Category: Media

ASCOMP Software Backup Maker 7.4 Showcase

Main Window

Backups and archives are a key piece of retaining our digital lifestyle; both professional and personal data chains and items. We keep all of our documents, photos, and records in binary format, instead of pen and paper. One bad electrical overload, physical shock, read/write error, electromagnetic exposure, and you can lose everything. These are real-world risks and can strike without warning. One needs to take steps to mitigate these dangers and ASCOMP Software’s Backup Maker 7.4.

The newest changes to this program include a System Tray notification of the Backup status. This keeps you aware of the status of your backups, the last one completed, successful/unsuccessful, and the date code. You can then start and new backup with a few clicks. This pairs well with the enlarged Main Window for easier readbility.

Also, you can now terminate/end/cancel a backup, if the backup has started before you are ready. This is helpful, as having to resort to using the System Task Manager to force stop the program. This can cause system and software instability, and make backups corrupted. This is not a safe variable to occur.

This software can be purchased in several tiers. The levels are Private (One User, on up to 2 computers), Company (2-5 Users, on 5 computers, and Update (incremental updates, after the initial two years of updates have elapsed, for an additional 2 years). The prices are in order $25.00 USD, $50.00 USD, and $15.00 USD, respectfully. Great prices for a lightweight and extensive backup program. Vhexk them out, and tell them I sent you. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

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Bolide Movie Creator HD 4.0 Showcase

A while back, I wrote about how a program from the fine folks at Bolide Software had introduced a fine, quality video editor/creator for easy use. They have continued to iterate since that initial review, and they have brought great improvements, and have yet kept the cost quite reasonable. The name of this great piece of technology is Bolide Movie Creator 4.0.

There are many changes that have come to the program. One I like is the ability to convert a video file to an audio file. This would be a great boon to an individual or indie podcaster, that makes/records the podcast episode in video form, and needs to transcode the show to audio for content delivery network (CDN) podcast catchers. I have debated making video reviews or even podcasting down the line, so this would be a great aid in this regard.

Initial Open Window With Timeline 
Effects Window

It has some overhauling of the Effects system, as you can now modify the Start/End of certain Fade transitions. You can now make changes with right-click of the mouse, instead of relying on the keyboard commands alone. The changes are fairly extensive and are varying in their degree differences to prior versions. If you are interested in the full list, check this list here.

Transitions Window

The great thing that is happening at Bolide Software is that they are running a Valentine’s Day Special. You can get this program or one of their others for 30% off. That is off the regular price of $39.95 USD. Either on sale or not, this is a great value, as their competitors run in the near one hundred dollar range (USD). You can purchase it directly from them at this storefront. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Audials AG Audials One 2019 Review

Streaming media is a growing aspect of our entertainment portfolio. We depend on the web to watch our movies, listen to our music, follow our podcasts and connect with the media that we consume. Such connectivity can be convenient, but it has the downside of requiring the person to be online. Many tools have come along to mitigate this issue, but one of the kings of the genre is Audials AG, and their flagship family product Audials One 2019.

Streaming Music Capture Sources

This all-in-one suite supports the recording of many sources, with the highlight being that the music search engine, now has the power of Spotify. This change allows people to search across multiple platforms to find the music they love and then simulcasts the playback for offline playback/recording. This works for both Free Accounts and Premium Accounts alike. Now you can stream from Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora, Google Play Music, and Spotify for your favorite artists, and be able to listen to them away from the Internet-connected device. While I am new to Spotify, the potential for this to make music media creation and library organization a vast improvement, not seen since the advent of iTunes and the iPod.

Video Streaming Services supported by Audials One

While audio is a vital aspect of our online media consumption, the video seems to have trumped its importance. Many of the modern video streaming services allow for offline downloading for certain titles and services, but not all of them. Here is where Audials One comes to the rescue, as it allows you to record the video titles for later viewing, as you watch them. You can set the format you need, and follow the onscreen prompts, and then start your program, and enjoy. This is an excellent tool for all of your media streaming needs.

Podcast Directory

It is of note that this program that allows you to subscribe, stream, and record your podcasts. I have used many podcast clients, and this interface is fairly standard and reminds me Stitcher interface on phones/tablets. As of this juncture, it does not support password-protected podcasts, but I do that is added in the future. This would be able to allow one to listen to many feeds that are behind paywalls.

