ProShow Gold 4 Intro: Create a Customized Slide Show to Share Your Photos

by Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen on March 8, 2009

If you’re like most photographers, you have thousands of digital images on your hard drive. And that’s where they stay. You might print a few of the best images or gather your friends and family around your computer to watch as you click through the images. They’d probably rather do something else like watch a movie. But, what if your photos were a movie?

I’ve been using ProShow Gold for years now to make elaborate movie-like productions for my photo club and simpler shows for quick viewing of my travels. The latest version, ProShow Gold 4, is a big step forward for this one-of-a-kind slide show creation software.

A quick show with music can be created in a few minutes, then burned to a DVD (Hi-Def or standard definition) so you can watch it on your TV in the comfort of your living room instead of crowding around the laptop. But your shows will really shine if you take the time to customize them using techniques similar to those shown in the video here.

I’ll be writing a few articles about ProShow Gold, but for now I want to go over a few major points. This is the same kind of information I cover in my ProShow Gold workshops and personal tutoring.

Creative Choices

A good slide show is more like a movie than a photograph. Besides showing off your photos, your goal should be to entertain your audience. To find  direction in your movie-making efforts, consider these points:

What is the purpose of your show?

If you’re making a travelogue of your recent trip, you can fill the screen with your images. Pan and zoom them just like you’d see in a Ken Burns documentary. Add some humorous music or odd rotations to get a laugh. The subject matter takes precedence over art.

On the other hand, when you’re showing off your photography portfolio, you’ll probably want to be a bit more serious and show the entire image from edge-to-edge. You’ll want your audience to view the whole photo so that they can see your artistic and technical skills. In this case, you want to showcase your photographic skill. The subject matter takes a back seat.

Who Is Your Audience?

Keep the audience in mind. Keep them interested. An audience of fellow photographers will probably look at your show differently than a group of family and friends.

What kind of music should you use?

Music is important. It sets the tone for your show. When I create a show, I start with the music. I prefer instrumental music for most shows. Prominent vocals seem to get in the way. A good source of free music is freeplaymusic.com. Their music is free for personal use and can be licensed for commercial use.

Pacing Your Show

Imagine watching a movie where every scene was the exact same length. It might get a bit monotonous. You’ll want to vary the duration of the slides in your show. You might show some for 8 seconds while others rush by at one second apiece. Varying the pacing of your show adds interest. Another good pacing device is to show multiple images at once. Using layers and ProShow Gold 4′s new slide styles, you can add a lot of pizazz to your show.

There are plenty of other creative decisions to be made while you assemble your show. You’re the director — the success of your show is in your hands.

What’s New in ProShow Gold 4

If you’re currently using ProShow Gold 3 or an older version, here are a few reasons to upgrade to version 4:

  1. New interface. It will take a bit of getting used to. Many of the buttons have been moved. But the look of the new interface is cleaner and a bit more intuitive than version 3.
  2. Improved audio editing. It’s easier to adjust your music to fit your show.
  3. Export video directly to YouTube.
  4. Slide Styles. These are templates that create complex motion effects with just a few clicks. You can create and save your own slide style templates in addition to using those provided. If you like to use motion in your slide shows, slide styles are a great excuse to pay for an upgrade to version 4.

Sample Shows

Here are a few snippets of some of the advanced techniques I’ve developed in ProShow Gold. ProShow Producer makes some of these techniques easier but at a far higher price. So, I’m still using ProShow Gold.

Resources

Updated February, 2010

A new book is now available that was written specifically for ProShow Gold 4. Check it out by clicking the link:

The Official Photodex Guide to ProShow 4.

Another brand new book that hasn’t even been released yet is available for pre-order here:

Secrets of Proshow Experts.

Photodex also has some nice tutorial videos on their website at photodex.com.

I’ll be writing more articles about ProShow Gold 4, so check back at photocitizen.com. Or, subscribe to photocitizen and get the latest articles delivered directly.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1598639692?ie=UTF8&tag=alanhaycom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1598639692″>The Official Photodex Guide to ProShow 4</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=alanhaycom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1598639692″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

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{ 39 comments }

1 diana larsen July 16, 2009 at 8:25 am

Hi Alan:

Just found your site! I’m really enjoying the informative way you present these tutorials for Pro Show Gold, and am anxiously awaiting any new ones. So far, they are just on slide styles is that right? I’m sure they’re a lot of work, but I for one am really enjoying them. Keep em comin’

Thanks!
Diana

2 Alan Haynes July 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

Thanks, Diane. Glad you are finding the tutorials useful. Yes, they are a lot of work, but I plan to do at least one more on slide styles. Then I may cover a few other advanced topics.

