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Features and Priorities for Upgrades

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I’m writing a book on digital archiving and presentation of historical photos and sound recordings. It includes a chapter on making slideshows because I think that slideshows are the most effective way to present historical information and should be used more. Most of my experience has been with Proshow Gold and Proshow Producer (PSP) and I prepared the draft chapter describing them. However, the explanation of all the complexity and pitfalls in using PSP would probably turn off people more than encourage them.

I’ve been looking at various alternative slideshow software and PTE appears to be one of the best. It was developed with a much better sense of system design and workflow than PSP.

However, it appears that some key functions that I often use and want to include are not yet reasonably available with PTE. Putting text on slides to identify people and provide other historical information is very useful in slideshows suitable for future generations, but should be done in a way that minimizes distraction away from the basic image. A typical example would be to pan across a group of people and briefly show the name of each person above the person. The text will have a background for consistency throughout the slideshow.

1. Making text and its background fade in and out appears to me to currently be more complicated with PTE than I could reasonably describe and recommend for a person making an historical slideshow. The simplest strategy would be to have background color as an option for the text feature, without requiring a separate layer for the background. Text on a background is a frequently used and discussed function in slideshows and it is somewhat surprising to me that neither PSP nor PTE has developed a simple method. A parent-child relationship between the background and text is more complex but would be usable if opacity could be included as an inherited parameter. I see that this option was discussed a few months back but some considered it a lower priority and not very useful. I looked at a tutorial on using masks and think that using masks to control the display of text is too complicated for anyone but dedicated PTE enthusiasts.

2. Another issue is adding time at a particular point for a slide. A common situation is that a slide has been prepared with zooming, panning, and text and then some additional information is obtained that needs to be inserted near the beginning or middle of the slide. Time needs to be inserted at a certain point, which expands the overall slide duration and shifts all existing keypoints to the right. My understanding is that in PTE this would have to be handled by manually shifting each keypoint on each layer. Is there a more efficient way to do it with PTE?

One of the main reasons that I consider PSP as (barely) usable for historical slideshows and PTE as currently not usable is that PSP has the capability to insert time early in the timeline and automatically shift keyframes on all layers. However, the PSP method also has complications that appear to me to be unnecessary.

3. Overall ease of use and intuitiveness of the workspace is another significant factor for all available software. I think that greatly improved methods for displaying and working with timelines for multiple layers can be developed -- and the software developer that does that first will likely dominate the slideshow software market. It would be relatively easy (compared to other software) to make handling of multiple timelines in PTE dramatically easier and far ahead of any competition.

In addition, the existing interfaces for slideshow software have many awkward features that cumulatively make the programs difficult to use. For example, both PSP and PTE handle gluing/separation of keypoints in ways that virtually maximize awkwardness. As has been frequently discussed on this forum, being able to move a group of keypoints on a timeline is a basic need for slideshow software. In general, both PSP and PTE require entering numbers in fields to a degree that seems inefficient to me. An option to make keypoints snap to time increments would be an improvement. On all image processing software that I use the mouse scroll wheel zooms the image. I have not found a way to set that in PTE, which seems inefficient and counterintuitive to me now.

Do users of PTE consider the issues described above as priorities or are other things more important now? More generally, how much effort in upgrades is and should be put into making PTE easy and efficient to use versus adding complex special effects for the dedicated enthusiasts?

PSP is limited by unfortunate initial design of their workspace and workflow, and now appears to have chosen to focus on adding special effects with little effort (or perhaps ability) to improve workflow. I think it is inevitable that that at some point a software developer with a good sense of ease of use and workflow will develop slideshow software that is much easier to use and will dominate and expand the market. PTE has the potential for improvements to workflow that would leave the competition far behind, but I wonder if that is a priority for the developers and users.

Thanks.

Jim

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I'm writing a book on digital archiving and presentation of historical photos and sound recordings. It includes a chapter on making slideshows because I think that slideshows are the most effective way to present historical information and should be used more. Most of my experience has been with Proshow Gold and Proshow Producer (PSP) and I prepared the draft chapter describing them. However, the explanation of all the complexity and pitfalls in using PSP would probably turn off people more than encourage them.

I've been looking at various alternative slideshow software and PTE appears to be one of the best. It was developed with a much better sense of system design and workflow than PSP.

However, it appears that some key functions that I often use and want to include are not yet reasonably available with PTE. Putting text on slides to identify people and provide other historical information is very useful in slideshows suitable for future generations, but should be done in a way that minimizes distraction away from the basic image. A typical example would be to pan across a group of people and briefly show the name of each person above the person. The text will have a background for consistency throughout the slideshow.

1. Making text and its background fade in and out appears to me to currently be more complicated with PTE than I could reasonably describe and recommend for a person making an historical slideshow. The simplest strategy would be to have background color as an option for the text feature, without requiring a separate layer for the background. Text on a background is a frequently used and discussed function in slideshows and it is somewhat surprising to me that neither PSP nor PTE has developed a simple method. A parent-child relationship between the background and text is more complex but would be usable if opacity could be included as an inherited parameter. I see that this option was discussed a few months back but some considered it a lower priority and not very useful. I looked at a tutorial on using masks and think that using masks to control the display of text is too complicated for anyone but dedicated PTE enthusiasts.

Hi Jim,

Some excellent points. Let me first respond to this one. You are correct in that an option to have a background with text would be a great feature, but actually, using a mask is not that complicated in PTE and you "can" do exactly what you describe without much difficulty. The way you do this is to first "create" a mask by right clicking in the Objects and Animations screen in the lower right quadrant. Choose the built-in option for a rectangular mask. Left click on the Mask Container to select it then right click and choose add a rectangle or even better, add an image you create in your choice of editor complete with color, bevel, contour, border, etc. If you choose the PTE rectangle you can have any color or a gradient and once you have selected the color and whether a solid or gradient, the rectangle or image you created and loaded will appear by name inside the mask container. Click on the word "rectangle" or your image name and then right click and choose add "text"

Next choose your font, text color, drop shadow, etc. and then before actually entering the specific text for this slide, go ahead and copy the mask container. Next edit the text for this particular slide, position and size using the mask container for keyframes. With the mask container as the controlling mechanism, opacity will be inherited and the background and text will fade in or out with appropriate keyframes.

Since you have copied the mask container, for subsequent slides or additional text use on the master slide, you then just need to paste and you can keyframe appropriate text content, positions, size and opacity fades for each slide. The mask container, when copied, maintains all information for its content including any keyframes, timings, etc., so by copying before you keyframe the position of the text, position on the timeline, etc., these things will be intentionally left out making it very easy to position and time subsequent uses of text. The word "text" will hold the place for you to edit and replace with text for each individual use. The background "frame" for the text and the text as a child of the background insures that when you drag the frame for sizing, or position, the text will be sized accordingly. The "mask" itself would be keyframed for any fade in or fade out of it's content - which is the background rectangle and the text simultaneously.

It takes much longer to describe it than to do it. I have made a video tutorial to demonstrate how quickly and easily this can be done. Of course it isn't as straight forward as a text with background option, but with the copy and paste capability, it is exceedingly easy to do. The additional steps are a few mouse clicks to create the mask and background rectangle once. The remainder is simply paste and edit text. Everything else would be identical if the text with background were an option.

Here is the link to the 70 meg zipped AVI tutorial download: Tutorial # 29 - scroll down and click on link to download

2. Another issue is adding time at a particular point for a slide. A common situation is that a slide has been prepared with zooming, panning, and text and then some additional information is obtained that needs to be inserted near the beginning or middle of the slide. Time needs to be inserted at a certain point, which expands the overall slide duration and shifts all existing keypoints to the right. My understanding is that in PTE this would have to be handled by manually shifting each keypoint on each layer. Is there a more efficient way to do it with PTE?

Actually, although you can't select and "group" certain keyframes for movement, you don't have to manually shift each keyframe on each layer. When you change the display time of a slide in PTE you have a choice on the "Main Tab" of the default, which leaves all keyframes in their original time position, or a checkbox "Scale Keyframes in Objects" on time change. If you check this box, all keyframes on all layers will move together to either the right or left depending on whether you increase or decrease the display time. So essentially if you "increase" the time for the display and check the box, the keyframes will be pushed proportionally to the right (greater time). I'm not certain how this would affect your insertion of additional materials, but it isn't necessary to manually move keyframes on each layer individually unless you have a specific "timing" issue so as to coordinate audio narration and a particular visual activity.

One of the main reasons that I consider PSP as (barely) usable for historical slideshows and PTE as currently not usable is that PSP has the capability to insert time early in the timeline and automatically shift keyframes on all layers. However, the PSP method also has complications that appear to me to be unnecessary.

3. Overall ease of use and intuitiveness of the workspace is another significant factor for all available software. I think that greatly improved methods for displaying and working with timelines for multiple layers can be developed -- and the software developer that does that first will likely dominate the slideshow software market. It would be relatively easy (compared to other software) to make handling of multiple timelines in PTE dramatically easier and far ahead of any competition.

In addition, the existing interfaces for slideshow software have many awkward features that cumulatively make the programs difficult to use. For example, both PSP and PTE handle gluing/separation of keypoints in ways that virtually maximize awkwardness. As has been frequently discussed on this forum, being able to move a group of keypoints on a timeline is a basic need for slideshow software. In general, both PSP and PTE require entering numbers in fields to a degree that seems inefficient to me. An option to make keypoints snap to time increments would be an improvement. On all image processing software that I use the mouse scroll wheel zooms the image. I have not found a way to set that in PTE, which seems inefficient and counterintuitive to me now.

Moving a group of keyframes by selection is on the development table and we hope this feature will be included in the next release. Right now, the only way to zoom an image is visually by dragging a corner of the bounding rectangle or by entering values or using the small up or down arrows on the "zoom" attribute in Objects and Animations on the Animations Tab, but there is a Project Options option to "disable wheel" which, I'm sure, would be easy to program as a "zoom feature" in a future version.

Do users of PTE consider the issues described above as priorities or are other things more important now? More generally, how much effort in upgrades is and should be put into making PTE easy and efficient to use versus adding complex special effects for the dedicated enthusiasts?

I think the developers consider both, but remember PTE is also under development for the MacIntosh OS, and there are considerations which tend to somewhat complicate things. The issue is that with great power in a software tool there are always degrees of complexity. PTE is a very powerful tool of the low level "nuts and bolts" variety. Developers must walk a tightrope between making things "simple" and making them powerful. In my opinion, PSP, on the other hand, has gone to the extremes in trying to automate things and in so doing has a product which offers considerably less flexibility than PTE albeit many more "features." Having too many features can greatly complicate things for the developers and so far, PTE has been an evolutionary product which is improving greatly with each iteration. Hopefully, the majority of what you you would like to see is planned for future versions.

PSP is limited by unfortunate initial design of their workspace and workflow, and now appears to have chosen to focus on adding special effects with little effort (or perhaps ability) to improve workflow. I think it is inevitable that that at some point a software developer with a good sense of ease of use and workflow will develop slideshow software that is much easier to use and will dominate and expand the market. PTE has the potential for improvements to workflow that would leave the competition far behind, but I wonder if that is a priority for the developers and users.