Online TV Feeds

This program also supports the option to record numerous online tv stations feeds, that are up for grabs. I tend to use my Roku player for many tv feeds, but having a way to do this for my desktop tv viewing is nice. it might be nice to watch my local news and my PC, while I am working.

Media Conversion Window

I have covered many media conversion programs in the past. This program is quite well done, and if you want it for the previous features, you cannot beat the price with this inclusion. This will do both audio and video conversions, and make it compatible with your devices.

In conclusion, I have used this program for over five years, and so I know it well. This version is the best yet, and I know it will only improve, with each iteration. My primary experience is using this for online radio recording feeds, but I have never been disappointed. I know that for around thirty dollars (USD), you can have a very involved, full-featured software suite for online media library and recording software. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 In-Depth Review:

Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 In-Depth Review:

You may recall that I reviewed the flagship burning suite from Ashampoo, called Burning Suite 16, not too long ago. Now they have released the updated replacement, entitled Burning Studio 18, and it is packed with nice features and improved functions. Everything that you loved from the prior entry is here, only better, and easier to use. Now, let’s get into the details, and see what is on offer.

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If you are like me, you enjoy listening to your tunes, when you are out and about. This extends to traveling in the car, and this time of the year, singing along with Christmas music. Many newer automotive makers have vehicle product lines have A/V smart radio receivers are factory installed. This is nice to have, without adding an after-market unit, but it comes with some hurdles. Many different radios can only playback certain file formats while excluding others from the list.

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Burning Studio 18 has a sure-fire way to make it possible to make a disc that will be compatible with whatever device is in the car, and playback is a breeze. The program is designed to allow you to select from numerous presets for radios/playback devices that take the guesswork out of this process, an excellent program feature for 21st Century music disc authoring. This is a must-have feature for disc authoring of today’s digital music.

People this time of year make numerous photos, video, and memories of the holiday festivities. When they sit down to compile the images into a cohesive whole and layout albums, it can be overwhelming and in disarray as to how best to present them to the group. Many have elected to turn them into slideshows and add in music and transitions so they can be shown on the computer and/or TV.

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Since the release of Burning Studio 18, this excellent program has added the support for MPEG-4 H.264/AAC audio-video file formats. This allows you to create state-of-the-art HD videos that give you the sheen of a Hollywood production, yet star you and your friends and family. Now when you add transitions and sound effects, you will how numerous ways to make your memories sparkle.

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Data breaches and e-mail scandals make the headlines, it seems weekly. From the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government and the recent election fiasco, on down to local government office being ransomed by hackers, to ordinary people getting their personal computers locked out unless Bitcoin is paid for its release. Now, more than ever, people need solid, controlled environments to backup and secure their data for these and other reasons. Burning Studio 18, and the stable of single and multi-span volume backups/archives. Knowing that you can put your trust in this program, and know that if the worse happens, you can get your data (and to a certain extent, your life) back. This cannot be understated and brushed aside, as a core feature for burning software.

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These are but a few, key features that have been added and/or improved with this edition of the software. I know that if you try this version, you will be very happy with these changes. If you act now (December 2016), you will find that many of Ashampoo’s products are on sale, with significant discounts to be had. As always, the trial version of the program will allow you to try it out for yourself. Until next time, Merry Christmas and keep on techin’ . . .

Tenorshare UltData In-Depth Review

Tenorshare UltData In-Depth Review

Our day-to-day lives depend on mobile technology more and more. Our phones are the epicenter of our data, photos, apps, movies, music, etc. With so much invested in these devices, a reliable and dependable resource management system needs to be in place, so you can get to this critical information when your device is inaccessible and is possibly broken or physically damaged. The recovery options for iOS devices has grown for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh Operation System(s), in regards to programs and utilities that accomplish this task for average users.

Of the options available, a highly-rated program has risen through the ranks, Tenorshare’s UltData.

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This fine program has you covered, not matter what issue is preventing you from getting into your iDevice, and its key information. No matter if you have dropped your device, and broke it, hung on the boot-up logo, accidental deletion, and many other issues, it can get it back for you. It accomplishes this in one of three ways: retrieval from you iCloud account, restoring from you iTunes Backup, or even directly from you iDevice. Each has their advantages and uses, and which one you ever choose; you will be pleased with the results.

