Tips & Techniques » Introduction to ProShow Gold Slideshow Program
ProShow Gold (PSG) by Photodex is my favorite program for creating slideshows. It is similar to Microsoft Movie Maker , which was introduced with Windows Vista, but much more powerful. It is available by clicking here.
Before you start working with PSG, I recommend that you gather all of the images and music that you intend to use in the slideshow into one file folder. Eventually save the slideshow into the same file folder. Although this is not technically necessary, it is a good idea for both ease of use and portability. By portability I mean the ability to take the whole folder with the slideshow and all of the assets (images and music) to another computer that has PSG on it, so that you can view or work on your project. If your assets are located in a variety of folders it makes them harder to locate and hampers portability.
|ProShow Gold main screen with all the basic features highlighted.|
Now let’s take a look at PSG. The main screen is a typical window with menu bar and tool bar at the top, the file tree and current folder on the left side, the current slide preview on the right and slide and sound timelines on the bottom.
Creating Your Slideshow
The first thing that I do when I start a new slideshow is to click on File>New, give the project a title and save it in the same file folder as the assets. It is saved as a PSH file.
Note: When you open a slideshow in PSG, the current folder does not automatically change to the folder containing the assets for that show. You will need to navigate to the appropriate folder using the file tree.
You can click and drag individual images onto the slide list, or you can select all of the images (CTRL + A) and then drag and drop them onto the timeline all at once. If they are not in the right order you can reorder them right on the timeline by clicking and dragging. Whenever an image is placed on the timeline, a checkmark will appear on the lower left corner of the thumbnail. You can add background music to your show by clicking and dragging the music file onto the sound timeline. Right click on the sound timeline and you will get some options for your music. The Edit fades and timing option is especially useful if you need to shorten a piece of music or eliminate the silence at the beginning or end of it.
|Individual slide information with various elements highlighted.|
There is a lot of information on the timeline for each slide.
Next I like to set the default transition, transition duration and slide duration. The transition is the graphic that plays as the timeline moves from one slide to the next. Click on one of the slides on the timeline and then click CTRL + A to select all of the slides. I usually pick a plain fade transition, as in the above example, a transition duration of 1 second and a slide duration of 3 seconds. I may change any of these options on an individual slide for emphasis.
|Different choices for the transitions from one slide to the next can be previewed when putting together your slideshow.|
PSG offers a wide array of transitions. There is a preview window where you can see what the transitions look before you chose them.
To change a transition, double click on that icon. People who are inexperienced at making slideshows have a tendency to put different transitions between each slide. This gets distracting for the viewer and the show becomes more about the transitions than the images. Keep the transitions to a minimum. For a show of 150 slides, I might use an alternate transition, other than the default transition, only about 10 times or less. I use them to emphasize images I think are important or when the show changes from one location to another. Experiment with long transitions too. It can add interest to have one slide fade into another over a 10 second interval.
To run the show from a particular slide forward, select that slide by clicking on it, and then click on the Run icon on the tool bar or under the slide preview window. Use the Escape key to stop the show. Try out what you have learned so far, experiment, learn, and add powerful slideshows to your bag of tricks.
Stay tuned for Part Two on PSG---Joe Holler