Better Your iLife (Part 1)

Better Your iLife (Part 1)

Create, share, enjoy: It’s Mac|Life’s tagline, but it might as well be iLife ’08’s, too. Apple’s suite can do a lot for its low $79 price, weaving together audio, video, and photos into fun projects like a personal website or blog, hardcover photo albums, home movies complete with original music, and more. We reviewed the apps in iLife ’08 in our November issue, but this month we’re sharing our best tips and project ideas, to help you get the most from iLife’s new features. We hope they will inspire you to fire up your Mac - and your imagination.




iPhoto’s improved editing tools have come a long way, so why not fix up those snapshots before you put them online?

iPhoto ’08 (4 out of 5 stars) is all about simplicity - Apple’s image app imports automatically, makes it easy to organize your photos with its new Events feature, and lets you share albums or events as Web Galleries with the click of a button. It’s true that its editing capabilities will never match a more robust editor like Photoshop, but they’re much improved in this new version. If you want to do a few quick fixes on your photos before you put them online, here’s how iPhoto ’08 can help you fix blemishes with the Retouch tool, zap color cast, and tweak the levels with the new Adjust panel.


Brighten Dull Photos with the Adjust Panel

It’s easy to use iPhoto’s one-click editing tools, but you shouldn’t shy away from the histogram. Located in the new Adjust panel, the histogram shows you the light and dark levels in your photo, and once you know how to read and adjust it, you can fine-tune your image better than any quick-fix button, bringing dull images back to life.


Before and After: Adjusting the levels in a photo can add richness to a flat image - our results were like night and day.


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1. Dark Matter. Launch iPhoto and double-click the photo you want to enhance. Click the Edit tool, then click the Adjust button along the bottom of the screen to bring up the Adjust panel. The graph on the top is the histogram, which displays the light and dark levels in your photo. The left slider lets you set the dark level. To darken the shadows in the image, drag the left slider toward the center of the histogram, just to the first bump from the left side of the graph, as shown below. The bumps in the graph show how much of the image is found at that particular level - the higher the bump, the more detail is available at that level.


Your image will get darker as you move the left slider towards the center, but don’t panic just yet! This is simply the first step.


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2. Good Light. Now you need to adjust the light level in the photo. To do this, drag the right slider toward the center of the histogram, just to the first bump from the right side of the graph, as shown. Your image will get noticeably lighter.


Brighter and better, but not quite there yet.







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