Pix in the round

Display scrolling panoramic images via viewer and screensaver with this feature-packed freeware.

WPanorama brings scrolling panoramas to your desktop. It can scroll wide-screen panoramic views 360 degrees at selected speeds and along the horizontal or vertical axes. It will display 360-degree panoramic images obtained online or created in JPEG or bitmap format. It adds some interesting visual effects for displaying nonpanoramic images, including slideshow and mirroring tools.

WPanorama's download includes both the image viewer program and a screensaver. Each does much of what the other one does, but with a specific focus. For instance, you can toggle WPanorama's viewer to full-screen mode, producing a stunning effect, or you can set the screensaver to display the same view. However, the executable program offers more control, such as the ability to add descriptions, logos, and music, whereas the screensaver offers more automatic features. We downloaded and expanded the zipped program file, which opened with a default view of the Swiss Alps. The program's layout closely resembles other image viewers, the most noticeable difference being a set of Scroll controls for setting the direction, speed, zoom, increment, and timing of the scrolling action. Clicking the plus or minus signs on the Increment and Timer control gave rough and fine control of the scrolling speed, respectively. We could also choose to hide or display the control panel or toolbar, to make a seamless window view. Next we tried the screensaver, which has its own properties dialog and settings that nonetheless can be accessed from the main program's file menu, a nice touch. This dialog basically collects the most useful settings related to how the main app displays images in one compact interface that is accessible from the screensaver properties. The first thing we noticed was that the scrolling appears slower in full-screen mode. The second thing we noticed was that the view is mesmerizing. The program packs some interesting extras, too, such as the Capture tool, which let us string together bitmap images, and the Movie utility, which can create AVI videos out of the same strings of images. The Advanced menu is packed with still more options.

Whether we used the main app's full-screen mode or the screensaver, we were more than impressed with the stunning display WPanorama offers, not to mention the ability to create your own views.

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