Creating an AutoCollage with Windows Live Photo Gallery

February 27, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Along with the tools for creating panoramas and merging photos to get a perfect picture, Windows Live Photo Gallery features access to various additional tools that can be used to use your photos in a new and interesting way.

Notable among these tools is AutoCollage, with which you can select and combine photos from a specific event or trip into a blended collage.

Using this tool is really easy, but before you start you will need to add a plugin into Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Note that plugins for this software are available only as trials before payment must be made – they bring specialised, additional functionality to already free software, and most users won’t need them.

Create an AutoCollage with Windows Live Photo Gallery

Adding Plugins to Windows Live Photo Gallery

Along with the standard photo fixing tools like red-eye removal and the ability to email galleries of images, Windows Live Photo Gallery can be enhanced with various plugins that can be used to deliver new functionality to the application.

One such plugin is AutoCollage, and this can be added by going to Create > More tools > Download more photo tools… which will open your browser and take you to the Windows Live Photo Gallery Plug-ins page.

Here, select AutoCollage and click Download now – you will be taken to the Microsoft Research AutoCollage page where you can Download a trial version of the tool. This comes in the form of an MSI file of around 7 MB, so shouldn’t take you too long to download. Once done, run the MSI file to begin the installer wizard and agree to everything.

Once installed, you can close Windows Live Photo Gallery – AutoCollage will be available separately via desktop shortcut or in your Start menu.

Creating an AutoCollage

With the plugin (in reality a separate application) running, use the Image Browser tool in the lower right menu to browse for the images that you want to include. These should all be present in a single folder, so ensure beforehand that the folder only includes the images you want in your AutoCollage.

Once the Image Browser has imported all of the images, use the Options tool on the right to set the size for your collage on the Output tab, as well as opt on whether you want to take advantage of face detection on the Input tab. Also on the Output tab you can size images depending on rank, and specify the degree of Image Overlap.

Clicking the Create button will prompt Microsoft Research AutoCollage 2008 to begin processing the images through four stages until the collage is created. All you need to do then is Save the collage!

(Note that using the trial version will result in a copyright notice watermarked across the bottom of the collage.)

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