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As someone, who has an old iPhone 4, from 2010, I can tell you that being able to access critical data that has been invaluable is getting back restored photos and notes, along with app data backups. In having an older device, I have not been able to use iTunes to do backup/syncs, without causing errors and problems. Now having an option to use UltData to get these files either from my device or from iCloud, I can feel a peace of mind, in knowing that my information is not too far out of reach.

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Once you initialize the backup sequence, it is well organized and easy to see what is available for recovery. You can easily see your call history, photos, and texts, in real-time, so you can only restore that stuff you want, and not bring back things you do not need, or no longer require. Whatever you recover from your device, you can take those, and re-sync them back into your device to use them, going forward.

 

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In trying to preserve my digital life, recorded on my iPhone and iPad, which covers my entire married life, having software that will help me use my data to migrate to a set of newer iDevices (which I am hopeful that I can acquire sometimes this year), will make this dicey proposition possible, with a safety net. I use my mobile devices, and their features to keep my life focused and on-track. Any prospects of losing this critical information that I cannot get back is something I want to prevent, and having tools, such as Tenorshare makes is a much less probably outcome.

 

Tenorshare_logoYou may be asking yourself, why I should choose UltData for my iOS device recovery options, over other options on the market. The answer is many reasons (some which I have already cited). One standout that you, my readers may find important and treasure for your peace of mind, is that Tenorshare is an award-winning company, with UltData  winning 2016 Golden Award from TopTenReviews.com. This is a nice, prestigious award to win from a reputable software review site, and further highlights the advantages that this software offers your iOS devices, whether or not your computer runs on Windows or Mac.

The entry cost for this peace of mind and tool-set is very reasonable, and scalable, based upon your needs as an individual, family, or if you have an organization or commercial enterprise that would require vast number of device support numbers. The starting tier is a 1-yr. Subscription, which runs $83.95 USD, and includes a license for one computer, one year support and one year of upgrades. The second tier is the Family Pack, $139.95 USD, and is a license for 2-5 computers, lifetime usage, lifetime support, and lifetime upgrades. The top-tier of licenses is the Unlimited License, which runs $699.95 USD and that is unlimited devices, support, and upgrades, and the best value across the board. If you act right now, they are running a 40% off sale that slashes the prices drastically, but only for a very, short time (the sale ends on 07/11/16). As is usually the case, most software I review has a demo/trial version that you can try, risk-free.

If you have ever had an iDevice that has failed on you, you can be sure that this program can give you the best chance to get your data back. I know that once you try this software, you will be hooked on keeping your data safeguarded with the umbrella of programs from Tenorshare; do not forget to tell them that I sent you. As always, keep on techin’!

Product Review: Squirrels Reflector 2 In-Depth:

Product Review: Squirrels Reflector 2 In-Depth:

In the multi-device connected world, in which we live, we have the need of the usage of tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices, crossing over with our desktops and laptops; all requiring those to display our content in various screens simultaneously. Options to do this, particularly on the Windows PC side, are few and far between, and this is especially the case, if you are operating a non-jail-broken tablet or smartphone that run iOS operating system. I was unsure how to undertake this task, until I discovered Squirrels, and Reflector 2.reflector-2-1

In my travels and tech tasks, I have found myself in needing to show my smart device’s screen, its apps, and even the audio feed. The best way to access these elements strives from the AirPlay wireless standard, created by Apple, which allows each of their modern technology devices communicate with one another seamlessly and without much fuss. When you migrate over to devices not made by Apple and/or do not run on their proprietary operating system, you run into problems. Many manufactures have come onto the marketplace, and now create accessories and products that work for these devices, but the emphasis is on apps and other hardware accessories, rather than making these devices have AirPlay support for Microsoft Windows.

In discovering Squirrel, and their stable of software titles, I have found the solution to this conundrum. The first part I reviewed last time, AirParrot 2, allows you to transmit from one PC to other PC’s or devices. Its companion/counterpart, Reflector 2, allows your PC to receive signals from other PC’s, and for the focus of this piece, iOS screen capture and mirroring.

