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View Full Version : Gorgeous Photo Layouts with LumaPix's FotoFusion v4: The Review

Jason Dunn
06-28-2007, 03:00 PM
<p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1296877193.usr1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><h6><strong>Product Category:</strong> Photo-centric page layout software</h6><h6><strong>Manufacturer:&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.lumapix.com" target="_blank">Lumapix</a></h6><h6><strong>Where to Buy:</strong> <a href="http://www.lumapix.com/web_store/store_newlicenses_online.shtml" target="_blank">LumaPix</a></h6><h6><strong>Price:</strong> $39.95 USD (Essentials), $119.95 USD (Enhanced), $299.95 USD (Extreme) - <strong><em>see below for a discount coupon</em></strong></h6><h6><strong>System Requirements:</strong> Internet access (you pretty much need high-speed access to do anything online with it), a working email account, minimum 256 MB RAM, minimum Pentium III 350MHz or faster, minimum 1024x768 desktop display resolution, a two-button mouse (three buttons preferred), 20 MB free disk space.</h6><p><strong>Pros:</strong></p><ul><li>Creatively, a joy to use;</li><li>Highly optimized user interface for fast productivity;</li><li>Amazing rendering engine;</li><li>Flexible output options.</li></ul><p><strong>Cons:</strong></p><ul><li>Resolution output limited on lower-end versions;</li><li>Requires product activation and high-speed Internet access for some functions; </li><li>Accessing and storing templates and objects is confusing.</li></ul><p><strong>Summary:</strong> LumaPix FotoFusion v4 is, at its core, a photo-centric page layout program. But this is no QuarkXPress - the heavy focus on photos makes it a streamlined, efficient way to make gorgeous pages covered with photos in a few easy clicks. I originally discovered it a couple of years ago and I used it to create photo collages of my vacations, and the software has only grown more functional. With all that functionality, is it still easy to use? Read on for the full review!</p><p><em><strong>FEBRUARY 2011 UPDATE:</strong> Be sure to check out some of the photo book projects I've created with FotoFusion (<a href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/97676/the-great-photo-book-round-up-review-who-makes-the-best-photo-books.html" target="_blank">Project 1</a>, <a href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/99951/photobook-canada-s-big-and-bold-square-photo-book-some-strategy-required-for-success.html" target="_blank">Project 2</a>) - it will give you some better real-world examples of what this impressive program can do.</em></p><p>If you're interested in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lumapix.com/web_store/store_newlicenses_online.shtml" target="_blank">purchasing any version of FotoFusion</a>, use the coupon code&nbsp;<strong>DHT20-2</strong> to save 20% off the price. It expires on December 31st, 2014.</p><h1><strong>Setup &amp; Install</strong></h1><p>The setup file (downloaded from <a>www.fotofusion.com</a>) is only 11.3 MB in size, which is surprising given the deep functionality of this program. After the initial user account control security prompt in Vista, the install proceeded. I took a look at the license agreement, and was disappointed by what I saw: the license explains that the software uses online activation, and it's only valid for one computer. One-computer households are becoming more and more rare, and I dislike it when a vendor doesn't at least allow for the common desktop/laptop licensing scenario to enable me to use the software on my main computer with a big monitor, and on my laptop when traveling. I'm certainly not going to purchase two copies of the same software if I'm the only one using it.</p><p>After some further research I discovered a FAQ entry they have on this subject that explains that while the license agreement is one install, "a second activation allowing users the convenience of a second machine for personal use MAY be ignored by LumaPix, so long as the user does not abuse the situation". May be ignored? I'd prefer a more clear-cut license that doesn't rely on whether a LumaPix staff member is feeling magnanimous or not.</p><p>My concern with online activation is the same as that of most people: when you purchase software, especially expensive software, there's a real fear that the company might go out of business, or suffer a disaster, and their activation server might vanish. That $299 you just spent on the high-end version of FotoFusion? It's worthless if the company goes out of business. As much as I respect the right of a company to defend themselves from piracy, I think the customer has an even more important right to always be able to use the software they paid for regardless of whether or not the company that sold it to them is still around. I'd feel more at ease if there was a non-profit, centralized agency that would act as a middle-man in situations like these so that even if the company were to vanish, this agency would hopefully still be around to give out the activation key.</p><p>There's also the issue of re-installations: let's face it, Windows can get crusty and unstable over time, and if you test out a lot of software like I do, formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows from scratch is something that you'll do a few times a year. Having to activate the software every time you do that is a pain, especially if you have to explain yourself to over-zealous customer service people who might not want to give you an activation key because they think you're trying to scam the company. I trust that the people at LumaPix wouldn't act that way, but I've seen it in the past from other companies.</p><p>This activation issue is fraught with potential frustrations for paying customers, and I don't know if it stops unethical people from getting the software for free. A quick Google for the terms "lumapix fotofusion warez" resulted in 22,000 hits with dozens of warez sites offering it illegally. I think restrictive licensing agreements and software activation creates more hassles for customers than it does stop an unethical person from using the software illegally. I'm hard on every company that uses software activation, and as much as I like FotoFusion, I dearly wish they didn't go this route.