As mentioned earlier, it's a work in progress and a tightrope for developers trying to please a diverse audience. Right now, improving the audio portion is a priority as is polishing the video clip feature. I believe the developers have said that grouping keyframes for simultaneous movement is under development and something as simple as a background for text could probably be easily implemented. I think various text animations are also under consideration. PTE presently is the overwhelming choice for AV competitions in Europe and the UK and hopefully, the market will expand as a more diverse audience begins to learn about this tool.

One consideration which you didn't mention, but I think needs to be pointed out is that PTE has major and I believe very important and powerful features missing in PSP and PSG as well as missing in almost "all" other presentation slideshow software with the exception of PowerPoint. PTE allows the slideshow user complete manual control. For example, you can pause on a slide, you can program invisible "hotspots" or even use "objects" in your image to mouse click on and go to any slide by name in your show. You can easily program a hotspot to return to any position and even easily jump to a zoomed version of your slide. You can go to the next slide manually without interrupting the background music or narration (you can't do this in Producer), In fact, you can program any "hotspot or object" for mouse click to do any of the following: "Run Slideshow - Run Slideshow and Return - Run Application - Open File - Open File and Exit - Print Pictures or Slide - Go to Help - Open Web Page - Write Email - Next or Previous Slide - Go to First Slide - Go to a Named Slide - Exit - Show Window" As an example for your Historical Slideshow, the operator could place a small, invisible rectangle around each individual or "feature" in a slide. When this person or feature is clicked on, PTE can immediately go to a different slide of your choice with a closeup or details about that person of feature. Then on that slide a simple hotspot when clicked on could return you to your original slide. You can even program a little frame hotspot, say a person's face, so that when you click on it, any text you wish can pop up. So a group of twenty people could be easily identified by simply clicking on each face - or any "feature" of a photos could have an instant text description by simply clicking on that feature. All these features are available not only for Windows PC users, but for MacIntosh users running an Intel based MacIntosh and Bootcamp or similar Windows emulator. A slideshow made this way can be exported either to a PC executable "or" to a native Mac executable so the same slideshow can be manually controlled by either a PC or a Mac.

I am thoroughly familiar with all major presentation slideshow products currently available. I don't believe there is a better product currently available than PTE for doing precisely what you wish to accomplish.

I have examples of this type thing if you would like to see them.

This extreme flexibility complete with optional Navigation Bar give one an extremely powerful manual tool.

I believe your suggestions all have merit and hopefully the developers will take them under consideration for implementation in future releases.

Best regards,

Lin

Thanks.

Jim

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Jim,

Welcome of the PTE forums. As much as I like PTE for slideshows it may not be the best method to preserve archival quality media. Nobody knows if the Windows executable format will be accessible for future generations long after Microsoft is gone. Most archival images (Library of Congress) are stored in TIFF on storage networks with magnetic tape and optical disc backups. PTE does allow you to restore from JPEG and BMP formats which is great feature. JPEG is usually not considered archival quality and BMP is not as popular as TIFF for archiving images. Same with sound files. WAV and MP3 formats might be readable in the future, but the .exe format will require a dusty and ancient PC, unless you are lucky enough to have a virtual copy of Windows running on something like Vmware, Citrix, etc.

Tom

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Hi Tom,

Not to speak for Jim, but I think you misunderstood his original statement. He's not intending to use a presentation slideshow program for preserving archival media, but rather as a way of "presenting" the information today to an audience. What alternative in terms of slideshow presentation is there? Video? If so, PTE can create that, but I doubt that today's video formats will be any better preserved than the executable format. Just saving the images in tiff format doesn't include a way of presenting them and to my knowledge, there is nothing out there any better than PTE to use for the presentation. - see his opening quote below:

--------------------------------

I’m writing a book on digital archiving and presentation of historical photos and sound recordings. It includes a chapter on making slideshows because I think that slideshows are the most effective way to present historical information and should be used more. Most of my experience has been with Proshow Gold and Proshow Producer (PSP) and I prepared the draft chapter describing them. However, the explanation of all the complexity and pitfalls in using PSP would probably turn off people more than encourage them.

-------------------------------

Jim,

Welcome of the PTE forums. As much as I like PTE for slideshows it may not be the best method to preserve archival quality media. Nobody knows if the Windows executable format will be accessible for future generations long after Microsoft is gone. Most archival images (Library of Congress) are stored in TIFF on storage networks with magnetic tape and optical disc backups. PTE does allow you to restore from JPEG and BMP formats which is great feature. JPEG is usually not considered archival quality and BMP is not as popular as TIFF for archiving images. Same with sound files. WAV and MP3 formats might be readable in the future, but the .exe format will require a dusty and ancient PC, unless you are lucky enough to have a virtual copy of Windows running on something like Vmware, Citrix, etc.

Tom

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Hi Lin,

I guess I'm a little sensitive to file formats since I have worked in a Library for so long. Last year a well known person in our local community passed away and their family donated his special collection that had been archived on an old Macintosh in Clarisworks file format to zip disk. I had to figure out how to convert the files into a readable format so the archivist could do their job. I would much rather people archive real photographs or save real paper instead of depending on computers. I am sad to see film cameras bite the dust. Gosh, now maybe I am officially an old guy at 55 years old.:).

If PTE supported TIFF that would be great.

Technology is great until it doesn't work.

Tom

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Hi Tom,

I understand completely. Fortunately, the exe format has been around virtually unchanged since the first IBM PC's were launched in August of 1981with PC DOS and MSDOS - over 30 years now. As a former developer, my old DOS software still runs fine under the latest version of Windows, but as you say, who know about the future.

You're just a "spring chicken" at 55! In less than six months I'll be 70, if I last that long! I'm pretty familiar with archival storage methods since my wife spec'd and launched Hewlett-Packard's first tape library - internal codename Galactica - and for five years prior to that was marketing director for both EncyNova, Inc (first desktop tape autoloader) and MediaLogic ADL (Editor's Choice) multi-media mid-range tape library series. It was eat and sleep "archival storage" and backup for 15 years - LOL.

The "secret" - if there is one - to successful computer archival storage, is constant migration to newer technology. Tapes are good for at least 35 years, optical for at least 100 years but the only way to be certain that computer archives are secure for the future is to continually migrate the data when new technology is available. For several years now there has been rather obscure development of very promising new multi-layered media which will put multi-terrabytes on 5.25 inch optical discs. I expect we will see it mature in a couple years. It's hard for we older characters to accept the fact that this method has taken over and paper and even microfilm are pretty much going by the wayside. I guess we dinosaurs have to change with the times....

Best regards,

Lin

Hi Lin,

I guess I'm a little sensitive to file formats since I have worked in a Library for so long. Last year a well known person in our local community passed away and their family donated his special collection that had been archived on an old Macintosh in Clarisworks file format to zip disk. I had to figure out how to convert the files into a readable format so the archivist could do their job. I would much rather people archive real photographs or save real paper instead of depending on computers. I am sad to see film cameras bite the dust. Gosh, now maybe I am officially an old guy at 55 years old.:).

If PTE supported TIFF that would be great.

Technology is great until it doesn't work.

Tom

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Thanks Lin for the helpful information and support. I tried your instructions for using a mask to control text and got it to work. In terms of the book I’m writing it would take several paragraphs to explain that and would likely discourage rather than encourage people from beginning to make slideshows. I hope you are right that adding background to the text feature might be added in future versions of PTE. It would be so much easier to be able to just say that setting the text and background is straightforward from the text properties tab. Plus it would be much easier for people like myself who do not make a lot of slideshows. When working with a text object, PTE displays a frame or outline that nicely adapts to the text and should be fairly easy to fill with a background.

My understanding and experiments with adding time to a slide using the option Scale Keyframes on time change are that it does not do what I need. A typical case would be when zooming, panning, and text effects have been set for a slide and we want to add a new text effect and associated keyframes at a certain point in the middle of the slide duration. The time between keyframes for all objects should remain the same except for the specific point where time is inserted. The option to scale keyframes alters the time between all keypoints. Here is a more detailed description that might guide programming for the general function.

When any location on the active timeline is clicked, the right mouse button would include the option to insert or remove time at that point. A box to input the amount of time would be displayed. The time would be added or removed immediately to the right of the clicked point. The overall duration of the slide would be changed by the specified amount of time and keypoints on all layers would be shifted accordingly without changing the times between keypoints except at the location of the time insertion/removal. If the removed time includes any keypoints on any layer, a warning message would display and notify the user that keypoints are in the removed area and they will be shifted to the cut point (they would not be deleted). The option to cancel the time change would also be available.

Having the mouse scroll wheel zoom the image would be particularly valuable when a high degree of zooming is done such as 500%. I sometimes use that for historical slides. Dragging the corners of the image does not work well for that degree of zooming. Entering numbers in the zoom fields is easier, but then refining the display is cumbersome.

The suggestions for interactive slideshows are very interesting. Most of my slideshows have been intended primarily for groups of people to watch on a TV. Making them more interactive for use with computers has interesting possibilities that I’ll be thinking about.

My overall impression at this point is that the types of features I want are likely to be implemented, but maybe over a couple or so upgrade cycles.

I think that improving the handling of timelines for multiple layers would be very valuable and am submitting a separate topic with specific ideas on that.

Jim

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I guess I'm a little sensitive to file formats since I have worked in a Library for so long. Last year a well known person in our local community passed away and their family donated his special collection that had been archived on an old Macintosh in Clarisworks file format to zip disk. I had to figure out how to convert the files into a readable format so the archivist could do their job. I would much rather people archive real photographs or save real paper instead of depending on computers. I am sad to see film cameras bite the dust. Gosh, now maybe I am officially an old guy at 55 years old.:).

If PTE supported TIFF that would be great.

Technology is great until it doesn't work.

Tom

Tom, I fully agree with your general concern about archival formats. One of the explicit goals for the book is to describe for families how to make digital copies of their historical items in a way that can be directly transferred to a library, museum, or other historical archive, including documentation and legal issues as well as technical. Another goal is to encourage families to make and use digital copies rather than continuing to handle, display, and pass around the original items, which along with non-optimal storage conditions is a major source of deterioration for historical items.

I have mixed feelings about PTE handling TIFF files. ProShow Producer handles TIFF but in doing so encodes or compresses all files, which sometimes works ok and sometimes not. When it does not work well there are no options. Given my experience with Producer I'm attracted to the PTE strategy that I manage the compression of images for a slideshow and can make high resolution images for cases when there will be more extreme zooming and lower resolution in other cases. The PTE strategy is also consistent with the general strategy for an historical archive of keeping high resolution master images in TIFF format and making working copies that are optimized for particular displays. Because an image that is optimized for printing will be different than an image optimized for the internet, and an image optimized for a slideshow may be different from the others, my book has a chapter on preparing digital images for different types of presentation as well as a chapter on making the master images for the archive.

Jim

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Hi Jim,

Here's a small example of how this can work - a bit less than a 3 meg zipped PC exe and a Mac exe:

http://www.learntomakeslideshows.net/example/examplepc.zip (Windows zipped exe)

http://www.learntomakeslideshows.net/example/examplemac.zip (Mac zipped exe)

Best regards,

Lin

.........The suggestions for interactive slideshows are very interesting. Most of my slideshows have been intended primarily for groups of people to watch on a TV. Making them more interactive for use with computers has interesting possibilities that I'll be thinking about.