I want to stress at the onset of this article, the capabilities to receive other PC’s video/audio signals are quite strong and very versatile. I have had the usage of this functionality in several situations, but what I want to share with you/explore with you is how easy it is to link your computer to your smartphone/tablet, and share that synergy to great effect. I know that you will come to see how vital this will be to your digital life, whether or not you have a disability.3

One usage of this screen mirroring can be streaming or watching games on your PC or home theater system, broadcast from your mobile device. I am fortunate that I have a dedicated streaming device for watching media outlets (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, etc.), but many people do not have such a piece of hardware, and having a software solution that natively supports either Android Google Play or Apple AirPlay standards can allow them to accomplish this task. Trying to watch a small screen is fine for being on the go, but if you want to watch things as a group or media that is more easily understood in a larger scale, using a casting protocol or software applet is the way to proceed. I can see value in this great feature.

If you have a need to control the reception of data gathered by Reflector 2, there are a couple of companion apps that allow for remote control for both corporate and educational environments. The apps in question are called, Reflector Director and Reflector Student. Each of these can be used to either allow collaborative learning in corporate settings or between students in the classroom.reflector-2-2

It is quite nice to share your screen, and watch live, in real-time. However, being able to record what is shared is a vital way to dissipate your information and share your presentations in the cloud, via sites such as YouTube. Thankfully, Reflector 2 has such support built-in, where you can broadcast yourself on the stream, and allows you to also show a mirrored device, integrated into your presentation. You can show yourself, move to a mirrored device in your stream, back to you; all while uploading the video to YouTube Live. I have yet to use this, but in the future, I might move to video reviews, instead of typed ones, that I have been using from day one on my blog.

Bottom line, if you need to seamlessly embed your smart device into your desktop/stream casting device, you need this program. This used in conjunction with AirParrot 2, makes a complete ecosystem for broadcasting and receiving smart device into desktop/laptop environments. The nice thing is that this program can be had for as little as $14.99 USD/computer. If you need a multi-user/multi-device license model, those are available as well. I know that if you try this, you will jump and buy this with no hesitation. They offer their software for Windows and Mac, so the two major platforms for desktops/laptops are supported, along with Android and iOS for mobile devices. You owe it to yourself to have this at your disposal. As always, keep on techin’ . . .

Day-of-Release: Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD 4.0

Day-of-Release: Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD 4.0

Two generations ago, family and friends might gather around a projector screen, with a slide projector with a slide rotary caddy. They would take these opportunities to recap trips they went on, things they saw, and people they experienced the events with. As been the subject of numerous parodies and skits, people have been subjected to seeing the same scene, over and over again, with off-handed quotes. You typically hear such things as “Here is Gene, on the right!” Now he is on the left!” “You remember the heat that day, Gene?” What do you think, Barbra?” The purpose of these gatherings was to track and chart the milestones of people’s life.

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Today, the technology is different, but the purpose has carried on into day, with computers, mobile device cameras, optical media (DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K-UHD) and streaming video being the media that these memories are recorded onto for preservation. The scope has been expanded to now encompass the avenues of commerce, education, entertainment, and journalism, in addition to the personal recordings of yesteryear. The learning curve of these software programs has varied over the years, coupled with the available feature sets that they each offer. If you get an easy-to-use program, the features might be limited. If you choose a more full-featured program, you tend to find yourself facing a less-friendly GUI/UX that is much less intuitive and systematic.

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I am glad to report to you, today, that a new, more powerful, and full-featured program has debuted today, from those fine folks at Ashampoo, entitled Slideshow Studio HD 4.0. This great program fully carries forward the fine, long-standing tradition that Ashampoo has come to represent; demonstrated by the craftsmanship you find in this and all of their programs. Not only does have the standard functions you would expect from a slideshow program, but the forward-looking embrace 4K Ultra-High-Definition video standard that is bursting on the scene.scr_ashampoo_slideshowstudio_hd4_simplemode_adapt_to_music

This promises of up to 8x the resolution of 1080P video, with support for High-Dynamic Range (HDR) for extreme life-like imagery and natural shadows, mid-range tones, and highlights. As Hollywood has begun taking this file format as the go-to choice for how they capture our blockbusters, and present them to us for home theater consumption, not many home enthusiasts programs offer this functionality, but Slideshow Studio HD 4.0 comes through for you, in this regard.

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Not only does this software program that has these feature-set, included, but it also introduces the addition of 17 new transition effects, not available in prior versions. If the included transitions and effects that come bundled with the program do not meet all of your needs, post-launch, additional templates will be made available, free of charge from their website. I can attest that having an online depository for specialized templates has been a lifesaver, on several occasions, with other software; I am very looking forward to have this resource for this program available to me and to you, my faithful readers.