</p><h1><strong>First-Time Loading</strong></h1><p>Upon first loading the software, you're given the option to run it in one of three modes: Essentials, Enhanced, or Extreme. This is an interesting way to allow you to use the trial version and see which features you really need. You can change the modes within the program, which is a cool feature. I selected Extreme to see everything that the program could do, and next it loaded the Learn FotoFusion interface. This has several choices: Intro &amp; Basics, Tutorials, FAQ, and User's Manual. There are several licensing options as well, so I selected Activate and used the email address I gave the company when they offered me a license for review.</p><p>The activation screen loaded and I created a password and gave a nickname to the computer I'm activating it on. After a few seconds of communicating with a Web server somewhere, it indicated that activation was successful and it needed to re-start. The Learn FotoFusion window came up again, with the slick Gaussian-blurred background. I couldn't help but notice that the options for Free Trial, Buy or Upgrade, Activate, and Other Versions were still showing, which is confusing. Shouldn't the Activate option become the Deactivate option to allow the customer to deactivate the license on their computer if they wanted to move the license to another computer?</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1><strong>Getting to Know FotoFusion</strong></h1><p>Since it had been a while since I'd used FotoFusion, I thought I'd check out the Intro &amp; Basics section. Clicking that brought me to a selection of three videos that gave me a helpful overview of the basics of using FotoFusion. They require Internet access though, so you won't be learning how to use the software while flying on a plane. Still, it's a nice touch for them to include this - especially since it's somewhat complex software. The video that explained the difference between the blue and yellow handles, what dragging left/right and up/down does, and how to use the control key is particularly helpful.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-001.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 1: The start-up interface.</em></p><p>I've used FotoFusion for a couple of years now off and on, and I learnt several new things about it just from watching that video. The last tutorial is a superbly done hands-on affair: it's nine pages of examples and step-by-step instructions. Going through it might take ten minutes if you stop to explore, but by the end you'll understand the basics. It requires Internet access though, as some elements seem to be "dotScrap" items that are downloaded off a server. Thankfully, it all happens very quickly.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-002.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 2: The FotoFusion interface is simply gorgeous.</em></p><p>I should stop for a moment and point out that FotoFusion is one of the best-looking programs I've ever seen. The icons have a hand-drawn, custom look, and every pixel of the user interface has been crafted with care. Even more impressive is the rendering engine for text and image elements. The drop shadows look good enough to eat. The backgrounds, images, edge effects - everything looks superb. And while I don't know the details of the FotoFusion rendering engine, what I do know is that I can output a 70 megapixel image (no, that's not a typo, it's a 7500 x 9375 pixel image) printed at 16 x 20" in size and still have perfectly soft drop shadows and perfectly sharp photos. I don't know how LumaPix does it, but it's damn impressive.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-003.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Fi</em><em>gure 3: Another shot of the user interface.</em></p><p>Everything about FotoFusion is streamlined: for instance, if you want to adjust the width of a photo frame you simply click on the object, click on the frame icon that will appear in the pop-up menu, and drag the mouse. There's no right-clicking, waiting for a dialogue box to appear, adjusting a numeric value, then clicking Apply to see how it looks. FotoFusion is very hands-on, so you can see the changes you make immediately. Similarly, if you want to adjust the contrast or brightness on a photo, you just click on the photo, click on the photo icon in the pop-up menu, and move your mouse up/down for contrast or left/right for brightness. You can rotate the mouse in a circle and simply stop when it looks right. Now that's a powerful user interface!</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-004.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 4: The text tools are simple, but offer many adjustments.</em></p><p>The text tools are amazingly powerful - you can type entire paragraphs of text, pick any font on your system (it shows a preview of the font in the font picker, but I think a real-time preview on the page would be even better), select text colour from specific RGB values, a colour swatch, and even an eye-dropper to match the exact colour of something on the page. Opacity of the text can be controlled, along with the size, blur level, text outline (with it's own complete set of controls), and the usual bold/italic/underline.</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1><strong>Killer Quick Photo Collages</strong></h1><p>One of the things that originally caught my attention with FotoFusion was the way it could generate photo collages quickly. Photo collages look fantastic, but trying to create them in traditional photo editing programs is a tedious process. FotoFusion nails this: you click Auto Collage, select the images you want to include (which unfortunately is a bit clumsy), decide how many pages you want it to take up, select from creative enhancements such as shadows and borders, and decide if you want the images to be jumbled up or organized nicely. What's not intuitive is that when you click on/off a feature such as Shadows or Borders, the software will randomize the layout, putting differently-sized images in different locations on the page. I think a "Randomize" button might have made the process more obvious.</p><p>If you looking to make an album, fast, words can't express how optimized this process is. You select your 100 wedding photos, select the number of images you want on each page, and sort the layout by the date stamp on the images so they're all in order. Wedding photographers would kill for functionality like that. The last step is to select the page size you'll be printing it on, and once you click OK the photos are laid out on the page.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-005.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 5: An ordered photo collage layout.</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-006.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 6: Photo adjustments are quick and easy.