My overall impression at this point is that the types of features I want are likely to be implemented, but maybe over a couple or so upgrade cycles.

I think that improving the handling of timelines for multiple layers would be very valuable and am submitting a separate topic with specific ideas on that.

Jim

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I have mixed feelings about PTE handling TIFF files. ProShow Producer handles TIFF but in doing so encodes or compresses all files, which sometimes works ok and sometimes not. When it does not work well there are no options. Given my experience with Producer I'm attracted to the PTE strategy that I manage the compression of images for a slideshow and can make high resolution images for cases when there will be more extreme zooming and lower resolution in other cases. The PTE strategy is also consistent with the general strategy for an historical archive of keeping high resolution master images in TIFF format and making working copies that are optimized for particular displays. Because an image that is optimized for printing will be different than an image optimized for the internet, and an image optimized for a slideshow may be different from the others, my book has a chapter on preparing digital images for different types of presentation as well as a chapter on making the master images for the archive.

Jim

I agree TIFF would not be of much use for the normal PTE user. I think it would be trivial for Igor to add using something like the libTIFF library. Unfortunately the TIFF files I deal with often are scans from large format negatives (100 Megapixel / 500 MB). Great for making prints but not great for viewing on monitors.

Tom

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Hi Jim,

Here's a small example of how this can work - a bit less than a 3 meg zipped PC exe and a Mac exe:

Thanks Lin. The examples are very interesting.

Jim

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Hi,

I am going to stick my nose into this one, though I can't offer any practical solution.

I have been using PTE enthusiastically for about five years and still find it difficult to get my head round at times, particularly when one moves into the non standard. I confess to hearing people saying how intuitive it is but generally don't agree with them. I am convinced that considerable work has to be done to make this superb programme more user friendly.

As somebody who has for some time been gathering family information and attempting to put it into a presentable order with PTE and utilising some of the devices discussed above I sincerely believe that anybody with limited computing skills will fall at the first hurdle.

I know all the arguments surrounding the flexibility/quality etc of PTE and totally accept this but many features are for the few dedicated specialists, many of whom, thankfully give their time and knowledge freely to the less able such as myself.

I don't know what the answer is, but it sure isn't sticking ones head in the sand. I just hope that an answer can be found by Igor before somebody else does.

Regards and A Happy New Year to everybody.

John

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Hi John,

Are you a Photoshop user? If so, you will quickly find that no matter how much you learn about it, there is always something new which you didn't know and can learn.

PTE is similar in the respect that it's a very powerful and complex software. I'm not saying that there couldn't be improvements because there are definitely areas where the user interface can be greatly improved, but even if it were theoretically as perfect as it could be, it still won't be something that "everyone" can just automatically easily learn how to use to the maximum advantage and do some of the sophisticated things possible.

PTE in some ways is like a high level programming language. There are myriad ways of approaching a desired end. In order to keep the flexibility and power which PTE offers, there are areas which are necessarily complex. Even those who have a great depth of knowledge about the program struggle with certain things. There have been users, in the past, who did things with PTE that even Igor admitted he didn't know could be done. Trying to make the program very simple to use and totally "intuitive" would also preclude some of the incredible flexibility. There are literally "hundreds" of presentation slideshow programs out there if you Google a search and catalog them. The vast majority are of the "cookie cutter" type. Do you want a transition? Here are your choices. There is no other way to make a transition. Do you want to zoom in? Here are the steps you can do. If what you want isn't among the few choices offered, you are simply out of luck. Everything the software can do is available by menu choice. Text handling, for example - fly-in from right, left, top, bottom. But what if you want it to fly in from the side or diagonal? Sorry, not an option. Would you like to import an animated gif which is designed to run for 10 seconds and quit, but you want it to go for 23 seconds? Sorry, you have no control over that. Do you want to rotate your image off center and make a png image "circle" the screen without turning upside down when it reaches the bottom of the circle? Sorry, can't do that - in fact, if you want to rotate it off center at all, (and you can only do this with a very few expensive packages) you will have to get a computer and calculate the numerical coefficients to type in. Drag the center where you want it visually? LOL, Sorry, can't be done. Parent/Child relationships and all that entails? Sorry, not available. 3D transforms? What's that??? Want to move between keyframes six and ten and have different actions in terms of slow, fast, smooth? Sorry - it will never happen. But look how great our audio is, we can have four tracks and see the waveform for all four simultaneously!!! Hmmm, what if you need 10 tracks? Sorry, you only get four, but by golly you can see them all simultaneously!

The list goes on and on. Things which "can" be done with PTE but simply can't be made totally intuitive without taking away power and flexibility which presently exists. It's like the difference between Photoshop and Photoscape. One is extremely powerful, but a bit mysterious and not all that intuitive. The other is very intuitive and simple for almost anyone to use "as long as" they don't need to do anything other that what can automatically be done via menu.

I suspect what many really need is a "PTE Lite," something which has a lot of the basic functions and which is highly automated and menu driven. Others are very happy with the full, and powerful version which "can" be made more intuitive in certain areas, but can never be made "simple" and "easy" to learn where more sophisticated features are concerned. I suspect that's why Adobe makes Elements versions of a number of their more powerful software. Not everyone needs the full power of Photoshop and not everyone needs the full power of PTE. However for those who do, there is nothing else like it available....

Best regards and Happy New Year,

Lin

Hi,

I am going to stick my nose into this one, though I can't offer any practical solution.

I have been using PTE enthusiastically for about five years and still find it difficult to get my head round at times, particularly when one moves into the non standard. I confess to hearing people saying how intuitive it is but generally don't agree with them. I am convinced that considerable work has to be done to make this superb programme more user friendly.

As somebody who has for some time been gathering family information and attempting to put it into a presentable order with PTE and utilising some of the devices discussed above I sincerely believe that anybody with limited computing skills will fall at the first hurdle.

I know all the arguments surrounding the flexibility/quality etc of PTE and totally accept this but many features are for the few dedicated specialists, many of whom, thankfully give their time and knowledge freely to the less able such as myself.

I don't know what the answer is, but it sure isn't sticking ones head in the sand. I just hope that an answer can be found by Igor before somebody else does.

Regards and A Happy New Year to everybody.

John

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I must congratulate you on your previous post. I agree with every word in it, but its not easy to put it as well as you have.

I take my hat off to you mate

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I suspect what many really need is a "PTE Lite," something which has a lot of the basic functions and which is highly automated and menu driven. Others are very happy with the full, and powerful version which "can" be made more intuitive in certain areas, but can never be made "simple" and "easy" to learn where more sophisticated features are concerned. I suspect that's why Adobe makes Elements versions of a number of their more powerful software. Not everyone needs the full power of Photoshop and not everyone needs the full power of PTE. However for those who do, there is nothing else like it available....

Hi Lin,

I think your comments about a possible PTE Lite and comparison with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements may be a good way to bring into focus some of the issues that have been raised. For historical slideshows like I work with and I gather that John works with, the typical menu driven slideshow software that you were describing is not adequate. Keyframes and layers are needed for the type of historical slideshows I make and the simple software that I have seen does not have them. So a PTE Lite for my purposes would still need to be significantly more advanced than most other slideshow software.

I just finished writing a book chapter describing how to process historical images with both Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements and was surprised at how much could be done with Elements. As a Photoshop CS user I had not paid much attention to Elements until I wanted to include it in the book and tried going through my usual workflow step by step in Elements. Photoshop Elements is basically a subset of the features of Photoshop CS. Elements contains the basic processes needed to edit images and the operation of these processes is essentially the same for both CS and Elements. These processes are relatively easy to use and to describe. The comparison of Photoshop CS and Elements really made me appreciate how Adobe has made the basic foundational functions of Photoshop CS relatively easy to use while also providing all the advanced features.

The situation with PTE appears to be very different than with Photoshop. A subset of the features of PTE that I need will not be easy to use. From my perspective the basic foundational functions of PTE and other slideshow software are difficult to use or not yet developed. I can describe how to use Photoshop CS, Photoshop Elements, consumer and professional level audio editing programs, and scanning software in a straightforward way for some reasonably sophisticated processes. But when I come to slideshow software it is page after page of convoluted explanation for the kinds of basic processes that are simple and routine for other software.

I gather from your comments that you are thinking that ease of use is inconsistent with advanced capabilities. My experience in developing and using software has been more consistent with the idea that well designed software can and should be relatively easy to use for basic processes as well as have advanced features that are more complicated. The great majority of the improvements that are being suggested for PTE could be done without in any way constraining advanced capabilities --assuming the existing programming has been done in a reasonably optimal way that does not create unnecessary constraints.

My impression from browsing this forum is that the advanced users of PTE are generally much more aware of and supportive of making PTE easier to use than are the participants in the forums for some competing products. With that kind of support, PTE could well become the software that breaks through existing barriers.

The cost of PTE is comparable to Photoshop Elements and to other consumer level software. It is about 1/3 the cost of ProShow Producer and about 1/9 the cost of Photoshop CS. I for one would be willing to pay more for more highly developed software.

Jim

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Jim,

Whilst I agree that Elements is a useful tool for anyone who aspires to producing high quality images for PTE I have found it to be useless for anyone who is trying to downgrade from "the real thing".

My main gripe is that it will not allow Layers in 16 Bit.

I use PS for VERY little these days but the things I can't do in my RAW Converter of choice can only be done in the full package of PS where layers in 16 Bit are supported.

DG

"I just finished writing a book chapter describing how to process historical images with both Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements and was surprised at how much could be done with Elements. As a Photoshop CS user I had not paid much attention to Elements until I wanted to include it in the book and tried going through my usual workflow step by step in Elements. Photoshop Elements is basically a subset of the features of Photoshop CS. Elements contains the basic processes needed to edit images and the operation of these processes is essentially the same for both CS and Elements. These processes are relatively easy to use and to describe. The comparison of Photoshop CS and Elements really made me appreciate how Adobe has made the basic foundational functions of Photoshop CS relatively easy to use while also providing all the advanced features".

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Hi Jim,

Actually, as I mentioned, there are definitely areas in PTE which could be made a great deal more user friendly. My intent, was to emphasize that no matter how good or intuitive the user interface becomes, there are features and uses which simply can't be made easily understood because some of these features require a much greater understanding of terminology and process than the casual user is likely to possess. A typical example is the parent/child relationship coupled with the 3D transform features, and how they can be used to accomplish tasks which require a fairly sophisticated understanding generally found only with those who have a background in graphics using layers and/or three dimensional animation. It's very much like Photoshop in that regard. The casual user of Photoshop will understand basic image manipulation, but when it comes to understanding layers, layer masking, and related process, either a class or considerable tutoring is usually indicated, and this takes some dedication and effort on the part of the user.