Alan

3 Ria August 18, 2009 at 7:16 am

I’ve mastered the basics on my own but find I am at a loss how to stop my show on the last slide without it fading out? The last slide of the show has a layer (logo) that pans from small to large on a photo, and the music fades and that is all good but then the photo/logo fade too! I want the music to fade and the viewer to be left looking at that last image with the logo on it forever (unless they restart the show, of course). It seems so simple but I can’t figure out how to do that? Can you help?

4 Alan Haynes August 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Hi Ria,

It sounds like you want the final image to stay on-screen until the viewer closes the slideshow window. With ProShow Gold, there is no way to accomplish this.

You could set the slide time to some long duration such as 300 seconds (5 minutes). That would give the viewer plenty of time to see it, but it would eventually fade to black and end the show.

Another option is to upgrade to ProShow Producer which does allow you to pause a slide until the viewer takes some kind of action such as clicking on the slide.

Hope this helps,

Alan

5 Barbara December 18, 2009 at 7:01 pm

I saw a slideshow made for a high school basketball team. What I thought was really cool is every so often a basketball would bounce across the screen or an animated cartoon character would dribble a ball across the screen while the basketball teams picture was playing behind it. Where can I get animations like this to add to my shows – Cool graphics, fun letters and cute cartoon characters?

6 Alan Haynes December 21, 2009 at 10:38 am

Barbara,
This was probably accomplished with a video overlay. There are companies that produce these overlays for use with videos.

The key is that there is a large transparent area so the video shows behind the basketball – or balloons or whatever. Since Proshow handles video as well as still images, you should be able to use these in your slideshow.

Do a search for something like” animation overlay video.” I found a company called Digital Hotcakes which offers this kind of software. I’m sure there are others as well.

With ProShow Producer, you could pretty easily animate a piece of clip art – such as a basketball – yourself. Because it does not support motion via keyframes, it would be almost impossible to do it with ProShow Gold.

7 Steve Conway January 14, 2010 at 11:32 am

Just getting my feet wet using ProShow Gold 4 and your tuts are helping me get aquainted.

I do have a bothersome question that you may be able to answer, thus solving what could be a problem in the program.

Recently after uploading a video to You Tube, I discovered an aditional video in my video list, one which I had nothing to do with. It looks like a commercial.

Can you shed some light on this for me. Are the people at Photodex generous in allowing you to upload directly to You Tube because they are uploding their commercial videos along with your uploads?

What gives? This is certainly not acceptable.

Any info on this will be most welcome.

Steve Conway

8 Alan Haynes January 15, 2010 at 9:33 am

Steve,

I have not heard of this or experienced myself – at least no yet. I’d like to hear more about it. What was the extra video about?

Alan

9 Steve Conway January 15, 2010 at 11:59 am

Alan, that is about all the info I have. I did not run the extra video…as who knows where that could lead…and now when I check my list of uploaded videos it is not there.

Can’t say where it went, but I had gone back to delete it and it didn’t appear on the list of my stuff anymore.

Also something I didn’t mention, was that at the end of my “tags” for my videos, the word “proshow” appears on each one uploaded through that program.

Steve C.

10 Mike Stephen January 20, 2010 at 3:29 am

Greetings from Bonnie Scotland.
I have just been introduced to making audio visuals by guys at our camera club. We had a show of some example AVs and I particularly like the ones where the images appeared to be in an album with the pages turning to reveal the next image.
I have just purchased the latest PSG 4.1 and was wondering if this effect was possible using my software?

Keep up the good work
Mike

11 Alan Haynes January 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

Hello Mike,

The effect you’re referring to is a 3D effect called a “page curl.” Unfortunately, ProShow Gold – and even the more expensive ProShow Producer – lack 3D transitions. The closest you’ll find are a couple of transitions called “Curtain – Right to Left” and “Curtain – Left to Right.” You’ll find their icons near the right side of the transitions palette. In Producer, they’re blue icons.

If you want true 3D effects, you’ll need a video editing program like Adobe Premiere Elements. In addition to the page curl, it offers page roll, page peel and page turn transitions. It also has many other 3D effects.

I sometimes create videos in Premiere Elements or similar programs and then drop them into my ProShow slideshow as titles or introductions. ProShow makes it easy to combine video and stills. So, if you really want the page curls, this might be the best way to go. ProShow has plenty of interesting effects and transitions, so maybe you don’t really need the page curls after all.