</em></p><p>If you don't like the location of a certain photo, it's a simple drag and drop to swap image locations. If you don't like the way an image was cropped, you can zoom in and move the image around inside the frame - you can get dramatically different looking photos when you change the aspect ratio of the frame and move the image to match. There's also basic red-eye reduction, along with the adjustments of opacity, brightness, gamma, B&amp;W, contrast, blur, and sepia. It's no photo editor, but the basics are there. What's impressive is that you can select as many images on the page as you want, and you can make adjustments to all of them at once. This is particularly helpful if you want to apply a partial sepia tone to a group of images - it sure saves a lot of clicking.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-007.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 7: The user-interface for making the collages.</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-008.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 8: This is an example of the AutoJumble setting - pressing Alt+Shift+Q will give you a new jumble each time.</em></p><p><em></em> You can also apply mattes to photos and frames: this allows you to pick a frame and give it a distressed or jagged edge, make it into a star, or apply a texture (such as "rotting leather") to a photo. Combine that with a sepia effect and you can make any photo look old. The creative combinations are amazing!</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1><strong>dotScrap &amp; Library: Lots of Potential, But Currently Confusing</strong></h1><p>If you haven't figured this out by now, FotoFusion is the type of program that's extremely popular with the scrap booking crowd. You know, those fancy scrapbooks with the amazing layouts? FotoFusion allows you to do the same thing in the digital realm, and either keep it digital or print it out. dotScrap is an alliance of sort between LumaPix and the companies that make that expensive scrapbook paper. LumaPix explains dotScrap in this way:</p><p><em>"dotScrap is a description for graphical content packaged for use in FotoFusion. It is managed in a database and a related eCommerce engine managed by LumaPix."</em></p><p>It seems like an ambitious project, and that might explain why I had such a hard time connecting the dots. At first I thought dotScrap was something I had to register for in order to download page components, but after stumbling around the <a>dotScrap Web site</a> for a while, I realized that there's nothing you need to register for, it's more a way to find pages and kits using a number - similar to how Avery labels work. If I was an avid scrap booker I might understand this all better - it doesn't help that several parts of the dotScrap Web site say "coming soon".</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-009.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 9: One of the templates in the library, free for FotoFusion Extreme users, five credits for other users.</em></p><p>There's also a Library function that looks very useful, but it's quite confusing. The Library is an online template directory where you can purchase templates for things such as wedding albums, calendars, portraits, etc. The templates are sold in credit values, 20 credits for $20, or you can pay $15 a month for a subscription that gets you 20 credits and an upgrade to your license (Enhanced becomes Extreme for instance). Depending on what version of the software you own, you'll get some templates and digital objects for free. You access them by clicking on the small "Free Stuff" button in the Home interface of the program. You can click on "Old Polaroid" for example and it will download a pre-designed frame that looks like, you guessed it, an old Polaroid photo complete with tape on the edges. The quality of the objects are very high, and they can be resized and aspect-ratio constrained by holding down the Shift key.</p><p>What's baffling though is that it doesn't seem to add it to any sort of collection for quick drag and drop into a project later - it just inserts it in your current project. It doesn't save the file in the Documents folder for safe keeping, and worse, I couldn't find a way to use it again for another project unless I went back to the Free Stuff section. That's extremely frustrating because it's slow, inefficient, and requires an Internet connection to pull down every single time. My Internet connection goes out every now and then, and I'd be livid if I couldn't complete a project because I didn't have access to download a frame. Slow-downs happen now and then as well: I clicked to download a preview of a docScrap page and after four minutes of waiting, it was still downloading. Hard drive space is cheap - there should be a way to cache all this stuff and save it locally. I'd much rather download a 200 MB kit of everything I can get for free and have a local copy of it.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-010.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 10: Templates offered include wedding albums, class composites, head shot cards, and others - some are free depending on the version of the software you buy.</em></p><p>The templates are a bit more intelligent: once you download a template (which, strangely enough, is accomplished by clicking on Preview even if you get it for free with the license you have) it's added to the My Templates section. But again, it's not downloaded into the My Collages folder inside the Documents (My Documents if you're using Windows XP). When you're browsing the online template library there's no indication if you're looking at something you've already downloaded, and even though I had the Extreme license activated the button still said Preview instead of Download so I wasn't sure if I was getting a watermarked, limited preview version of the template or the full version. Equally puzzling is that even though I thought I had downloaded several templates, clicking on File &gt; Open Template had me browsing an empty directory. Evidently you have to click on My Templates from the Home screen. The entire workflow is baffling.</p><p>What would make sense to me would be to have a downloadable pack of templates and objects that would vary depending on what kind of license you have. These templates and objects would be put inside a folder in the Documents folder for safe keeping, and they'd show up in the local view of the library. Everything about downloading, purchasing, saving, and accessing templates and objects is confusing and the developers of FotoFusion need to go back to the drawing board with this feature - it's the single most significant failing of the product.