Let me give a couple examples. I've authored a number of quick and non-professionally oriented video tutorials to show how to accomplish such things as to create a three dimensional, six sided cube and manipulate this three dimensional creation in two dimensional space. "Showing" the user how to do it is fairly straight forward. Explaining the underlying concepts which make it possible is quite more complex. It would be "possible" for the developers to create a user interface where the user would simply "pick" six square cropped images and then choose "make a cube" from a menu and this would be easily done. However, where would one draw the line about geometrical objects and their "creation" from a very easy and intuitive user menu interface? With PTE it's possible to make myriad geometrical objects which can be constructed from squares, rectangles and triangles. Anything from a "ball" to a "decorative box" can be created and manipulated using the parent/child and 3D transform features. I've demonstrated a way to take a PNG object with underlying transparency and rotate it 360 degrees around the circumference of the display screen while maintaining an upright position at all times. This was done by first positioning the object at the top center of the display, then moving the rotational center of this object to dead center of the display and setting the rotation to 360 degrees between keyframes. But for the object to appear to maintain an upright position, it's necessary to duplicate the object as a child of itself, set the original object's opacity to zero, leave the rotation center of the child at its own center and set it's rotation to negative 360 degrees between the same keyframes and visually "match" the parent and child for zoom.

How could I possibly make the above "simple" and intuitive to the uninitiated? My point is that yes, there are many things in PTE which can be made easier and more intuitive for basic functions, but there will "always" be numerous features and potential uses which simply can't be made intuitive and menu driven. The competition such as PSP have tried to make a feature rich software resplendent with menu driven options, but in so doing have, in my opinion, created a nightmare for debugging and for future smooth evolution.

The history of PTE has shown that the developers are very responsive to their user base. They continually strive to make the product better and more useful. I believe that future versions will be reflective of past versions in that we will see continual improvements both in usability and features. As I've said in the past, they must walk a tightrope between serving a rather wide variety of user requests and uses for a very flexible program. I'm in complete accord with your impressions concerning the relationship of PTE users versus those from other forums. I too look forward to continual improvements not only with this product but with competing products. Competition is good for everyone since it promotes continual evolution in a positive direction for everyone.

As for pricing, I applaud the path taken by Wnsoft versus the competition. I remember when PSP was first launched, they crippled their potential user base by requiring a USB "dongle" and set their pricing at a level which the product couldn't support. Over the years, they have had to reduce their MSRP to less than half their launch price. They have done a commendable job of marketing and their "branding" was well conceived, but as a past user of PSP, I found it too buggy, ponderous and lacking in flexibility for my liking. I'm confident that PTE will continue to evolve in a positive direction and will continue to improve the user interface with each iteration.

Best regards,

Lin

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Hi,

I have been away from home for the NewYear festivities and am delighted to see that my post has resulted in a bit of discussion – that was my intention. I sincerely hope and trust that Igor has been listening. I have every expectation that he has.

I'm not convinced that a Light version is a necessity though I'm certain it would be good to have. I think we have to remember that fantastic though Wnsoft are they are no Adobe and don't have the resources they have. I would suspect that such a strategy could be crippling.

What I believe needs to be done is to add as many operational improvements, within the constrains of the inherent design of the existing product as are possible. If this requires a major overhaul of the user interface and this can be achieved without compromising the flexibility and quality of the product, that I believe should be done before any new features are introduced. I said this before video was scheduled and introduced and I think it is worth repeating now.

Many people have made suggestions about a variety of operational improvements over the years, I believe now is the time to look at how they can be implemented.

Simple things (I say simple though I have no real idea how simple it really is only that it is commonplace) like descriptions of key functions being displayed when requested and the use of "wizards" where possible would be very welcome.

Adobe Elements for instance provides Auto Levels yet you can still by-pass that and set your own if you don't like what is provided as standard.

Perhaps there is a way in which themany user created demos can be more effectively integrated into thehelp menu.

I will say no more.

Regards and a

Guid New Year Tae Ane an Aw'

John

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people should go back to 4.49 and only advance when they have mastered that version -- there are lots of versions before we got to where we are now

ken B)

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Ken,

Sorry to have to say this but I think I said something in my first post on this thread about "burying ones head in the sand".

I think you have just demonstrated what I was getting at..

Thank you.

John

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John

well some people seem to figure they can jump right in to the latest version and they have no idea of the basics and then come asking for help

it is like somebody trying to run before they learn how to walk

we don't need a light version -- we just need people to understand what they are getting into

ken

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John

well some people seem to figure they can jump right in to the latest version and they have no idea of the basics and then come asking for help

it is like somebody trying to run before they learn how to walk

we don't need a light version -- we just need people to understand what they are getting into

ken

Hi Ken,

I think we may be talking about different things here. It may be useful to distinguish basic functions from advanced functions. I consider keypoints, pan, zoom, and text as basic functions for slideshow software. Rotating 3-D cubes is an advanced function.

I’m looking for slideshow software for historical slide shows that has basic capabilities for extensive use of pan, zoom, and text. I’m not trying to rotate 3-D cubes. As has been discussed here, I can see needing to go to a forum like this to learn how to rotate 3-D cubes. But, I think well designed software will have the basics such as pan, zoom, and text readily usable without having to go to a forum to learn how to use them. The fact that something as basic as adding a new keypoint requires that the glue/separate settings be changed in a way that is virtually impossible to understand without esoteric explanation at a forum like this is a fundamental problem with the design of the software that will not be resolved by going back to an earlier version that has the same limitations.

Basic processes are unnecessarily complicated in the current version and I presume in previous versions. For the types of slideshows I do and would like to encourage others to do, in addition to the glue/separate issue, the process of making text with background fade in and out is too complicated, and the ability to insert time and effects toward the beginning of a slide without having to manually shift all the existing keypoints is another significant limitation for a function that I consider basic.

I think the market for PTE would increase significantly if the basic functions were made easier to use. For example, I currently cannot recommend PTE as the best software for historical slideshows, but the improvements to make it the best would not take great effort or compromise advanced functions. The advanced functions are probably inevitably going to be complicated with a significant learning curve, but that does not mean the basic functions should be complicated.

I also think that there are ways to improve handling of timelines for multiple objects that would greatly improve working with both basic and advanced functions and have offered some ideas on a separate thread.

Jim

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pan and zoom came in back in ver 5 i believe

text addition - comments was before that and was very simple to do.

PicturesToExe v5.00 beta #1 (May 1, 2006)

-----------------------------------------

+ New Visual editor where you can add Pan/Zoom/Rotate effect.

See "Objects and Animation" button (Ctrl+B) on the main window.

+ Added Undo (Ctrl+Z) and Redo (Ctrl+Y) features.

See Main menu | Project | Undo (Ctrl+Z) and Redo (Ctrl+Y).

+ Improved Navigation bar.

> New Navigation bar style.

> Added support of skins. You can add any images of buttons and background,

Navigation bar can be semi-transparent and has a shadow. See folder "NavBar"

in PicturesToExe's folder. Just add new folder to create new style of Navigation bar.

+ Added tree of folders to main window. See Main Menu | View | Show tree (Ctrl+G)

+ Added support of PNG images files (including PNG with partial semi-transparency).

+ You can quickly remove slide(s) from Slide list simply dragging them back to File list.

+ You can quickly press Enter to show "Customize slide" window for selected slide(s).

+ Main image of a slide can be transparent GIF or transparent PNG now.

+ Added new function to Main menu | File. "Create backup in ZIP" which compress all files

of your project into one ZIP archive. It can be useful for moving project to another PC.

+ Vastly improved speed of work of PicturesToExe's main window. Instant response now.

Especially when you work with 1000 or more slides in the Slide list.

+ Added new style of background image of a slide: "Fit to screen".

+ Added option "Keep slide aspect ratio" (1,3333 by default) to correctly draw slide

+ Ability to insert comment or description from EXIF info of JPEG images.

See Project options | Comments tab | "Set comments for all slides as" | "Display EXIF".

on various displays (usual 4:3 and wide screen). See Project options | Screen tab.

+ Added compatibility of main interface of PicturesToExe

with Large font (120 dpi) mode of Windows.

+ Main interface of PicturesToExe supports "Clear type" font mode of Windows XP.

+ Various improvements in File list in the main window.

+ New "About PicturesToExe" window.

+ Added compatibility of main application of PicturesToExe with Windows Vista.

+ Added compatibility of main application of PicturesToExe with restricted user accounts in Windows.

PicturesToExe v4.48 (March 28, 2006)

------------------------------------

* Fixed bug with stopping of show only in automatically synchronized slide-show (EXE file and AVI) longer than 1 hour with 400 or more of slides.

This problem always occured in this combination parameters on any PC.

PicturesToExe v4.47 (March 10, 2006)

------------------------------------

* Main program of PicturesToExe:

- Fixed problem with incorrect order of slides after adding of copied slides to the end.

- Fixed problem of v4.46 when temp folder of PicturesToExe was mistakenly located in My documents. This problem happened only with main program of PicturesToExe.

- Fixed problem with drag-n-drop in file panels under Windows Vista (Beta) with 3D Aero Glass interface.

* Slide-show engine:

+ No problem found.

PicturesToExe v4.46 (February 2, 2006)

--------------------------------------

* Fixed possible problem when in fullscreen Preview there was no sound.

* Fixed problem with no sound if start EXE file with slide-show from folder

which contains Japanese or Arabic symbols in the name.

* After "Save as" of a project, PicturesToExe will ask for path to EXE file on "Create" button click.

PicturesToExe v4.45 (January 5, 2006)

-------------------------------------

* Fixed possible problem with music,

if you have Skype USB Phone (mistake in drivers for this device).

* Fixed bug with "Import transition points" function in the timeline window.

(A last point always skiped after importing from another project.)

PicturesToExe v4.44 (November 14, 2005)

---------------------------------------

* Fixed problem with error message during in Preview mode with some rare

JPEG images which has incorrect EXIF fields.

+ Added support of Arabic language file.

PicturesToExe v4.43 (August 29, 2005)

-------------------------------------

* Fixed bug with an error message during overwriting of a template in PicturesToExe.

PicturesToExe v4.42 (June 3, 2005)

----------------------------------

* Fixed problem with lockings up on PCs with professional sound card RME DIGI9652.

PicturesToExe v4.41 (April 13, 2005)

------------------------------------

* Fixed bug when Ulead DVD MovieFactory or another DVD converter

didn't work with video file of PicturesToExe.

* Improved stability with AVI video output feature

* Fixed bug when random show of slides didn't work in synchronized presentation.

* Fixed one visual bug on the timeline.

* Fixed problem with skipping of sound comments (closely located) in some cases.

PicturesToExe v4.40 (March 28, 2005)

------------------------------------

+ Added new terrific transition effect: Curling of page

It contains 16 variations and ability to set radius of curling.

Horizontal/vertical variations of this effect work smooth on any PC.

(Note: Diagonal variants require a very fast PC.

We'll try to optimize this new diagonal effect in the future.)

+ Fully reworked "Customize synchronization" window:

> Work with real slides on the timeline.

It means that every transition point is exactly linked with a particular slide.

> Added "Shift points..." feature allows to shift all or selected points.

> Added "Shift all points to right" function moves all points outside the music;

> Added "Insert Slide" button.

Now you can insert one or several new slides directly into the timeline.

> Added "Delete Slide" button removes selected transition points and slide(s).

> Added "Replace Main Image" action in popup menu.

(Click the right mouse button on a transition point.)

> Cancel button abolishes all changes with slides (if you mistakenly deleted slides);

> Added a popup menu for transition point(s);

> Multi-select and various actions with several selected transition points;

> And all usual actions with Shift and Ctrl keys;

> Added a transition point of a first slide;

> Improved preview of transition effects;

> Vastly improved a show of waveforms. Just click "Waveform" button and all visible

waveforms will be shown automatically;

> Ability to change a duration of an effect visually.

