Screensaver -- Picture and Sound Show (version 3.1c)
Picture and Sound Show Screen Shot (click on the image to enlarge)
I really like to create my own screensavers. I tried quite a few screensavers where I could use my own pictures. Windows XP comes equipped with “My Pictures Slideshow” which allows you to use your own pictures although it doesn’t have many options. The “Picture and Sound Show” screensaver is one of the few that not only displays your pictures but also plays sound or music. The screen shot I have provided only displays the “Picture Options” but the “Picture and Sound Show” home page (link below) provides screen shots of all the options.
After you install the program, you may find it confusing that it adds no options to open it from your Windows start button and it adds no shortcuts to open it from your desktop. It is opened through the control panel “Display” option, “Screensaver” tab. To open it, you scroll down the list of screensavers until you find “Picture and Sound Show”. After you click on it, click on “Settings” to open the program.
The screensaver has the ability to create numerous collections of screensavers. As you can see from the screen shot, I’ve created “Star Wars”, “Star Trek” and “Terminator Movies”. Each of the collections actually functions as a separate screensaver. To create a new screensaver, you click on the “New Collection” button and give it a title. If you create more than one collection, there is an option called “Change Collection Options” where you can permanently select one collection or cycle between several collections.
You can set up the screensaver to use all the pictures in a certain folder or you can add individual pictures. The option for picture sequence has one that is called shuffled and another called random. I found by experimentation that shuffled means the pictures are randomly displayed but not repeated until all the pictures have been displayed once. Random is a completely random selection of any picture regardless as to how many times it had repeated before others had been displayed. The sequential order display option could be used to construct a training aid for a computer used in a common area. Microsoft Power Point slide shows can be converted to .jpg files which you could display sequentially in this screensaver. The screensaver could be used as a training aid while it is sitting idle. The option for picture size that I use the most is “Fit into Screen”. It scales the picture bigger or smaller to fit the screen without distorting it. If you use extremely small pictures, this option may not make them look very good because artifacts can be produced by the scaling. The screensaver supports the following picture formats: jpg, gif, png, bmp and icons.
The sound option allows you to add individual sound files or use all the sound files located in a certain folder. It will play mp3, wav and midi files. It is possible to add more file types.
There are no less than 26 different transition effects between pictures, each of which can be turned on or off. You can also select a background pattern image that is used if the picture doesn’t completely fill the screen. To use it, you must turn the transition effects off before you can turn the background pattern image option on (then you can turn the transition effects back on again later).
There is an option for captions that I don’t use. It may be useful however if you have a digital camera and you want to display the names of the people in the picture or the location where the picture was taken. You can just rename the picture files to what you want to display. The screensaver can be set up so it displays the file name but not the file extension. The size, color and font of the file name can be changed.
There is yet another option called “Create Screen Saver” where you can export a screensaver that you created and send it to someone. This option produces two files, one is an *.scr and the other is a *.pss file. The *.scr file is the working part of the screensaver and the *.pss file contains your picture and sound files. You can send a friend these two files and as long as they place them both in the same folder, they will have a fully functioning screensaver without installing the “Picture and Sound Show” program. You can download another program from he “Picture and Sound Show” home page that allows you to open the *.pss file and extract the files if desired. I once created a screensaver that displayed humorous pictures of house cats while playing the music “Alley Cat”. I sent it to my sister and she loved it. One word of caution is that the *.pss file can become exceptionally large if you have a large number of picture and sound files. The one I sent my sister had about 40 medium sized pictures and a single mp3 file. The *.pss file was large but manageable.
I have described most of the options but not all. The “Picture and Sound Show” screensaver has so many nice options that make it the best I’ve ever tried. If you don't want to explore its many options, it is pretty easy to just set it to open your folders of pictures and music and use the default settings. It will work just fine that way. I highly recommend it.
The documentations states it works with Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4, 2000 and XP. The download consists of a compressed file, PictShow31.zip, which unzips to two files, Setup.exe and ReadMe.txt. Double click on Setup.exe with a file manager to install.