This is one of my favorite imaging programs. In a nutshell, it takes
an image that you select and produces a photo montage, comprised of
hundreds (or thousands if you let the program use its own micro-images)
of small micro-images to produce a montage the original image.
The program looks at all the colors that comprise the image you select,
then picks similar colors from its huge database of micro-images, then
places each image, one by one, as if it were "painting" over the
selected image. This whole process takes less than a minute to produce
a photo montage.
What's new with PhotoMontage VE is the ability to create a customized
photo library from individual frames of our own digital home movies to
use in a photo montage. This would enable you to produce a montage using
your own personal images.
I've done similar customized PhotoMontage projects with three previous PC
Alamode covers but I chose a masochistic way to produce each cover. I scanned
literally hundreds of photos and colored parts of each image to help the
program choose which images to use in the montage. Using frames from a home
digital movie film would make the whole process a lot simpler.
Let me walk you through a montage process. First, you have to have an image
in mind which you want to montage. I chose a photo of Marilyn standing in our
entry hall and cropped it to include just the upper part of her body using
another ArcSoft product, PhotoStudio. Since this was to be a review of
PhotoMontage, I made an easy decision to let the program use its database
of micor-images to montage the photo of Marilyn. The montage was to be done
in color so - to let the reader know, Marilyn was wearing a pale blue tanktop
and a red and yellow flowered skirt - lots of color for the program
to find and use.
Once I had selected the photo I wanted to montage, the next screen asks for
details. At this point, you can pick from your own personal photo
albums that you earlier had produced by choosing an album name and selecting
photos to go in each album. Clicking on an album name inserts a checkmark in
front of the album to let you know it will include photos from that album in
your montage. Note that I chose the Mega Collection for Marilyn's montage. You
also choose a micro-image count from selected groupings and whether you want
small or large micro-images. At this point, you can also tell the program
whether you want a micro-image to be repeated or not. Since I would be using
the thousands of images in Mega Image collection, I clicked Never Repeat.
Also, at this point, you can choose to have a caption at the bottom of your
montage, select a font and type in your caption. Now you are ready for the
program to do its magic.
As the montage process starts, little micro-squares start flowing across
the screen from left to right and top to bottom, turning Marilyn's photo
into a negative image. Immediately thereafter, the process starts
over, inserting color-matched micro-images on her face, tanktop, skirt and and
the background of the photo. You watch in amazement, seeing your photo being
turned into a montage of hundreds and hundreds of micro-photos.
At this point, you can print an inkjet color print of your montage or save it
as a JPG, TIF, or BMP file and take it to Kinko's, Office Max, Office Depot or
any film processor to obtain a color print. A further option is to have ArcSoft
produce a color poster of your masterpiece. Imagine producing a 50th wedding
anniversary poster of your parents, made from hundreds of pictures of their
life together. Priceless!
All this can be yours for about $39.99.
Recently I tackled a project for my 50th highschool reunion. I used
PhotoMontage to produce the cover for a 64 page magazine containing 80
bios of what our classmates have been doing for the past 50 years. I
scanned the individual class pictures (grayscale photos in those days).
I had planned to use words as the object to montage to, so I produced a
couple of JPG files with different combinations of words. I had darkened
the background of deceased classmates photos in order to force the program
to use these photos to montage to the words. The results weren't very
satisfactory. It's my belief that PhotoMontage likes to work with a large
color image as the target image to montage to - and to use color micro-images
to match the colors and become the montage itself. I don't think the grayscale
photos I was attempting to use gave enough choice to the program to produce a
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