</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1><strong>Once You've Created Your Masterpiece...</strong></h1><p>After you've finished your project, there are several options: you can export it, email it, or publish it. Each option is highly customizable: the export option allows you to save your project as BMP, GIF, JPEG, or PNG files. If you have the Extreme version of the software, you can also export as PSD and PDF and use ICC profile tagging. Resolution of the exported file is limited based on what version of the software you bought: Essential is limited to 2000 x 2000 pixels (4 megapixels), Enhanced is limited to 3900 x 5700 pixels (22 megapixels), and Extreme offers unlimited resolution export.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-011.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 11: The export option screen.</em></p><p>This is one of the areas where I think LumaPix limits the low-end versions a bit too much: since Essentials is limited to 2000 x 2000, on a 12 inch by 12 inch page size (which is typical for scrapbooks) you'd only be getting 166 ppi on your print if you upload them to a photo printing service. If you print the files on a local printer, thankfully the software will output up to a 12" x 12" page at 300 dpi. If you want to print up to 13" x 19" at 300 dpi, you'll need the Enhanced version of the software. The other differences between the versions can be <a>found on this FotoFusion page</a>. I originally bought the product to do those big 16 x 20" vacation collages, and if I wanted to do that today at the same resolution (7500 x 9375) I'd need to spend $299 USD - which is a lot for a personal print. I wish output resolution wasn't the differential point that LumaPix chose for the different versions of product.</p><p>If you use a template when you render the file be prepared for a 5+ minute wait as it downloads the high-resolution files for the template. I tried to render a JPEG from a template and after waiting for quite a while for the download of the high-resolution This again limits things severely for offline product creation using templates - don't these LumaPix guys use laptops in offline scenarios? The workaround here would be to postpone the export until you have connectivity.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dmt/2007/jd-fotofusion4-012.gif" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 12: The email option screen.</em></p><p>There's an email tab that allows you to send your creations directly via email - the software even uses the LumaPix email server so there's no need to do any complex configuration, although you can override the settings and use your own settings if you want. The software will import your local address book - I tested it with Windows Mail, I'm not sure about Outlook. The image quality settings allow for a great deal of tweaking, including image compression quality, image size, sharpening of reduced images, watermarking, selecting the dpi and exact resolution of the image, JPEG compression quality, and a few other advanced features such as adding a watermark and putting a banner at the bottom of the email. Some of the advanced features won't be there depending on the version of the software you have.</p><p>You can also publish the image in JPEG (and only in JPEG) to a Web server - presumably using FTP - or to a local file. You can control the JPEG compression quality and image size, with separate controls for multi-page projects.</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1><strong>A Superb Tool in Need of Polishing</strong></h1><p>FotoFusion is unlike any software tool I've used in how it allows for fast and creative photo layouts. I've only scratched the surface of this program - there's a lot more to it, including organizing tools for accessing your photos, creating categories, putting them in buckets for different projects, etc. You can archive projects for another user, bundling up every element and photo for sharing. There's <a>FotoScraps</a>, the official community for sharing and learning from other FotoFusion users - you can learn a lot about what the program is capable of by <a>looking at how others have used it</a>.</p><p>It's also worth pointing out that if you pony up for the Enhanced version for $119 USD, you can export images at a high enough resolution to allow for photo book printing. It's been mentioned quite a few times in our forums that the tools photo book printing companies offer for layout are crude and hard to use. If you want to create the perfect photo book, use FotoFusion to lay out your pages, export them as JPEGs, and get your book printed exactly how you want it.</p><p>While I'd recommend this software to anyone who wants to create page layouts with their photos, and it's a tool I enjoy using, I dearly wish LumaPix would re-think the way they save and organize templates and objects. I want to see a floating object picker with frames that I can drag and drop into my project - I don't want to have to leave my project to find a frame. There's a search function that shows templates, but not the frames I've downloaded. In my opinion, this entire approach needs to be re-thought.</p><p>I also have concerns about the online product activation and the amount of online access this software requires, but none of my concerns are enough to sway me away from using this program. There's truly nothing else like if that I've seen, and if you want to create beautiful pages with your photos, FotoFusion earns high highest recommendation.</p><p>If you're interested in <a href="http://www.lumapix.com/web_store/store_newlicenses_online.shtml" target="_blank">purchasing any version of FotoFusion</a>, use the coupon code<strong> </strong>mentioned on the first page.</p><p><em>Jason Dunn owns and operates <a>Thoughts Media Inc.</a>, a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys mobile devices, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He really digs digital photo tools of all types.</em></p><p><em></em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p><p><strong>Do you enjoy using new hardware,&nbsp;<a class="iAs" href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/93798/dell-s-inspiron-mini-10-reviewed.html" target="_blank">software</a>&nbsp;and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Thoughts Media Review Team</a>! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Then click here for more information.</a></strong></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p>

