Wondershare Flash Gallery Factory
Want a dynamic, interactive slideshow of your pictures to use on the Web or in presentations? Flash slideshows can be lively, compelling, and very attractive. A remarkably easy program for creating a Flash show is Wondershare Flash Gallery Factory.
The startup splash screen has two options: Gallery Mode or Slideshow Mode. A show created using the templates from one mode can't be edited in the other. In both modes, you can add music in a limited way.
The most obvious difference between the modes is the number of interface tabs. The Gallery mode has three: Browse, Template, and Publish. Slideshow mode has five: Browse, Template, Effect, Decorate, and Publish. But even in similarly named tabs, the functionality varies.
In both modes, you use an Explorer-like folder tree to import the BMP, JPEG, PNG, or GIF images. The Templates tab is where the two modes diverge. In Gallery mode, you can choose from among two types of templates: Advanced and 3D. Advanced has 14 attractive templates for interactive photo galleries, but it's the 3D that are the most eye-catching. The Slideshow mode's Template tab has twenty options divided between the Simple and Theme tabs. A third tab is Custom, where you can save templates that you design using Customized.
Custom options are not extensive, but can be effective and are easy to select, preview, and use. You can set the background to use preset Dynamic or Static images, a selected Color, or your own image. In Appearance, you can select frames for your pictures and thumbnails, transition effects, and from among a variety of Control Bar styles. Again, the Appearance presets are limited, but can result in some fun or pretty presentations. The Text section adds as many captions as you wish, and it gives you a fair amount of control over the font. However, there is no multiple-line text justification, nor can you set different attributes for specific characters within a single caption. Text can enter the screen using a variety of effects, such as Fade-In, Wipe Left, Zoom In, etc. Finally, in Customize, you can add click art, some of it animated.
You can't use Customize on preset templates. That's the job of the Effect and Decorate tabs. In Effect, you can select both Transition and Motion Effects for individual images or for the show as a whole. And in Decorate, you can add text (with the same options as in Gallery), Clipart, Animation or Sound. The biggest difference between these tabs and Customize is that you can't save your edits to a new custom template in the former.
In the Slideshow mode, you can easily designate text, clip art and photos clickable links to URLs. Given the greater versatility of the Slideshow mode, the only reason we see to use the Gallery mode is for the 3D templates. For instance, while Gallery allows you to add a "Loading" video, if you want an Intro or Credit slide at the beginning and end of your show, you need to use Slideshow.
In both modes, the Publish tab offers these options: Create SWF (Flash) movie, Publish HTML File, Create Executable, Send via E-mail, or Make Screen Saver.
Wondershare's Flash Gallery Factory is remarkably easy to use, so much so that most people won't need the generally useful Help menu or the online tutorials. However, if this program went just a bit further--allowing users to customize template presets, or to move a slideshow-in-progress from Gallery mode to Slideshow--it would be a knock-'em-dead application. As it is, Wondershare Flash Gallery Factory is noteworthy for how easy it makes creating dynamic Flash photo galleries.
Note: The trial/demo version watermarks your pictures with the text "Evaluation Copy: Created by Wondershare Flash Gallery Factory." The price given here is for personal use. Business users must purchase a commercial license, which provides the right to use your Flash photo gallery for business purposes.
--Sally Wiener Grotta & Daniel Grotta