Creating a Spotlight Effect with Text in ProShow Producer

Learn how to make a spotlight effect in ProShow

In a recent training video, we showed a really neat effect of a spotlight highlighting an individual in a group photo and then a caption appearing under the photo. We had a ton of requests on how to re-create this effect in ProShow Producer, so the steps are below!

Note: Please keep in mind this example is for instructional purposes only. Feel free to use your own values and layer positions while following along.

Adding Layers + Layer Setup

  1. Drag and drop your photo onto your slide.
  2. Double-click the slide to open the Slide Options window.
  3. Under the Layers column, right-click the photo you added and select Duplicate layer to make a second layer on your slide. (note: we will use this duplicate layer to create the spotlight effect layer)
  4. Click the (+) button under the layers column on your left and select Add Solid Color from the right-click menu and set the color to Black. (note: this layer will be used to create the spotlight effect)
  5. Now you need to place your layers in the following order using the up and down arrows located at the top of the layers column in the Slide Options window.
    1. First layer – Solid Color Layer
    2. Second Layer – Duplicate photo Layer
    3. Third Layer – Original photo layer
  6. Now that we have your layers in the correct order we need to set the solid color layer as a mask +vignette.

To enable as mask:

  1. Right-click the solid color layer (layer 1) in the layers list and select Use as Masking Layer from the right-click menu.
  2. Now click on the Layer Settings tab and make sure the Mask type is set to Transparency.

Learn how to create a spotlight effect in ProShow Producer

To setup a vignette:

  1. Select the solid color layer (layer 1) from the layers list and select the Adjustments tab located at the top of the Slide Options window
  2. Under Editing Tools, locate Vignette, check the box and click on the Vignette button to setup the vignette
  3. Under Vignette Type, set the Shape to Ellipse and Type to Solid Color (black).
  4. Under Vignette Options, set the Vignette Size to 100% and check the Solid borders checkbox.
  5. Click Ok and you’re done.

Learn how to create a spotlight effect in ProShow Producer

Now we need to set the opacity for our mask so the spotlight appears on top of your photo.

  1. Under the same Adjustments tab locate the Opacity slider and adjust this to 100%
  2. Setting the Opacity to 100% allows your photo (layer 2) nested inside your mask to show through the area of the mask.
  • At this point you should now see a spotlight appearing on top of your photo when previewing the slide in your show. Do you see the spotlight?
  • After you test playback of this slide, position your mask layer (layer 1) on top of the photo so the spotlight appears where you’d like and add any motion to both layer 2 and layer 3 so the effect is synced during playback. As a rule of thumb you want to make sure the values for layer 2 and layer 3 matches up exactly for this effect to work.
  • Adding Caption + position

    Now that you have the foundation setup for this effect the last thing you need to do is add your caption to your slide and position it in the appropriate location on your photo.

    1. In the Slide Options, click the (+) button under the Captions column on your left to create your caption.
    2. Now enter your text into the Selected Caption Text input box on the top-right of this window.
    3. Finally, position the caption on your photo by dragging the caption inside our preview window so it is positioned under your spotlight on your photo and you’re done.

    After all that work, be sure and save this custom spotlight effect as a slide style and you’ll be able to re-use the spotlight effect in just a few clicks.



    ProShow Video Slideshows Look Fantastic on the New iPhone 6

    The iPhone 6's new Retina HD display makes your ProShow video slideshows look fantastic in HD

    The new iPhone 6 is here, and it makes your ProShow video slideshows look great! With the highest resolution Retina HD screens ever offered on an iPhone, your HD shows will look fantastic.

    Our mobile apps work with ProShow Web, ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer to easily let you play your shows on any iOS device.

    The ProShow Web app connects to our online service, letting you build and play HD slideshows right from your device. It connects to your existing ProShow Web account, or lets you create a free account for making quick shows. The ProShow Web app is free with your ProShow Web account.

    Our ProShow Remote app connects to ProShow Gold and Producer on your desktop. It lets you easily publish slideshows to your iPhone or iPad right from ProShow. You can even control playback on your computer. The ProShow Remote app is completely free.


    Both apps support Apple’s AirPlay for streaming HD slideshows to your Apple TV. Its the easiest way to play an HD slideshow on your TV.

    ProShow Web and ProShow Remote are both available from the Apple App Store, and work with any iOS device running iOS 7 or iOS 8. Use it on nearly any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.




    What’s the Difference Between ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer

    Photodex makes a powerful line of award-winning photo and video slideshow software called ProShow. It comes in several versions and each has its advantages depending on how you plan to use the product. One of the most frequently asked questions we get is:

    What’s the difference between ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer?

    ProShow Producer is a professional video slideshow tool. It has advanced features like keyframing, masking, templates and copy protection that go beyond basic slideshow functionality and give you all the tools you need to make a polished and professional show. While there are many options in the software, it’s still very easy to use and very user-friendly.

