How to build a decent Fotomagico slideshow....

I am a recent user of FotoMagico4. Came pretty soon to the conclusion that is not that easy to come up with an interesting, well edited slideshow without too much but with still sufficient movement to make it look plesant; how to choose the appropriate music or sound and how to match it all. Any suggestions on books, articles, guidelines, websites on how to design/make a successfull slideshow?

Here are some personal suggestions I have: (random order)

  • Don’t use too many different transitions. This distracts the audience from the slides (“Wow, what transition comes next?” instead of “Wow, what nice picture comes next?”)
  • Don’t zoom-in/out or pan to fast or too much. A slow zoom makes an image come to life and attracts the audience to a certain point in the image (the center of the zoom), a fast one will confuse the audience.
  • Don’t put too much slides in one slot. The audience should have the chance to look at all of your pictures, those pictures deserve it! However, sometimes a nice collage of images can tell a nice story.
  • Try to keep track of a story line which the audience can follow. (E.g. If you do a slideshow about your vacation, don’t put all the sunsets only at the end of the show but put them at the end of each day.)
  • Watch others slideshows on the web! Learn from them: What did you like, what don’t you like?
  • Narration: Please don’t read any word you can see in the picture. Most of the People can read anyways :wink:
  • Music: I am always amazed when I created a slideshow and put in a music after wards that the music fits perfectly my slideshow magically. I think that either the brain already has a certain kind of music in mind while creating the show, or there is just so many music out there that you can find easily one that fits your show.
  • Change the music after each “Chapter”. This will give the audience another hint that “now comes something completely different”
  • Text: Don’t place text to much at the edges of your slideshow, have some white space around it! (Select “Show Title Save Area” of the “View” menu to get visual guides in the stage view)
  • Also make sure, that the text has enough contrast to the background. (red on grey don’t work! contrast means the difference in light not the difference in color)
  • Don’t use too many different colors or font types.

Thas a lot of “don’ts” but I am sure you can easily convert them in “do’s”!

Thx Achim!

Here is my cookbook:

  • 30-40 pictures per melody max. 2 melodies < 9 minutes
  • Drag the pictures to the storeline
  • Add blank slides to start and in the end
  • Place 1-2 songs under the storyboard
  • If the song have a equal length I shorten the music file to half of the slides.
  • I let the music stop at the end of the last blank/text slide
  • Then I select all the pictures and music by CMD + A
  • I select Option -> “Randomize Amimation” and “Match slideshow duration to Audio”
  • my default transition is “Dissolve”, but after each 8-10 I use one transition like: Cube, BLinds, Topple or Zoom.
  • I go though all the pictures to check what the animation will be and adjust if necessary - it could be 3-4 thats all
  • Select File and then SHARE and select the output format of your choice.
  • You have a killer-show;-))
    I recommend 8-9 seconds between the slides.

Good luck - Per

I’ll add a couple of suggestions, myself:

  • KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!! No, really. I’ve seen some slideshows that are created with a Window’s app called “Pro Show Gold”. Although it does a number of amazing things, particularly with text, that doesn’t mean you MUST use every single amazing thing in one slideshow. Seeing text twist, twirl, contort, spin, shine, sparkle, dance, and do whatever else it can do slide after slide after slide is just TOO MUCH!!

My suggestions – and everything is subjective – there is no right answer:

  1. minimize animations – use pan and/or zoom ONLY if it helps a slide, not just because you can. If you have a photo that shows off “depth” (like looking up/down a staircase, or along railroad tracks, or in a corridor for example), then zoom into or out of the image along the line of the perspective. If you have a vertical waterfall, for example, start at the top or bottom and pan along it’s length (I have one image that shows the TOP of a waterfall and slowly pans down and zooms out to show the entire height of the fall – it surprises the audience when they FINALLY see a person standing at the bottom, and then realize how BIG the waterfall was.

  2. don’t use every transition just because you can – Dissolve is actually the BEST one, where one image blends into the next. You can use that for almost EVERY slide. Use one of the others (like Thumb Through or Shuffle) for a series of slides that are related to each other, then shift back to dissolve.

  3. slide timing should be roughly 6 to 9 seconds per slide. If you have an interesting pan or zoom you might want to add more time. Now that FM uses masks, I’ve found all kinds of interesting ways to introduce multiple images to a slide, dividing up the stage into sections (like a large rectangle taking up the left 2/3 of the stage, and then 2 rectangles – one on top of the other – taking up the right 1/3 – and then panning or zooming EACH of those separately as appropriate).

  4. figure out how many slides you need to make the timing come out correctly to fit the music you want to use. For example, if you have a piece of music that’s 2 minutes long ( = 120 seconds), then you need 20 slides showing for 6 seconds each. Use the “Match Slideshow to Audio” function to fine tune the timing.


Per & Stantastic, Thx for your splendid suggestions! I meanwhile already started with “nr 5 experiment” and had to scratch most of the results because of “not satisfactory”. But I am improving clearly. Your suggestions help me a lot! Thx!

