Allows users to easily insert photos into hundreds of templates
Windows 2003 / Windows Vista / Windows 2000 / Windows 98 / Windows XP / Windows 95 / Windows NT / Windows 8 / Windows ME / Windows 7 / Windows 98 SE
Photoshine is a photo collage maker for Windows that lets you arrange your digital photos using a huge library of templates.
The full version of the application costs $39.99, but a trial version lets you try Photoshine free for 30 days. The trial version has a much smaller library of templates, however. While the full version includes 700 templates, the trial version only offers 102. Many users may be turned off by some of the unattractive and silly template designs, but many templates are appealing.
While Photoshine makes arranging photos in a collage fairly easy, don't expect to be able to do much custom photo editing. The program mostly sticks to what it advertises: creating photo collages from templates. You can convert photos to black and white, make them look sepia-tinted or turn them into line art. While the editing functions are minimal, the simple interface can be a benefit for users who don't have much experience with photo-editing software.
Most of the collage templates will appeal to young girls. The templates include butterflies, hearts and love-themed graphics. The templates most likely to appeal to adults are the magazine-themed graphics, including professional magazine-style photo spreads that you can decorate with your photo collection.
Photoshine is a good program for beginners who just want to make fun photo layouts with their snapshots. The controls are easy to figure out as they are all displayed in the main window. You can add collage elements to a template by dragging icons from the left sidebar to the collage in the main window. If you don't like the template you're using, you can start over by clicking "Undo" in the toolbar.
Photoshine includes a few basic editing functions for rotating, resizing and flipping photos and templates. These effects are the same ones available in Windows Photo Viewer and File Explorer. Photoshine's most advanced effect is the line art filter, which traces the high-contrast areas of your photos with a dark line, resulting in a pencil sketch effect. Overall, the effects and options are standard for similar applications.
The biggest offering of Photoshine is its huge library of templates. Many templates are similar, however, and based on stock vector graphics. The target user for Photoshine seems to be girls aged 8 to 12, but these users will most likely have to ask an adult to purchase the application.
Although the interface is extremely simple and easy to use, it can't be resized to allow other applications to run on the same desktop. When you open Photoshine, it automatically enters full-screen mode and stays that way. Another major drawback is that Photoshine is only compatible with BMP and JPG format. You can't create collages from PNG, GIF or TIFF formats.