Consumer Photo Features

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Hi, my name is Lorrin Maughan; I’m a Product Manager with the Windows Client Marketing organization, focused on the Windows Vista consumer story. Being a typical consumer, I’m going to talk about how I’m using some of the consumer focused features in Windows Vista.

Until I recently, I’ve been running both Windows XP and Windows Vista, on two separate laptops, kind of like having training wheels. Well, I had to travel to Poland this week on a business trip, so instead of carrying two laptops I decided to do away with the safety net and be All Vista, All The Time. In fact, I’m running both Windows Vista and Office 2007, and it’s great! The Windows Vista build I’m running is super stable and functional, and frankly I enjoy being able to play Mahjong or Chess in the airport instead of Solitaire – nothing like standing out from the crowd!

Most of my time has been spent in Warsaw this week, but yesterday a couple of colleagues and I flew to Wroclaw (pronounced Vrotzwav) in the west, to visit one of our largest local distributors. We were staying in the heart of the Old Town, so I took the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing before dinner and again this morning – enter my trusty digital camera, and Windows Photo Gallery in Windows Vista! Now that I’m All Vista All The Time, I am using Windows Photo Gallery exclusively and it’s COOL. Let me share some of my favorite features…

The first thing I do when I import my photos is to tag them with key words so that I can always find them later, using the quick search function. Trust me, being able to tag my photos is GOLD – I take a lot of pictures, and I’m terribly disorganized! In Windows Photo Gallery, I can tag each photo individually with one or more keywords, or I can tag multiple photos at the same time. I can also give each photo a caption. Some people may still want to meticulously file their photos in various folders, and Windows Photo Gallery will support folder views but now that I can tag my photos, I don’t think I’ll ever use multiple folders again. All my photos will be in one big pile, because now I know I can always find the one I want! Of course I can also now find my photos by the date they were taken, which will be useful when I’m looking for photos of, say, holiday celebrations with my family.

The screenshot below shows the tags I’ve applied to my Wroclaw photos – you can also see the folders, date taken option and the search bar to the top right of the screen.

I am also a novice photographer – definitely a point-and-click girl! It’s good to know that Windows Photo Gallery has basic editing functions built right in so I don’t need third party software to fix red-eye, adjust exposure or crop a photo. But even better - if I mess up while editing a photo (happens all the time, I think I’m more creative than I really am) I can undo my edits. Returning to the Photo Gallery saves my changes, but Windows Photo Gallery keeps a digital negative of my photo, so if I want to, I can even revert right back to the original photo and start my editing all over again – I can’t tell you what a relief that is!

This screenshot shows the editing functions in Windows Photo Gallery – here I’m going to crop this photo

My family lives all over the world, from Australia to Zimbabwe, but we like to keep in touch, and we often share what’s going on in our lives by sending photos. With Windows Photo Gallery I can email my photos and it doesn’t matter if my Mom has a slow connection in South Africa because I can compress the pictures so they are easy to download. Also, I can easily get online and order prints from a retail photo finisher, and have them delivered to my Dad or ready for him to collect at his convenience in Oklahoma City. Now I can post photos to my Grandmother in Zimbabwe which means I can share my adventures with her even though she doesn’t have a computer.

When I get back from every trip, I like to print out my favorite picture from each town, to stick on my notice board in my office, and Windows Photo Gallery has an easy to use wizard that I can use to choose layout, paper size and more. When people ask me about my trip, I show them a cool slideshow that includes both still shots and video, using one of using one of the themes in Photo Gallery. Windows Photo Gallery lets me rate my pictures too, so I only need to show my friends the really good one. In fact, my screensaver is also set to display a slideshow of my photos, so everyone can enjoy them while I’m away from my PC.

Finally, at the end of every year, I like to create a DVD for my friends and family, showing the highlights and special moments of that year. I used to have to create a webpage format, and save it onto a data DVD, which assumes everyone has a PC with a DVD drive – well we already know that some people in my family don’t have that, and it’s also not as fun to have the family crowd around a PC to be able to enjoy my annual highlights DVD. So imagine my excitement when I see that Windows Photo Gallery lets me burn my photos to a DVD that can be used in a consumer electronics DVD player – in fact, I can now also use Windows Movie Maker to create a cool story about my year, with a soundtrack and voiceover, and then I can use Windows DVD Maker to really make a production of it, I can have scene transitions and chapters and it’s all so easy!

