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Creating collages and other types of photo compositions in a precise and automated way is now much easier thanks to Easel for Digital Images (Easel fDI for short). You can create cards with multiple images, comic strips complete with speech balloons, and stunning collages of any size and with as many pictures as you wish. The program’s sophisticated algorithms will combine your photo collection with your own preferences to produce pro-looking high-resolution compositions.
Defined as “any combination of one or more images, captions, and frames”, an Easel composition can be as complex or as simple as you wish. The same principle applies to the creation process – you can let the program present you with its own arrangements or design your own collages or comic strips manually. That definition, however, sounds to me as an understatement of the high potential that this tool offers. Easel fDI is far from being the average “collage maker” that simply produces random arrangements of whatever photos you feed it with. This sophisticated app will let you crop, resize, move, remove, rotate, flip, and perform various color adjustments to your images until they meet your preferences.
If you tell the program to “Auto Arrange” your pictures, Easel fDI will take all of these modifications into consideration when generating as many tentative arrangements as desired. It will accommodate the selected sizes, frames, orientations, or ratios to the constraints of the size selected and the number of images to be included in the composition. You can set your desired level of precision, as well as the level of random variation allowed when it comes to sizing and placing your photos in the collage. These two controls will determine both the quality of the output (in terms of artistic compositions) and the time it’ll take the program to complete a number of arrangements that you may consider acceptable according to your preferences. There is no golden rule for how these controls should be set, so you can either define a maximum number of arrangements or let the program work until you’re satisfied with one of the proposed compositions.
Producing high-quality arrangements using a large number of pictures, frames, captions, etc., may take time. Actually, it does take longer than I expected, but the results are certainly worth the waiting for. As it happens with many other examples of good design, working with Easel fDI has a lot to do with “trial and error” and a great deal of patience. There are so many possible combinations, so many variants in size, ratio, or position, so many edits you can perform on each of your photos, and so many iterations to explore that getting to that perfect arrangement may require a bit of time and patience.
Easel fDI’s entry-level edition will produce images as large as an A4 (8”x10”) sheet of paper. If you need larger sizes, you can always upgrade to the Full or Standard edition, where all size limitations are lifted. Both editions offer the same functionality and produce the same high-quality output.
- Sophisticated composition algorithms
- Built-in photo editing tools
- Print preview
- High-resolution large format output
- Text support
- Complex hi-res compositions may take a while to complete
- Some features require a learning curve