    Watch the video above to see quick run-through of the main differences in these two products. You can also check out this handy product comparison chart on the Photodex website here. Remember, you can always download a free trial of ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer to try the software before purchasing. Photodex offers free 15-day trials of all its slideshow products.

    If you’re on the fence as to which product to buy or are thinking about upgrading from ProShow Gold to Producer, give this video a quick watch. We’re also standing by to answer your calls or emails 7-days a week at: 1-800-377-4686 or




    Join Us for an Austin Photo Walk

    Austin Photo Walk

    In the Austin area? Join photographer Kevin Gourley and the Photodex team for a fun and inspiring photo walk capturing images of the beautiful State Capitol building in Austin, Texas, November 1, 2014. Kevin will be our guide as we wind our way through this historic and extremely photogenic building. Then join us as we venture outside for shots of the grounds and surrounding areas.

    We’ll be creating a collaborative video slideshow from everyone’s images and videos after the walk. Be sure you reserve your spot today, limited to 30 participants!

    Register here >

    Austin-based photographer and educator, Kevin Gourley, teaches destination and local photography workshops year-round. Watch the video slideshow below to see Kevin in-action during several of his recent photography workshops and visit his site for more information.

    “My favorite software for creating photographic slideshows is ProShow Producer. It is a very powerful, well designed program and I recommend it to all of my students,” – Kevin Gourley.




    Using Dropbox and ProShow for Improved Slideshow Workflow

    Using Dropbox with ProShow

    If you’re looking for a great way to store, archive or share your photos or videos in the cloud, Dropbox may be a great solution for you. They recently added some pretty handy new features to their Pro service ($10/month), including more storage space (1TB), view-only shared folders and new security features. Check out some of the ways ProShow and Dropbox work together below.

    Easy Importing into ProShow Slideshows

    With ProShow Web, you can import content directly from your Dropbox account. No need to upload twice! Just click Add Content and select Dropbox.

    With the Dropbox application loaded on your local computer, you can easily import your content into a ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer slideshow. The Dropbox folder shows up just like any other folder on your hard drive. From there you can select content and drag and drop directly into a new slideshow.

    Collaboration and Sharing

    When you’re building a show, Dropbox makes it easy to get images from clients, friends or family.

    When you’re ready to share a final video, you don’t need to worry about burning a disc or mailing a flash drive. You can simply upload to Dropbox and invite your guests to download the video. This is really handy when you have shows that are too large for YouTube, need to remain super high quality (YouTube isn’t always the best), or when a video needs to remain private or offline.

    One Central Location for Your Content

    If you’re like me, you take tons of pictures! Sometimes I process them on my desktop, sometimes on my laptop and once in a while I get a great shot or two on my phone. With the Dropbox desktop and mobile apps, you can store your images and video in one central location in the cloud. This allows you to easily access and transfer all of your photos and videos across all of your devices and your content is readily available when you’re ready to make a video slideshow.

    Do you use Dropbox to share photos or videos with friends, family or clients? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.



    Best Practices for Burning DVD Slideshows


    Burning a DVD of the finished product is commonplace for many slideshow creators. But along with burning DVDs comes the risk of burn failures. These often fall into two camps – either a burn that fails at some point during the writing process, or one that finishes successfully but does not play all the way through on a standalone DVD player.  There are multiple factors at play here, and it’s often hard to identify the true culprit. Today we’ll be looking at four possible factors for disc burning failures and how to avoid them.

    Want to learn how to burn a DVD slideshow in ProShow? Click here for steps on how to burn a DVD slideshow in ProShow Gold & Producer. Click here to learn how to burn a DVD slideshow in ProShow Web.

    Burn speed:

    If you buy a new DVD burner today and a pack of blank discs, odds are that both are rated for at least a 16x burn speed.  Without going into the technical details, this means that a DVD can be burned 16 times faster than the time it takes to watch the DVD from start to finish. This relationship varies greatly depending on the DVD quality setting you’ve chosen, which makes it a less-than-ideal rule of thumb, but you can safely assume that the higher the x value, the quicker the discs can be burned.

    The truth is, the stars have to align for you to have a good burning success rate at 16x. Not only does your burner have to be top-notch, but your system has to be able to consistently feed the burner data at that rate. More importantly, the manufacturing quality of the discs may not be up to par to allow for burning at 16x, despite what’s written on the label.

    The easiest way to ensure successful writes is to lower the burn speed.  Assuming you’ve already inserted your blank DVD in ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer, the Burning tab of the Create DVD window will allow you to change the speed from “Max” to a lower value.  I generally recommend no faster than 4x, but if this isn’t available for the disc you’re using, try the lowest speed listed.

    4x - 2

    DVD Media:

    While a lower burn speed can increase the reliability of most blank discs, you’ll want to hedge your bets with discs that are manufactured at a higher quality.  The problem is that the vast majority of brands outsource their production to a number of factories with varying processes and quality standards.  A ubiquitous brand like Memorex, for example, may be decent quality in one batch and low quality in another (they’re usually never *great* quality though).