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As a faithful user of iOS devices for seven years or so, I need tools and software that allows me to enjoy my media and share it with those in my circle, on these devices. While I have yet to make a mobile-enabled slideshow, with Slideshow Studio HD 4.0, has specialized output settings for these devices, so you have full confidence that your final project will work on these devices, with minimal hassle and problems. For those of you that use Android or other operating systems on your mobile devices, they have output device profiles for those pieces of equipment.

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As you may recall my wife has a home-based art business, and she has branched into tutorials and training videos, in addition to her artwork for sale. She has done videos on Periscope, and uploaded some basic time-elapsed videos of her paintings, but having this tool in her arsenal will allow her to create more polished and professional videos in this vein. I can see that she might very well start laying a narration track over her work, and better explain her creative process to help budding artist reach their potential. I can see that the software’s support of this feature will help her obtain her goal for this purpose.

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Right now, if you purchase this program on the launch day or soon after (which is today, July, 11, 2016), you can have this program for 50% off its regular price of $39.99 USD for a Single-User License. This is a nice savings, and will allow you to become a paying customer for Ashampoo’s products, and might entitle you to future upgrades and discounts on this program, as well as the other members of their product family line. In my opinion, this is well worth the money for such a powerful and versatile program that can be used for personal and professional projects, alike. If you need this program for multi-user environments or for business purposes, you can contact them for a price quote, directly. If you still are not convinced that this is for you, you can use their trial version, and test it out for yourself. As always, keep on techin’!

SoftOrbits Photo Background Remover In-Depth Review

SoftOrbits Photo Background Remover In-Depth Review

I cannot tell you how many times I have had the need to extract an image or element from a composition. I used the selection tool and the magic wand in various graphic design software programs, for this task. The process is time-consuming, and requires finesse and training to do this effectively. This can be compounded and multiply many fold, when you have to do this multiple times, across several images for a project. I have seen many programs that have come down the pipeline and promised an automation process, that streamlines the time needed, requires less technical know-how; yet allow some oversight and nuanced changes. Suffice to say, those that have come before have sorely disappointed and under-performed in their delivery and results.

Flash forward to today, and an up-and-coming design software company has risen to the occasion. I am speaking of SoftOrbits, and you have seen in my reviews of their products (hopefully you have tried their products, by now), you know the can deliver. In fact, a maxim of business is to under promise, and over deliver; SoftOrbits has taken this to heart, and done that with excellence, in their products, customer service, and how they develop and create future features/programs.

In tackling this challenge head on, they have developed a program that solves this problem, entitled Photo Background Remover. This fine product combines several well-sought features that have been desired, (many that I have alluded to earlier in this review) plus one or two that might not jump to mind immediately. Such additions will seem like a natural fit, and you will wonder that why you did not think of them, yourself. Once I go into these features, individually, you will see what I mean, all the more.

 

As I stated before (in my halcyon days of being a graphic design student), many of the assignments that we were giving required us to take stock images and composite them into collages and projects, with image extraction. On top of Molière patterns and digital noise in the images from scanning them into the computer, we had a difficult learning curve in how best to crop and cutout images, and has them look good and clean. Many of my efforts looked crudely cut out and misshapen and starkly out of place in the composition. Granted in time, and with the passing of years in school, I got better, but it get it just right, required extra effort to get it to an exacting place, even as I was graduating.

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While my life went in a different direction, after my art school years, I always appreciated that I knew how to do this task; ever hopeful that computers and technology would advance to better streamline this process. Thankfully, the abilities of SoftOrbits Photo Background Remover makes this task so much simpler than I thought would be possible, until I tried this software, for myself. I was so impressed that whatever I threw at the program, it would just cut it out, without issue and so cleanly. It looked like it was just an image that was made without a background and created in isolation, rather than being taken as a portion from something else.

While I have my, own experiences in the technical arts, my wife has been a professional artist, illustrator, and graphic designer with eleven years’ experience. I have spoken with her on the benefits and potential of this software for her purposes. She said that it might be useful for her creation of stencils and maybe other applications. One, specific example that we thought might work well would be used for “tubing” applications and projects.