Drag the small grip at the end of the effect strip;

> Press Up/Down keys for the accurate (+/- 10 ms.) moving of the cursor;

> Press Ctrl+Up/Ctrl+Down keys (or < >) to move cursor between slides and strips of effect durations;

> Press Right/Left keys to move between transition points;

> Added "Import Points from Another Project..." function;

> Added "Auto Addition of New Transition Points for New Slides" option. (See "View" popup menu).

Disable it if you prefer to control fully the addition of new transition points;

> Other improvements.

+ Now you can edit personal settings of several selected slides.

It means that, for example, it is possible to set a transition effect

for several slides, but the other personal parameters

will be left individual.

+ Alternative Slide list, File panel or Timeline scrolling. Hold Alt key,

press mouse button and move the mouse (as in PageMaker, or in Photoshop).

+ Added "Timeline" button to the main window of PicturesToExe and Ctrl-L hotkey for the same purpose.

+ Improved the protection of "Expire date" option.

+ Added new kinds of protection: "Expire after (days)" and "Number of runs".

+ Improved Navigation bar:

> Added "Auto hide Navigation bar after <...> seconds" options;

> Added "Hide Navigation bar at startup" option;

+ Improvements in AVI video output:

> It supports personalized background music now.

(If you want to set a new playlist starting from a definite slide.)

> Added "Show safe TV zone" option in Visual editor window.

This can be useful for preparing a slide show for DVD disc.

+ "Display slides in random order" option works for synchronized shows.

+ Added "Don't interrupt sound comment when next slide appears" option.

It allows to play sound comment during several slides. (Project options | Music tab).

+ Added "Random order" function (Alt+R or see popup menu) for the Slide list.

It will help to sort all (or selected) slides in random.

+ Improved "Run application" action for buttons/hyperlinks or when a new slide appears:

> It allows to run several applications. Type: "notepad.exe, "calc.exe"

> It is possible to specify a parameter: "C:\My Slide show.exe" 7

Please use double quotes for file paths to applications.

E.g.: "notepad.exe" "C:\My text.txt"

+ You can start another slide show (EXE file) from a necessary slide of a current one.

Use "Run application" action and type: "C:\My Slide show.exe" 7

+ Added "Offset" parameter to "Comments" tab in the Project options.

+ Improved file transference of a project into another disk or PC.

(Copy the main folder of your project (which may contain embedded

folders with pictures or music) and PicturesToExe will find new file paths.)

+ Various improvements in the interface of the main window.

+ Added AVIVideoRenderWidth and AVIVideoRenderHeight parameters in apr.ini file

to be able set internal render resolution for video output.

Please don't change their default values (1024x768), because it affect only

if you will render video for HDTV (1280x960 or larger).

+ PicturesToExe automatically detects protected WMA files if you add them

and shows warning message that the program could't play such files on another PCs.

(It is not our restriction, PicturesToExe physically can't play protected WMA files)

+ Old user manual replaced with new tutorial.

* Improved stability of music player on two-CPU PC with Windows 2000.

* Fixed the bug with the show of some transparent GIFs in the 16-bit (Hi-Color) screen mode.

* Fixed a small visual bug in Visual editor.

* Fixed the bug when error message occured after the last slide with the following

parameters: the slide show is synchronized, "Show transition effect to desktop after

last slide" option is checked, and the first slide is shown without a main picture.

PicturesToExe v4.31 (October 11, 2004)

----------------------------------------

* Fixed some cases when AVI video output feature didn't work in v4.20 or in v4.30:

Improved work with Ulead DVD Movie Factory and Media Player 7;

Added compatibility with Adobe Encore DVD, Sonic DVDIt, Sonic MyDVD.

+ Vastly improved quality of "Sharpness filter" option.

+ Improved German, Romanian, Ukrainian and Chinese translations.

PicturesToExe v4.30 (September 23, 2004)

----------------------------------------

+ File panel and Slide list now can be displayed as thumbnails or in its

classical view (table) (to switch between these views press Ctrl+1 and

Ctrl+2 (for File panel or Slide list accordingly), or via small "V" buttons).

+ There are available second layout style (Slide list in full width of the window).

And third layout when Slide list shown vertically in full height of the main window.

Press Ctrl+F1 and Ctrl+F2 and Ctrl+F3 to switch between classical and two new layouts.

Or visit Main menu | Options.

+ Main features of thumbnails view of File panel or Slide list:

> Easily resizeable items in real-time by trackbar or Ctrl+mouse wheel;

> Ability to display pictures without text captions (Shift+1, Shift+2);

> Resize items by moving new splitter between Slide list and Preview area.

+ Light table (on full screen).

This mode allows to concentrate on adding of new pictures or re-arranging of slides.

Press "F" buttons or F3 key to see light table for File panel

or F4 key for light table of Slide list.

+ Multi-select in file panel and Slide list.

With mouse, or with Shift, or with Ctrl keys. Now it works as in Windows Explorer.

+ Visual drag-and-drop.

Dragged items looks semi-transparent as in Windows XP. And it works in any Windows!

+ Actions with with several selected slides or files.

You can easily delete, shift, re-arrange and copy any count of items at a time.

+ Improved transition effects:

> Fade effect works in two times (i.e. on 100%) more fast and smooth.

So now Fade effect shows smoothly even on old PC with Pentium 233-400 Mhz;

> Vastly improved Push and Slide effects. It should works more smooth now.

+ Waveform feature in "Customize synchronization" window.

Set the cursor to range of necessary music track on the time-line and then

click "Waveform" button or press Ctrl+W. This feature may help you to

exactly assign transition points to necessary moments in music.

+ Now you can rename files in the File panel or in the Slide list. PicturesToExe

will automatically update path of added slide which use renamed picture.

+ You can rotate pictures (Ctrl+F). It's a lossless rotation and it provides exactly

original quality. Open popup menu in the File panel or Slide list to rotate picture(s).

+ Also portrait JPEG pictures with EXIF (shooted by digital cameras which write

orientation of a photography) will be shown rotated automatically.

+ It's possible now to choose folder where to store your templates.

Open "Manage templates" window (Ctrl+E), set new folder and click "OK" button.

+ Added advanced popup menu for the File panel (by right mouse click) as in Windows

Explorer. This advanced menu allows to perform standard actions: copy, paste,

delete file(s) and etc. It also works for several selected files, too.

+ New style of work of the mouse wheel (so-called X Mouse) in the main window.

(But you can turn this mode off. Visit the Main menu | Options | Advanced options)

+ Added "Show transition effect to desktop after last slide" option (see "Screen" tab).

+ It's possible to add your own copyright logo to all slides. The best visual

results can be reached using of 32-bit .bmp images with alpha channel or with

transparent GIF images. (See Project options | Advanced tab).

+ Improved music player:

> Transition effect shown in the moment between two music tracks will not jerk more.

> Really random playback when this mode is choosed. Always new track from playlist.

> Preparing of slides with sounds works a little bit faster.

+ Another improvements in the "Customize synchronization" window:

> Right mouse button click to show popup menu.

> To start full-screen preview from first slide, click "Preview" button

when there is no selected transition point.

> The window can be resized;

> Transition point to the last slide is shown in more gray color;

> Mouse wheel works for scrolling of the time-line now;

> To scale time-line you need to use mouse wheel with pressed Ctrl now.

+ You can go to a next or to a previous slide keeping Pause mode

in the synchronized slide-shows.

+ You can see full screen preview of a picture by pressing of "Space" button.

It especially can be useful in full screen mode of thumbnails view (light table).

+ It's possible to move selected slides to the end of the list (Ctrl+End) or

to the top of the list (Ctrl+Home). Or see popup menu.

+ You can open for editing current picture by Ctrl+W hotkey.

+ PicturesToExe will automatically update thumbnails and preview of pictures

which you modified in graphical editor.

+ Improved "Welcome screen" which appears after installation of PTE.

It helps to choose necessary view of PicturesToExe.

+ Added "Disable F1 key" option (Project options | Advanced tab).

* Various minor improvements.

* Fixed several minor bugs.

PicturesToExe v4.20 (March 5, 2004)

-----------------------------------

+ AVI video output feature.

Now you can produce your presentations as AVI video file

and then (using special software) burn DVD-Video, VCD, or SVCD disc.

(Please read chapter in the help about work with video output.)

+ Improvements in transition effects:

> Added new transition effect - "Advanced hour hand" (with variations).

This effect has special "Offset" option for fine customization.

> Added new "Push" and "Slide" transition effects. We recommend to show

these effects or quickly (500 ms.), or slowely (3,5 second and longer).

> Vastly improved quality of smoothing line in all effects.

For existed projects please increase thickness from old 40 to 60 points.

> Vastly improved "Mosaic" transition effect (old name "Hot blocks").

This effect has new smooth view. Available 3 parameters for fine customization.

(Note: with "Appearance:" parameter as 100 and "Parts:" 26 x 20 it works exactly

as "Hot blocks" effect in previous versions of PicturesToExe.)

> Added "Show first transition effect from desktop" option (Project options | Screen tab)

> You can quickly select/deselect groups of effects clicking on title of effect

(see Project options | Effects tab).

> Fade effect works on 20%-50% more smoothly now.

! Fade effect is turned on by default now (in Project options).

+ Improved synchronized mode of presentation. Now you can fully control

presentation in this mode; go to any slide; use Navigation bar; Pause feature.

To activate this mode set checked "Permit the control" (Project options | Main tab).

+ Vastly improved MIDI playback on old PCs (Pentium 150 - 400 Mhz).

+ New improvement in "Customize Synchronization" window:

> Added auto scrolling when you move transition point outside of visible part of time-line;

+ It's possible to adjust thickness of smoothline in the personal settings of a slide.

(E.g. you can set 40 pixels of smootline for 1st slide and 80 pixels for 2nd slide).

+ Added customizable shadow for picture objects (Visual editor | "Properties" window of an object).

+ Improved Print function (in presentations). Picture or slide fits on full page now.

+ Added support for 32-bit .bmp images with alpha channel (for use as objects).

+ Added "Disable mouse wheel" option (Project options | Advanced tab).

+ Added .wma and .ogg support in sound comments for slides.

+ Various small improvements.

- Removed "Use smoothing" option, because smoothing is always turned on now.

when if it's necessary to fit large picture on the screen.

* Fixed two bugs in Visual editor of objects which caused show of messages about error.

* Fixed rare bug of v4.10-v4.14 with incorrect work of "Print slide" feature.

* Fixed old small visual bug in "Customize synchronization" window.

* Fixed several minor bugs.

PicturesToExe v4.14 (October 7, 2003)

-------------------------------------

+ Fixed rare cases of skips in playback of MP3, OGG WMA music under some PCs.

PicturesToExe v4.12 (September 4, 2003)

---------------------------------------

* Fixed bug of v4.10 when you was not able to set "Time limited usage" option in new presentations.

* Fixed bug of v4.01 and v4.10 only with synchronized presentations which have

Startup Window with added "Exit" button. Presentation closes with error,

if user choosed "Exit" button in this Startup window. The problem is fixed now.

* Fixed bug of v4.10 when Visual Editor crashed on exit.

