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Thread: Opinions on lifesaver software

  1. #1
    Grumbler in training
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    Feb 2013
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    Default Opinions on lifesaver software

    Hey guys im considering making the move from from traditional frame design to framevue with the lifesaver software i was curious how many of you guys have used this before and how it works in your shops as always i really appreciate your posts.......
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  • #2
    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer
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    Feb 2009
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    I first bought Framevue about 4 years ago, but never got around to using it until last October. Main reason for the delay was the setup time that I thought was necessary.

    In October when we were slow, I assigned one of my employees to it and told her to have it running in a week. But things have changed in the last 4 years. It actually only took her a couple of days to figure out that much of the stuff needing loading was now already available, and that we honestly didn't need to setup anything ahead of time now. In other words, we just needed to plug the camera in to the computer and to a power supply, and we were ready to use Framevue.

    It has definitely helped our sales. Customers are also wow'd by the 40" LED TV screen on which I show them the images of their designs. After I had the camera white balance adjusted by a professional photographer, and I got the TV calibrated, everything looks really good on the big screen. Helps our customers make better decisions, and OFTEN leads to higher value sales.

    So I would definitely recommend some type of visualization software.

    BUT....

    Framevue still has quite a few bugs and quirks and things that don't seem to work well. I would not consider myself a true 'expert' on Framevue, but I'm actually shocked by how many things don't work properly this many years after the software's introduction.

    Preloading your own frame samples remains a big issue with me; you can preload them, but sometimes the system refuses to use the photo you uploaded and uses a totally different one instead.

    It also seems impossible to make small changes to existing designs sometimes. For example, you can take a photo of the art, 3 frames and 5 mats, and switch which ones are used in any design you are working on, no problem; but if the customer says 'oh try this frame too', you have to start completely over, take a new photo of the art, and the other 3 frame corners plus the new on, and the 5 mats;you can't just add another frame sample photo to the lot you are currently working with. (Yes, you can type the number in directly, but then we come to that preloaded image problem that I just mentioned before, where it doesn't show the right moulding photo with the right moulding number.)

    This lack of being able to preload our images and use them also means nothing is defined in Framevue, so we can't just 'transfer' the info quickly back to Lifesaver: we have to re-type everything.

    I'm only scratching the surface here. There are lots of other quirks like, you can take a photo of the art in any position, but you have to rotate it before you define anything, or you have to start over, meaning take a new photo; you can't rotate it later. I have never seen how to do anything other than a rectangle for an opening. Unless Framevue/Lifesaver has changed it, only a few discontinued camera models are compatible with the system. Call me old fashioned, but I like a printed user manual. Etcetera.

    (And if someone replies here, "but it can do such and such!", then I would add that their traning video needs improvement, because we've gone through it multiple times and don't know how to resolve these issues.)

    I would definitely consider looking at other visualization packages besides Framevue.

  • #3
    CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level II John Golden's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
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    Winston Salem, NC
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    jwiserehau,
    I sent you private message about this topic.
    Johnny Golden
    Owner of John Golden Frames and Fotos
    Winston Salem, NC
    336-408-0517
    www.jgframes.com

  • #4
    True Grumbler
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    jwiserehau,
    I am also just starting to use Framevue and find it clunky starting out. I am trying to save images of mouldings that I stock, but sometimes it says that the moulding already exists (which it doesn't) and won't let me save the image. Also for some of the mouldings I am able to save if I look at the image in the moulding library its wrong. I am not using it daily because I haven't mounted my large monitor yet, so I will see how it goes then.

    Chris

  • #5
    CGF, Certified Grumble Framer cwphoto's Avatar
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    Alaska
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    Hello:

    Just wanted to add my two cents here as I recently demoed wizards IF visualization software and Frame-vue. I'm pretty sure that Wizard got a lot of its ideas from Frame-vue, as the two seem to work pretty similar to me.

    My biggest pet peeve with these programs is they require you to constantly re-photograph the same molding and mat over and over again or enter them via numbers. Customers attention span is pretty finite, and typing in a bunch of numbers is time-consuming. If the customer wants a different frame/mat than what is initially chosen, you have to do everything over again as mentioned.

    Picture framing is a visual medium, so a visual database makes a lot more sense to me. It just so happens that at least one company understands this idea. My choice of visualization programs is Custom Framer Art. The key difference between this program and everybody else's is it is a visual database. Yeah, you can still enter in numbers if you want to, but you can also use it as a design tool with all of your mats available, and all of your moldings available, while you and the customer are seated.

    From the database you create various visual galleries. I for example have galleries of nothing but blue mats, nothing but neutral colors, nothing but suede mats, etc. Similarly, I have galleries for moldings for different widths, liners, fillets, etc. This way you're not sorting through hundreds of various colors to get what you want. The point is the program is highly customizable and is visual. Yes, visual, and that is key. I have no idea what Crescent 90486 is, but I do know what a light purple or blue looks like.

    I want to be able to be creative with these programs, not get caught up with a bunch of nuances with operating a program, typing in numbers, or otherwise fumbling and losing my patience and the customer's attention.

    I made one little screenshot to give you an example of the visual aspect of this program. For anyone interested in something completely different than the norm, I believe they have a 30 day demo available. I've had great customer support, and for about $250 it's quite a bit less than the competition. And no, I have no affiliation with the company whatsoever.

    The visual aspect alone is quite nice, but pricing is also built into this. You can e-mail customers quotes or JPEG's of the various projects. There's a visual database of all customer projects. Profit analysis, all kind of things.

    I'm actually surprised more people don't use this program, although my understanding is it's pretty popular overseas.

    Troyscreenshot.JPG

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