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|Product:||Roxio Easy Media Creator 10|
Roxio Easy Media Creator 10 - Like Police Academy, the sequels to Roxios Easy Media Creator suite keep churning out. But do they also make you want to punch someone? Matt Grayson thinks that if it did, it would be Steve Guttenberg.
As the obvious upgrade to Version 9 which was reviewed here, there are many new features to Version 10 and specifically in the photographic area, there is a Smart soundtrack feature for the slideshows, Auto-fix camera phone photos and loading images to camera phones without borders or bars as well as extra features direct to the Photosuite which are the Multiple image editor and the Panoramic stitcher.
- Organize thousands of photos & create custom views to find photos
- Edit video with Timeline video editor
- Let Video Doctor automatically fix video color, contrast and brightness
- Add multiple 2D and 3D effects; adjust their duration and speed
- Overlay multiple images, text or video clips; create picture-in-picture effects
- Create slideshows with music in standard or high definition
- Add a SmartSound soundtrack to slideshows and movies
- Capture and edit HD video
- Auto-fix your camera phone photos
- Show off any picture on your mobile phone without borders or bars
- Upload video to YouTube
- Create gifts with your own photos and templates for cards, calendars and other projects
Roxio Easy Media Creator 10 Getting started
Installation from the driver CD in the box is easy enough and once rebooted, an icon is present on your desktop and you can register your product.
The main screen is a lot snazzier than the original with updated graphics that look more 21st century to Version 9s 20th Century and the screen is actually bigger as well. The left hand tabs lack the presence of the Data option as this has been amalgamated into the Backup folder.
There are two extra options on the Photo tab and they are for enhancing multiple photos and creating panoramas.
Fix & enhance has been renamed Photosuite and is the second option in the Photo area after Import images. Following on closely is the new Multi-photo editor and Panorama creator then the Slideshow creation, Photo projects, Print and Email.
Importing photos can be done from any portable device including a scanner. Videos can also be imported here and all that has to be done is the source needs to be chosen and the images will import. Then they have to be chosen, so do not feel that every single image must be downloaded and once you are satisfied, check the file path the Save will take and Import Now can be clicked to bring the images onto the computer.
Changes from Version 9
The Photosuite is easier to navigate as all the tabs that were previously closed are now open so everything can be seen easily. All the same options are present in the photosuite with the added option of Mobile photo tools including the Mobile photo doctor which will analyse the image and make it better and is actually quite good. It will also display the changes it has made and give an option to reset if you don't like the result. The other option in the Mobile photo tools is the Mobile photo fit. This is a simple cropping pre-set for adjusting the size of your image to fit your mobile phone screen to use a wallpaper.
One of the problems that Version 9 suffered from was the undo tool undoing everything that had been changed and not just each individual actions and, sadly, Version 10 still has this problem. But is it because certain actions are all bunched into one window? If you want to change the exposure, the button to affect the exposure has three sliders for shadows, midtones and highlights. If these are all changed and then undo is performed, all three will be reversed instead of the most recent one which isn't very good.
The stitched image has been worked very well by the program. The only thing giving it away is the difference in colour of the grass about a third in from the left. This is down to my dodgy manipulation.
What about Cloning? That has just one option so each individual action will be undone in turn won't it? No, the same problem still persists and if a mistake is made, all previous actions will be deleted also which is a big let down.
The Panorama application couldn't be easier. At least, I don't think it could. I loaded three photographs into the Panorama stitch page and the program pretty much did the whole thing for me. Main features are an Auto stitch, Drag and Fine tune. The drag option allows you to manipulate the images by hand and for some reason, can only be pulled left, however, any images to the right that you have aligned will move over all together. The Fine tune option speaks for itself and once the images are aligned, the program will stitch them all together for you. The image can then be saved and opened up in Photosuite to be edited.
The multi-photo enhance application is designed to manipulate and edit multiple images at once. Loading the images in will display them as thumbnails and four tabs are available which are Fix, Transform, Special effects and Convert. The Fix tab has the Autofix button, Exposure, Saturation, Sharpness and Red-eye reduction features and a button above the tabs will allow all the pictures to be selected. Selecting All pictures will make any changes to every image in turn then the image can then be previewed for approval or rejection.
The Transform tab lets you rotate the images, Flip or Resize them whilst the Special effects tab is not as exciting as it sounds. It only holds the options to convert the image to Black & white, Negative or Sepia. Finally, the Convert tab allows the files to be renamed and converted to a different file type. This is a decent feature as it is on a mass scale and saves converting images individually.
The Slideshow is the same as Version 9 with the exception that it now has a Smartsound feature which will make a piece of music to attach to the slide show. This music will be built to specification and finish when the slideshow finishes. A smart feature indeed, but one that has been around on Pinnacle's video editing software for some years and Quicktime must be downloaded if it is not already present on your computer.
A nice feature that could have been added would have been the ability to adjust the separate tiles to fade or wipe at certain times so I could fit them to specific parts of the music. As a shallow person, I wanted my name to flash up on screen at a heroic crescendo of the track.
I made a DVD of my slideshow and it is still very easy. The menu system has animated styles to choose from with preset music and titles can be changed in title, font, colour and size.
New, not improved
Some of the non-photographic related additions to the program include Multiple Audio conversion, CD ripping from multiple drives, downloading from iPod, Dolby 6.1 surround sound, VGA optimiser for low resolution video, Dolby headphone which gives a surround sound effect in your headphones, Faster burning of CD and DVD including HD DVD and Blu-Ray, Upload to iPod or PSP and, probably most importantly, it is Vista compatible. It is worth noting that some of these new features are for use with Vista.
Roxio Easy Media Creator 10 Verdict
There are certainly some useful and effective features in Version 10 but the old problems are still present like the undo button that erases all actions with the tool you are using and the Slideshow saving only to the dmss file format. This isn't a problem when burning to DVD but it means anyone else must have Creator installed to be able to use it.
However, with Version 10 I feel that the benefits outweigh the objections so, if you are after a package to allow you to lightly manipulate images without the trouble of needing years of experience in a powerful application like Photoshop, this is a package you should look at.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Roxio Easy Media Creator 10 costs around £59.99 and will be available soon.
Take a look at other cool Roxio software at the ePHOTOzine shop here.