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|Make Quick photo galleries with Galerie.
by M. Chris Stevens
Recently, I have resumed my interest in digital photography. I don't have the best camera on the market (its two years old and discontinued now), but I occasionally get off a good shot or two.
As the amount of the pictures I take has grown, I have become more and more enamored with Apple's iPhoto for my organizational needs. Occasionally, I will take a decent enough set that I want to share with the world. While iPhoto has the capability of creating a thumbnail gallery, the actual end results are somewhat bland.
I'm a Mac user, which means I'm not all that enthusiastic about "bland." So, when I decided to share the photos I took of the local July 4th fireworks show (sponsored by OWC), I started looking around for a program that could quickly generate a photo gallery that actually looks interesting.
So, I checked my favorite Mac Freeware/Shareware sites, and came across a half-dozen or so programs that would do this for you. All had their merits and shortcomings. One program, however, clearly stood out above the crowd.
After a bout of somewhat disappointing, confusing and/or expensive options, I came across *Galerie*. It was free and was getting good reviews, so I figured I'd try it out.
At first glance, Galerie may seem a little overwhelming - there are a <em>lot</em> of options. But, their easy-to-understand manual (conveniently accessible from the Help Menu) was more than enough to get me going. I selected the photos I wanted to share in iPhoto's "organize" pane, switched back to Galerie, and clicked the "Generate gallery" button.
After a trip to their site to download some extra templates, and a little bit of fiddling with the controls, I was able to get the galleries to look how I wanted them to. Two check boxes later, and I was able to add a slideshow and an option to download the full-size versions, rather than the 640 x 480 "slides" that come up when you click on the thumbnails.
Some ugly points.
While Galerie is an over-all great program, there are a couple of quirks about the program that I'm not all too thrilled with.
First, I found is that the two "modes" - Simplified and Full - were a little at the extreme ends of the spectrum. The Full mode has EVERYTHING, and being faced with all the options at once can be a little intimidating and confusing. By contrast, the Simlpified version doesn't let you do very much at all, making the only difference between this and iPhoto's output options are the nicer gallery templates if you don't have .Mac.
More annoying, however, was the way the authors chose to advertise - with a somewhat obtrusive "Generated by" link on every page. I can understand their reasoning: it's free software (darn good software, at that) and they want to generate traffic to their site. Okay. But every page? How about on just the index page(s), or some other way that's less obtrusive?
Updated 9/11/2006 - A reader has noted that if you select the option for adding comments, you will not only will the comments be handled by their server, but the default settings are set so that any gallery with these comments will automatically listed on their "Gallery of Galeries" page. However, as indicated in the instructions, you can turn this off, if you so choose, in the Admistration page.
An over-all gem.
Those two snarky points aside, this program is an absolute must-have if you put together photo galleries for the Web. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. So, just to compare and contrast the two, I put together two quick galleries of about 35 photos - one using iPhoto, and the other using Galerie.
These are the same images, both selected from the same iPhoto gallery. The results? Judge for yourself.