If you are interested in Premiere Elements, the best price right now is being offered directly by Adobe. Click here for the $20 rebate offer. Sorry, I’m not sure if they have something similar for Scotland. If not, B&H Photo has a good price here.

12 steve conway January 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Hello again Alan.

No suggestions on my ProShow problems?

Surely someone out there has had the same thing happen.

I may just forget trying to make it work right, I have found that the more I work with it the less I like it. I get intermittant quality on everything I save if it’s not saved directly to You Tube.

I get pretty tired of working several days on a project that comes out looking like it was shot through a greasy lens.

Steve C.

13 Alan Haynes January 21, 2010 at 5:32 am

Steve,

Why not post a link to the video? It would help to actually see it. You might also try the forum at http://proshowenthusiasts.com. It’s very active.

14 John Bachor January 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

How did you make the baby’s eyes blink?

Thanks in advanced. John

15 Alan Haynes January 26, 2010 at 10:34 am

I made a second image of the baby with her eyes closed (I used Liquify in Photoshop to stretch the eyelids closed). Then, in Proshow, I switched rapidly back and forth between the two images by using a series of several slides – all using either the original image (with the eyes open) or the altered image.

16 clark January 29, 2010 at 2:26 am

hi mr. haynes thanks for the tutorials im using proshow now and i find it really easy to understand but it takes lot of effrort to make one such as good as yours, i hope you could share some more tips and tricks. thanks. im from the philippines by the way.

17 Wanda February 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Just found your web site and love it.

I can make eyes blink just the way you suggested but not as fast as yours. What timing did you use?

18 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen February 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm

To get the eyes to blink faster, simply reduce the duration of each slide. You might have the first slide – with eyes open – run for a few seconds. Then, the eye-blink slide could run for a half-second or so followed by the eyes open slide again for a few seconds. That would give you one eye blink.

For multiple blinks, repeat the eyes-closed and eyes-open slides a few times with each one set to a short duration. Vary the duration to make it look more natural: if every slide is set to a half-second, it will look a bit robotic.

-Alan

19 Mo Ajouz February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Great tutorial. You mention that you created many advanced slide styles. At least from the video I can tell not all of them are part of ProShow Gold. Are there any places to share/sell/buy photo styles? – similar to photoshop actions where hundreds of them are available for using free of charge or for purchasing.

20 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen February 27, 2010 at 9:28 am

I don’t know of any free sources for slide styles. But Photodex, the makers of ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer sell what they call “Style Packs” on their website: photodex.com. If you’re in a hurry, buying a style pack may be the way to go. But if you have the time, why not create your own? I hope you watched the other videos I have here on PhotoCitizen about ProShow Gold slide styles. They have a lot of information about creating your own custom slide styles. Good luck and have fun.

21 Margaret March 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm

hi Alan
Greetings from New Zealand
Enjoyed you 2 tutorials on slide styles. Have you done one on your
Proshow Gold 4 Advanced Techniques Demo.

22 Wanda March 20, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Thanks for your answer. I can do that. What would we do without people like you. Thanks again!

23 Darlene April 1, 2010 at 12:48 am

I watched your tutorial but it uses a predesigned background. Is it possible to design my own background from scratch from say a jpg or some other file format? Thanks in advance.

24 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen April 1, 2010 at 8:07 am

You can use any image as a background. The image can be applied to a single slide in the Slide Options window or to the whole show in the Show Options window. ProShow accepts jpg, png, and several other file formats.

25 Sandra May 29, 2010 at 2:36 am

Hi Alan,
I have using Photo DVD Maker Proffessional for 14 months, Pro Show Gold was recommended to me and I can see it is more sophisticated, my question is adding music, it is a very easy exercise with Photo DVD, I can simple download from my computer, can i do the same with Pro Show?

Thanks Sandra

26 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen June 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

Hi Sandra,
Music is simple to add in ProShow Gold. If you already have a music file on your computer, the easiest way to add the music or audio file is to drag it onto the Soundtrack which shows just below the slides. You can also easily import (a.k.a, “rip”) music from a CD and add it to your show via ProShow – you don’t need a separate CD ripping program.
-Alan

27 Becky August 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I just purchased ProShow Gold and wanted to watch the tutorials on the Photodex website but it said they are no longer “selling” credits for those online classes. I have only found two of your tutorials on Youtube and your website. Are there more? Thanks, Becky

28 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen August 18, 2010 at 1:56 am

Hello Becky,

I’ve made three ProShow videos. You can find all three articles – and their associated videos – here: ProShow Gold Slide Styles videos.

