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Published by Patrice TERRIER
in the category Graphics
New features

This is a GDImage / WD17 project, the original version was written in 2007...

The initial purpose of this program is to convert any picture or photography to a postcard, that can be printed or sent as e-mail attachment through the internet.

However while using PhotoComposer you will soon discover that it can do more, much more...

Main features:

? Each graphic object, image or text, uses a distinct layer.
? The overlapping (z-order) of the layers can range from bottom to top.
? Variable opacity adjustable for each of the layer.
? Full range rotation on 360° for each of the layer.
? Full customization of the TrueType text font being used.
? Distinct zooming magnification for each of the layer.
? High quality display to suppress the "stair case" effect while zooming.
? Dedicated border frame library (in the "Borders" sub-folder).
? Dedicated PNG icon library (in the "Icons" sub-folder).
? Drag & drop between Windows Explorer and the PhotoComposer form.
? Supported graphic format: bmp, gif, jpg, jpeg, png, tif, tiff.
? Outlook Express compatibility to send the resulting image as an attachment.
? Full compatibility with Windows VISTA and XP.
? PhotoComposer is powered by GDImage.

How to use it:

1 - Select a new background photography:
Use the control panel "Select background picture" button to pick one, the selected picture will be shown, while all other pictures laying into the same folder are loaded into a hidden playlist.

You can also use "drag & drop" from the Windows Explorer to select a new background.

For further details see the "Play loop mode" button section.

2 - Add picture:
Use the control panel "Add picture" button, the selected picture will be shown hover the existing background in half the size of the view port, it is up to you to move it at another location using the size ("zooming" trackbar), rotation (see "Perfom full 360° rotation"), opacity ("opacity level" trackbar) of your choice.

3 - Add annotation:
Use the control panel "Add annotation" button, the text editor dialog pops up to let you enter the annotation, select the font, size, color and shadow (3D) effect. Once done, the new annotation is shown centered hover all existing layers, it is up to you to move it at another location using the size ("zooming" trackbar), rotation (see "Full 360° range rotation"), opacity ("opacity level" trackbar) of your choice.

4 - Add icon:
Use the control panel "Add icon" button, the selected icon will be shown centered on the view port, it is up to you to move it at another location using the size ("zooming" trackbar), rotation (see "Full 360° range rotation"), opacity ("opacity level" trackbar) of your choice

5 - Add transparent picture:
Use the control panel "Add picture using variable opacity" button to pick one, then a special filter is applied to the selected picture to create the variable opacity effect, based on each of the pixel luminous intensity, ranging from full back (transparent mode) to full white (opaque mode) like in shade of gray.

Contextual menus:

To popup contextual menu, clic the right mouse button on any graphic object (image, annotation, text, background) the content of the menu matches the type of the graphic object, to let you select a specific command:

? Tex edit (to edit the text itself and change all font parameters)
? Flip horizontaly
? Flip verticaly
? Rotate 90° counterclock
? Rotate 90° clockwise
? Top (of the z-order).
? Up (of the z-order).
? Down (of the z-order).
? Bottom (of the z-order).
? Miniature 128x128 (convert to PNG icon preserving the alpha channel).
? Miniature 256x256 (convert to PNG icon preserving the alpha channel).
? Clone (duplicate an object).
? Lock move (protect from unwanted move).
? Delete (remove the object).

Moving the PhotoComposer window form hover the desktop:

In PhotoComposer the border frame acts like a standard form caption to let you drag the window to another desktop location.

You can use either the border frame or the bottom control panel, to drag the form hover the Windows desktop.

To select a border frame:

Clic on button "next frame" or "previous frame" to select one.
Note: you can hide/show the border at any time using the "border frame" button.

Moving a graphic object:

When the mouse hover a graphic object that can be moved, the cursor's shape changes from the default arrow shape to a four direction cross.

Before you can move or perform any action on a graphic object, it must have first the focus, thus clic the left mouse button on the one you want to select. Then you can drag it to another location while holding down the left mouse button.

You can also move it very precisely, pixel per pixel, using the keyboard arrow keys. To speed up the moving, hold down either the left SHIFT key, the CTRL key, or a combination of SHIFT+CTRL, while you use any of the arrow key.

Moving several graphic objects at once:

Before you can move several objects at once, you must first select them. To do it, hold down the left "CTRL" key, then select the objects you want with the left mouse button. Once done, choose any of the selected object and drag it to its new location, and this will also move the other selected objects to their respective location. To remove the selection, double clic either on the background or the frame border.

Perfom full 360° rotation:

You can rotate any of the image, PNG icon, background, and text annotation at any angle within the 0-360° range, by step of 1 degree, either clockwise or counter-clockwise.

To do it, put the focus on the object you want to rotate, then hold down the left SHIFT key, while using the mouse wheel.