* Fixed delay with synchronization in OGG Vorbis music file after rewinding on the time-line.

* Fixed old bug when personal music of a slide didn't start, if main playlist is empty

and "Repeat music after playing" option is turned off.

* Fixed bug in window of Personal settings of a slide.

* Fixed old memory leaks, if terminate Fade in/out transition effect.

* Fixed sound skips on old PCs (166 - 400 Mhz) when second or later mp3 music file starts.

* Fixed several minor bugs.

+ Improved smoothness of Fade in/out transition effect for first slide with background music.

+ Various minor improvements.

+ Updated Slovak and Ukrainian language files.

PicturesToExe v4.10 (August 12, 2003)

-------------------------------------

* Fixed two old minor visual bugs in the main window of PicturesToExe.

* Fixed old visual bugs on the time-line in case of long music track (40 minutes and more).

* Fixed bug of v3.80 and v4.00 when music plays however, even if you've turned off

"Play background music" option ("Music" tab of Project options).

* Fixed old bug when PicturesToExe showed error messages if it was added incorrect or damaged JPEG or GIF picture

* Fixed old bug with creating of template. Some main pictures of slides

or music files were not copied into template's folder if "Show picture"

or "Play background music" were unchecked.

* Fixed old small bug when name of an opened template was added into "Recent Projects" list.

* Fixed old memory leak. Presentation might fall with "Out of system resources"

message, if many slides contained large objects (pictures or transparent buttons).

* Fixed old bug when you copy slide it didn't remember color of

text comment in the personalized slides

* Fixed old visual bug on the time-line (in the Customize synchronization window)

when sometimes it didn't show preview for selected transition point in the Pause/Stop mode

* Fixed old bug with "Add arranged time points" if length of music more than 42 minutes.

* Fixed old bug with sorting by date in the file panel.

* Fixed several other minors bugs.

+ Improved speed of opening project or presentation with number of slides more than 300..500.

+ Added support for JPEG pictures which have unusual .jpe extension

+ Ctrl+A is assigned now to select all pictures in the file panel, instead of "Save As"

+ This version contains new improved music player:

> Added built-in support for OGG Vorbis music files (.ogg);

> You need not to choose between "Internal" and "External" players more.

New music player provides high quality playing and exact synchronization;

> Fully compatible with Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP;

> New player can work even under Windows without installed DirectX or Media Player;

> Even presentation with 500 MB of music files starts immediately now;

> Improved support of various types of MP3 and WAV music files;

> MIDI music instantly starts playing under Windows XP;

> Fixed rare cases of music glitches on some configurations;

> Many other improvements.

+ Added fine customization of a slide.

Earlier if you wanted to set own time of showing for a slide it was

necessary to make all this slide personalized. Now you can assign

own time, but keeping background preference or font of text comment

according common settings from the Project options.

This feature will work and with your current projects.

+ Improvements in the Customize Synchronization window:

> Double-click on a transition point to show "Customize Slide" window;

> Status bar always displays current position of the cursor;

+ Imporovements in the Visual Editor of objects:

> It's possible to cancel dragging of object(s) by pressing of the right mouse button;

> You can move selected object(s) pressing arrows of cursor on the keyboard;

> You can call popup menu by clicking of right mouse button or special key on the keyboard;

> To switch between objects press <Tab> key on the keyboard;

> Status bar displays file name of picture for selected transition point;

> Some other improvements.

+ Added "Run application after last slide" option (Project options | "Advanced" tab).

Another presentation can be ran when main presentation finished with last slide.

This options also requires turned on "Close show after last slide" option.

+ Added new option "Slide List: Show file names only (without full path)"

(see Main menu | Advanced options). And this option is turned on by default,

but of course, you can set the old view with displaying of full file path.

+ PicturesToExe displays real file name of a project in the caption of the main window.

+ You can use "Caption of show" parameter (Project options | "Screen" tab) to display

name of presentation in the caption of window or on the taskbar.

If this parameter is not assigned then presentation will display

name of .exe file (which assigned on moment of creation).

+ Improved welcome screen of PicturesToExe.

+ And many other various improvements.

PicturesToExe v4.01 (March 14, 2003)

------------------------------------

* Fixed old bug when presentation run in the synchronized mode. The music

started a little earlier, if the first slide contains a very large JPEG picture.

However all next slides were shown *exactly* at the specified time.

Now the first slide also will be shown exactly at begining of the music.

* Fixed old rare bug in the Startup screen of presentation, if you twice opened the Help window.

* Fixed old bug, if you pressed Ctrl+Enter in the "Comment" field to enter multi-line comment for a slide.

* Fixed several other minor bugs.

+ Preview of large pictures works much faster now (with same quality) in

the Main window of PicturesToExe and in the "Customize Synchronization" window.

+ Improved quality and speed of the full-screen viewer of images (the Main window).

+ Improved quality of gradient filling of background, if screen in Hi-Color (16-bit) mode.

+ Improved the shadow for the main picture:

> It looks much smoothly now;

> You can adjust opacity of the shadow behind the main picture. (Project options |

"Screen" tab | "Opacity". From 0 of full transparency to 255 of opacity;

> The shadow can surround picture around all sides (see "Offset" parameter).

+ Added new default icon for a newly created .exe (or .scr) file of presentation.

The main icon of PicturesToExe is also improved.

+ Added new option: "Auto hide mouse cursor" (Project options | "Advanced" tab)

+ Some improvements in "Main" and "Advanced" tabs of the Project options.

+ Visual Editor of objects is vastly improved:

* Fixed several bugs;

> Added support for transparent GIF pictures (as objects of a slide);

> You can call "Properties" dialog for a some object by double-clicking of a mouse button;

> It's possible to cancel dragging of an object by pressing of <Esc> key;

> To select/deselect several objects, click on an each necessary object holding <Shift> key pressed;

> To select all objects, press Ctrl+A;

> Added "Undo" button to cancel last modification;

> Added Copy/Paste features (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V);

> Improved popup menu when you click right mouse button on the object(s);

> Added hot keys for all actions (see popup menu above);

> Added some other helpful improvements.

+ Produced presentations will start faster now.

+ "Preview" of presentation starts faster.

+ PicturesToExe (Main window) opens projects much faster.

+ Improved "Customize synchronization" window:

> You can start Preview of a presentation from a necessary slide ("Preview button");

> Time-line graphically displays effect duration for the transition points;

> Added vertical graphical lines between sound tracks on the time-line;

> You can adjust zoom of the time-line.

Click "View" button (or press Ctrl+F11/F12 or scroll the wheel of the mouse);

> Improved work of the horizontal scroll bar;

> Added new hot keys: Play/Pause - Ctrl-P, Stop - Ctrl+S, Delete - Del, Add - Ins;

> Click on "New transition" button instantly adds new point;

> Added little improvements in the interface of this window.

+ PicturesToExe correctly informs you, if you add damaged JPEG file.

+ PicturesToExe will show a project name in the confirmation dialog

(if you close not saved project).

+ Added numbering of slides in the Slide list (Main window).

+ Added support of Traditional Chinese language.

+ Vastly improved support of Italian language

+ Added various improvements in interface of the program.

PicturesToExe v3.80 (October 31, 2002)

--------------------------------------

* Fixed bug with showing 256 colors pictures

* Fixed bug when you open project files (.pte) with "System" attribute

* Fixed several other bugs

+ Updated PicturesToExe's License for use and distribution

+ Improvements in "Customize Synchronization" window:

> Added transition effects between slides in Preview mode

> Now you're able to move transition points by mouse visually;

> Added "Pause" feature (Play/Pause button)

> You can change current position of playing even if two or more music files exist

> Fixed several visual bugs.

+ Menu "Project" -> "Actions on Slide List" is placed

as new item on Main menu bar with "Slide" name.

+ Changed images of Select/Deselect all effects buttons (Project options | "Effects" tab)

+ Added "Show music duration" button to the "Music" tab of Project options

+ Added "Set comments for all slides as..." feature (Project options | "Comments")

> This improved option fills necessary comments and for all new slides;

> Added "Clear All Comments" button;

> Added new action: "Display slide number".

+ Instant start of "Preview". Even for large presentations it takes less than 1 second!

+ Improved action "Run Application" of visual objects. If path of specified

application is not found, PicturesToExe will try to run it from the current folder

where .exe file of presentation is placed.

+ "Use smoothing" option (Project options | "Screen" tab) is turned on

by default when you create a new presentation. This option is highly recommended.

+ Added "Loading..." screen to start presentation with large mp3 files in it.

Please see Project options | "Main" tab. This option is turned on by default.

You can change caption of this screen (see Project options | "Messages" tab).

+ Many other various improvements and changes

PicturesToExe v3.75 (July 2, 2002)

----------------------------------

* Fixed several bugs in the visual editor of objects

* Fixed bug when synchronization mode didn't work with Int. mp3 player option.

* Fixed old bug with incorrect position of the cursor when you insert

new picture(s) into custom place in the image list

* Fixed several other minor bugs

+ Added <Reverse Order> option for the sort mode of pictures

in the file panel (see Main menu | PicturesToExe | Sort mode)

- Removed "Update file panel" button (in the main window)

+ File panel automatically updates if new pictures are added into current folder,

so "Update file panel" button is not needed more.

+ Added "My Documents" button (instead of removed "Update..." button)

Now you're able to get quick access to your "My Documents" folder.

+ Added a list of recently opened projects (Main menu | File | Reopen ...)

That's a simple and fast way to open projects which you work often with

+ Added <Copy slide> (Ctrl+C) and <Paste slide> (Ctrl+V) functions

(Select necessary slide in the image list and then call popup menu by

clicking of the right mouse button. Choose <Copy slide> or <Paste slide> item)

+ Project options | <Music tab>: you can delete items from a list by "Del" key

+ Added "Repeat music after playing" option (turned ON by default)

If you set it unchecked then music will not repeat after playing

of all specified musical file(s)

+ In the Filepanel you can easily go to a necessary picture if press its

first letter on the keyboard. E.g. "F" key for "Forest.jpg" picture.

+ English.ini and Reg_English.rtf files are vastly corrected and improved.

Great thanks to Dana White!

+ Added "Preview of a slide" panel to the synchronization window (Project

options | "Main" tab | "Customize synchronization" button) It will help

you to create presentation with exact synchronization of music with slides.

+ Improved view of PicturesToExe when "Large font" mode (in Windows) is turned on

+ Added support of Polish language

+ Added support of Ukrainian language

+ Added support of Slovak language

+ A number of small improvements

PicturesToExe v3.70 (April 4, 2002)

-----------------------------------

* Fixed bug: visual editor shows main picture even when it's hidden

* Fixed bug in visual editor with navigation bar. It shows error message

when you try to change preview screen resolution. Now this problem is solved

* Fixed bug in presentations: it was impossible to save picture/slide by

"Print" button on the navigation bar if no printers are installed

* Fixed visual bug in status bar (main window of PicturesToExe) under Windows XP

* Fixed bug with opening of project files (.pte) which have Read-Only attribute

+ Added option (disabled by default) "Don't allow copying of pictures by

<PrintScreen> key". If you set on this option then user will not able to

copy any pictures or photos from your presentation. But however

experienced user can use special software to grab copy of the screen.

