Let's start out by noting that it's tough to compete with free. Both Skitch and Jing are free as I write this and Volia is not. Not only is it not free, it's not cheap. At $39.95, Voila's price is more than I'll spend without careful thought about whether I really need software,. Well, no, that's not exactly true, but it's more money than I can get away with without my wife asking if I really need it.
I think I've got good reason this time. Voila goes beyond Skitch. Here's a picture that shows a lot of its capability:
Yeah, I know that's silly. Consider how it was made:
I started out by capturing a still of myself from the iSight camera in my MacBook Pro. I added a caption "This is me being amazed at Voila". Then I selected a circular image from my webpage. I could have selected a square, a polygon or even indicated the area I wanted freehand. I could have even selected multiple images at once.
I took that circular image and skewed and distorted it so it appears to be turned to the side. I then pasted that onto the original image twice and resized those.
I now duplicated the image I had and pasted skewed copies back in to the original, resizing them and adding a sawtooth edge. I deleted the circular images from the original. Finally I added the red "OK" and "Approved" stamps, the freehand arrow, and the musical notes.
By the way, I did all this without referring to the manual once. Volia has a palette of tools and effects that are mostly direct and easy to understand. It also has multiple Undo, so you can easily revert back if you screw up.
Sure, there is photo editing software that can do much more. I recently reviewed Corel Painter 11, for example. That's expensive stuff - ten times the cost of Voila, and much more difficult to learn. Voila only provides a small set of editing functions - however, they are the functions I'd most commonly want .
You can drag images into Voila, export to iPhoto, to Mail, to Flickr, even to FTP. For selecting from web pages, Voila has the interesting ability to select individual DOM elements. That makes it very easy to pull desired elements from a web page.
Voila may be "limited" compared to real image editors, but has everything I usually need.
I do wish Voila had the screen session recording options of Jing. That would be a very nice addition, especially if you could use its editing functions on the frames. I also wish that I could scale the image as I save it like iPhoto allows during Export.
So - worth the cost? For me, yes. I don't use pictures a lot, but when I do, I'm fussy. Voila can help me get what I want quickly and easily.
If you'd like to buy a copy, you can use this link: Buy Voila. Yes, I get a percentage if you buy that way. You can also just download a demo and buy later - with or without using this link. Of course, I'd rather earn the commission, but that's not why I am recommending this.
Thanks to Bruce Garlock for mentioning this on Twitter!
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-07-12 Anthony Lawrence
In fact, my main conclusion after spending ten years of my life working on the TEX project is that software is hard. Itâ€™s harder than anything else Iâ€™ve ever had to do. (Donald Knuth)