You may ask what that might be. The answer was unfamiliar to me, until my wife informed me that many people use avatars of their favorite artist’s work and pop culture references; the source of these avatars and “digital stickers” are processed artwork, run through programs, such as PaintShop Pro. Their backgrounds and non-needed elements are removed, and stripped out of the images, so they can be overlaid over message boards, websites, online profiles, etc.6147989

The finished images are called tubes, and are in demand with a nice sector of the graphic art market. Sadly, if artist/company-endorsed versions of these artworks are not available, people tend to create “unauthorized” versions that lack the polish and professional quality that is needed, much less lost revenue to the creators that make the images, in the first place.

My wife creates these from her artwork, and it is always time-consuming process. Having this software to not only do this semi-automated background removals, but being able to take advantage of batch processing and watermarking of a collection of images; makes it all the more beneficial and impressive tool that she can utilize to a great end. Since she shares her work on social media for her portfolio promotion, being able make sure that her work gets a proper attribution and legal protection is a vital step in her business workflow. In others words, this is a tool that she has needed for years, and now thanks to SoftOrbits, she has one, finally!

This is a specialized example with very specific and specialized applications. However, this program will serve you well, with the fact that it feathers the selection for your cutouts. While “tubes” need this to look polished, just taking anything out of your images and having it appear natural is invaluable. If you want to fantasize of putting you and your family in Hawaii, but only can afford to go to the lake, the compositing will look flawless. When people see your images, they will ask if you got a tan, not why the picture looks off. This is just one, fun example, and your imagination can run wild

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If you have concerns that you might lack the skills to do this effectively, put those to rest. If you have a strong sense of what you want to take from an image, and what is the background you want to leave behind, it is just a matter of clicking on each element, and choosing whether to keep or clear it. It is just as simple as that. No muss, no fuss, and easy as cutting a picture up with a pair of scissors, without the rough edges.

As I have stated in this article, going through this process manually requires a fair it of time for each edit or mask task. This is multiplied numerous times, if you have a large batch of images to work through. A saving grace of Photo Background Remover is that you can do this, with an automated system that does a bulk edit of one or two steps. It simply chooses the main element of the image, selects it, and either clears the background or fills it with a solid color. This is a great way to get a bunch of your images prepped for making tags, badges, or I.D. photos.

As always, SoftOrbits suite of programs has several tiers of their programs for various applications. Photo Background Remover follows this model, and comes in three versions. The first version is the Personal Edition ($49.99 USD), which is the full version and allows unlimited usage for non-commercial, non-business locations on one computer. The Home Edition ($74.99 USD), is the same as the Personal Edition, except it comes with a license for usage on two computers. The last tier of the software, is entitled Business Edition ($99.99 USD), which has allowed usage in commercial and business environments. Each of these versions includes free updates for minor versions, and unlimited e-mail support.  In summation, this program will change the way that your photos can be used. Just try the trial, and I know that you will be hooked. Tell them I sent you, and keep on techin’!

Gamani GIF Movie Gear 4.3 In-Depth Review:

Gamani GIF Movie Gear 4.3 In-Depth Review:

Social media has grown in importance and significance as the years have gone by, with memes being used to share popular culture and trending topics. Gone are the days of 8-bit (256 colors) simple graphics of the early 1990’s, replaced with 24-bit/32-bit true color images that show HD movies and TV clips of today. Such changes have required file formats to evolve, and animated icons and images are no different. As PNG image formats have supplanted GIF for web images, so too APNG format has began to replace animated GIF’s. Trying to find a qualified program that accomplishes this that is easy to understand, use, and is reasonable priced, is a fairly narrow field. The cream of the crop can be found in Gamani Productions GIF Movie Gear, which supports both the legacy GIF format and the aforementioned APNG formats.

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This program has a very familiar interface that anyone who has familiarity with standard Win32-Bit/Win64-Bit applications can attest. Inset inside of the main window, you can see a sub frame, which allows you to open a file, add frames, or start the tutorial. As you can see, the main window has a toolbar, with File, Edit, Frame, Animation, View, and Help, common to an art program. The thrust of this program is to take a series of still images that you have already created/imported, and turn them into an animation, cursor, or icon. You can also break down an existing animation, and turn it back into individual still images. This program also allows you to blend/merge multiple animations into a single animation that is a hybrid of the originals. Above these options, you can make edits and palate changes to your animations.

