Picture Collage Maker 3 for Mac makes photo collage creation easy

I've been spending way too much time with Picture Collage Maker 3 (well, actually it's up to version 3.5.8). The US$14.99 app for Mac OS X (10.7 or higher) is a fun and easy-to-use photo collage creator for creating photo collages, scrapbooks, greeting cards, photo calendars, photo albums and posters quickly. It's available at the Mac App Store.

Well, you can create them quickly, but since the app sports 140-plus templates (and you can download another 100 for free), you may find yourself spending a lot of time on a "quickie" project. Plus, after you select the template you want, you can edit and personalize your work with clip art, frames, masks and the like.

The templates cover a plethora of categories of greeting cards, scrapbooks, photo albums, calendars, disk covers, comic collages, posters and magazine covers, and more. Themes are provided for such occasions and holidays as Traveling, Birthday, Wedding, Family tree, Yearbook, Anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, etc.

Once you've finished creating your masterpiece, you can print it, send it to iPhoto, save it in a variety of formats, share (via email, Facebook, etc.), and even save it as the desktop image on your Mac. One quirk I found with Picture Collage Maker: sometimes (but not always) after I had exported my work in one format and tried to save it in another, I had to reboot the app to do so.  

You can customize the size and orientation of your collage, scrapbook, and other projects. Photos can be imported directly from iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, and similar apps. There is a pane in Picture Collage Maker that lets you view your photo collection. However, if your iPhoto has thousands of images as mine does, it's easier to drag and drop your pics into the software's window.

It's a breeze to move, rotate, and resize photos. You can zoom in on the editing area to view details. If you want to concentrate fully on your work, you edit in full-screen mode. 

You can tweak your photos and graphics with a varoetu effects and filters. A variety of background patterns are available, and you can apply special frames, masks, and clipart.

Of course, you can also add text, resize it, and apply effects. However, I found the text tool to be a bit awkward. For instance, when I wanted to add a quote, I placed a lot of text into the text block. However, I had to insert hard breaks into the text to make it all fit onscreen. That's not intuitive.

Thankfully, the rest of Picture Collage Maker is. Perhaps it's too user friendly. You may start out to make a quick poster, and end up creating an elaborate photo album. You've been warned.