The Mac OS X Lion Project Book: Making Magic
- Make Your Photos Better Project
- Make a Vacation Slideshow That Doesn't Suck Project
- Create a Family Web Site Project
Chapter 3 is all about consuming media, and this chapter is about the flip side of the coin: making or transforming media. Lion comes equipped with tools that allow you to create professional-looking results without spending a professional amount of money.
In this chapter, I cover editing snapshots, creating a slideshow, and creating a simple Web site.
Make Your Photos Better Project
Difficulty level: Moderate
Additional software: Flare, iPhoto
Additional hardware: None
iPhoto does more than just store your pictures. It can also make those pictures look even better than they did right out of your camera. iPhoto lets you correct simple composition and technical errors easily, and you can even enhance the overall picture with a click.
Flare is a neat little photo editor that allows you to go beyond what iPhoto does but doesn't require you to have expert photo-editing knowledge.
Correct common photo problems
iPhoto has some built-in tools that correct comment problems like red-eye, upside-down pictures, and shots that are a little off kilter.
Quick Fixing red-eye, orientation, and alignment:
- Launch iPhoto.
- Double-click the picture you want to edit.
Click the Edit button at the bottom of the window.
iPhoto's edit window opens, displaying three tabs of options—Quick Fixes, Effects, and Adjust—on the right side of the screen. (I discuss the Effects tab in the next task.) Figure 4.1 shows a photo of my wife that I scanned in; it's upside down and suffers from some red-eye. (Sorry, honey!) A couple of Quick Fixes will do the trick, though.
Figure 4.1 You can edit images in iPhoto.
- In the Quick Fixes tab, click the Rotate button to rotate the photo 90 degrees counterclockwise; then click it again to turn the photo right side up.
My lovely wife is still sporting some red-eye in the picture, though, so I should fix that.
Click the Fix Red-Eye button to reveal the Red-Eye options (Figure 4.2).
Figure 4.2 The Fix Red-Eye options in iPhoto.
Auto-Fix Red-Eye is selected, but sometimes, that setting isn't enough.
- Zoom in to the photo, using the Zoom control in the bottom-left corner of the iPhoto window (Figure 4.3), to see just how red Marisa's eyes are.
Figure 4.3 The iPhoto Zoom slider.
- Use the Size slider in the Fix Red-Eye section (refer to Figure 4.2), and match the size of the red-eye tool to the red area of one eye.
- Click the red area to remove the red-eye.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 for the other eye.
- Click Done.
- Finally, to straighten the picture, click the Straighten button (refer to Figure 4.1).
The Straighten controls appear (Figure 4.4).
Figure 4.4 Fix a crooked image with these controls.
- Slide the Angle slider.
iPhoto rotates and zooms in on the image, and yellow guidelines appear so that you can align something in the picture with a straight line (Figure 4.5).
Figure 4.5 Guidelines help you straighten your picture.
- When you're happy with the results, click the Done button below the Angle slider.
Apply iPhoto effects
Your photo looks great now, but perhaps you want to have a little fun with it. The Effects tab of the edit window includes a couple of sections that allow you to change the way your photo looks, as you do in the following task.
Setting iPhoto effects:
- Complete steps 1–3 of "Quick Fixing red-eye, orientation, and alignment" earlier in this project.
- Click the Effects tab to display the Effects options (Figure 4.6).
Figure 4.6 iPhoto offers a few effects that you can apply to your pictures.
- Set any or all of the following effects:
Brightness and contrast. Click the three orbs in the top row to lighten or darken the photo, or to adjust its contrast.
Tone and saturation. The three orbs in the next row pump up the effects volume, making the photo warmer, cooler, or more saturated.
Image effect previews. iPhoto shows a little preview of each effect here. Click to apply it to your photo. See the "Layering Effects" sidebar for information about layering effects.
- Click the Edit button to save your work.
Give your photos some Flare
iPhoto's effects are great fun, but they go only so far. If you're really into applying effects and filters to your photos, you could spring for something like Adobe Photoshop, which costs lots of money, or you could get Flare (http://flareapp.com) from the Mac App Store for $19.99.
Flare is all about letting you apply effects to your photos quickly and simply. Here's how to use Flare to give your photos some pizzazz.
Creating a custom preset in Flare:
- Launch Flare.
Drag a photo onto the Flare icon in the Dock (Figure 4.8) or directly into the Flare window.
Figure 4.8 Flare's icon.
Flare displays the picture with some icons below it (Figure 4.9).
Figure 4.9 Loading an image into Flare for some editing.
Click the Presets tab at the top of the window.
Flare displays the available presets on the right side of the window (Figure 4.10).
Figure 4.10 Flare comes loaded with a bunch of preset effects that you can apply to your images.
- Click the preset you want to apply.
- Click the Edit button at the top of the window to display editing controls (Figure 4.11).
Figure 4.11 Editing a preset allows you to create your own custom presets.
- Set the options the way you want them, adding more effects and tweaking the existing ones.
- Click the Save As Preset button at the bottom of the editing controls.
A save sheet drops down (Figure 4.12).
Figure 4.12 Give your preset a good, descriptive name.
- Enter a name for the preset, and click OK.
When you're happy with your photo, click the Save or Export button (refer to the top-left corner of Figure 4.11) to share it with the world.
The sheet shown in Figure 4.13 drops down.
Figure 4.13 Flare can save your image to a file, Flickr, or iPhoto, or in an email.
- In the Save Image section, choose the appropriate radio button to save your image to a file, to Flickr, or to iPhoto, or to send it in an email message.
In addition to saving or exporting your photo outside Flare, you can save the image to Flare's Snapshots by checking Save Effects to Snapshots. For more information, see the nearby "Setting Snapshots" sidebar.
- Click the Save or Export button to save your masterpiece.
Now your custom preset will be listed with the default presets every time you launch Flare.