Here are some more 'behind the scenes' notes about
Step 1 - select a batch of
pictures for the story, copying them to a project-specific
I used some of the 5 and 7 megapixel JPG pictures from
our trip to Venice.
Step 2 - plan the sequence
and the preps needed to use the images. The
key things I opted for were...
curtains to open at the start and close at the end... just to
be cute!! I picked one of our hotel pictures to extract the curtains
pictures with frames or shapes that could be used
in Picture-in-Picture type effects. The high definition widescreen
stories offer more of an area to use than standard 4:3 aspect ratio ones,
making it easy to combine interesting pictures in unusual ways. PIP
effects are perennial favorites, ones you don't see used in Photo
Step 3 - make the series
of still pix for the story... at the 1280x720 pixel size....
I used IrfanView and Paint.net in tandem. IrfanView to do
the overall cropping and resizing, and Paint.net to put the images
together as layers with selected areas being transparent. It's easy, quick,
and lots of fun. And it sets the stage for a different kind of story.
I open IrfanView and Paint.net and leave them both
running... IrfanView to open the JPG files from the camera, crop
the selected areas, and resize them to align with the working project
in Paint.net. I don't bother to save the images before moving them to
When a new picture is ready to add to the project from
IrfanView, I copy it to the computer clipboard (Control-C keys), add a new
blank layer to the project in Paint.net, and paste the picture into it
(Control-V keys). After pasting you can move it around on the layer to
position it just right relative to the other layers.
For the full curtain to open and close, I made a layer and
painted it with the color of the drapes, picking the color with the
eyedropper tool and covering the layer with the paint bucket. You
can do better with a more complex color gradient pattern.
All images for this story were made in a single
Paint.net project file. After making individual layers for curtains, frames with
and without the cutout transparent areas, text, etc. I toggled the visible
layers on and off as I made BMP images from them, in the sequence I
wanted for the story.
The snapshot above shows 5 of the layers mixed together... the
curtains, a window with the central rectangle made transparent, a mask from
a street vendor positioned behind the window, the clock of the clock-tower in St
Marks square with the round central part erased, and a picture of me shooting
video on a layer behind the clock.
Toggle the visible layers on and off. When the layers show
what you want, use File > Save As > change it to the BMP file
type, and save the picture in the folder of images being made for the story.
After Paint.net flattens the layers to make the BMP, and the picture is
saved, I press the Undo button of the menu to reopen all layers to continue
on to arrange the next one.
If the Paint.net project gets too large, and your
system starts slowing down, make different ones for each part of the
story. With my laptop having 2 GB of RAM, I didn't run into that
the set of finished pictures before importing them into
Photo Story 3... making their height 133% of the originals. I used the batch
process feature of IrfanView.
From the full set of prepared pictures, already in the sequence
I wanted them in the story, I used the batch process to make another set in a
different folder, a set of deliberately distorted pictures.
Step 5 - import the set of
distorted pictures into PS3... drag and drop the whole batch from your file
manager into PS3.
Save the project file so you can remove the motion
settings without having to do them individually... or do them individually if
the project is small enough. Close PS3 for a minute while you do the next
Step 6 - use Mark Coffman's
TweakPS to remove all motion settings
in one easy stroke...
For the special effects of curtains and Picture-in-Picture,
the images need to be over each other without any default pans and
Step 7 - use TweakPS to also
change the default 5 second duration if you want. I left them at 5 seconds,
which when reviewing I thought was on the long side. The right setting seems to
depend on your mood of the moment. Short quick changes seem to align with
today's style, but the number of things going on in parallel on a high
definition story like this begs for more viewing time. Not knowing if I
wanted them shorter or longer, I left them alone. It's easy enough to
use Mark's utility and tweak them again.
- finish editing the story
For the curtains opening and closing, use appropriate
transitions... I used 'Split, Vertical' for the opening parting ones, and
'Reveal, Down' for the dropping curtain at the end. The picture was the
same for each, just applying different transitions.
On the background music page of PS3, add the
audio file... I used ambient sounds from my camcorder tape
of St. Marks square.
Render the story to a draft wmv file and import it into Movie
Maker. Add audio and music, and sync the visual and music. When ready
to save the music/audio track as a WMA file, delete the video clip and save
the movie. It'll be a high quality WMA file for the story.
Step 9 - save the story using
whatever profile you want. I used a custom profile of 1280x720 pixels.
Step 10 - upload
to a server for file downloading or streaming... distribute the
Here's another copy of the link
the story streaming from the mydeo service. For comparison, here's a link
the same story downloading from my 1&1 hosted website. They play
equally well on my laptop at home.