Note: By design, you can't perform full rotation nor direct zooming of the "Title" and "Signature", because they are not plain annotation but "standard" GDImage text font.


To enlarge or reduce the size of either background, image or annotation, first clic on the object to select it (focus), then use the zooming trackbar from the control panel.

Croping the background:

Just move the image background inside of the frame and adjust the numerical zoom to enlarge or reduce the size.

Customizing Title or Signature:

Select the "Edit" option from the contextual menu to popup the dialog text font editor. You can then select a new True Type font, change its size, color, translucency and edit the text content.

Deleting the image background:

Use the control panel "Send to tray" button, the picture is sent directly to tray without further confirmation.

"Play loop mode" button:

Once a background has been selected, all other images laying into the same folder are kept into a hidden PhotoComposer's playlist. When you press the "Play loop mode" button, then you start changing the background in sequence like in a slide show. You can use the "Slide show delay" trackbar to adjust the speed transition between pictures, ranging from 0 to 8 seconds (the default is 4 seconds). While playing the show you can change the slide order using "Previous background" or "Next background". To stop the show press the "Pause" button.

Note: As soon as a background has been selected you can use the "Previous background" and "Next background" buttons to navigate the hidden list, there is no need to be first in "Play loop mode".

"Save PhotoComposition" button:

You will save to disk, in WYSIWYG mode, your photo composition (postcard) into the folder of your choice, and then you can do what ever you want with it :-)

"Print" button:

The photo composition (postcard) is sent to the printer in WYSIWYG mode.

Note: For best result, use a 4 x 6 inches format (101.6 x 152.4 millimeters).

"Border frame" button:

Use it to hide or show the frame border.

Note: When the frame border is hidden, you must use the control panel if you want to move the PhotoComposer form hover the Windows desktop to a new location.

Remark: If you double clic onto the frame border while visible, then you iconize the PhotoComposer application.

"Delimit crop section" button:

When you use it, the shape of the cursor changes to let you know that the "crop mode" is on.

Clic the left mouse button to anchor the top left corner of the delimited section and hold it down while moving the mouse to resize the rectangular frame.

To resize the delimited section move the mouse hover the frame and drag it to its new location.

Once done, use a mouse double clic to popup the contextual menu, then choose "Select" to validate the capture or "Cancel" if you want to delimit another section. When "Select" is being used you ear a small beep to inform you that the delimited section has been sent to the Windows clipboard.

To leave the "crop mode" and restore the default mouse cursor, double clic the left mouse button on the background or the frame border.

"Send postcard" button:
This is to send the postcard as an e-mail attachment using Outlook Express.

Note: If the stamp is shown already, then you can either double clic on it, to send the postcard.

Once Outlook Express is open, then you can select one or several addressee. The object and the text of the message are pre-fulfilled and the postcard itself is already attached to the mail.

"Switch Language" button:
The small flag shown on the bottom left corner allows you to switch between English and French. This affects not only the texts, the tooltips and the user help, but also the image of the stamp being used.

"Close" button:
This is to leave the application, it is up to you to save first your PhotoComposition if you want to keep it.

"Save as a PCS file" button:

PhotoComposer allows you to create sophisticated presentations, using many images, texts, icons, with individual setups for transparency, rotation, zooming etc. that could represent a fairly amount of work.

Thus to save you the pain to rebuild a specific presentation each time you need it, you can save your work as a PCS script files (PhotoComposer Script). All the setups for each of the objects and the disk location of each image are stored in this file.
But you must take care of this: do not delete, rename, move the pictures being used in a script, or they won't be shown (not found) on further use of the script.

Note: There is no automatic PCS backup, it is up to you to do it regularly.

The default name being used to create a PCS file is the title of the current composition, PCS files are saved in the application's "Script" sub-folder.

"Load a PCS file" button:

Open an existing PCS file, to restore a specific composition for the purpose of display or to change any of the object setup.

All objects being used in the current work will be lost in favor of those from the script, it is your responsability to save your work first!


You can add your own PNG icons to use them with PhotoComposer.
To do it, just copy them into the "Icons" sub-folder located into the directory that have been used to install PhotoComposer.

You will find on the Internet many places to download PNG icons, here are a few of them:

The frame borders are 32-bit PNG files using ARGB colors with alpha channel. They are stored into the "Borders" sub-folder located into the directory that have been used to install PhotoComposer.

All frame borders must have exactly a fixed size of 1024 x 731 pixels.

If you want you can edit those existing, or add new one that you design yourself using a graphic editor handling the alpha channel (ex: "The Gimp" or "PhotoShop").

As a complement to the alpha channel being used in PNG files, you can also use any graphic picture using the magenta color RGB(255,0,255) that will be used by PhotoComposer to simulate the transparent region.
Illustrations, screen shots
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August 31, 2018
Minimum version: 01F170078n
5.9 MB