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FotoTime's FotoAlbum Pro for U3 is an image editing tool that you can put in your pocket. Designed to run on the U3 platform , the application features tools to import, edit, view, and organize your images from any computer. The application is virtually identical to the desktop version of FotoAlbum Pro, thus giving you the same capabilities but in a portable solution.
The application requires a U3 enabled Flash drive and, if you wish to bring a lot of images with you, a larger U3 Flash drive, perhaps 1GB or bigger in capacity. The interface is comprised of three primary workspaces, called views. These are Album views, which gives you access to your albums and photographs; Device view, which is used to import images from a digital camera or scanner, as well as sync to an iPod or PSP; and Explore view, which enables you to view images and import them into FotoAlbum Pro. In addition to the workspaces, FotoAlbum Pro offers tools for editing images, creating slideshows and photo CDs, what FotoTime calls "FotoCDs."
The Interface is spartan, with the main window showing the images in your collection and the left pane (All Pictures) showing the picture locations based on how you import them. The All Pictures pane organizes the pictures by date, rating, and keywords, as well as by Family (birthdays, holidays), Vacations, and shared photos. The top pane features a Timeline of the images, essentially when the photographs were taken based on the camera's exif data.
|The interface is clean, and if you want, you can launch to an outside editor residing on the host hard drive from within FotoAlbum Pro.|
You can view images as small, medium, or large thumbnails, and you can also choose a custom view, which enables you to adjust the height and width of the image as well as the spacing between images and the brightness. You can also determine what kind of other information you want each image to display using the Customize Thumbnails view. Here you can select or deselect from the viewable image properties, the file size, dimensions, caption, comment, date, author, and copyright. You can also indicate if the image is a video, if captions exist, if the image has been published to FotoTime, if archived and if deleted. Ratings that you may have assigned to images can also be displayed.
In addition, there are several buttons that further help to organize the images, including Add To, which enables you to add a new album, a Filter button that enables you to filter images based on certain parameters, such as date, keyword, rating, copyright, Exif orientation, file size, caption, and more. There is also a FotoSync button. FotoSync enables you to publish your images to the FotoTime website. You can then organize and share your images as well as sell them via FotoTime.com.
In addition to organizing and editing your images, FotoAlbum Pro enables you to create stuff with your images. You can create a FotoCD of your albums and distribute them to others. You can create a FotoShow using the FotoShow Wizard. The wizard enables you to select the video size (160x120, 320x240, and 640x480), add transitions, image duration, and transition duration. As with other slideshow creation tools, you can add an audio file to the movie. After you preview the FotoShow, you can save the file out as a Windows Media Video File, or an AVI file. And finally, you can create a self executing slideshow so no application is required to open it. This involves selecting the images in an album, and then outputting it to a folder of your choice. The software does the rest, and the finished file features a .exe extension, enabling to you to email the file to anyone on a Windows capable PC.
FotoAlbum Pro has an online shopping component that enables you to select photographs from your albums that you want to print out using FotoTime account. Pricing ranges from $2.99 for a glossy 8x10-inch print, to $1.99 for 8 wallet prints, to $19.99 for a 20x30-inch print. This simplifies the process of ordering prints online, as you can simply choose photographs from your albums and select, under the Shop menu, the size and quantity of prints for that particular photograph. Once you are finished choosing what photos you want printed and the sizes and quantities, the costs associated with the printing are sub-totaled, and you log onto FotoTime to pay.
|Print pricing via FotoTime|
What really is an interesting feature to FotoAlbum Pro is its footprint. Both the desktop and U3 versions consume just 7.75MB of disk space. As such, there is absolutely no bloat in the application and without the bloat, the application is fast, especially considering it is running from a U3 Flash device. Scrolling through hundreds of images is fast, resizing is fast, and making adjustments is fast. In addition to being able to read image files, including RAW image files with a separate download, FotoAlbum Pro can also display and play video files.
One of the nicest, yet unheralded features to FotoAlbum Pro is the ease in which you can add notes, tags, and captions to your album images. With Show Properties enabled, simply single clicking an image will detail any properties assigned to the image. The Picture Properties are located to the right and include fields in which you can assign properties such as a caption, notes and comments, and keywords and tags for further organizing. A toggle of the tabs below (General, File, metadata, Albums) details even more information to that particular image, all easily accessible. FotoAlbum Pro for U3 is a surprisingly full featured for what it does, and the footprint is small. If you are looking for a portable image management and editing application that you can carry in your pocket and launch from virtually any machine that supports a U3 flash drive, Foto Album Pro, at $29 for U3, is a fine software addition to your U3 device.
Page: 1John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at email@example.com
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