Doors Close, New Ones Open

You probably know that talented people at Photodex were, like you, not willing to let it all go, and so with a lot of hard work, they built Photopia. In the interim, however, some of us moved on to other things. I’m one of those people. I’ve been designing for PODs (print-on-demand companies) since 2014, and have stores on both Zazzle and Redbubble. (Links go to my stores on each.)

A year ago, all art came to a halt, a major back “issue” sending me to bed for, not one, not two or three, but four entire months. How many books can we read without going blind? How much TV can we watch before going insane? Maybe I did go a little insane when I started amusing myself with a story about very special cats and one very special dog, typing it out on my laptop. By the time surgery had cured me, the first draft of a novel sat on my laptop. This isn’t surprising, really. I’d spent many years as a professional writer, but it had also been many years since I’d filled 250 pages. It took over 8 months to complete the first draft and then 3 additional months to edit, re-edit, and edit yet again, and then to learn how to publish on Amazon.

Here it is, a book for all ages, a tale about three cats plus a dog that go into a large forest, taking with them a rare and secret ability to “whisper” to one another. There’s danger and sadness, but there’s also love and laughter. If you love animals, you might enjoy this tale about four very distinct characters. If you’re a heavy reader and have Kindle Unlimited, I’ve set it so you can download the e-book for free:

Another book is brewing in my mind, so life is good. I hope it’s the same for you.

Cheers from Barbara

Published in: on February 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm  Comments Off on Doors Close, New Ones Open  

Categorizing and Backing Up Styles

You’re perfectly happy wandering all over the place in search of a style you know for a fact is there.
Your hard drive will never suffer a heart attack.
You’ll never need or want a new computer.
You’re in denial.


Now that you’ve admitted the problem, let’s look at categorizing your styles so you can stop the frantic searching and also be prepared. Here’s how to change or add categories:

1. Click the “fx – Effects” button ( or use “Tools > Manage Effects” or press Ctrl+E) to bring up the Effects screen.
2. Choose a category, and within that category, select the slide style(s) you want to recategorize.
3. At the bottom, click the Categorize button to bring up the editing window.
4. What you can do:

  • Add checkmarks to categories where you want to include the chosen styles.
  • Remove checkmarks for categories where you don’t want the style(s) included.
  • Click the “+add” button to create an entirely new category of your own making.

5. When finished editing, click “Apply” to save your changes.

Let’s say you do lots of wedding shows and have various styles suitable for weddings. In Photodex’s “Captions and Titles” category, there are 4 wedding styles. Wouldn’t it be easier if all your wedding styles plus those title styles were included in a category called “Wedding”? Indeed, it would:

1. Bring up the Effects screen.
2. Find the “Captions and Titles” category and select it.
3. Scroll to the bottom of the list where you’ll see the 4 wedding title styles.
4. Select all 4 styles by clicking on the first one, and while holding the Shift key, click on the last one.
5. Click the “categorize” button.
6. Click the “+add” button.
7. Type “Wedding” in the New Category Name box, and click “Ok”.
8. A new Wedding category will appear. It will be checkmarked and highlighted.
9. Click the “Apply” button.
10. Locate your other wedding styles, select them, and choose to add them to the Wedding category.

Here’s what creating a new category looks like:

Category Window

After you go through this process one or two times, you’ll see how quick and easy it is.


NOTE: Back up only those built-in styles for which you’ve modified the categories. Otherwise, if you reinstall ProShow and reload your styles, ProShow will question your sanity about every built-in style, asking if you want to overwrite it. For those built-ins you’ve actually changed, and to retain those changes, you must answer “Yes.” You do NOT want to go through this for every last one of the built-ins!

Here’s a comprehensive backup plan:

1. Create a folder on your hard drive called Styles.
2. Inside the Styles folder, create sub-folders, one for each category you’ve created or are part of purchased styles. Add one more folder called Built-ins.
3. Using the Effects screen, select each category, ignoring any built-in category containing styles you haven’t changed.
4. Selecting one category at a time, highlight all the styles inside it, click “export,” browse to the matching folder you created, and click “Save.”
5. Do this for all the categories you’ve created.
6. Whenever you change or add a style, export it to the appropriate folder. (Add Photodex’s styles to the Built-ins folder.)
7. Final step: Whenever you’ve made a number of changes, burn the Styles folder to a backup disk. Someday you’ll need it.

Adding Humor to Your Slide Shows

We aren’t speaking of guffaws, though they’re certainly possible; instead, it’s smiles and maybe a chuckle or two. Here are a few ideas to help you…

POSITIONING: Humorist, Dave Barry, says he puts the funniest word at the end of a sentence and the funniest sentence at the end of a paragraph. This idea works just as well in a show because what’s amusing is usually what’s unexpected, given everything that precedes it. For example, if you’ve followed a child with your camera throughout a day, don’t forget to take that final photo of the sleeping child. It’s inevitable, and yet, with all the activity, it’s unexpected.

PACING: Comedians call it “timing,” and where it’s most apparent is in the pause before the punch line. What a perfect a concept for our shows. We can use a longer transition or even a blank spot before that final, humorous photo. In the example of the child, if the final photos speed up, there’s a pause, and then the sleeping photo closes the show, you end up with this: quick-quick-quick-pause-surprise.

RESTRAINT: I recently tossed a novel to the floor because the main character was being clever in her every thought and word. It was amusing at first, then irritating, and finally, it was downright obnoxious. The lesson here is to use humor with restraint. It’s good now and then, but it stops working when in abundance. Besides, how many funny photos do any of us have?

DON’T TRY: Forced humor isn’t humorous at all. If you have a funny photo, you’re in luck. If a funny placement occurs to you, go for it, but if you set out to be funny, be warned that it may not work.

CAPTIONS: When you have something amusing to say, treat it as you would a photo, using the same ideas as those given above.

This is only a brief overview of using humor, and yet it may be all you need to get started or to improve.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:24 am  Comments (2)  
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The ProShow joys of Paste Into

Have you ever created a gradient in one slide that you’d love repeating in several other slides? Here’s how:

Add a blank slide immediately following the one with the gradient.

  1. Highlight the layer with the gradient, and use Copy End to Next Slide to place the gradient in the blank slide.
  2. Select the gradient slide and press Control+C to copy it.
  3. Right-click slide 8 and choose Paste Into. Do the same with slides 15, 20, and 32.

The results are the same as when using the copy screen–the gradient will land in the top layer, and just as with the copy screen, you’ll move the gradient down to where you want it.

These directions take as long as the Copy screen, but it’s nice to have alternatives. I use Paste Into when developing styles, sometimes isolating a masking setup in its own slide so that whenever I need to repeat it, I can use Paste Into and bypass both the Copy screen and even the Options screen.

Published in: on September 9, 2011 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on The ProShow joys of Paste Into  
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Doing It Bottom-to-Top

We look first at what’s closest to us and then slowly focus on what’s farther and farther away. Being used to how our eyes work, when we start using ProShow, we tend to work our way down through the layers, adding the first, the second, the third, and so on until we end up adding the bottom layer. Instead, do it as if you’re building a house: Lay the foundation, add the first floor, the second, the attic, and finally the roof. You’ll more easily see what you’re doing. Also, if you’re creating duplicates, going from bottom to top is a godsend because Producer shoots duplicates up to the top of the list. How often have you created a duplicate that you can’t see because it’s in layer 1 and you’re down in layer umpteen? If you’re working bottom-to-top, the duplicate will land directly above where you’re working.

Give it a try if you don’t normally work this way. You’ll quickly mend your ways.

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 11:34 am  Comments (2)  
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