Monday, March 8, 2010

First Pass at Family ChArtist

The new Family ChArtist product from Generation Maps was released today.

Janet Hovorka has been providing tutorials daily on The Chart Chick blog trying to help the customer base get ready for this product.

The Family ChArtist product is an online family tree chart creation website where you, as the customer, can design your own chart, and can order the finished product from Generation Maps for a set price (depending on the size of your chart, and the quality of the canvas you select).

Family ChArtist offers a FREE 8.5 x 11 print of a 4-generation family tree chart - you can save it to their system and to your computer as a JPG file, and print it on your printer.

Here is a screen shot of one of my 8.5 x 11 4-generation charts:

Changing the background image is easy with the ribbon of thumbnail images at the bottom of the screen:

As you can see, the user can modify the horizontal and vertical box spacing, box width, add a title and/or a saying, add a background (including your own image if you choose), LDS temple images, borders and embellishments using the tabs at the bottom of the screen. The right-hand side of the screen provides details of your design for the specific tab you are working in.

Here is the screen view of my 8.5 x 11 chart ready to be printed out on my printer - it is 16 mb in size:

If you want a larger wall chart, you can design them up to 36 x 48 inches. I could get six generations to fit nicely on this size chart in a Bow-Tie configuration:

And with another background:

And with an LDS Temple added over the image:

For a stretched Matte Canvas print, the 36 x 48 chart sells for $215.95, for a Matte Canvas print 139.95, for a Vinyl print $79.95. for Professional Paper $59.95, and for Standard Bond paper $34.95. An extra print is half price.

The choices of chart types is limited right now to a pedigree chart or a bow-tie chart. The user cannot change the text size, color or font of the family tree data, or the box and line colors or weights. I imagine that those features will be added over time as the program and website mature.

The Family ChArtist system works fairly well. I had some glitches:

* loading a GEDCOM file from Family Tree Maker resulted in taking a long time finding myself in the jumbled list of 39,000 persons. I finally made a GEDCOM in RootsMagic and the list was in RIN order - found myself easily!
* I couldn't get my own image to load as a background picture.
* Changing the LDS temple image wouldn't load either.
* I had trouble the first time I tried to get the 8.5 x 11 size print and had to start over. It worked fine the second time.

Janet's posts on The Chart Chick blog provide many more examples of the different looks that can be achieved with this system, and provides some step-by-step tutorials on how to get started and use the program.

For a new product, Family ChArtist is off to an auspicious start. I look forward to experimenting with it in future weeks.

Disclosure: I am not an employee of Generation Maps, nor have I been paid for writing about this product. I do think I will like it!

1 comment:

Janet Hovorka said...

Hi Randy,
Thanks so much for trying it out. I'm so glad you liked it.

And FYI, you can change the ext size, color or font of the family tree data under the "Add genealogy info" tab. It's the "Change font for genealogy information" button.

And I'm not sure why the picture or the LDS temple wouldn't load for you. Maybe it was nervous about being tested out by Randy Seaver :-) I think it is working. Let me know.

We'd love to hear any further feedback or suggestions you or any of your readers have.