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I guess you've all seen theme images that gets cropped like this in the Turtle skin:
Bad crop

Now, we've made a plugin for jAlbum 12.1 and onwards that helps you set the desired crop focus, so your theme images or folder thumbnails will look like this instead:
Good crop

The Crop Focus plugin in actionGet the plugin here, then right click an image or folder and select "Set crop focus" and take it from there.

Here's how the plugin looks in action. Just use the mouse to position the crop focus. Note: The plugin lets you preview the cropped region using a couple of sample shapes but it doesn't let you set the crop shape. This is usually controlled by the skin.

 

We encourage you who are Java developers to contribute with smart plugins for jAlbum. Our plugin API is documented here and you can get the full source for the CropFocus plugin at GoogleCode . CropFocus is licensed under the liberal Apache 2.0 license.

We’re excited to tell you about the improvements that have been added to the long-awaited v12 release of our desktop software. It’s been a year since the last major release, where we added support for 164 video formats. This version focuses on improving the user experience:

  • It is faster than ever, including both the user interface and the underlying album making engine.
  • It has a professionally looking, more intuitive user interface
  • It has an embedded web browser that updates the album preview as you play along with settings.
  • Adding effects like logos, watermarks and artistic filters to your images is now easier than ever using the new “Effects” panel

Faster

Opening an album over a network drive

 

Resuming an interrupted build

 

jAlbum 12 is significantly faster in dealing with images loaded over network drives. A typical project that took 15 seconds to open over a network drive now opens in 3 seconds (SAMBA mounted network drive on Windows). The painting of thumbnail images has also been improved so you can browse through not-yet-loaded images with less lag.

It’s however when making albums you will notice the most significant improvement. Previously, if an album build was resumed after an interrupted build (user aborting the build or an error), then jAlbum sometimes had to re-process each image and video again. This is now a thing of the past. Each image and video keep track of their build settings so unnecessary rebuilds are avoided.

New user interface

jAlbum’s user interface has undergone the biggest change since jAlbum 7. It now has an embedded web browser that lets you quickly preview changes as you play along with settings. This is the main reason for the somewhat larger window. Let’s go through the changes to the main window from top to bottom:

General

  1. New notification center: Helpful information coming from us or the skin developer can now be accessed from this icon even if a notification has been dismissed.
  2. Clearly indicated view mode tabs
  3. View mode specific toolbars. Each view mode has a unique toolbar with the tools relevant for it
  4. Clearly indicated label types: Easily see and control whether you’re editing file names, titles, captions or keywords
  5. New skin information window giving you an overview of the currently selected skin and offers easy management for it
  6. Large settings button next to make album button
  7. Preview local album button next to make album button
  8. New view final album button next to upload button.

Edit view mode

  1. Image tools moved to custom toolbar
  2. Image properties now occupy the whole right-hand-side offering more simultaneous information

Preview view mode

  1. Toolbar offering the classical browser functions + work-flow related functionality like uploading and sharing
  2. See and control whether you’re viewing the local or published version of an album
  3. Web browser for previewing a local album and viewing the final published album. Updates the local album in the background and reloads the display as you play with skin- and style changes. (Skin changes and general changes need a click on the “Apply” button to trigger an update)

Note: The browser we’re using is Chromium. It is a modern open source component but it currently has two flaws:

  • Currently No support for mp4 video format (aka H.264) that jAlbum is using. Use an external browser to view video powered albums instead. Hint: Alt-click the preview buttons to open the album in an external album or inactivate the embedded browser under jAlbum preferences.
  • Missing Flash support for Mac. Flash support in general can be added by downloading Flash directly from Adobe

Share view mode

  1. Buttons to easily share your album using different social networks. All sharing options, including sharing with jalbum.net is now opt-in meaning no sharing will be done unless you explicitly choose to share

New Effects panel

New “Effects” settings tab allowing easy and detailed control of album-wide image effects like watermarks/texts, logos, grayscale, auto-correct and artistic filters via an easy to use interface. (Effects applies to all images unlike their “Image tools” counterparts). (Advanced users: The chosen effects are synched with the user variables panel)

New license

jAlbum 12 requires a new software license. For those who have purchased a v11 license, we currently offer a 50% upgrade discount. This means you only pay €14.50 ($19.50) for a Standard License upgrade and €34.50 ($44.50) for a Pro License upgrade. Make sure you sign in first though. Those who have purchased a license after February 17th already have a version 12 license. If you instead have a Premium or Power account, you also got a license valid for v12, so you don’t have to buy a new license. To know what license you have today, just select “About jAlbum” from within the software.

New model

With jAlbum 12 we go from ad-supported freeware to a fully functional 30 day trial. This means that you can make fully functional* ad-free albums that continue to work after the trial period has expired, (given that you host the albums yourself). After the 30 day trial has expired you can no longer make new or update existing albums.

* During the trial, the albums may have discrete credit links and you cannot use the shopping cart feature.

