A bit puzzling

Add a Ministeck-style effect to your images with this basic program.

We'll admit upfront that we had never heard of Ministeck until we encountered Perro Ministeck Creator. A bit of research revealed that Ministeck is a kind of puzzle originating in Germany that involves placing rectangular colored pieces of plastic onto a grid in order to form an image. In other words, it's a mosaic-style puzzle. Perro Ministeck Creator lets users take their own images and give them a Ministeck-style effect. We're not sure why, exactly, unless you're just a big fan of Ministeck and like the look of it, but it works well enough for what it is.

The program's interface is plain and intuitive. There's a button that lets users load their desired image and slider controls for contrast, brightness, and saturation. A large preview area lets users see their Ministeck image as they work on it. Users can choose between a variety of sizes of vertical and horizontal puzzles, select the colors used, and pick one of two algorithms to form the puzzle. Users can then print or save the puzzle images, as well as print a list of the blocks used. The program doesn't have a Help file, something that would have been much appreciated given the fact that Ministeck seems relatively unknown outside of Europe. Overall, Perro Ministeck Creator seemed to work well enough--it added a nice Ministeck-style effect to our images--but we're still not sure what the ultimate point of the program is.

Perro Ministeck Creator installs a desktop icon without asking but uninstalls cleanly. We recommend this program to anyone with knowledge of or curiosity about Ministeck.

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