Techniques for FM4?


As a long-time user of FM, I must admit to a little intimidation at FM4, but I’ve finally jumped in to get my feet wet, preparing for a demo to our Photos & Movie SIG this month… Since I see so little input in the forum, I’m embolden to make a few comments and would like to hear yours…

Been playing with FotoMagico 4 all week, trying to get familiar enough to demo it at the SIG next week. I’ve learned some things you have to do differently, just to see what you are doing! For example: The layer you are working on setting them up, you have to drag each one to the top temporarily, so you can see what you are doing. Also, learning to make the masks you see in the demo’s…png boxes. It is going to take MUCH LONGER to create an impressive slide show than with the old version, yet all the old tools are still there and more if you want to just go “old school.” The ability to drag a slide change to fit the beat of the music is a BIG deal! Now, I will be thinking about taking short movies along with my still shots, as FM4 is the perfect vehicle for using short video clips.

Finally, the “demo” inside of FM4 is truly amazing and intimidating, but a good place to get “copy cat” ideas to get you started. I would love to see some shows created outside Boinx…anyone?

What are some “techniques” you are using for the amazing multi-layer slide-show app?

Bye R@y

Hi, R@y!!

When I started using the FM4 application, I also looked at the built-in demo supplied by Boinx and wondered, “How’d they do that?” Examining each slide that got my interest, I found TWO things that jumped out (since the panning and zooming were simply carryovers from FM3). First was the multi-image slides, where one image would pan or zoom while the other was either static, or it moved as well – and there was a “separator” between them. I discovered that separator was actually an imported file which was a narrow rectangle (either black or white) that was used to separate the images. Working carefully with the layers, they were able to have one image zoom (or pan) behind the other image (or behind the separator). Then, of course, came the “Panorama” image in the demo, where different mountain layers seemed to move past each other. Careful poking around and I discovered they did it with .png files (which CAN have transparency!!! – and THAT was the trick). But it WOULD take some Photoshop work to create those “masked” layers, where only certain parts of the image are visible, and the background is transparent. Layer them in FM4, and you have a “3-D” effect of one layer moving over another. Very cool.

My wife and I returned from a 3-week trip to Greenland and Iceland and I worked on a slideshow with music. I have two images with that 3-D effect (one of an iceberg moving ever so slowly across the water, for only a very small distance), and the other a motor boat with its wake moving across the water. The other techniques were creating multiple images that appear on a slide over time. One frame has 3 vertical images left to right, the outside ones coming up from the bottom, the middle one coming down from the top, all three meeting in the vertical middle. I have another frame with 3 vertical images – the first one slides in from the left, then the next one slides in after from behind it, and then the third slides in from behind the second.

There are lots of creative things you can do with the new layers in FM4. And from a teaser that was sent out, the NEXT update has built in masking (we hope!!), which allows for a whole bunch of creative effects.

I still haven’t posted our slideshow anywhere (it’s a pretty large file), but we have shown it a number of times to some hiking groups we are in and to our local historical society’s monthly meeting – everyone is impressed – not only at the photos, but what we were able to do to present them.

Achim – do you know what the largest file size is for attaching to these messages? Is there a place on the Boinx website for posting our videos for others to see? And how large can those be? Do they have to be in a QT format? Can they be stand-alone FM4 presentations?

@stantastic: Thank you for your insights! Sharing FotoMagico slide shows: We consider the best way to share your work is by uploading the exported show to a video host service like YouTube or vimeo. They can deal with large uploads and downloads better than any other. After uploading your movie post the “share link” here. Also: if you like to be featured in our blog or on our example page, you can fill out this form:

Hi, Achim –

Thanks for the info…

Oh, boy – I’m in trouble!! :frowning:

Vimeo has a 10-minute limit on uploaded videos.
YouTube has a 15-minute limit on uploaded videos.

My slideshow is just over 3GB in size and runs for 46 minutes!!

I guess those two options are out. I looked at Dropbox, but a file that size would require a monthly fee of $9.99, and would require viewers to download it to their computers (that could take a while for some users).

Any other ideas?

I would like to get more details (or perhaps see a video tutorial) on creating panels. I, too, was viewing the tutorial and noticed the vertical line divider (separator) but it became animated with the rest of the slides! I would really like to know how to create a four or six panel frame in which each panel could be replaced with a new picture independently.

Hi, RGTR –

I just created a short slideshow that I think does what you are asking. It isn’t difficult. It was done quick and dirty – no vertical or horizontal line dividers. And the spacing is kinda goofy. If you DO choose to use dividers, you have to consider that each one takes up a layer (unfortunately, we are only given 6 layers to work with). So if you want to use 6 images (i.e., layers), you’ll have to size them correctly on your own to fit on the slide BEFORE you end up placing them. Hopefully the new “masking” feature (expected in the next update) will solve some of those problems.

For a quick example, I just created a frame with 4 “quadrants” (each quadrant being a layer), and where each layer holds a single image. I have that frame display for 3 seconds. Now I copied that frame to the next frame. Then I just replaced ONE of the quadrants in the new frame with a new image. I chose a transition of “dissolve” so the other three layers appear to remain the same, while in the new quadrant, the old image dissolves into the new one. You can do that with one image, or more.

See the attached tiny QT file named “” saved in .zip format (I hope it comes through!)

Thanks for your reply. I’ll look at this in the near future - and probably have another question:-)

I don’t seem to be able to download the zip file. Could you email it to me at Thanks in advance!

Thank you for your details on techniques. Being a beginner, these really help a lot. And yes, I could not download the file either.

Hmmm??? Sorry about that :frowning: I attached the file in .zip format, but I can’t seem to download it either. It wants to download as an “image.” I sent RGTR a link for the file from my public Dropbox folder. He said he was able to get it. Try using the following URL to grab it:

Hopefully that will work

I thought about what RGTR was trying to do and there IS another way, although it doesn’t really take advantage of layers in FM4. Using Photoshop (as my app of choice), create a document of the exact same size (proportion) as what you intend to make your slide show in FM4. Now set up some grid lines to create your 4- or 6-panel frame. Size and drop in each of the images you want to use into each of the “panels,” then save the file. Now, as an example, leaving 3 of the 4 photos the same, exchange the 4th with a new image, then save that file. Keep switching photos as you wish and saving the documents. Now just drop all of those docs into FM4 in the order you want, set them up for as long as you want (1 second, 2, 3, etc.), and add a dissolve transition from one frame to the next, making it short. You’ll end up with the same basic effect. It will appear that photos in each “panel” are changing.