In conjunction with this review, there was originally intended to be an opportunity for me to offer a copy of the software as a prize in a contest. However, the associated commitment required on this blog would have involved monthly posts, which would go against my policy of neutrality and would have rendered the site more commercial than I intend.
So, sorry, I can’t provide that prize. I’ve offered an alternative, which is detailed on the previous post. Why not have a go?
As regular visitors know, I rarely endorse or promote products here. However, a short while ago, as a result of the blog’s growing popularity, I was approached to do a piece on some digital scrapbooking software designed to produce albums and other items of memorabilia. At the time, I was trying to sort out the 5,700 photographs stored on my PC and the idea of turning some of these into albums I could share was very attractive. So, as I was offered the software free, I decided to give the My MemoriesSuite software a trial.
The first thing I should say about this product is that, unlike a lot of graphics applications, it’s very simple to use. Once I’d downloaded the programme, a process that took longer than expected because of the size of the file, I scouted through the various options and quickly understood how the various components worked. Because I was particularly busy at the time, but had committed to reviewing the suite as soon as possible, I decided to see how easy it would be to compile a simple album there and then.
The illustration of the album page, shown here with its photographs, was completed within the single hour that I used to download updates, familiarise myself with the various tools and view the huge collection of items on hand in the software. Now, I think that’s pretty impressive. I could quickly have expanded the album to several pages in very little extra time. The suite is that easy to use.
Out of curiosity, I wondered how it would work in producing some posters I’m intending to create for other purposes. I had an idea in mind, so I returned to the software the following evening and turned out the ‘Write…edit…’ poster in less than 10 minutes. That includes selecting the background, fonts, embellishments and colours, and learning how to place and arrange the various elements that make up the design. Now, I don’t know about you, but this is the sort of simplicity of use I value. My time is precious and I cherish tools that allow me to complete a specific project without fuss in a short time.
For those of you interested in using this application, let me give you a few facts before you decide:
· Backgrounds – many and varied – spoilt for choice here. And, if you wish, you can purchase additional backgrounds.
· Photos – the software automatically imports all your images into its library and makes them available, exactly as you have arranged them in folders. You can also import pictures from outside, if you wish.
· Photo Layouts – many pre-designed layouts to allow easy displays on each page. Or you can arrange your photos as you wish.
· Text – all the fonts on your system are automatically included in the range available, with examples of each font shown in the dropdown list.
· Word Art – looks similar to the familiar Word Art used with Windows programmes, including the different shapes, colours, sizes and formats.
· Embellishments – a huge catalogue of flourishes to embellish your creative efforts, all easily applied and sized to your requirements.
· Shapes – a great collection of different shapes that can be used as stand-alone decoration or to frame a particular page or photograph. Place your loved one inside a heart, for example.
· Calendars – allows you design your own illustrated calendars for months or years.
· Imprints - hundreds of ready-made designs to title or decorate your album, easily applied.
· Paint – a drawing screen that allows the artists in you free reign. Great fun.
· Video & Multimedia – allows you to add video, audio, websites, files and pages to your constructions for online viewing or production of DVDs.
· Music & Narration – so that you can add background music and tell a story over your series of pictures.
· Check Album – gives you the chance to make sure everything is as you want it to be, applies a spell-check and points out errors before you commit.
· Share Album – so you can print at home, export, send for professional printing online, make an interactive album, a DVD or a movie, as desired.
· Tools – a huge selection of tools to allow you to arrange, size, colour, edit and experiment so that your album becomes truly your own.
The software allows the design of more than just albums and calendars. I’ve used it to produce posters, as you can see. You can also make films, with sound, and interactive multimedia presentations.
The software normally costs just $39.97 (about £25.00 or about €31.00) for download. If you’re in USA or Canada, you can opt for a disc instead. You can purchase the software, and its associated products, which I haven't tried, through the My Memories Suite website.