-Rom, Email or Flash Drive.
Try it for yourself
Collage Maker is a Great program for those who like to create collages, both for printing and processing. It is easy to use and it will create your collages in a matter of minutes. All Functions are available on the Right-Click Menu which really let you focus on your creative skills.