    The two brands that get mentioned the most when talking about good quality blank discs are Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim.  You’re not likely to see the brand Taiyo Yuden in any of your local stores, so your best bet is ordering them online under one of their various brand names (JVC being the most common). Just do a search on Amazon for Taiyo Yuden discs. Verbatim is comparatively much more common to find in stores, but make sure to look for those that have the “AZO” label on the packaging (Link), which indicates that a superior recording dye is used in their manufacturing process.

    Basic CMYK

    One question that comes up a lot is whether to use DVD-R or DVD+R media. Though technically two competing technologies, in the modern era they’re almost equally supported by the vast majority of burners and DVD players.  Just make sure that your burner explicitly supports the type of media you’re buying.


    If you find that you have a higher failure rate – perhaps even a 100% failure rate – with a certain pack of discs, it’s time to buy a different pack, right?  Not necessarily.  DVD burners have what’s known as “firmware”, which is a low-level set of instructions that tells the writer how to respond to the commands sent by the burning software.  Over time, a drive manufacturer may release an updated firmware that not only improves the reliability of the burner, but also improves the compatibility with certain discs.

    Assuming your drive is burning your discs with no problem, you don’t need to worry about the firmware. But if you’re getting a number of coasters – or discs that failed to burn correctly - you’ll want to check your drive manufacturer’s site for an updated firmware to download.  Drives that come with pre-installed in name brand systems (e.g. Dell, HP, etc) will often have firmware updates in the drivers/downloads section of the brand’s website for your computer model.

    If your computer is not made by a name brand or has an aftermarket drive, you may need to look up firmware for the exact model number of the drive. To do this, you can open the Device Manager in Windows’ Control Panel to see the model number of the optical drive(s) is installed. After you’ve found this, do a Google search for [model number] firmware.  With any luck, the first few results should lead you to what you’re looking for.  Just make sure and follow the instructions listed on the website to ensure a pain-free update.



    There are a handful of brands that are synonymous with making good DVD burners – Pioneer, Sony Optiarc, Samsung – but not every drive model out there is a winner.  Likewise, the less-revered brands like LG or Matsushita will have their share of great models.  Your best defense is to read reviews (on Amazon, Newegg, etc) for a general consensus on quality.  Remember: a drive with 1000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5-out-of-5 stars is often a better bet than a drive with 50 reviews and a 5-out-of-5 rating.

    As I mentioned earlier in the article, burning a DVD requires that your system be able to feed a steady stream of data to the burner.  Potential bottlenecks include slow hard drives, a slow CPU, or the type of data connection between your system and the drives, just to name a few.  The bottom line is that you’re regularly burning discs on an older machine, it may be time to look into purchasing a new computer.

    What about Blu-ray?:

    The same principles above apply to burning Blu-ray discs as well. You should burn at a lower speed than what’s advertised (2x or 4x for BD-R discs) and you’ll want to make sure your burner’s firmware is up to date.  When buying Blu-ray BD-R discs, you should avoid discs that say “LTH” or “Low-to-High” on the packaging.  These discs are manufactured using cheaper organic dyes that degrade over time.  I personally recommend using Verbatim BD-R discs.

    Further reading:

    If you’d like to get more in depth in the concepts mentioned above, the website The Digital FAQ is an invaluable resource. Here are a few recommended articles:

    Blank DVD Media Quality Review

    DVD Burning and Media Quality Concepts

    DVD-Video Disc and Burner Formats; DVD-R vs DVD+R

    Thread: DVD Burner Reviews for 2013




    11 Year Old Explaining his Photo and Video Progression Will Make Your Day

    11 year old Hayden Russell recently sent us this video explaining his journey as a photographer and cinematographer. He’s been capturing images and shooting videos since he was 5 years old and enjoys producing videos and slideshows with his brother Grady that they post on his YouTube channel. Hayden allowed us to share some of his recent images with you below (thanks Hayden!) and we were really impressed with his work!

    Do you remember the first time you were inspired to pick up a camera? Was there a certain mentor, instructor or speaker that inspired you to get started? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

    Street Lightning

    Hill Country Sunset

    Pond in HDR


    How-To + Tutorials

    Creating a Spotlight Effect with Text in ProShow Producer

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    In a recent training video, we showed a really neat effect of a spotlight highlighting an individual in a group photo and then a caption appearing under the…

    What’s the Difference Between ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Photodex makes a powerful line of award-winning photo and video slideshow software called ProShow. It comes in several versions and each has its advantages depending on how you…

    Using Dropbox and ProShow for Improved Slideshow Workflow

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    If you’re looking for a great way to store, archive or share your photos or videos in the cloud, Dropbox may be a great solution for you. They…

    Best Practices for Burning DVD Slideshows

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Burning a DVD of the finished product is commonplace for many slideshow creators. But along with burning DVDs comes the risk of burn failures. These often fall into two camps…