While out and about on the web the other day, I heard tell of an image manipulation program called FxFoto.
Always being interested in photo-related programs, I decided to go along and see what it was all about. It turns out that it is meant for fixing digital images and creating a wide variety of photo projects including collages, movies, scrapbook pages, and many others.
It is available in a number of different versions ranging from the standard version, which is free, to a Media Edition which will set you back $89, and include scrapbook templates.
I downloaded and installed the standard edition and was immediately struck by the very old-fashioned and clunky-looking interface. Things did not improve all that much after I managed to import a folder of pictures and started to fiddle with the program.
FxFoto is just not as smooth and simple as many other programs I’ve used lately and another big negative with the standard edition is that the designers really, really, really want you to upgrade to a paid version, and they don’t miss many opportunities of reminding you of this.
The standard package is severely limited but the paid-features are still included but, every time you select one of these, a box pops up inviting you to upgrade to the paid version, and warning you that, if you do not, you will not be able to save any projects or images created with that feature.
The interface is not at all intuitive and gives the impression of having been assembled bit by bit over time by someone who, while they may be very skilled at programming, hasn’t given much thought at all to usability. It seems to to that the program has reached the stage in the lifecycle of all software, where a complete rewrite is called for.
One of the problems is that they use terms that are not used in other programs so that, for example, creating a selection of part of your image is known as drawing a rope loop. I’m darned if know why they couldn’t stick to standard terminology and have called it drawing a selection.
Another button was labeled Drive Collage View With Mouse, which is fairly obscure, and there are no tool tips that pop up and explain what the various parts of the interface do. There is a help feature but it just wastes time when you have to keep referring to it.
On the other hand, FxFoto does have one or two clever touches, like a brush that you can use to darken or lighten particular sections of a picture. Unfortunately, it is limited in that you can’t paint over a wide area, but have to click repeatedly until you get the effect you want.
FxFoto is not for me because I ended up being highly irritated by it and it’s non-standard and clunky way of doing things. Its image manipulation tools and features are not that extensive and I would not at all recommend it for fixing or organising your picture collection.
Where it might be useful is if used purely as a means to create picture projects including collages, movies and slideshows, from pictures which have been corrected using other software.
I did not upgrade my standard edition to one of the paid editions which come with a selection of scrapbooking templates, so I can’t comment on how well these are designed, or how easy they are to use.
Nevertheless, for users who are keen on digital scrapbooking, FxFoto may be an option. I do know people who are involved with scrapbooking and I will make it my business, in the next couple of weeks, to quiz them about their favourite programs.