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Breaking down individual elements of this program will allow you to better comprehend and understand how these files are created, and the nuances that go into producing professional-grade final images and animations. The tutorial will take you through some sample images, animations, and modifications. I have followed these steps that the program’s author outlines, and as someone who has minimal experience with making animations, I had very little trouble following the instructions. Anyone has any image manipulation experience, can do this with ease. I like how you can take a portion of an image that does not really change between frames and streamline the final animation, by just using the parts that do change. Bottom line, this program has an easy-to-follow, systematic approach that anyone can use.

You may be asking what does a program such as this might cost. The answer may surprise you, as it is only cost $29.95 USD. Many graphic design programs cost well above this price point, and cannot easily do these tasks, with the same ease. This price is for a single-computer license, and entitles you to tech support and extended customer service. If you need this program for corporate environments or multi-computer setups, you can request a price quote for bulk orders. I definitely believe this program is well worth the cost, and I can see putting this in to practice with both creating memes fir social media and potential animations on my blog website.  If you still are uncertain, you can try the program risk-free for 30 days, in a trial/demo version of the program. Check out this program and company and I know that you will agree that Gamani Productions and GIF Movie Gear are well worth your business. Buy this great program, and tell them I sent you. Until next time, keep on animating!

Ashampoo Snap 9 In-Depth Review:

Ashampoo Snap 9 In-Depth Review:

My regular readers will know that I use screen captures, frequently, in my review and product highlights. I have reviewed programs from this software category before, but I wanted to revisit this area, due to some people needing to not only capture static images, but videos/clips. While so far I have not done video tutorials or instructional feeds, the potentiality of being able to do so may spark some creativity in my mind for future applications. Most capture programs that can do static captures or even use the alt-print-screen keyboard shortcuts, if you do not have capture software installed. However, Ashampoo and its software cadre of programs come to the rescue! The great program that takes the lead is Ashampoo Snap 9 and it is loaded with features for all capture duties.

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Screen resolutions are growing all of the time, with a new benchmark being 4K (2160P: 4,096px x 2,160px), becoming the top-tier for consumer and web media production. Most programs top out at 1080P, but not so with Snap 9. This great program can allow to you make screen captures and snaps of your desktop, browser, windows selection, and so forth. This is especially nice, if you are fortunate to have an ultra hi-resolution monitor/TV to work on and create clips. Even if you have a screen size and resolution that you are using, which does not match or too large for your final application usage, you can take this program and size it down for distribution; vital for streaming and downloading on non high-speed connections.

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Resolution aside, a standout of this program is the ability to use OCR text processing with your captures. No matter what languages that you might use in your projects, Snap 9 has support for seven languages (Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian). Being able to take your captures that contain text and either convert them to usable design elements or isolate them as editable and type-able font excerpts that you can reuse. I have had middling results with OCR before, but I am sure that you will find that Ashampoo’s results with Snap 9 to be great!

 

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For my readers, who might be growing in their skills with more advanced video-making tools, I am happy to report that this fine program has built-in support for major graphic design software suites and social media distribution. If you happen to use video editing software that is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and its file formats, Snap 9 has supports for all layers and objects. You can export to WBEP format and auto-sizing of the content for whatever destination platform or device you are optimizing for.

 

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Social media support allows you to share your captures on Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Twitter. If you have an Ashampoo Web account, you can upload them to the service, and share links to your videos with unique links. If social network platforms are not your speed, Snap 9 can aid you in sending your e-mail, via a dedicated client or through a web-based email service. No matter what way you want to share with people, your clips and captures are going to be up to the task.

 

What does such a full-featured program such as this cost you? The short answer is $49.99 USD, for non-members of Ashampoo products. If you have purchased other products from them, you can pick this up for $24.99 USD, as a reward for customer loyalty. If you are a registered owner of a prior version, you can upgrade for $19.99 USD, also for previous purchases. Unsure if this program is for you, you can try the demo version out first.

logo_w10_comp_blueI know that once you try this, you will buy this without reservation. Ashampoo’s products are time-tested, blogger-approved programs are great, and they have stellar support to backup any issues that may arise. They get my unabashed endorsement, and your usage of them will only grow and grow. If you think of great Windows programs, think Ashampoo!