Movie Maker lets me do cool thinks with my pictures and videos before burning them to a DVD that I can play in a home DVD player

I could go on and on about how cool Windows Photo Gallery is, but this is a quick high level introduction today – I hope you enjoy the preview as much as I’m enjoying Windows Photo Gallery!

Lorrinm - all Vista, all the time!
  • Thanks Lorrin

  • Nice pictures; I am also running Vista "full time"as a beta tester;"it's looking better with every drop"

  • Windows Photo Gallery looks good but Movie Maker looks almost identical to the XP one. Are you going to updtate it?

  • Adjust X->setting 1,2,3
    Adjust Y->setting 4,5,6

    How is the UI planned to work? I'd rather not have to click through a ton of menus if I need to adjust more than one thing, multiplied by the amount of images needing adjustment. Will it be easy to just select a bunch (thousand or more) pictures and rotate, correct exposure etc and quickly flip through the adjustments in preview mode before applying them? And then undo specific adjustments later, such that if I saturated colors of 100 pictures I can then undo the saturation operation, keeping others while preserving the color detail.

    If MS set the expectations higher with their basic tools supplied with the OS, maybe the developer partners would start spending their time on a bit more valuable efforts than your average Windows app like Notepad+ NotepadWithUnixLineFeedSupport etc.

  • Hi Kishan, we have made some great improvements to Movie Maker (as well as adding a new DVD Maker feature) and I'll be posting an overview soon - in summary some of the improvements include the new player controls (consistent with photo gallery and media player), improved full screen preview resolution, a more streamlined layout and support for high definition video. We've also introduced new transitions and effects. More in my next post!

  • Hi zzz, you can select multiple images in the Photo Gallery and do batch rotates (select a bunch and right click rotate, or click the little rotate icons on the bottom toolbar). You  can also do metadata edits on batch as well.

    For Vista we focused on making touchup awesome for single images, however we are definitely interested in developing amazing batch edit capabilities in future versions so stay tuned :-)

  • if i remember correctly - there is no quick way in vistas new photo viewer to click to see original size.  This is an important feature that is in XP - along with fit to page.  Zooming is of no use when you need to see the actual image at its image size to dpi

  • Hi Jamie, if you hover over a picture thumbnail, or if you click "Info" when you have the picture open, you can see the file metadata which includes the size (the one I'm looking at right now is 545kb and 1024x768). Right clicking on the image and selecting "Properties" gives you heaps more info, down to dpi and bit depth. Windows Vista will even support additional metadata that the device writes to the file, such as focal length, exposure time, camera model etc.

  • Vista - brings clarity, so how was it in Poland ?
    Wroclaw - what a wonderful city (I am Polish :)

    Just started reading Vista Team Blog, I am also channel 9'er. Great you guys share some Vista secrets with us.
    Keep up the good work.


  • Lorrin -- Jamie's comment is not about seeing what the dimensions are, it's about viewing the actual image at its regular size.

    I hope that there is a way to easily do this, like there is in XP's Picture & Fax viewer.  Remember that not all images are photographs -- for things such as screenshots and diagrams, a quick way to see the "real size" is crucial.

  • Hi Jamie and PatriotB - my apologies, I didn't tell you that we are definitely still working on having the ability to view the image at its regular size in the Photo Gallery for Windows Vista - in addition to all the other cool features that are already in the build :-) I believe this will be an easy toggle and when it's in the builds I'll update the blog.

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  • Have you guys even taken a look at iPhoto or iMovie? How is this  stuff even close?

    "we are definitely still working on having the ability to view the image at its regular size in the Photo Gallery for Windows Vista"

    Let me get this straight: you're working on viewing images with no scaling. Now? I think Apple are already on like version 6 of their programs and you're still in beta?

    Get with the times, guys...

  • @rdas7:

    Better late than never...

    Not to mention the current photo viewer featured in Windows XP already includes the functionality to view images at their original size, so I assume the new photo viewer is a fresh build and, being beta, they haven't worked in the suttelties yet.

  • Hi Lorrinm,

    Thanks for you blog, very nice work.
    4 things I would love to see in the photo viewer.
    I am not a beta tester and these things fonctionalities might be in there already but anyway, here they are:

    - Can you generate a web page from your picture gallery?
    including of course multiple setups and a thumbnail gallery a bit like Picassa?

    - Is it possible to convert a picture sequence or a whole folder into another format?

    - Can you change the color of the background in the thumbnail mode? have it other than the white?, some pictures look better against grey or black...

    - When you inport pictures, can you create a folder for the imported pics?, also can you just select the pictures on the card that are new and have never been imported?

    Thank you.


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