+ You can set more exact color of the font for <Text> objects (Visual editor)

- Removed "Four blocks" transition effect

+ Added a lot of new transition effects (circle, handle of clock, diagonal line, rhombus)

+ There are a new amazed view of all transition effects (except of <Fade in-out>)

+ Customizable synchronization is added. It means that you can set transition points

(commands when go to the next slide) onto special time-line when background music is

playing. Visit Project options | <Main> tab | "Customize synchronization" button.

* Synchronization is very exact now

+ Added ability to specify part (in percents) of screen to show main picture:

"... % of the screen to show main picture" (See Project options | <Screen> tab).

E.g. if even picture has size exactly as the screen resolution, however the picture

will fill only 80% of the screen space.

+ PicturesToExe remembers a folder path now if you assign sound comments for several slides

+ Many visual improvements of interface under Windows XP

+ Improved "About" window (in PicturesToExe)

PicturesToExe v3.65 (October 18, 2001)

--------------------------------------

* Fixed bug with text labels on the national languages in presentations

* Fixed small bug in "Text for current slide" window

+ Little improvements in "Save As" and "Create As" dialogs

+ Advanced support of Windows XP:

> Special optimization;

> PicturesToExe uses visual styles of Windows XP;

> New terrific look under Windows XP.

+ Since version 3.65 PicturesToExe works much faster with

presentations which have a great number of slides

+ Added "Stop timer on last slide" option (Project options | Main tab)

+ Added support of Czech language

+ Various changes and visual improvements

PicturesToExe v3.60 (July 12, 2001)

-----------------------------------

+ Fixed bug in presentation's startup screen if large background picture used

(it will be shown properly in any screen resolution)

+ Fixed bug with saving of project if existed .pte file has read-only attribute

+ Fixed minor bug when you click <Exit> button on presentation's startup screen

+ Fixed several other minor bugs

+ Added <Level Up> button (from right side of drive panel)

+ Added <Refresh file panel> button (located in the same place as <Level Up> button)

+ It's possible to not include main picture of slide

(see checkbox near "Picture" field on the main window of PicturesToExe)

+ Added support of Danish language

+ Now you can assign some template as template for all new projects. See Main

menu | File | Templates | Manage templates -> "Default template for new projects".

So it will be run on PicturesToExe's startup and when you click "New project".

+ The size of picture is shown in preview area

+ You can quickly move current slide up/down in the image list

by pressing Ctrl+UpArrow and Ctrl+DownArrow keys

+ Added ability to save current slide/picture as a file on disk.

See Project options | Main tab -> Allow restoring of pictures

("Print" button on the Navigation bar)

+ Added "Synchronization by music" feature! See Project options | <Main> tab

+ Much improved view of nag-label in produced presentations.

Semi-transparent panel with real shadow. For unregistered users only ;)

+ Many changes and visual improvements in the main window of PicturesToExe

PicturesToExe v3.51 (March 18th, 2001)

--------------------------------------

+ Fixed several minor bugs.

+ Improved startup screen of PicturesToExe.

+ Improved 'About' window.

+ Re-written graphical engine:

> MMX optimization;

> Less memory usage;

> Faster loading and displaying slides;

> Optimized code;

+ Added <Time limited usage> option (Project options | <Advanced> tab)

(You can specify date of expiration (e.g. April 25th, 2009) to force

your presentation stop work after that date);

+ New view of button object (with real shadow);

+ Improved view of navigation bar;

+ Templates (Main menu | Templates)

(it will help you to create presentations from templates);

+ Added ability to call external editor for sound comment of slide:

> Select necessary slide (in the image list), click right mouse button

for popup menu and select <Edit sound comment>;

> To change external editor go to Main menu | Options and click

<File name of sound editor>;

+ Now you can assign own list of background music for one or several slides

(select necessary slide | click <Customize slide> button | select <Music> tab);

+ Startup window became more customizable. You're able to insert your own image

(Project options | <Main> tab | <Customize startup window> button);

+ File panel shows pictures (by bold font) which are added into image list;

+ Tested with Windows XP (beta);

+ A number of minor improvements.

PicturesToExe v3.40 (February 4th, 2001)

----------------------------------------

* Fixed bug with .rmi MIDI files (for background music)

* Fixed several bugs in visual editor of objects

+ Added support of .wma files (for background music)

+ Added confirmation dialog when you click <Clear> button

+ Improved transition effects:

> Added cool "Fade in/out" effect!

See Project options | <Effects> tab | "Fade in/out";

To customize duration of effect use "Duration of "Fade in/out" effect"

+ Added new User manual (in help system, F1 key):

> Detailed description of how to create presentation;

> A number of illustrations;

+ Improved window with personal settings of slide:

> Settings were splitted into three tabs (Main, Comment, Effects);

> In the new "Effects" tab you can select individual parameters of

transition effect for current slide (type of effect and its duration).

+ Added new style of background - <Gradient filling> (Project options | <Screen> tab)

+ Added ability to show real shadow of main picture (Project options | <Screen> tab)

+ Added support of Chinese Traditional language

+ And many other changes and improvements!

PicturesToExe v3.30 (December 14th, 2000)

-----------------------------------------

* Fixed minor bug with color of main program's window on some color schemes

+ Click on .pte file (in Windows Explorer) opens this project in PicturesToExe

! Please check window size if you use windowed mode of presentation

+ Exit from screen saver (if .scr presentation) by pressing any key

+ Now you can replace standard icon of the produced presentation.

Format of icon: 16x16 or 32x32 icon (or both) with

16 or 256 colors. To add icons go to Project options, <Advanced> tab

+ PicturesToExe was tested with new OS from Microsoft - Windows Whistler (beta)

(no problem with shell of the program, produced presentations work fine)

+ Visual editor of objects. Select necessary slide in the

image list and click <Objects> button (or press Ctrl+B)

+ Quick preview. Select necessary slide in the image list and click on its small

picture (on the right-top part of the screen)

+ Added new action for the objects: "Run Application and exit"

+ Added support of Brazilian Portuguese language

+ More accurate autodetect of interface language

+ Windows Screen Saver doesn't start if presentation is active

+ Main menu is improved

+ Performance of the presentation is increased

+ Smaller use of memory to run the presentation

+ Some other changes

PicturesToExe v3.20 (October 27th, 2000)

----------------------------------------

+ Good news for users who liked previous internal mp3 player!

Now you're free in your choice of mp3 engine - new mp3 player

(based on possibilities of Media Player) or previous internal mp3 engine.

See Project options, <Music> tab, <Use internal wav/mp3 player> option.

No size increases of .exe/.scr file if you will not use own

mp3 engine, of course. This library will be included to .exe/.scr file

in case of you've set checked <Use internal wav/mp3 player> option.

Note: we recommend to use external mp3 player to get more possibilities, but

anyway you'll produce always stand-alone .exe/.scr file of presentation.

+ Added support of Chinese language

PicturesToExe v3.15 (October 21st, 2000)

----------------------------------------

* Fixed bug with detecting of necessary disk space for

workability of presentation (bug was in v3.10 only)

* Fixed some bug with showing of slides in <Random> mode

+ Also improved <Random> mode - show of slides without repeats already shown.

+ Added support of Romanian language

+ And some other changes

PicturesToExe v3.10 (October 17th, 2000)

----------------------------------------

! Hot info: minimal size of produced .exe file is 195 KB now

* Fixed minor bug with calculation size of replaced picture in the list

* Fixed bug when running presentation with sound/music files on

computers without sound card

* Fixed bug when presentation runs under Windows without DirectX 3.0 or later

+ Terrific smoothness of transition effects!

+ Now use Windows Media for playing mp3 files

> Removed previous internal mp3 player;

> Size of the .exe file with presentation contains mp3 files becames

less on 74 KB;

> Now presentation requires DirectX 3.0 or higher to run;

> You can add mp3 file as sound comment for a current slide;

> It's possible to use playing of background music (any type)

and sound comments for slides simultaneously - it will work

on any sound card;

+ Improved transitions effects

> Code of transitions effects is full rewritten;

> Exact duration of effect on the every computer;

> Duration of effect can be specified in the milliseconds

(Project options, <Effects> tab);

> Added new effects;

> Fine customization of all effects (see Project optioms, <Effects> tab);

+ New enhanced drives bar

> Full rewritten component;

> Button of selected drive is marking as pressed;

> If drives don't fit on drives bar, then scroll buttons appear;

+ New help system based on Microsoft HTML Help

+ Added option <Random order of playing> of background music

(see Project options, <Music> tab)

+ Improved <Fit-to-screen> option. Now picture fits to screen keeping

aspect ratio (Project options, <Screen> tab)

+ Added support of German language

+ Added support of Catalan language

+ Added support of French language

+ Added support of Spanish language

+ Added support of Swedish language

+ Added print function (in produced presentation)

> This function allows you to print only picture or all slide;

> <Print> button located at the navigation bar;

> Also you can localize words of print dialog

(which appear on clicking <Print> button in presentation);

> Added <Print> action for button, hyperlink and picture objects;

+ Some other changes

PicturesToExe v3.00 (August 24th, 2000)

---------------------------------------

* Fixed several bugs with work of presentation in Screen Saver mode

* Fixed old bug with multiple runnings of screen saver under Windows 98

* Fixed small bug with calculation the preliminary size of exe/scr file

+ New installation shell of the program

+ Tested under Windows Millennium

+ Engine code of EXE/SCR presentation is full rewritten

+ Added <Random slide-show> (Project options, <Main> tab)

+ Added <Without border> window mode (Project options, <Screen> tab)

+ <Customize playlist> window was moved to <Music> tab of Project options

+ Timer interval can be specified in milliseconds (Project options, <Main> tab)

+ Optimization for re-iterative files (you can include many copies of

sound file or picture, but they will occupy place in exe/scr file

as one sound or picture!)

+ Added object system. Now you can add objects to each slide!

> Supported objects: buttons, hyperlinks, texts, sub-pictures;

> Buttons, hyperlinks and sub-pictures can execute some action:

go to the next, previous, first slide or slide with

specified number, pause presentation, show help message, exit

from presentation, open Web page, write E-mail, execute application;

> All objects contain many parameters for fine customization;

> Each slide can contain hundreds of objects;

> To edit objects of current slide select the necessary picture in

image list and click <Object> button (located at the right-bottom

part of the main window of PicturesToExe);

> In the future we plan to make visual editing of objects and

include support for animated GIFs sub-pictures;

> Also see our updated examples of presentations created with v3.00

and which use object system (http://www.wnsoft.com/download.htm)

+ You can edit picture's filename now

+ Added Gray* hotkey to select/deselect pictures in the file panel

- Removed support of projects created with PicturesToExe v1.00 - v1.60

+ Updated FAQ

+ And more than 60 other changes!

PicturesToExe v2.30 (June 21st, 2000)

-------------------------------------

+ Fixed bug with closing of presentation if set checked

option <Exit on mouse move> (Project options, <Advanced> tab)

+ And other changes

PicturesToExe v2.25 (June 14th, 2000)

-------------------------------------

+ Fixed bug with incorrect positioning of the navigation bar

(this bug contain only in v2.20)

+ Added support for Slovenian languge

+ And other changes

PicturesToExe v2.20 (May 25th, 2000)

------------------------------------

+ Added support for Hungarian language

+ Now you can add multi-strings comment for slides. To enter text click

small button located at the right from the field where you entered

a comment string earlier. Also you can customize strings interval

and text alignment (see Project options, <Comments> tab or

personal settings for necessary slide - Ctrl+U).

