I needed a greeting card… and fast! My "niece-to-be" (I'm engaged, and of
course he's an Alamo PC member) had a birthday coming up fast. I wanted
to make her a special card as this was her first birthday in high school.
I had a card, but alas, one of my cats ate it (the same cat who tries to
drink my Slimfast every morning). Luckily, I had this software to review,
so I thought, "what the heck" and gave it a whirl.
ArcSoft's Greeting Card Creator does just that — allows the user to
create a variety of greeting cards with little effort and in little time.
I used the 2002 version. I received only the program CD and a piece of
paper with installation instructions (details later).
Desktop publishing is my software of choice. Over 4,000 backgrounds,
1 million pieces of clipart, and 250 gazillion colors are my choices in
most of the software I own. I didn't hold much hope for this little program.
Yet, when I installed the program (which was a snap), I would soon change
my mind, as the program made creating cards as simple as 1,2,3,4,5…6!
Once you install the program, the opening window pops up, and immediately
whisks you away to the start of your greeting card. You have a blank work
space area and to the left side, six boxes. . .the steps to making your
Step 1: Select design.
Choose from a variety of designs (birthday, animals, backgrounds, flowers,
moving, holidays, etc…). On the left side, a thumbnail sketch allows you
to scroll through the many colorful choices. I chose a retro-looking 50s
bobbysoxer throwing confetti into the air (I'm sure my niece-to-be doesn't
even know what a bobbysoxer is, but I'm the one designing the card, and
due to my age, I do know). You may rotate, flip, enlarge, reduce or even
change the brightness or contrast of the art.
Step 2: Get photo.
If you would like to insert a photo instead of or addition to your
design, this is where you do it. I just popped a photo in my scanner (HP
ScanJet), gave the picture a name and voila! The picture was on my card!
Greeting Card Creator allows you to import, scan and save photos in an
album. Make a mistake? Just hit delete.
Step 3: Add title.
Putting a title or phrase on the front of the card is easy too. Colors,
shadows and just as many fonts as in a standard publishing program are
at your fingertips.
Step 4: Import clip art.
Much to my surprise, there were approximately 200 pieces of clip art
available. Everything from birthday cakes, animals, signs, holiday icons,
and much more were there. True, you have to be satisfied with only two
clips of birthday cakes, but in a pinch, how many cakes do you really need?
And as before, you may rotate, flip, enlarge or decrease the size of the
picture to fit your artistic whims.
Step 5: See inside.
Look at the inside of your card. Once again, I had a great deal of
pre-made phrases to choose from. I wanted to use my own creative juices,
so I just simply unchecked the box for "Greeting" and added my own phrase.
If you feel inspired, you may even add more text above or below the phrase.
Step 6: Print preview.
Here's where I got the chance to see my creation without committing
to using a piece of my heavy card stock. I looked at my card from the front,
inside and even a quarter-fold view. I saved it to file, chose the number
of copies and printed it. My masterpiece was complete! If I had wanted
to, I could have e-mailed it directly to her via AOL or other MAPI compliant
The experience with ArcSoft Greeting Card Creator was a joyful experience.
But alas, with greatness, comes a rub. The program cd had no system requirements
listed, so I can only tell you that it worked like a dream for me. I have
a Sony Vaio with a 1.5 GHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor, and used my CD-ROM
to install the program. Although, I am sure most Pentium computers could
run this program with no problem.
And now, for the bad news. I can't inform you about the price of Greeting
Card Creator, nor can I tell you where to find it. After several attempts
to locate it at the local software stores, online stores, and even ArcSoft's
own Website, it was nowhere to be found! I e-mailed ArcSoft, and was informed
that Greeting Card Creator has not even been released yet! Look for it
around the month of November. ArcSoft declined to give me the system requirements,
software specifics or suggested retail pricing. I guess it has enough confidence
in the program that it doesn't have to let us reviewers know anything about
the product. Tech support and customer service is available by calling
510-440-9901 (Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:30pm PST) Fax: 510-440-1270
Even so, I would definitely recommend this nifty little piece of software.
ArcSoft's Greeting Card Creator is still a nice and quick way to make that
specialized card in a pinch, even for us desktop publishing geeks. So be
patient my graphics gurus…November is right around the corner!
46601 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538.