PhotoJoy is a free app that uses your own photo collection to create dynamicdesktop wallpaper, screensavers, and desktop widgets.
As your image collection grows you may have noticed that although it is taking more and more space on your hard drive, yet ironically you seldom get to actually look at your pictures.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could integrate your images into your desktop and screensaver so you could actually get to see them? If this sounds like something you want then read on.
There are three types of toys that this program offers:
- Dynamic wallpaper (“collages”): these consist of a backdrops with three “postcards” overlayed on top where PhotoJoy will randomly shuffle pictures from your collection.
- Photo widgets (which it calls Photo Toys): reminiscent of other desktop widget engines (e.g. Klipfolio or Vista’s built in widgets). There are 5 variations on this in the version I tested that feature animation and interesting transitions (see screenshot to the right). The downside is that these seem to consume too much CPU power, so I would use sparingly and only on powerful PCs (see CONS section below).
- Animated Screensavers: I’ve seen screensavers based on images before, but must admit that these are very interesting and the range of different screensavers on offer is impressive (screenshot on top left of this post).
Here’s a list of PROS and CONS:
- An excellent range of choices; many “toys” that you can download and use
- The screensavers: very cool and smoothly animated
- The dynamic wallpaper “collages” are generally very interesting
- Memory use is approx 40 megs, which is not insignificant. But the more important issue is that this program seems to be constantly using up CPU processing cycles on my PC (about 20%-30%). Upon further investigation I found that it was the widgets (Photo Toys) that were responsible. The other toys were ok in terms of CPU usage. See more on this subject in the “verdict” section below.
- The backgrounds for the dynamic wallpaper tends to be somewhat, erm… cheesy.
Wish list (or how this program can be even better):
- The ability to create custom dynamic wallpaper would be great, such that you would use your favorite image as wallpaper and overlay it with the postcard style changing images.
The verdict: generally a very good, well made program. What’s interesting about PhotoJoy is the range of options that it has on offer; there are dozens of “collages” and screensavers to choose from and most of them are innovative and well done. On the flip side the high CPU usage for the widgets (Photo Toys) was a deal breaker for me, and I quickly removed these. Unless you have a powerful PC or really want the widgets on your desktop I would skip those and stick with just the wallpaper and screensaver options instead (which to me are the more interesting ones anyway).
Version Tested: build 200956
Compatibility: Windows XP or Vista, graphic card with 64 mb of memory
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 621K for the installer, which will then download more files on installation).