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Shape Collage Pro for fast and easy digital photo collages

I just tried out Shape Collage Pro version 2.5.1. It’s capable of making collages from your photos in any number of shapes; you can choose a circle, square, text or draw any shape you like. The example below is using a square, nothing fancy.

I’m very impressed with the clean and easy to use interface. Nicely done.

As a huge plus, Shape Collage uses all 16 virtual cores of my Mac Pro Nehalem, which means that the 50 megapixel collage below consisting of 125 jpegs each about 20MB in size took only 10 seconds or so to make! This means you can play around with many different variants very quickly, a huge usability advantage.

I contemplate making a wall-sized poster of a trip or activity that would be a great way to revisit the experience, like having a photo album all on display at once. All I need is wall space, darn it.

I did run into several issues with Shape Collage. First, saving would only show my boot drive.

Second, it claimed to be out of memory when I tried creating a 16000 X 12000 pixel collage (but 10240 X 8192 did work). I have 64GB of memory installed, and Shape Collage is a 64-bit application, so that’s a bug. Both of these issue are apparently due to it being a Java-based program. Disabling multithreading (an option in the menu) works around the memory issue. If you are comfortable using Terminal and a text editor, set the memory limit appropriately by editing /Applications/Shape Collage.app/Contents/Info.plist. Set the memory limit appropriately; here I set my copy to 16GB (16384M). Note that setting too high a value might not work on some machines and/or some versions of Mac OS X.
<string>-Xmx16384m -Dapple.awt.graphics.UseQuartz=true</string>

The resulting collage is not tagged with a color space, and the colors are more saturated than the originals (all my original JPEGs were max quality in Wide Gamut RGB). So I’m not sure what’s happening with color, though the result is perfectly pleasing, if not accurate.

All in all, if you want to make collages, this is a fantastic program, give it a try!

Created with ShapeCollage
Click to see a larger version

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