+ Changed e-mail address of technical support to: support@wnsoft.com

+ Updated help system and documentation

+ Updated FAQ (added two new questions)

+ Added <Help> and <Exit> buttons to navigation bar (see below)

+ Can customize buttons of navigation bar (see Project options,

<Advanced> tab, <Customize navigation bar...> button)

PicturesToExe v2.15 (April 26th, 2000)

--------------------------------------

Changes since version 2.10:

* Fixed bug which appear on playing of mp3 file on some sound cards

Changes since version 2.10 beta:

* Fixed several bugs

+ Improved support for Netherlands language

+ Added support for Italian language

+ Improved "About..." window

Changes since version 2.00:

* Fixed several bugs

* We're fixed old bug with staying empty blocks on taskbar after

closing presentation under Windows 98!

+ It's possible to hide mouse cursor during presentation

(see Project options, <Advanced> tab)

+ File panel is more comfortable in use

+ It's possible to remove pictures from image list by <Del> key

+ Added support for Russian and Netherlands languages (if you want to

add your native language, please contact us at igor@wnsoft.com)

+ It's possible to translate texts of messages in the produced presentation

(captions of buttons, labels, etc.) - see Project options, <Messages> tab

+ Added special tools for working with comments: see Main menu, Edit,

<For current comment> and <For all comments>

(to fill comment fields with picture name)

+ Added <Name> button of file panel header to change sort mode

+ Little improvement in panel of drives

+ Added <Exit> button to the startup window of presentation

+ Also <Exit> or <Help> buttons of startup window can be disabled

(see Project options, <Main> tab, <Customize startup window>)

+ Can include more than one audio file for background music

(see Project options, <Advanced> tab, <Customize playlist> button)

+ Many other changes and improvements

PicturesToExe v2.00 (March 21st, 2000)

--------------------------------------

Changes since version v2.00 beta:

* Fixed several bugs

+ Size of produced presentation (with .mp3 file playing)

now reduced by 77 KB, than it was in previous versions!

+ Added support for wheeling mouse in produced presentations

+ Added new value of <transition effect duration> - "More long"

+ Now you can select several pictures with holding down Shift Key

+ And other changes

Changes since version v1.60:

* Fixed several bugs

+ Improved file panel and image list, another changes in the interface

+ Show index of selected slide in image list

+ New format of the project files (.pte)

(project files created with previous versions of PicturesToExe

will be automatically converted to new format)

+ Now you can re-order slides in image list by dragging them

+ Added new function - <Create As> (hotkey F8),

now <Create> works like <Save>, and <Create As> like <Save As>

+ Each slide can be customized with personalized properties

(individual time interval, background settings, comment's font, etc.)

+ .WAV file (attached to a slide) stopped presentation till the end of

its playing. Now fixed

+ Added password protection

+ Now you can select several pictures (Insert key, or with holding

down Ctrl key)

+ Now you can choose a .gif file for background picture

+ Produced presentation is more optimized and works faster

+ Size of produced presentation now reduced by 27 KB, than it was in v1.60!

+ Changed structure of components in the window <Project options>

+ Added <Fit to screen> option (see Project options, <Screen> tab)

+ Added <Use smoothing> option (see Project options, <Screen> tab)

+ Now you can enable/disable sounds (Main menu, Options, <Enable sounds>)

+ Added action <Synchronize all slides> (Main menu, Edit) to set

common settings for all slides (except sound and comment)

+ Added action <Select all pictures> (Main menu, Edit)

+ Added <Exit on mouse move> option (see Main menu, <Advanced> tab)

+ Added 11 transition effects! (see Project options, <Effect> tab)

+ Improved startup and help windows (in produced presentation)

+ Improved startup window of PicturesToExe

+ Added new help section: "How to create a presentation using PicturesToExe"

+ Several other changes

PicturesToExe v1.60 (February 14th, 2000)

-----------------------------------------

Added since version v1.60 beta:

* Fixed several minor bugs

* Fixed problem with sound when playing background mp3 file

+ Updated help system

+ Changed icon of PicturesToExe

+ Several other changes

* Fixed minor bug

+ Improved startup screen (in PicturesToExe)

+ Updated nag-screen

+ Produced presentation can be run in windowed mode (see Project options)

+ Added hotkey Ctrl+D for action <Add all pictures>

+ Added license agreement

+ Updated documentation files

+ Updated and improved help system

+ Updated FAQ about PicturesToExe (added new question)

+ Added possibility to display filename of picture in preview panel

+ Added possibility to customize left and right mouse clicks (see Project options)

+ Added <Pause> button to Control panel

+ Now you can create your own Screen Savers!

+ It's possible to customize help message, which appears in produced

presentation by pressing F1 key

+ Several other changes

PicturesToExe v1.55 (January 15th, 2000)

----------------------------------------

Added since version v1.50:

+ Can play background mp3 music!

(used own mp3 engine, - so excellent as WinAmp and with low CPU usage.

Important: we don't recommend using together .wav sounds comments for pictures

with playing of background mp3 music, because it may call conflict

on some Sound cards)

Added since version v1.50 beta:

* Fixed minor bug

+ Added hotkey <Delete> to delete current picture from image list

+ Size of produced presentations now decreased on 19 KB!

+ Added preview for background picture in Open dialog

+ Corrected some texts and messages

+ Now you can enlarge picture to full screen in preview area by single

left mouse click.

+ Several other changes

* Fixed bug: repeat function didn't work in preview mode.

* Fixed bug with pressing <Space> key in Startup window

(in produced presentation).

+ Added showing hints for menu items

(you can turn it on/off in Main Menu/Options/Show hints).

+ Added startup screen (can be disabled).

+ Added FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about PicturesToExe.

+ Added hotkey Ctrl+F9: Create and run generated presentation.

+ Updated help system (F1).

+ Added help screen to produced presentation (F1).

+ Information about path of generated EXE file now saves in project file.

+ Automatic loading last used project (can be disabled).

+ Added <BkSpace> hotkey.

+ In produced presentation: added possibility to return to the previous slide

(Hotkeys: <Left>, <Up>, <PageUp> or <BkSpace>).

+ Added Control panel to

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Hi Jim,

I would agree with some of your observations, but with some reservations as follows:

What you essentially would like to see comes down to two new "features" and one feature modification. The new features would be the ability to insert time and "push" the keyframes ahead by the amount of inserted time. I think that would be a very useful feature and it is one which I believe is already under development. The other new feature is the addition of a "background" patch for text. I would agree that this "could be" a useful feature, but in the many years this product has been available, it's not been asked for. Moreover, it is exceedingly simple to use a present feature for doing exactly this. The feature is the "button." Change the name to "text with background" and you have this feature already. You have full control over text, color, opacity, drop shadow and even 3D transforms for the button. Indeed, it can "very easily" be text with a background. Or, you can do it via a mask as described earlier and you can also use the built-in "rectangle" feature or your choice of a PNG transparency created in your choice of editing programs. You'll have to forgive me for not mentioning this sooner, but it's not a feature that I use frequently so I simply didn't think about it. Bottom line is: we already have the text with background feature with PTE - it's just not called "text with background."

A quick example here: example

The third issue of ease of pan, zoom, rotate, etc., is more problematic. Actually, if PTE didn't offer "custom" motion between keyframes it would be as simple as falling off a log. The program automatically creates a keyframe for each image. You easily create a second keyframe at your own choice of location along the timeline, select that keyframe, then visually size or move the image via the bounding rectangle to the desired size or location. It couldn't be simpler. As long as the motion is "linear" there is absolutely no need whatsoever to use separate or glue features between keyframes.

The difficulty arises when you want non-linear motion. There are numerous presentation slideshow products which simply don't offer "any" non-linear motion, or when they do, it is vastly less flexible than with PTE. O.K., yes it could be nice if we could simply select "smooth" and not have to worry about separate or glue issues. But having the "flexibility" of doing so manually lets us do things otherwise not possible. Of course you have no way of knowing this, but some of our French users are presently testing a bezier curve feature for PTE which allows some incredibly smooth and non-linear curved motions for objects. The "flexibility" of this program is incredible! Perhaps the developers will program a feature which will automatically return all keyframes to linear, (this must be done before adding keyframes) allow the insertion of a new keyframe or keyframes then having "remembered" the individual settings, return all to "smooth" (or the other myriad "custom" possibilities which could exist between keyframes). It would definitely "simplify" things from a new user perspective. However, this "option" would need to be disabled at will for some of the very complex combinations used for more esoteric functions. I believe this option is also on the development table for future versions.

What someone who has not had lengthy experience with this program can't be expected to know, are the extents to which the program allows customization. We have had users who have created shows which will run on ordinary, low resource systems which use more than 3,000 layers! Can you imagine how "handling timelines for multiple objects" might be a bit compromised by trying to make it a great deal easier or more "intuitive" such as by having separate timelines visible for each object simultaneously?

Yes, the vast majority of users will not have thousands of layers or probably not even hundreds of layers, but the potential and power are there for those who want it. As I have said earlier, there are difficulties in trying to satisfy users who have widely varying interests. It's not an easy task from the developer's perspective.

It will be interesting to see which presentation software you do decide to recommend as the "best" for historical slideshows. Once you have decided, it would be great if you could let us know here on the forum, I would like to do a comparison between it and PTE. Since I am quite familiar with what's out there It will be an interesting issue to discuss pro and con.

Best regards,

Lin

Hi Ken,

I think we may be talking about different things here. It may be useful to distinguish basic functions from advanced functions. I consider keypoints, pan, zoom, and text as basic functions for slideshow software. Rotating 3-D cubes is an advanced function.

I'm looking for slideshow software for historical slide shows that has basic capabilities for extensive use of pan, zoom, and text. I'm not trying to rotate 3-D cubes. As has been discussed here, I can see needing to go to a forum like this to learn how to rotate 3-D cubes. But, I think well designed software will have the basics such as pan, zoom, and text readily usable without having to go to a forum to learn how to use them. The fact that something as basic as adding a new keypoint requires that the glue/separate settings be changed in a way that is virtually impossible to understand without esoteric explanation at a forum like this is a fundamental problem with the design of the software that will not be resolved by going back to an earlier version that has the same limitations.

Basic processes are unnecessarily complicated in the current version and I presume in previous versions. For the types of slideshows I do and would like to encourage others to do, in addition to the glue/separate issue, the process of making text with background fade in and out is too complicated, and the ability to insert time and effects toward the beginning of a slide without having to manually shift all the existing keypoints is another significant limitation for a function that I consider basic.

I think the market for PTE would increase significantly if the basic functions were made easier to use. For example, I currently cannot recommend PTE as the best software for historical slideshows, but the improvements to make it the best would not take great effort or compromise advanced functions. The advanced functions are probably inevitably going to be complicated with a significant learning curve, but that does not mean the basic functions should be complicated.

I also think that there are ways to improve handling of timelines for multiple objects that would greatly improve working with both basic and advanced functions and have offered some ideas on a separate thread.

Jim

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