Fundy Album Builder v6 – A Revolutionary Approach to Album Design

Gear & App Reviews February 28th 2014 9:49 AM 19 Comments

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Stepping Into Album Design

My history in album design goes as follows:

First, I bought templates for Photoshop and never used them because the orientation and number of spots was frustrating and limiting. Next, I created templates myself … for every album, then never re-used those templates again.

A year later, I discovered In Design and was thrilled with its flexibility and ease of use. I took a couple of classes and got even better. Even so, it was more efficient than Photoshop, but still a time consuming process and not one that I was fond of. If you’re not meticulous and precise, you could have inconsistent spacing between images, misaligned margins, etc. So, we hired a graphic designer to take over our album designs. It cost a bit of money, but I had my time and sanity back.

[REWIND: Photoshop vs InDesign for Album Design]

 

Finding Fundy For Photoshop

A friend told me about Fundy (a Photoshop album design plugin). I ignored them. Change is hard, learning curves are time consuming, we already outsourced our album design, and it’s Photoshop related – a path I already explored and left behind. A year later, I walked by the Fundy booth at WPPI and I was floored. The Photoshop plugin I had previously ignored was amazing! I had our team purchase a copy on the spot. The purchase cost was well worth the amount of time savings and we could stop paying out for the expensive album design fee. That was Fundy version 5. What the guys at Fundy did was take the strong points of In Design, the fundamental needs of album design, added a few more essential ingredients, and merge it into one beautiful plugin for Photoshop. It was genius! I could have been skating through album design four versions ago and I was kicking myself.

[REWIND: 5 Tips To Have A Successful WPPI Experience]

The Standalone Software

Earlier this year the guys at Fundy announced a standalone software to take over the album design process. Album Designer version 6 is free of Photoshop and a revolutionary approach to design. I couldn’t imagine how much more they could improve what they already had. I signed up for the beta and took the new software for a spin. I have to say, I love it.

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Design View where you can manage the details

Andrew Funderburg, owner of Fundy, walked me through the basic premise behind version 6. He felt that the industry, in general, had been doing a backwards approach to album design this whole time. Creating templates and putting images into the spots was like putting pegs into holes instead of letting the images dictate the design. I couldn’t agree more, but honestly, I couldn’t say what was wrong until now. This application has opened my eyes to a much better way to design. To quote Andrew, “we didn’t want to change the game. We wanted to play a completely different one.” This outside the box mentality has carved a new path to design and it’s exciting.

Introducing A Revolutionary Approach

The core of the application pivots around a drag-and-drop auto designer featuring Drop Zones™. You select your images to fit into what is essentially an elastic box. You control the size and the dimensions of the box with a simple drag of the mouse. The images in the box resize, reconfigure and reorganize automatically. Want to add or remove images? Just drag them into or out of the Drop Zone™ and they take care of themselves. Want to get creative without extra work? The quick design picker gives you 12 layout alternatives to choose from and the ability to rearrange images in your selected layout with the click of the mouse. Want to have more control of the Drop Zone™ area? Switch over to Design View and control the details to your heart’s content. I can add text, change background colors, play with opacity, zoom, send an image back to an editing software, and so much more. Exporting to jpegs is a cinch. Defining album size is a simple selection from a huge list of all your favorite album companies or a quick entry of your own custom size. I barely watched the tutorials. I wanted to see how intuitive the software was. It took a couple of rounds to get the hang of it. There are bugs, which is to be expected, I’m playing with the beta and first deployment after all. But I designed a 72 page album of 200 images without blood, sweat or tears. What a sigh of relief!

[REWIND: 5 Keys To A Modern Album Design]
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Planner View where you can see all your album pages.

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Pick from 12 different alternate layouts for a single spread with a click.

