Create 3D photo book with free Visions

Some programs manage your footage with intelligence functions to quickly find the needle in the haystack. At Visions, the emphasis is more on the looks. This tool shows your photo collection in all kinds of 3D environments. Plus, it has an integrated editor to make the most of your snaps. Creating a 3D photo book with Visions works as follows.

Twins Software Solutions calls its application itself Visions a “3D Image Management System”. This eccentric management tool is free and will last for years. Over the years, the focus has remained on the appearance. Still, we would be exaggerating to call Visions with all its digital cosmetics the stupid blonde of photo management, if only because the software also has tools to edit, share and print photos.

When you start Visions for the first time, you will be met by the First-time Wizard. If you have clicked this helper away too quickly, you can still retrieve it later via the menu Tools. This wizard asks if the program can scan the hard disk (or disks) for photos. We do not recommend that. After that, the wizard points out the collaboration with Flickr and how to associate certain file formats with this program. After three slides, this wizard has already finished. Press the button Finish.

When you allow the First-time Wizard to run its course on import, this tool will collect not only vacation and family snapshots folders, but also all system image folders. After all, this tool does not distinguish between real photos and the graphic mess such as icons that are contained in the system. That’s why we prefer the button Browse with which you manually add the folders that contain photos.

Take a moment to indicate during the configuration which folders you want to manage in 3D. The photo files will of course remain in the original folders, what you see in the panels are only references.

Working with boards

The appeal of Visions lies in the 3D navigation. Each folder you add appears as a separate panel in the main window. In this program they call such a panel a ‘board’. Such a board can consist of several pages. The number of pages in such a panel depends on the number of snapshots and the size of the photo thumbnails. Logical: the larger the thumbnails, the less will fit on such a panel page.

You can determine the dimensions of the miniatures with the slider at the top right. To make such a board full screen, click the blue button in the top right corner. Each board automatically adopts the name of the original photo folder. In the top left corner you can read the path to the folder, the number of photos and the number of pages.

If you keep the thumbnails fairly large, boards that contain a lot of photos will consist of a lot of pages. The slider on the right allows you to quickly move through the different pages of the same board. And to go to the first or last page in one go, use the blue buttons on the right: Go to First Page and Go to Last Page.


To return from the full-screen view to the normal view, double-click a board or click the button with the house at the bottom left. That way you get to the 3D view. You let the boards rotate and slide in different formations. You can choose from six setups: Cylinder, Colosseum, Horizontal Wheel, Vertical Wheel, Discs, Carousel.

It is impossible to explain the differences between these formations; the image below makes a lot clear. It is best to call them up quickly with Ctrl + 1 to Ctrl + 6. Or simply select the desired view next to the button Layout.

When you have chosen a certain view, you can scroll through the boards with the scroll wheel. Or you just double-click on the board you want to see. In addition, you can change the camera angle from where you view the cylinder, wheel or other setup. To do this, press the space bar and again use the scroll wheel to see the setup slightly better from the top or bottom.

To neutralize this camera angle again, go to the Camera Settings and there you choose Reset All Formations. Or navigate to another board with the arrow buttons at the bottom right.

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To view pictures

Hovering over a thumbnail will make a larger version of the thumbnail appear. In the left corner of this thumbnail you can read the file size, creation date and the path to the image file. When you double-click on a photo, it will open in a new window. In this view you can zoom in until one image pixel corresponds to one screen pixel, view 1/1. That is the ideal display for assessing the sharpness, for example.

In addition, from this window you can navigate to the previous or next image with two blue arrow buttons. Occasionally you have to put a photo upright. That’s what the buttons are for Rotate Left and Rotate Right. The quality of the thumbnails does not look very good in the standard setting. You tackle this via the menu Tools, General where you are in the tab General the part Quality on High or Very High sets.

Start slideshow

Under the button Camera Settings is also a function Start Tour. In such a Tour, Visions automatically shows the entire content of each page. You get to see a kind of slide show, as it were, where each slide contains all the photos from the same page. That is a way to assess the content of a board. You get the best result if you set the thumbnail view large enough so that only four or six photos fit on a page.

If you want to see a classic slideshow, use the purple button Play. Or you right-click on a photo in a board and choose the same command. Of course you can set the slide show on the full screen. Do you find it disturbing that the path of the photo file is always visible on the photo? You can turn this off in the preferences of the program. Go to Tools, Preferences and select the option View.

Here you use the tab View where you at Direct3D turn off the option: Display image title on board thumbnails. Then go to the Slideshow tab where you indicate that you want to present the slideshow in full screen and that the path to the photo file should not be visible. At the bottom you determine in milliseconds how long each slide should be visible, how long a transition should last and finally select one of the different graphic transitions.

Move photos

It is possible to move one or more photos to another board at the same time. To do this, click the left mouse button on a photo and hold down the mouse button. Then drag the selected snapshot to the other board. You can do the same trick with multiple photos. If it concerns a selection of photos that fit side by side, click on the first image. You hold down the Shift button and then click on the last of the sequence. You can then drag the selection.

If it concerns a selection of photos that do not match, you can expand the selection step by step by pressing the Ctrl key and then clicking on the following photos. When you do this, Visions will ask if the photo file can actually be moved to the other folder. After all, such a board is simply a graphical representation of the contents of a folder.

Editing picture’s

Visions remains a photo manager and not a photo editor, but the program still has a set of tools on board to quickly make some adjustments. Via the tab Editing Room or via the button Edit you will come to the editor. At the bottom are some buttons to crop, scale and rotate the photo. In the left bar, the editing options are divided into five groups: Fixes, Adjustments, Effects, Artwork and Properties.

If it is only about corrections, you can go to the Fixes address the color, clarity, red eyes, and any noise. With each correction you set the intensity of the correction at the bottom. For example with the fix Remove Red Eye you adjust the sensitivity and saturation of the procedure with a few sliders. If you are satisfied, click on Applyotherwise you go for the button Undo.

For more creative interventions, go to the parts in the editor Adjustments and Effects. It’s a bit of a search, but if you want to get some sort of duotone effect, for example, go to Adjustments, Colorize. Again you need to select a hue and saturation at the bottom of the bar which is then applied to the photo. Bee Effects you can blur the entire photo or certain areas of it or convert it to black and white, grayscale and sepia.

Artwork is a set of filters that convert the photo into a pencil drawing, a painting, a bas relief, et cetera. If you are satisfied, you can save the photo via Save or you can save it as a new image with Save Image As.

Adjust metadata

The last adjustment you can make with the editor concerns the metadata. That is the data that your camera automatically generates and adds to every photo file without you having to do anything yourself. If you click the button in the editor Properties click, you can read with which camera the photo was taken and at what time, with what dimensions, resolution and ISO speed and whether the flash was used.

That seems to be a lot of data. But if you have the option Show all you really get the metadata in detail, with an abundance of information such as the shutter speed, the F-number, how the white balance was determined and so on.

With the button New it is possible to add new information (figure 11), such as the author of the picture or copyright information. You can adjust all this metadata in Visions. For example, let’s assume that the recorded recording date is wrong. Then you click Date / Time Original and at the bottom just enter a new date and time information.

Share and print

Through the Sharing Center connect the application to your Flickr account. Of course you can also share photos via email. If you choose the latter option, the application asks if you want to send the images in full size. High-resolution images and email are usually not a good match. Therefore, you can have the attached photos automatically reduced to three standard sizes: Small, Medium and Large.

Apart from that, Visions has a so-called Printing House, with which you can compile cards and calendars. These photo calendars can be set in just about all existing languages, including Dutch, so you can print this project in high quality and give it as a gift.


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