VincentCheung.ca Blog

Shape Collage 2.0

Shape Collage 2.0 has been released!

A lot of new features have been added in this release, so many that I skipped version 1.1 and went right to 2.0 :) . As before, Shape Collage automatically creates beautiful looking photo collages in any shape you want with just a few mouse clicks in under a minute and is free for personal use!

These are the big highlights in this release:

  • Photo box 
    • Drag and drop photos into the photo box to add photos for the collage
    • Remove photos from the box that you don’t want in the collage
  • Faster
    • Improved rendering procedures means that your collage gets made faster
    • Multithreaded for even more speed with multi-core systems
  • Better layouts
    • Improved algorithm for placing photos in the collage
  • More customization
    • Change the font and add symbols for text shape collages
    • Use a photo as the background
    • Change the colour and size of the photo borders

Shape Collage 2.0 Release Notes
Dec. 1, 2008

New Features

  • Added drag and drop capabilities to add photos for the collage
  • Added ability to choose which photos appear in the collage via the photo drop box
  • Added ability to rotate the photos in the photo drop box
  • Added option to select a background colour or photo
  • Added option to change the colour and size of the photo borders
  • Added a preview image of the photo with its border
  • Added option to change the font and style for text shapes
  • Added a character map to easily add symbols for text shapes
  • The size of the collage and photos can now be specified in units of pixels, inches, cm, or font size
  • Multithreaded for increased speed

Enhancements

  • The “Watch layout animation” option now comes into effect immediately, even if the layout is currently occurring
  • The Exif orientation metadata tag in jpeg images is now read and used to appropriately rotate the photos
  • Improved layout creation so that the photos stay within the bounds of the shape
  • Extended the “jagged boundary” option to all the different collage shapes
  • Added support for GIF images in collages
  • Increased performance with images with non-sRGB color profiles
  • Improved image resizing quality
  • Reduced the memory requirement of saving as a PSD, so extremely large collages can be created when saving as a PSD

Interface

  • Added a status bar to provide help and info
  • Changed the sliders to combined sliders and spinners
  • Added a scroll bars on the application for screens with small resolution
  • Alerts users when attempting to use a transparent background and saving as a jpeg
  • Displays a thumbnail of the custom shape mask on the main interface
  • Shows previews of photos and masks when loading images
  • Added a file menu items for executing tasks

Bugs

  • Fixed a bug in writing RLE images in PSD
  • Fixed the anti-aliasing of photo edges in JDK 1.5
  • Fixed a divide by zero error in the layout
  • Fixed a numerical stability error in the layout
  • Safely handles custom masks of size 0
  • Safely handles images that cannot be properly read
  • Correctly determines the appropriate size of the photo for the layout

14 Responses to “Shape Collage 2.0”

  1. Coco Says:

    Great tool thanks, BUT, I think it would be much better (at least for me) if the user was able to adjust manualy the level of randomnes of the placing an angle of the pictures on the collage. For Example a valuo of cero rotation and 0 placing would result on a contact sheet collage.

    Another, very useful feature, would be to be able to tell the program to order the pictures by exif property, let’s say time and date.

    On the plus side, many, especially the ability to expot to psd.

    Great work.

  2. Josip Says:

    Awesome program,

    Requesting new features.
    1: A tick box that you can enable with the Preview button so therefore it shows you the preview layout with the pictures displayed without having to click on the Create button and making and image file.

    2. With request 1 implemented and being able to see the picture you are given the option to right click on the photo and select foreground/background. With the left click on the picture it would allow you to manually rotate and move the picture around. Once you have the desired layout and clicking on the Create button it would keep the existing layout to save as an image.

    I hope you would consider adding the above desired features. As many people I know who are using this program agree that these are missing features that many would find useful to use.

    Keep up the excellent work.
    Thanks.

  3. Vincent Cheung Says:

    The amount of rotation will be able to be controlled in the next version. The preview button only shows the outline of the photos for speed because reading the photos and rendering them into the collage takes a while with a collage with a couple hundred or thousand photos. It will have to be a separate option like you mentioned with a checkbox.

    Being able to manually adjust the collage inside of the Shape Collage program would require a substantial amount of work and would lack many of the features of a real image editing software program, which is why there is an option for exporting collages to Photoshop PSD format. In this format, each photo is stored in its own layer and you can use Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to move the photos around, rearrange the layers, apply filters separately to photos, etc. I’m also working on adding options to adjust the shadows to better accommodate post editing of collages.

  4. Roman Says:

    Hi there,
    that’s really a great tool. if you are interested in a german version – it’s a popular tool in germany, too – please contact me. i could translate it for you.

    greets from germany
    Roman

  5. Vincent Cheung Says:

    Thank you very much for your offer! I actually am working on translating Shape Collage into different languages for the next version, so I could definitely use your help. I will be in contact in the next little while once I have prepared the material to be translated.

  6. Mark Says:

    This is a great program!

    - Is it possible in future versions to allow for more than 1 line of text when placing the photos in a collage of text? I realize you can’t have too much text but allowing more than 1 line of text would be great.

    - It would also be great if the user had some ability to place or position a collage of text into the background area.

    Thanks

  7. Vincent Cheung Says:

    I’ll look into allowing multiple lines of text. I just have to see how well it would work in the interface. For the time being, you can accomplish this by creating a collage for each line of text and combining them in an image editing program. Alternatively, you can use an image editing program to create an image with the text you want and then load it as a custom shape in Shape Collage.

    It is unlikely that I will facilitate the editing of the collage manually within the Shape Collage program. See my comment above. Instead of implementing every possible effect and customization, I’m aiming to keep Shape Collage as simple as possible, and where Shape Collage is lacking in features, I provide mechanisms (eg. transparent backgrounds and PSD files) to accomplish them using other more powerful and more established image editing programs.

    You will have more control over the text positing if you just did this manually by creating the collage with a transparent background and then using an image editing program to place the collage on the background. Or, you can simply save the collage as a PSD file and move the photos around as you please.

  8. Jenny Says:

    Really great programme! Thumbs up! But I think you could allow ‘thumbnail’ view while in the selecting photos window so that the user can complete the task at a quicker pace.

    Keep up the good work :)

  9. Vincent Cheung Says:

    The fastest way to add photos to the Shape Collage program is to drag and drop the photos from the file manager of your operating system (Windows Explorer for Windows, Finder for Mac OS X, Nautilus for Gnome, etc.) into the Shape Collage program.

  10. Roman Says:

    Hi Vincent,
    just sent me an email when you need the help. What about a little (bigger) template-gallery for shapes? Not everybody wants to draw it himself.

    greets from germany

  11. Vincent Cheung Says:

    Yes, an expanded shape template gallery is a good idea. The trick is figuring out which shapes that people would most likely use. Star? Flower? Diamond? Cat? Dog? Bird? Arrow? Snowflake? What do you think?

  12. Antje Says:

    Love the world shape. Is it possible to import this or any other shapes?

  13. Vincent Cheung Says:

    Just click on the “Custom Shape” option and import the shape that you want by clicking the “Open” button and selecting the image file containing the shape. The shape image just has to be any image, preferably black and white. The photos will go on the black parts of the image.

  14. Edwin Says:

    GREAT PROGRAM!!! But it really needs to ability to manually move the pictures within the collage before saving it as an image. I understand your steps outlined above, but for those who do not readily have access to those costly programs, this is the perfect program to use. I wish you the very best with it, though!

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