OK, here comes my suggestions, aimed specifically at our “Home Pictures Slide Shows,” where every picture may not be the best quality but each one is a family treasure! I am presenting this to our Apple Corps of Dallas Photos & Movies SIG this month. the finished slide show is on vimeo, here: PASSWORD: cassie

Tips for Creating “Family Slide Shows” in FotoMagico 4
Most of this applies to any slide-show you might do in FotoMagico (“professional” or “family”), but I’m particularly talking about “family” slides, where we are going to be more tolerant of those marginal photo that are family treasures…

  1. The content of the pictures chosen is much more important than their photographic quality; use whatever the family has, if at all possible. On the other hand, make them better by extensive tweaking in iPhoto, Lightroom or Aperture [Smart Photo Editor, I mention this only because it is inexpensive and versatile]; they will probably need it! (Good ol’ iPhoto can do everything you need—if you have learned how to use it.) The family will say they are “good enough as is,” but will think you are a miracle worker if you do your best to enhance them. “Spot” every dust spot you can see (yes, I missed a few!), especially after sharpening—tedious by worthwhile. Pump up saturation and pull back brightness as needed. For fuzzy prints, OVER sharpen, especially for a DVD—they will look much better!

  2. Don’t over zoom, especially on really excellent pictures (such as the wedding pictures); mix in numerous “no zooms" and use small zooms plus a small rotation. Save special long zooms and super zoom transitions for a few spectacular opportunities and pictures.

  3. Be “thematic” with slideshow chapters, with theme colors, transitions, etc.

[4A. Set transition and display times before importing slides. Test using three to five slides before importing all images.]

  1. Place all slides and arrange in desired order by chapter (if lengthy show); then, select all slides [and drag to timeline at the same time] and set (as a trial starting place) the same transistion/time and playtime for all slides, to get a feel for the length of the complete show. Add the music at this point, as it makes it more fun to work, but don’t worry about fadeins and fadeouts yet! Do all this BEFORE starting to play with zooms and masks.

  2. As with most programs, SAVE COPIES OF YOUR WORK frequently [I AGREE]! Things can happen, and although FotoMagico has some nice recovery features, making frequent copies is a good habit.

  3. Now, slide by slide, select a variety of zooms and pans to fit each slide. As you begin to perfect the view (zoom/rotation) for each slide you may need to increase the playtime for the slide and/or the transition time, for long zooms and pans.

  4. Now is the point you should look for the best opportunities for masking… (Practice these techniques before you start your BIG project!) You can get some great ideas by watching the demo file built into FotoMagico, and the one on their webpage. They are amazing and will really help you get started. Find opportunities for single masks as well as multiple masks. review all the content for the best opportunities. However, don’t mask every frame!

  5. Finally, using the Timeline view, you are ready fine-tune your music tracks by adjusting fadeins and fadeouts, and by adjusting the slide timing to sync with the music track. When you use “audio loops” (which automatically repeat songs that are too short) you will find an audio editing program helpful in trimming the “tail” of the recording, so there is not too large a gap at the point of the repeat.

  6. This is a very sketchy set of suggestions, but I hope it will help some of you get started with FotoMagico! I know $100 is a big investment, but I don’t believe there is a better program to invest your time and effort in if you really want to show off your pictures from your desktop, webpage, as video, iPhone, iPad, or killer DVD’s! And, there are more features and options that I have not mentioned in my tips above! Video clips can be inserted just like photos, two additional audio tracks can be used for narration and sound effects, FM can be used as a teleprompter—and more! You can count on the guys at Boinx to continue to improve their software.

Let me know if I can help!

Bye R@y
Ray Mack Thompson - 972-231-0765

I was amazed that, although I am a complete outsider, the Daniel and Shelby slideshow was interesting to see for me all the time. I think the lots of movement used in the slideshow work with, as you mentioned, those “family snaps” that are not necessarily top shots and used in a lively, happy, plesant environment. For the more serious photos and projects, I think less and more discrete movement would be appropriate. Thx Ray for all the useful suggestions!

A good job, but I agree with paulboyden. Too much movement overall – BUT – in THIS case, probably quite appropriate. These are, what my wife and I call them, “snapshots” – they are not “art” in the sense of being photos that are meant to be enjoyed for “art’s sake” (shots of wildlife, or vast scenery, mountains, lakes, forests, closeups, etc. – the kind of photos we tend to take) – photos that you want the viewer to take in, to linger a while, to immerse themselves in the “story” behind the photo. The “quality” of the photos in the above slideshow is not sufficient to merit a long or “static” viewing time, so the flip-side is to add a, as Paul stated, “lively, happy, pleasant environment.” So I think the Ken Burns effect and the multiple transitions go over well (especially for Daniel and Shelby and their families! I’m sure THEY were ecstatic!!). I watched MORE for the technique used in presenting the images – the transitions, the twirls (a bit disorienting with a 720° rotation), the masking, and so on.

Our last show with FM was made BEFORE the introduction of masks, but after the introduction of layers. I DID use two .png files with transparency to show movement of one slide over another (an iceberg slowly shifting over the background, and a motor boat slowly taxing across the water). That got a surprise reaction from our audience – they didn’t expect that – since it was only TWO slides out of some 400.

I’m currently working on our last trip to Scotland, where I have started to introduce the use of masks.

Ray, I appreciate your sharing your work on this forum!