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Issue 3.2


iScreensaver Designer 3.2

Issue: 3.2 (November/December 2004)
Author: Scott Griebel
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,944
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 3204
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Xochi Media's iScreensaver Designer received an Honorable Mention for best cross-platform software at the 2004 REALbasic Design Awards. iScreensaver Designer is billed as the world's only cross-platform screensaver builder.

There are Mac and Windows versions of iScreensaver Designer, and either version can be used to create screensavers that ultimately run on Mac or Windows machines. A version exists for Windows 98, ME, XP, and 2000, as well as Mac OS 8, 9, and X, and created screensavers can be installed on any of these systems. However, it should be noted that Apple's QuickTime must be on the targeted system on which the screensaver will run.

There are two types of screensavers that can be created. Either type can be constructed using a built in wizard for quickly creating new projects or a more advanced setup screen. The first screensaver type is a slide show of images that are displayed while optionally playing an audio file.

The user selects desired images using a file viewer which, by default, looks in the Mac's Pictures folder (My Pictures on Windows XP). It was assumed that double-clicking a folder would open it and that double-clicking an image would add it to the list of desired slides. Instead, folders are only opened by clicking an expansion icon to the left of their names and images are added by clicking the Add button.

Slides can be shown at their original size or scaled to fill the screen, and they can be rotated from 0 to 359 degrees. There are also various slide transition effects that can be applied including cuts, wipes, and dissolves.

An audio file can be chosen to accompany the slide show, but the software didn't look in the Music folder by default. It would also be nice if multiple audio files could be played back to back, though admittedly they could first be concatenated using another audio editing program.

The second type of screensaver that can be created displays a movie. You can use any file that QuickTime supports, though the documentation suggests using Macromedia Flash files for compatibility reasons. Again, when choosing the movie, it would have been nice if the software had chosen the Movies folder by default. Like slides, movies can be scaled or shown at their original size.

You can create customized installer programs for both Mac and Windows. The end-user can preview the screensaver prior to installation. After installation, the installer opens the end-user's screensaver control panel automatically. With the expensive "Unlimited" license, you can present premium content that requires an unlocking code that you provide.

The documentation accompanying the software, though not searchable, was comprehensive and helpfully suggested ways to make screensavers run smoothly on all platforms. Overall, this is a very fun and well-made program.

End of article.