Miscellaneous

  • Rewritten change detection. No more spurious “Do you wish to save changes” warnings
  • Safely deletes unused slide and original image files from album folder
  • Warns and guides users who haven’t set up their ftp settings right
  • Thumbnail specific information is now only displayed when hovering the mouse over the small “info-i” status icon
  • Speed-up to deleting directories over SAMBA mounted network drives
  • Implemented performance of files linked to SAMBA mounted network drives too
  • Added multiple logging levels to ease debugging
  • New icons and images
  • Bundled with updated skins (HTML5 instead of Flash)
  • Splash screen now displays license type
  • Fix for broken “Repair all links”
  • Various bug fixes

We’re excited to tell you about the improvements that have been added to the long-awaited v12 release of our desktop software. It’s been a year since the last major release, where we added support for 164 video formats. This version focuses on improving the user experience:

  • It is faster than ever, including both the user interface and the underlying album making engine.
  • It has a professionally looking, more intuitive user interface
  • It has an embedded web browser that updates the album preview as you play along with settings.
  • Adding effects like logos, watermarks and artistic filters to your images is now easier than ever using the new “Effects” panel

Before running through the changes in detail, let me say that we’re running the last stages of the beta testing for jAlbum 12 now. The beta is available for Windows and Mac. You can install it in parallel with your existing version in order to safely evaluate it. We appreciate feedback to our beta forum section. The currently known issue is that the embedded browser has been reported to sometimes cause jAlbum to hang.

Faster

Opening an album over a network drive

 

Resuming an interrupted build

 

jAlbum 12 is significantly faster in dealing with images loaded over network drives. A typical project that took 15 seconds to open over a network drive now opens in 3 seconds (SAMBA mounted network drive on Windows). The painting of thumbnail images has also been improved so you can browse through not-yet-loaded images with less lag.

It’s however when making albums you will notice the most significant improvement. Previously, if an album build was resumed after an interrupted build (user aborting the build or an error), then jAlbum sometimes had to re-process each image and video again. This is now a thing of the past. Each image and video keep track of their build settings so unnecessary rebuilds are avoided.

New user interface

jAlbum’s user interface has undergone the biggest change since jAlbum 7. It now has an embedded web browser that lets you quickly preview changes as you play along with settings. This is the main reason for the somewhat larger window. Let’s go through the changes to the main window from top to bottom:

General

  1. New notification center: Helpful information coming from us or the skin developer can now be accessed from this icon even if a notification has been dismissed.
  2. Clearly indicated view mode tabs
  3. View mode specific toolbars. Each view mode has a unique toolbar with the tools relevant for it
  4. Clearly indicated label types: Easily see and control whether you’re editing file names, titles, captions or keywords
  5. New skin information window giving you an overview of the currently selected skin and offers easy management for it
  6. Large settings button next to make album button
  7. Preview local album button next to make album button
  8. New view final album button next to upload button.

Edit view mode

  1. Image tools moved to custom toolbar
  2. Image properties now occupy the whole right-hand-side offering more simultaneous information

Preview view mode

  1. Toolbar offering the classical browser functions + work-flow related functionality like uploading and sharing
  2. See and control whether you’re viewing the local or published version of an album
  3. Web browser for previewing a local album and viewing the final published album. Updates the local album in the background and reloads the display as you play with skin- and style changes. (Skin changes and general changes need a click on the “Apply” button to trigger an update)

Note: The browser we’re using is Chromium. It is a modern open source component but it currently has two flaws:

  • Currently No support for mp4 video format (aka H.264) that jAlbum is using. Use an external browser to view video powered albums instead. Hint: Alt-click the preview buttons to open the album in an external album or inactivate the embedded browser under jAlbum preferences.
  • Missing Flash support for Mac. Flash support in general can be added by downloading Flash directly from Adobe

Share view mode

  1. Buttons to easily share your album using different social networks. All sharing options, including sharing with jalbum.net is now opt-in meaning no sharing will be done unless you explicitly choose to share

New Effects panel

New “Effects” settings tab allowing easy and detailed control of album-wide image effects like watermarks/texts, logos, grayscale, auto-correct and artistic filters via an easy to use interface. (Effects applies to all images unlike their “Image tools” counterparts). (Advanced users: The chosen effects are synched with the user variables panel)

New license

jAlbum 12 requires a new software license. For those who have purchased a v11 license, we currently offer a 50% upgrade discount. This means you only pay €14.50 ($19.50) for a Standard License upgrade and €34.50 ($44.50) for a Pro License upgrade. Make sure you sign in first though. Those who have purchased a license after February 17th already have a version 12 license. If you instead have a Premium or Power account, you also got a license valid for v12, so you don’t have to buy a new license. To know what license you have today, just select “About jAlbum” from within the software.

New model

With jAlbum 12 we go from ad-supported freeware to a fully functional 30 day trial. This means that you can make fully functional* ad-free albums that continue to work after the trial period has expired, (given that you host the albums yourself). After the 30 day trial has expired you can no longer make new or update existing albums.

* During the trial, the albums may have discrete credit links and you cannot use the shopping cart feature.

