Compatibility • OS X 10.6 or later • 64-bit CPU
Learn more… www.pearlmountainsoft.com
Available from… Mac App Store
Creating a collage is a great way of putting photos to good use, but the mechanics of doing so are off-putting unless you have an actual software app to do the hard work. That’s where the appropriately titled Picture Collage Maker 3 steps in, with a range of 174 templates covering everything from scrapbooks and general collages, to special events like weddings, holidays and graduation days. There are extra packs available as in-app purchases. Some templates are double-sided like postcards, while others have multiple pages.
Once a template has been selected, all the elements within it can be edited. This includes everything from the frames around the individual images, to the backgrounds and any overlaid graphics. What’s nice is that all the components can be moved around if you want to tweak the design, resized, rotated and even made transparent. There are also options to add text boxes and a calendar box, so it’s easy to create a custom calendar with your photos, even if you don’t use a calendar template.
Images are added from the file list on the left. This offers access to standard libraries such as Aperture and iPhoto, or a file browser. Just grab an image, drag and drop onto a picture slot in the collage. At this point the photo is merged with whatever graphic, mask or frame is in that slot. The entire thing can be rotated, resized and sent up or down the object layer list. The photo can also have a filter applied, boosting colour, applying tints, a vintage feel or be turned into mono. While these are good in themselves, there is no control over how the effect is applied and it is often too harsh. The main flaw though is that the photo cannot be resized or moved around, inside the frame, so if it cuts the heads off people you need to use a different frame or a different photo. Fortunately this is easy enough to do, either by dropping in a new photo, or clicking a tab on the bottom-left to switch to masks or frames.
Once finished, a project can be saved, printed or exported as a single image, PDF or sent to iPhoto. Despite the odd niggle, and the fact some of the graphics and designs are a little dated, the overwhelming flexibility, ease of use and graphical options make this a great, low-cost option for those creating photo tributes and fun compositions.