04-01-2008, 12:04 AM
Fotofusion looks to have lots of nice apps that other lay-out packages ignore. The text tool is the ticket for me. I hate the fact that when I look over old pix/cyberscrapbooks I have no way to ID a photo or comment on it with making a mess. This appears to solve the problem.

09-01-2010, 02:28 AM
After reading this review I've downloaded the trial version of FotoFusion. This is exactly what I've been looking for to streamline creating photo collage pages to go in photo books. I would like to ask the Photoshop designers why they haven't created something this simple inside Photoshop, after all it way more expensive. FotoFusion will free up hours of complicated page creation inside Photoshop.

Thank you for this review. I doubt I would have found this useful program otherwise.

Jason Dunn
02-05-2011, 04:53 AM
If you're interested in purchasing any version of FotoFusion (http://www.lumapix.com/web_store/store_newlicenses_online.shtml), use the coupon code DHT20-2 to save 20% off the price. It expires on October 2nd, 2012.

08-30-2011, 12:16 PM
Hi Jason and All, who are using FotoFusion LumaPix (Extreme). What are the ideal/optimal output settings in LumaPix, when I send a photo book to MyPublisher?

If I preprare lets say a 15" to 10" photo book. Do I have to choose 15" by 11.5" in LumaPix? What is the optimal border in case of a Lay Flat book? Does it need a need a border? Any hints from your said to avoid a bad surprise?

Thanks a lot


What I know from MyPublisher:

If your book file contains images that do not fit our requirements, our press might not be able to print it successfully. Please read the information below to ensure that your images meet our criteria:
~ All your files and photos must be saved as JPEG files (created and saved as .jpg or .jpeg) at a recommended resolution of 180 dpi to 200 dpi.

If you are using photo management software (also known as image-editing software) to create or edit your images, here are some tips:

~ Use sRGB or RGB when enhancing photos.
~ Use sRGB or RGB for black and white photos also
~ Do not use CMYK, it will distort your images.
~ Remove vectors, slices or layers from your images
~ Our press does not recognize grayscale. You need to create the jpegs in sRGB or RGB.
~ Our color profile is closest to Adobe 98
~ Our press prints 175 lpi (lines per inch)

Before you submit your order, we strongly recommend that you preview each image and page of your book very carefully. To do so, open your software, click on the Preview button. Carefully preview each page of your book and when you're ready to place your order, click on the PURCHASE button to resubmit your order. You will be emailed a new order number.</pre>

Jason Dunn
09-06-2011, 09:47 PM
Hi Jason and All, who are using FotoFusion LumaPix (Extreme). What are the ideal/optimal output settings in LumaPix, when I send a photo book to MyPublisher? If I preprare lets say a 15" to 10" photo book. Do I have to choose 15" by 11.5" in LumaPix? What is the optimal border in case of a Lay Flat book? Does it need a need a border? Any hints from your said to avoid a bad surprise?

