Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Giveaway of the Day Review - Corner-A ArtStudio



Today's program from Giveawayoftheday.com is Corner-A ArtStudio, which lets you easily create animated screensavers from photos.

Installation

I experienced no problems during installation. Do note that you need Microsoft .NET framework 2.0 and DirectX 9 installed, plus a graphics card with 'Pixel Shader 2.0' support. I had no problems running it on my GeForce 6200. 

Ease of Use

I was a bit skeptical about what the program offers and its "extreme realtime perfomance with simplest interface". I wasn't too sure how to proceed beyond the startup screen, so I checked the online tutorials (accessible from the program window also, but requires an internet connection).



Within a minute I was ready to create my screensaver. I loaded a 1680X1050 photo from kde-look.org, and was prompted with an option to scale down the photo to enhance performance. Good idea to do so, I thought. I then added some clouds from the Add New Layer window that appears.





Painting over the upper portion of the photo, I was able to create some moving clouds. There are a couple of settings which I could adjust, though a few with names like "Base X Tiling" and "Horizontal line" were a bit cryptic-sounding. However, as previews were generated in real-time, I was able to figure out what each of them does.

You can download a sample of the screensaver I created. Took me about 5 minutes, and this shows how easy ArtStudio allows even beginners to create simple yet good-looking screensavers. Check out the video at the end of the post.

Features and Performance

The program's effects focused on nature's elements, with tools for creating moving water, clouds, snow and smoke. These effects work well and create realistic-looking screensavers.

The screensaver I created was 1.2 Mb in size, and ran ok. I observed the clouds and noticed no jerky movements - it ran in a smooth loop.

The program allows you to export your masterpiece to an exe file, screensaver, swf, animated gif, avi and . You can set the dimensions, and add mp3/wma/wav as background music. The background music loops automatically.

If I were to nitpick a little, I would like finer control over some of the effect parameters. For example, I wanted to make the clouds move really slowly, but they were still "blown away" at the lowest setting.

I tried adding music to a photo and exporting it as a screensaver without adding effects, but the screensaver generated an error when I ran it. The same problem occurred when I tried exporting to an exe file. But since you're more likely to USE this program to add effects, I suppose this is not a big issue.

Performance was smooth, and exporting of screensavers was quick. Even when I opted not to let the program scale down my 1680 x 1050 photo, there was no noticeable lag.

Summary

ArtStudio lets anyone easily turn static photos into animated screensavers. It is a solid program which I will recommend.

Rating: 4.5/5

giveawayoftheday.com


2 comments:

Anna said...

Thanks for the review and the video. This looks like a really fun program, but I don't seem to have any tool options on any of the effects. I can change a few colors, but not anything with speed, opacity, or even the size of the brush. Did your options unlock when you activated the program, or did you have to do something else?

Anonymous said...

[] to change size of brush

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