HTML Goodies - Jasc After Shot
Here's a handy addition to your toolbox! If you want to use photos on your web site, you need to know about right-sizing them, compression, format, color depth and a variety of other technical details, or, you need to have a handy photo processing program ready to use that doesn't require a year's study before you can use it! Ideally, you should be able to acquire this program without having to take out a second mortgage on the house! Jasc Software agrees! They kindly produce "After Shot" to fit just that bill.
"After Shot is designed to organize, fix and share your photos from your digital camera," say the folks at Jasc. Of course, you could take your photos with one of those old cameras; you know -- the ones with film in them. You would them have your favorite film developer provide you with your pictures on CD as well as prints. Alternatively, if you have all the time (and patience!) in the world, you could scan them yourself. My recommendation? Buy the digital camera! It won't take long to pay for itself; buying, developing and printing film is expensive.
A little housekeeping: the version of After Shot that I installed is 1.00. I have, however used the built-in update mechanism to obtain and install version 1.03. My copy is running on Windows XP. The program calls for a Pentium or equivalent, with 64M RAM, 60MB of hard drive space, a CD-ROM, a minimum of 800x600 256 color display and Windows 98/NT4/2000/ME/XP. Detailed information about the product is available at http://www.jasc.com. You can buy the product there also. The download version currently sells for US$45.00. The boxed version is US$49.00.
After Shot uses the notion of Albums to organize your photos. An Album is a collection of photos in a folder. When you are looking at After Shot's main view, the Browse view, you have a hierarchical view of your system's folder on the left, much like Windows Explorer. Navigation is intuitive and simple. Tabs are provided that enable the attachment of Information and Keywords to the Album, and to Search for albums or images based on that information or those keywords in addition to tradition search mechanisms such as file name.
Double click on a photo in an Album and you open up the photo view. Again there are the tabs for Info and Keywords so that these can be attached to each photo. There's also an "Album" tab, which shows the Album as a filmstrip on the left, enabling you to see the location of this picture in the Album, relative to the other pictures in there with it.
While in the photo view, you can use the zoom tool to zoom in and out with the left and right mouse buttons, and you can use all the neat editing and fix-up tools available. Cropping the image is a breeze with the very easy to understand cropping tool. There is an intelligent "Fix" tool the automatically adjusts a variety of image settings, making the picture look better without you having to know what it's adjusting. Of course, if you do know what to adjust, you can also manually fix just about every aspect of the picture. There is also a tool that stitches pictures into a panorama. Take a series of side by side, slightly overlapping pictures and automatically stitch them into a seamless panorama. There's even the ability to add voice-overs to your images.
After Shot also has a group of photo sharing tools. Printing your picture in standard photo sizes could hardly be simpler. There's also support for on-line print services in case you don't have a photo quality printer. You can make Quicktime movies out of your pictures, send them off via your email program or make desktop wallpaper and screensavers out of them. Then you get to the top two features: you can make a portable slideshow of them that is perfect for burning onto a CD; and the number one feature: After Shot has web templates with which you can automatically make HTML files with all links, etc. in place ready to upload to your server as an on-line photo album. Make a few of these and you'll have an engaging web site built in no time!
All these features work great right out of the box (or the download <g>) but just about every aspect of them can be controlled through option choices should you wish to do so. The program includes a "Quick Tour", which is nice, but even without using that, it is so intuitive and easy to use that there is very little learning time involved. As you work with it, however, and explore a little further, you will be surprised by the extent of control and the amount of power that this economical and well thought out program provides.
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