Some suggestions for Fotomagico

I’ve been trying out Fotomagico for a few days, and I have some suggestions. Because I’m not experienced with it, it’s possible I’m just not using it right, but the tutorial and help pages don’t address these issues, so I don’t think that’s the case.

When you enable animation for a slide, there needs to be a button or keyboard shortcut that makes the finish side of the animation match the starting side in every way. If you place a few photos on the starting side, resize them and then move them around, having to manually make those same adjustments to the finish side before you can start the animation process is utterly frustrating! The only workaround is: for each photo on the current slide, click on the photo in the starting pane, activate the mask, Copy Geometry, click on the corresponding photo in the finish pane, activate the mask, Paste Geometry, click on the photo in the starting pane (layer is selected this time), Copy Geometry, click on the corresponding photo in the finish pane, and Paste Geometry. Then make your subtle changes for the animation. Ridiculous!

It is a bad idea to make borders applied to photos expand outward in both directions from the center line. If you have two photos side by side, and they each have the same border applied to them, the borders along the outside edges of the screen will always appear half as thick as the borders along the inside edges, because half of the borders on the outside edges are off the screen. If the borders instead extended only inward from the center line, (and if one photo overlapped the other by one border width) then all border edges would appear to be the same width. (There are more sophisticated ways to solve this, such as adding some logic that determined if two photos were butted up against each other, and then cutting the width of those borders in half.)

I noticed in the wedding portion of the demo slideshow, there were a couple slides that appeared to have a consistent-width white border around all edges of both photos, but upon closer inspection, I see that was done with two masks. That would almost be an acceptable workaround if there was any way to easily make the borders around the masks equal widths, but there doesn’t appear to be. There is a lot of room for improvement in this area.

There should be more preset options for mask positions. Particularly, left third, middle third, right third, upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right.

There should be preset arrangements for multiple photos with masked placeholders you can drop your photos into. For example, an arrangement with one vertical photo on the left half of the screen and two horizontal photos stacked on the right half of the screen. Or three vertical photos side by side.

Or even better, what if you could choose to split the pane horizontally or vertically, with the option of including a border between the two resulting panes? And you could then split either of those panes horizontally or vertically? And what if the borders were draggable so you could change the aspect ratio of each pane? And the borders would snap to their halfway positions? That would be a great feature.

There is a bug that makes it impossible to relocate or delete the slide at the beginning of a chapter (I’ll refer to this slide as SABC) without Bad Things happening. If you try to move the SABC to a different position in the same chapter, the chapter marker moves with it, and its new position becomes the new beginning of the chapter. Meanwhile, all the slides in that chapter that should come before it are now appended to the end of the previous chapter. Similarly, if you delete the SABC, the chapter marker is deleted with it, and all the remaining slides in the chapter are appended to the end of the previous chapter.

You should be able to constrain the motion of photos horizontally or vertically as you drag them by holding down the Shift key.

Thank you very much for all your suggestion! Masks are pretty new to FotoMagico, and there is lot of room for improvement. We’ll have a look into the SABC bug.

I’ve alleviated much of the pain of building animations by assigning some keyboard shortcuts. Command-C maps to Copy Geometry, Command-F maps to Select Counterpart Layer, and Command-V maps to Paste Geometry (I would never use plain old copy and paste for anything in this app anyway). Now all I have to do to get the finish side to match the start side is: for each photo on the start side, select the mask, hit Command-C-F-V, then select the photo layer and hit Command-C-F-V again. It’s still a pain, but a much smaller pain than before.

I’ve noticed another quirky behavior that hopefully can be fixed. Let’s say all your photos are 1600x1200 pixels, so you start building your slideshow at 1600x1200, and your photos all fill the entire screen. Then you find out later that you need to change the resolution of the slideshow to match the output device, say 1920x1200. Fotomagico ought to be smart enough to know that I still want my photos to be fullscreen, but instead it happily changes the canvas size and leaves your photos as they were. Meaning now there are black bars on the sides. Imagine if you had just spent ten hours building a complex slideshow and then realized that you now have to completely rebuild it to get rid of the black bars.

Even worse, if you repeatedly go back and forth between the same two resolutions, Fotomagico will progressively make your photos appear smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller on the page, instead of going back and forth between two formats.