Photo Story 3 Online Manual

You can use Photo Story 3 for Windows (XP or Vista) to create visually compelling and fun stories using your own pictures, pictures downloaded from the Internet and music. This online manual was created especially for you. It walks you through the basics of creating a photo story and shows you how easy and fun it can be!


At any point during work with Photo Story 3, you can click on the Help button located on the lower left corner of the Photo Story 3 screen. A dialog box will appear as shown below.



Accessing help


Please note: This tutorial will show you how to create a story using images that are already in your computer. If you have your own images, you can substitute them as you go through the tutorial.


Let's get started...


To open Photo Story...

Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Photo Story 3 for Windows.


Start program


Alternatively, you may have a Photo Story 3 icon on your desktop, as shown below. If you have an icon on your desktop, then you can just double click on it to get started with creating your digital story.




On the Photo Story 3 Welcome screen, click on Begin a new story, and then click Next.


Begin project



Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story  



Importing and arranging your pictures


First, you will add the photos that you want to use in your story and then arrange them in

the order that they will be viewed. (You can change the order of the photos at any time during your work by clicking on the back button to get to this window.)

On the Import and arrange your pictures screen, click Import Pictures.

Import and arrange photos


In the File Browser dialog box, browse to My Documents\My Pictures\Sample Pictures


Please note: Most of the time, when you save images to your computer, this is the default folder.  If you have saved any images to your computer, you will probably find them here. If you have other pictures you want to use, browse to the folder that contains your pictures and follow the directions below.


File Browser

If you do not see images, you may need to use the View Menu to select Thumbnail. To do this, click on the View Menu, then click on Thumbnail. See the images below.

View image


View Menu/Thumbnail


Click on the pictures you want to import into your story. To add more than one picture at a time, press and hold the CTRL key, click on the pictures you want to add, and then click OK.


Click and import



All of your pictures should now be present in the filmstrip, as shown in the screen shots below. 

Filmstrip with photos

If you want to change the order of your pictures, select a picture in the filmstrip by clicking on it and then use the arrows to the right side of the filmstrip to move the picture to the left or right.  


Move photos


Please note: You can also move the photos by clicking on the photo, holding the mouse button down and dragging the photo to a new location the releasing the mouse button.  If you want to delete a photo, highlight it and click on the "X."


The filmstrip in Photo Story is a great place to quickly make changes to your pictures and story. You can click a picture in the filmstrip and click on the Edit tools to change the appearance of your pictures.  The tools are shown below.


Edit tools

Try clicking on some of the choices to see what happens or follow the directions below. Clicking on Edit offers you more ways to change the appearance of the picture. The screen shot below displays the window that will appear when you click Edit.



Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story



Photo Editing in Photo Story 3


Make sure that you have a picture highlighted, then click on Edit to see more options for enhancing your photos. The Edit Pictures screen will open, as seen below.  Let's take a look at some of the tools you can use to enhance your photos.


Edit screen


Click on the Rotate and Crop tab to rotate your picture clockwise or counterclockwise. This is helpful for photos that were taken as in portrait rather than landscape. You will see the picture changing in the window.



To crop your picture, click on Crop, as indicated below.  You will notice that a box appears in the middle of the picture - inside the box is darker and outside is lighter.  You can adjust this box smaller or larger, but it will retain its rectangular shape.


To adjust the size of the box, grab one of the corners by clicking, holding and dragging the mouse until the box is the size you want . You can move the crop box by clicking in the middle of the box, holding and dragging to a different location, then release the mouse button.

Changing size of crop

You may want to focus in on a portion of the picture by cropping to a different size or focus. Try this to see how different the picture looks.  In the example below, the picture of the lilies was cropped to just a single flower.

Many lilies             Single lily


You can change the look of pictures by clicking on any of the auto-fix buttons under the Auto Fix tab. Click the "On" button to see how it changes your picture.


Auto fix


Try adding an effect to one of the pictures to see what it looks like. Click on the Add Effect tab and then on the Effect drop down box to see your choices. 


  Look at the difference in the pictures below using Black and White, Colored Pencil, Washout, and Water Color.

black and white     Colored pencil

Wash out     Water Color 



You can choose to add the same effect to all your pictures by clicking on the box as indicated below.  Sometimes people want to have their stories look "old" and use Sepia for all the pictures.  


all same effect


When adding effects to each picture, click on the right and left arrows to move to the next or the prior picture. If you don't like an effect, you can always use the back button to go back and change it.


When you are finished, click on Save and then on Close.




Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story


Adding text to your story

Click on the Next button, if you have not already done so.  The next Photo Story 3 window will open, as pictured below.

Edit text

You can see that the text is highlighted. Begin typing and you will see what you typed appear over your picture.  

Please note: You can change the effect of your picture from here. See the red arrow below.


Text appears


You have several choices in deciding how you want your text to look.  The button on the left will open a new window that allows you to change the font face, size, color, and effect (normal, underline, italicize, bold). The next set of buttons allow you to left, center or right justify your text. The last three buttons allow you to place your text on the top, middle or bottom of your picture.


Text change

Below are two examples of the same picture with different font effects.

Effect1       effect2

When you have completed the text for one picture, click on the next picture in the filmstrip to add text to another photo. Remember, you can always go back and change any pictures you are not happy with by clicking on the Back button.

Repeat same steps mentioned in the previous screen shots to add text to additional pictures, and experiment with different text styles, sizes, and alignments, using different formatting buttons. When you are finished adding text to your pictures, click Next.



Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story

Narrating your story

One of the nice features of Photo Story 3 is the ability to narrate your story.  Before you begin recording, make sure you have a microphone plugged in and then click on the microphone to configure the mic and set recording volume. See picture below.


Click a picture in the filmstrip. Add any desired text in the cue card area as seen above. Click the Record Narration  button to start recording narration.

The red dot in the record button will flash indicating recording is taking place. A timer is provided to help you keep track of your narration length. When you have finished narrating the picture, click the Stop Recording button. Repeat the same steps for each picture for which you want to add narration.


See the picture below for the Stop button, Delete Narration and time recorded.

Other buttons


Note: Narration for each picture can not exceed 5 minutes. Once you have added narration, click the first picture in the filmstrip, and then click the Preview... button to see how your story looks and sounds.

If you want to hear your narration, you can click on the Preview button.  The story you have created so far will play from the slide you are clicked on until the end. You can stop it at any time by clicking on the "X" in the upper right corner.  You can also pause the preview by using the controls along the bottom.



Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story



Customizing Motion and Transitions

After completing your narration, you are ready to begin having some fun with Photo Story 3. Click on  the Customize Motion button seen in the screen shot below.  A new dialog box will appear.


From the Customize Motion screen, you can Specify start and end position of motion for each picture in your Photo Story by clicking inside the small square as seen in the next screen shot. Using your mouse, click on any of the picture (sizing) handles and drag inward or outward depending on your Start and End positions. You can also move the focal point of the picture by clicking in the picture, holding down your mouse and dragging the box to another location on the picture.



You can also change the duration (the amount of time the viewer will see the picture) of each picture. From the Motion and Duration tab, you can set the Duration to be automatic or select the Number of seconds to display the picture as seen below.



Take a look at the movie to view effects of changing the starting and ending positions of the slide as well as the motion and duration.


Next, you can click on the Preview... button to view your photo story and decide if you like the Customized Motions and Duration time you selected.



From the same screen (Customize Motion), click on the Transition tab. Click the

Start current picture using a transition box to select, as seen below. You can also set the duration of time for the transition effect also.




Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story



Adding background music

With Photo Story 3, you can add music to your story by using the Create Music option to create custom music that suites your story and taste or by using Windows Media Audio (WMA), MP3, or WAV files.


create music


To create music for your story...


On the Add background music page, click the first picture in the filmstrip and then click

Create Music.



create music


In the Create Music dialog box, in the Genre drop-down list, scroll down and select All or your music choice. In the Style drop-down list, select Classical or choose your own style. You can leave the default Bands and Moods, or choose different ones.

Click Play to hear what the music will sound like. When the music has finished playing, click OK to close the Create Music dialog box.



There is now a piece of music shown as a colored bar above the picture in the filmstrip.


music created


If it is not selected, click the first picture in the filmstrip, and click the Preview... tab, to see how well your music fits your story.

You may need to adjust the music volume levels to accommodate your narration. To do this, simply click the picture in the filmstrip and then adjust the music volume using the volume slider bar. You may need to adjust the volume and preview your story a few times to get it just right.


To add pre-recorded music to your story...

On the Add background music screen, click the first picture in the filmstrip and then click Select Music.



On the File Open dialog box, click My Documents from the left menu. Browse to My Music\Sample Music, click New Stories (Highway Blues).wma, and then click Open as seen below. If you wish to add music located in another folder, find the other folder by clicking on the Look In drop-down menu at the top of the window, find and select the file, then click Open.

add music

  The music you just added is shown as a colored bar above the picture in the filmstrip, as shown in the above screen shot. This helps you determine which pictures will be shown for each piece of music you add. This is particularly helpful when you add more than one song to your story.


indicates music added



When you are satisfied, click Next, to move on to the final steps.

Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story

Saving your story

When you save your photo story, all the pictures, narrations, and music are compiled into a video file that you can view in Windows Media Player. Since you will play this photo story on your computer, you can use the default options when saving your photo story.


To save your photo story as a project, simply click on the Save Project... tab at the bottom of the screen and a default Save As window will appear as seen below. Under File Name section, indicate the name of your photo story project as displayed in the screen shot above and click the Save button.

save project



The screen shot below displays Saving Your Project File.


Please Note: Saving your project file allows you to edit your story later if you wish to make changes.


saving file



When your project has been saved, the screen below will appear. Click the Next tab to continue.

From the Save your story page, Click Browse to specify the location and file name of your story.




  On the Save As dialog box, browse to My Documents\My Videos as seen above. In the File Name text box, type San_Diego_PS.wmv or the name you wish to give to your photo story file. Click the Save button.


Before you click the Next tab, you may want to click on the Settings... button and make sure that Profile for computers - 2 (640X480) is selected. If it is not selected, from the drop-down menu, select it, click the OK button, and then the Next button.



At this time, Photo Story 3 is Building your story.





When Photo Story 3 finishes the process, the above screen shot will appear. You may select View your story if you want to watch it or Create another story if you wish to build another one. Otherwise, click on the Exit button.


If you selected View your story, Windows Media Player will open and your photo story will begin to play.


Please note: Building your story creates a Windows Media Video (.WMV) file which cannot be edited using Photo Story 3. This movie can be saved to a CD or DVD to play on your computer or TV.

  Now that you have created your first photo story through our Photo Story 3 Online Manual, it's time to start a new story. This time, add your own pictures and music to create stories to share with your students, friends, and family. This is simply THE BEGINNING of something Extraordinary – ENJOY!!!

Top    Open    Import Photos    Add Text    Narration    Customize Motion    Add Music    Save your Story




© Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Janice Wilson Butler  and Juan Chavez, Jr.

Brownsville, Texas