 

Conclusion

Fundy has a road map of improvements and enhancements posted on their site and it looks like they’ve accounted for the large majority of my concerns. It’s absolutely usable now and if you’ve never been on Fundy, it’s a huge improvement from whatever you’re using. It’s a tad expensive if you’re a first time buyer, but it’s worth every cent of $329. Upgrades from a previous version gives you a large discount. I’m feeling that Album Builder v6 warrants 5 stars once all the bugs are worked out and I can’t wait to see what it looks like by May. For now, I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

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[PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Make the most of your time, master Lightroom 5 with this comprehensive tutorial Lightroom Image Processing Mastery v5]

If you’re headed to WPPI, you should stop by their booth and check out the demo or download the free trial from their website.

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About

Michelle is a Southern California Portrait and Wedding Photographer. When she’s not geeking out with a camera she’s nerding out in her IT world. All other moments in the day are spent with her two wonderful children and her sweet hubby

See her work on The COCO Gallery
check out her blog at frexNgrin

19 Comments

  1. kikeabed

    how does it compare to fotofusion? i use that and its a joy to work! :) thanks!

    • Lesuave

      I discovered (free) fotofusion after one year of struggling with (expensive) album express that used to give me headaches.
      I join myself to Kikeabed to ask how does Fundy compare to fotofusion.

    • Michelle Ford

      i’ll have to check it out kikeabed. i’ll let you know

    • Lesuave

      I downloaded the trial version of fundy album builder. I think my workflow is changing again :-)
      This soft rocks! It took less than one hour to design an album.
      I wish it had an export to pdf feature, may be in a future release.

  2. Jo-Ann Stokes

    I hated designing books …also outsourced this part of my business until I stumbled across the Fundy V6 …it changed the way i looked at book designing ….I no longer outsource and cant wait for brides to send me their photo selections so that i can start with the books! The Fundy software has paid for itself already with what i have saved on outsourcing! There have been a couple of niggles …which i am sure have been sorted ….but i am happy to live with them with the way this product has changed my life!

  3. Jason Switzer

    Has anyone tried SmartAlbums yet? I’ve wTche the videos on the Pixielu website and the software seems pretty slick. I’d love to hear how Fundy compares to SmartAlbums.

    • Michelle Ford

      unfortunately it’s a MAC only software and i’m a PC user so i can’t do the compare :(

    • Graham Marley

      I haven’t used Funday, but I have SmartAlbums and I love it. It has one minor inconvenience in some of the layouts, but it’s very easy to work around it with photoshop. I give it a 9/10 easy.

  4. Jason Switzer

    Has anyone tried SmartAlbums yet? I’ve watched the videos on the Pixiellu website and the software seems pretty slick. I’d love to hear how Fundy compares to SmartAlbums.

  5. Andrew Lynch

    Just tried it and designed a full album within an hour and it looks amazing! Purchased!
    Thanks SLR lounge for finding software that made life 100x easier :)

  6. Mark

    Hi Michelle,
    can you direct me to a list of companies in the UK that will make the albums straight from the Fundy album builder. I had a look and it isn’t an easy thing to find.
    thanks Mark

    • Michelle Ford

      i’ll see them at wppi this week so let me ask for you. but also, you can export to jpeg and send those to your album company. that’s how i did it with fundy v5

    • Greg F

      There are no album companies that you can buy direct from in the software at the moment. There are a few listed on the Fundy website as coming soon to buy direct inside the software but none of them are UK based companies. It is however pretty simple (and quick) to export out your spreads and add then into you album supplier software. The specs for most companies are installed. You just select the brand, then the product, then the size. Design the album & export the spreads. I myself used Loxley Colour. I opened up their software added in the correct amount of blank pages, pasted in the spreads and was done in 3 minutes. It took longer to type in my Credit Card number. Download the trial Mark if you didn’t try it already its great.

      I’ve brought it now, after I used it I couldn’t go back to using regular templates.

      Greg

    • Lesuave

      Sim imaging

  7. Greg F

    I download the trial of this and it’s pretty good. There was a launch sale with $50 off I thought to myself I’ll buy it when I get paid at the end of the month. Went back to buy it and it’s full price again :( $329 is just pushing the price that bit too far for me why can’t places say when sale prices end!

  8. Dave Packer

    Fully convinced about fundy, the wedding business is al about saving time in the work flow… 5 Stars from me

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