I've basically always created books that match the page size I'm going to be outputting. So if I'm building a 12" by 12" book, I set the page size in FotoFusion as 12" x 12". I haven't run into any problems so far when it comes to building books, other than around leaving appropriate space for the gutter/spine...but if you're doing a lay-flat book, there's no issue. Hope that helps a bit!

01-29-2012, 01:56 PM
This software looks fantastic, but is very pricey, even with the discount coupon. Are there any cheaper alternatives anybody might know about?

Jason Dunn
02-04-2012, 08:20 AM
This software looks fantastic, but is very pricey, even with the discount coupon. Are there any cheaper alternatives anybody might know about?

Yes, it is a little pricey now that they've nixed the "scrapbook" edition. I've tried a few tools - and actually bought Scrapbook Max (http://www.scrapbookmax.com/) - but once you've used something as powerful as FotoFusion, it's hard to go back to anything else. Depending on your needs, you may find that the software used by the photo book company does what you need. Have you read my mega-review of photo book companies (http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/97676/)?

02-05-2012, 08:17 PM
Thanks, Jason. I indeed have read your mega-review and actually just ordered a book through Inkubook on your recommendation.

What I liked about Inkubook was getting to choose my pictures through the tight integration with Windows Live Photo Gallery (it's the only photobook publisher with a WLPG plugin). What I really disliked was the web interface to create the book. It was really clunky, slow, and inflexible. The price was quite nice, though.

I know that MyPublisher and smilebooks (which you didn't review but a user on that thread recommended) have their own software, which I take to be easier to use than a website. I wish you'd also reviewed software interfaces, but I understand that your path to book creation is different! What I'll dislike is that they're not integrated with WLPG so that I'll have to do lots of extra steps in tagging and exporting photos for book creation.

I wish there was some end-to-end option for managing a photo collection, then laying it out in software. Actually, there seems to be. I just downloaded the Lightroom 4 beta, which has an interface to integrated photobook creation and publishing via blurb.com. Unfortunately, you didn't like blurb in your review! Oh no... :(

Jason Dunn
02-05-2012, 09:52 PM
I know that MyPublisher and smilebooks (which you didn't review but a user on that thread recommended) have their own software, which I take to be easier to use than a website. I wish you'd also reviewed software interfaces, but I understand that your path to book creation is different!

Er... :confused: I did review the software interfaces for the companies that had software instead of a Web-based version for creating books (MyPublisher, Picaboo, etc.). For each company I looked I reviewed how easy it was to install their software, build my book, and get it printed using their service. I did the best I could. :)

Unfortunately, you didn't like blurb in your review! Oh no... :(

I didn't like Blurb's consumer-level stuff, which is all they had at the time. Their new books, aimed at pros, use different paper and I'd assume printing, so it's a completely different ball game. I haven't seen their new books in person yet.

02-06-2012, 07:42 AM
Sorry, it'd been a while since I read the full review (I decided to go with Inkubook for the WLPG interface), and forgotten you did mention them. Thanks again for the hard work!

Lightroom 4 could change the game if it had full photo management, book creation, and interface to a good printing service.

I've been trying it out but it's had some bugs for me, and I'm not used to it yet -- I'm a longtime Bibble user. Also it's strange for me to use a RAW processor to catalog JPEG files (since I don't just exclusively take RAW pictures).

Jason Dunn
02-06-2012, 08:26 AM
Lightroom 4 could change the game if it had full photo management, book creation, and interface to a good printing service.

Indeed! I'm not entirely convinced they'll nail it, at least not for my needs. Stand-alone software provides so much more control...for some pros I guess this evolution makes sense. I never use Lightroom for printing myself.

I've been trying it out but it's had some bugs for me, and I'm not used to it yet -- I'm a longtime Bibble user. Also it's strange for me to use a RAW processor to catalog JPEG files (since I don't just exclusively take RAW pictures).

The nice thing about Lightroom is that it can be used in so many different types of workflows. For instance, I use it as a temporary workspace for raw and JPEG (for my cameras that lack raw) editing, nothing more. When I finish processing an event/shoot, I export it as a stand-alone catalogue then I export the final images as JPEGs and use Picasa and ACDSee to manage them from that point onward.