Turn Photos Into Narrative with Photo Story 3

The name of this program says it all. The free Microsoft Photo Story lets you create multimedia "stories" from your photographs that you can play back and narrate. You'll be able to play the stories on a PC using Windows Media Player, send them in e-mail messages for others to play with Windows Media Player, play them in a Pocket PC or Smartphone with Windows Media Player Mobile, or on a Portable Media Center.

In each story, your photos display one after another, with transitions between them, and there are also effects for playing each photo, including panning. You can also record audio narrations that play as the photos are displayed. Think of the stories as photo slide shows, but with special effects and audio, and that simple to create and distribute.

Creating the stories is exceptionally easy. Select the photos you want in the story, add a beginning title, include any music you want, and tell the program to create the story. You can also customize the transitions and motions. There's a preview, so that you can edit the story until you get it the way that you want.

Although Photo Story itself won't create self-running shows that can be distributed on CD or DVD, you can import the .wmv file that Photo Story 3 creates into a CD or DVD authoring program for the same effect.

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