Thanks for watching,

Alan

29 Gary Salsberry August 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

I just ran into your site. Just great! Thank your for taking the time to make your slide shows and giving out tips to help us beginners. There are two beginning books on Proshow on this page. Is there one that is better then the other or are they both about the same?

Thank you again for your time, I’m off to read parts 2 &3.

Gary

30 Bonnie September 21, 2010 at 10:47 am

I would like to save my projects to my video camera. I will be showing it on a big screen tv, so I need the quality just as good as if it were on a DVD. Do you know how I can do that? It doesn’t give a option for my camera…unless I am missing it.
Thanks

31 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen September 22, 2010 at 9:05 am

Bonnie,

If your video camera uses media cards (CF or SD, for example), you should be able to output from ProShow onto the card so it can be played on the camera. If not, you may be able to plug it into your computer and use it as a USB device. Check your camera manual.

In Proshow’s Output window, choose “Video File.” Then for Video Preset Type, choose “Custom.” Now you’ll have a choice of several different formats including MPEG 2, Quicktime and a few others. You’ll have to consult your camera menu to find out if any of these are usable on your camera. Or just spend some time experimenting.

If the big screen TV is a newer model, it probably has a USB port built in. If so, you can skip the camera and just output your show to a flash drive or to a CF or SD card plugged into your card reader and then plugged into the TV. Again, different TVs play different video formats, so you’ll need to do some research. If it’s a hi-def TV, your best bet might be to choose HD instead of custom.

When presenting a show at a new venue, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. You never know what kind of equipment will be available and how well it will work. So, it would be a good idea to burn a DVD also. And bring your laptop as a last resort.

Good luck,

Alan

32 Chris September 27, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Hi. After i made my slideshow,how will i use all the “SLIDE EFFECT” for the whole slide show at the same time? im using proshow gold. please i need help :)

33 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen October 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Hi Chris,

I’m not sure what you mean by slide effect. I assume you mean slide style. As far as I can tell, there is no way to automatically apply a slide style to all images in a show.

However, you can speed things up by leaving the slide styles window open. Apply the style to the first slide, then select the next slide and apply the style again and continue that way. The last-used slide style will be remembered, so all you’ll have to do is move to the next slide (using your keyboard’s arrow keys is the easiest way to do that) and click APPLY in the slide styles window. You don’t have to click OK at the end of each slide. Only click OK when you’re done with all of them. That should make it go pretty quickly.

Hope this helps,

Alan

34 Janice March 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I am sorry to trouble you with what is probably a simple question – my husband has bought Proshow Gold but is tearing his hair our trying to set up the show so that at the end of the picture show it returns to what he descrbes as a title page – ie picture and text – is there a simple way to do this?
Best wishes from sunny Queensland in Australia

35 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen March 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

Hi Janice,

It sounds like what your husband is looking for is a way to cause a particular action (return to the menu, in this case) upon completion of the final slide.

When your output is a DVD, the DVD menu will appear automatically when the show ends. If you have several shows on the DVD, the user can then choose which to watch next.

With other types of output, however, this is not the case. ProShow Producer does offer an “Action at End of Slide” which allows, among other things, a return to the menu. ProShow Gold doesn’t offer this feature.

Alan

36 Nick Wadham December 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I have mastered all the styles except the scrolling credits.
Is there a special procedure I should follow

37 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen December 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hi Nick,

I often use scrolling credits where the text scrolls up from the bottom. This is accomplished, not with a slide style, but by using a caption and text effect.

First, go to the Captions tab and enter the text for the credits. It works best if each title (such as “Produced by”) and each name are on a separate line. I’ll often add extra blank lines between them to make the scroll slower.

Next, under text effects, you’ll see options for “Fly in,” “Normal,” and “Fly Out.” Set fly-in and fly-out to “none.” Under the dropdown for “Normal,” choose “Full Pan Up.”

Now, your caption text will start off screen, scroll up from the bottom and end up off the screen at the top.

Hope this helps,

Alan

38 Nick Wadham December 13, 2011 at 3:12 am

Thanks Alan
That’s really helpful and has got me through without my tearing my hair out with frustration.
Thanks for your help
Nick

39 Blake Woltmann February 19, 2012 at 7:14 am

Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any means you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

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