Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

Check out AutoCollage

Check out AutoCollage

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Hi, I’m JP Wollersheim. I’ve posted here before. My family takes tons of photos. One challenge we have is how to display multiple photos on one “canvas” to tell a story.  There are great products in the market that tell a linear story like Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Photo Gallery screensaver, Windows Media Center, or Windows Live FrameIt.  These products allow you to put together a set of photos and view separately in a linear fashion – one at a time.

There are times when you would like to see all your photos on the same screen or canvas as a collage. There are products to do that, however, typically they require a ton of work to look good.  The example below took me about 25 minutes to create and it’s still not exactly what I was looking for.  The square edges are a bit jarring, and it’s super difficult to get all of the photos in the template that I was given. 

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Microsoft Research solves problems like these so your photos really come to life.  Our Cambridge Innovation Development team in Microsoft Research built AutoCollage (30-day free trial and If you like it, it’s only $14.95) which enables users to build a beautiful collage on seconds. Check out the difference using the exact same 12 photos:

Here’s how I did it:

1. Download AutoCollage

2. Start Windows Live Photo Gallery and find your photos you want to use.  From Date taken (a) I selected July 2008, and (b) searched for “Lucy.”  I then (c) organized by rating, and used all my 4 start photos. Here’s a trick:  (d) Click on 4 star, it will select all of those photos – so you don’t have to select them one at a time.

3. Next, I launched AutoCollage by selecting Add to AutoCollage... from the Extras menu.

4. Photo Gallery launched the AutoCollage application with the photos I selected and had it do its magic. From the Options menu in AutoCollage I chose to make the finished composition the same size as my screen resolution so the correct aspect ratio and dimensions would be chosen and the finished photo would look good on my computer.

I used the slider to tell AutoCollage I wanted to use all 12 of the photos. 

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5. The final output looked like this. 

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6. Next I selected Desktop from the menu on the right and saved it as my desktop background.  It was that easy!

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- JP Wollersheim, Product Manager