Miscellaneous

  • Rewritten change detection. No more spurious “Do you wish to save changes” warnings
  • Safely deletes unused slide and original image files from album folder
  • Warns and guides users who haven’t set up their ftp settings right
  • Thumbnail specific information is now only displayed when hovering the mouse over the small “info-i” status icon
  • Speed-up to deleting directories over SAMBA mounted network drives
  • Implemented performance of files linked to SAMBA mounted network drives too
  • Added multiple logging levels to ease debugging
  • New icons and images
  • Bundled with updated skins (HTML5 instead of Flash)
  • Splash screen now displays license type
  • Fix for broken “Repair all links”
  • Various bug fixes

Try the beta!

JAlbum 12 is available as a beta release for Windows and Mac. You can install the beta in parallel with your existing version in order to safely evaluate it. We appreciate feedback to our beta forum section.

Known issues

  • The embedded browser has been reported to sometimes cause jAlbum to hang.

 

Eddie Clayton runs a successful business as a pro photographer.

-> Take a look at his photography (http://www.eddieclaytonphoto.com) and you'll understand why the word successful is in the above sentence. Eddie is a new jAlbum user, but quite familiar with photo and website services.

How did you get in contact with jAlbum?
I have created websites using many methods. Everything from scratch html, standalone apps, expensive Photoshop plug-ins, and Lightroom webmodule extensions. Although these methods all created professional looking websites, they were all difficult to tailor to my taste and tedious to maintain. Just as I was becoming extremely frustrated while trying to update my site (with a well known Lightroom extension), I came across the jAlbum article in Shutterbug. I previously thought that jAlbum was just a photo-hosting site like Flickr or Shutterfly, in which I have no interest. The article excited me and I went immediately to your website and downloaded the jAlbum trial. Well, it took me about 10 minutes of experimentation to realize that this was just what I had been looking for. I re-connected and purchased the Pro version immediately.

How does jAlbum help in your work flow?
I spent maybe 6 hours with jAlbum generating my site. I then spent another 10 hours refining my photographs to look the way I wanted them to look for the site. I am ecstatic. My site has a professional user-friendly interface and appearance. I am currently reviewing additional photographs I plan to add to the site. I get to spend my computer time tweaking photos instead of fighting with site software. Bravo jAlbum!

Tell us about your customers
I make a substantial portion of my income selling prints. I have discovered that my best customers are Doctors, Dentists and other professionals with "waiting rooms". Its important to have a professional and user-friendly site to service these buyers.


-> IF you would like to purchase Ed's amazing photos to hang in your office or at home – please check out his website (and feel free to comment below what you think!)
http://www.eddieclaytonphoto.com

Thank you Eddie for this interview and most of all for using jAlbum!



Interview with Peter Reijners and his world of amazing photography.Peter Reijers

Jason: So tell me a little bit about yourself.

Peter: I’m Peter Reijners, 46 years old and live in Roermond in the Netherlands. I've always admired the beautiful flora and fauna around us. Due to the busy life people often do not have the ability to enjoy this. Through my photography I can share a bit of our wonderful world with all of you.

Jason: What got you into photography?
Peter: In 2008 I bought a 2nd hand camera (Fujifilm S5700), but after a short period I became interested in macro photography so I bought a Panasonic FZ50 with a Raynox macro lens. I have used this combination for about a year and then switched to my first DSLR camera (Canon 50D) with several lenses (incl. a real macro lens of course) and a real passion was born. Till now I love to take pictures of landscapes, animals, people etc, but my greatest passion is still with macro photography because it gives people the opportunity to see all the small details you can’t see with your bare eyes.

Jason: What do other people usually say when they look at your photos/portfolio?
Peter
: One of the things I often hear is that I have created an own style, they call it “a real Peterr” which is the name I mostly use on the different forums. Also I get lots of compliments about the sharpness and colors in my pictures.

 

Jason: Being a jAlbum user, what do you feel jAlbum offers that competitors don't? In other words, why did you choose to go with jAlbum?
Peter: I really wanted to have my own website, but I didn’t know how to do this with zero knowledge of HTML, Java etc. After searching the web for website creators I ended up with Jalbum. For me it’s the easiest way to create a beautiful website. It has great skins and runs really fast. A big advantage using Jalbum is the great support on the forum especially from Laza who helped me a lot.

Jason: Could you give us a link to the album with your favourite photos?
Peter: That would be of course my macro section: http://www.preijners.nl/Gallery/Macro/index.html

I find it difficult to choose between the dragonflies, and the treefrogs. I'm very interested what you as a reader enjoy the most - you can post your comment below.

Jason: Thank you Peter for telling us about you and your amazing work!

One final question, if someone would like to know more about your work, how does one get in contact?
Peter
: They can mail peter@preijners.nl or use the contact form on my website www.preijners.nl
I’m also active on different social media and other websites:

https://www.facebook.com/peter.reijners

https://twitter.com/PeterReijners

http://1x.com/member/peterr

http://500px.com/Peterr_Reijners

When people would like to buy my work, they can look at my shop on the website, or visit:

http://www.shutterstock.com/g/peterr/sets
http://www.werkaandemuur.nl/index/77/nl/Peter-Reijners/profile/4676

 

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