Thu, 06 Jan 2011 Apple iPhoto '11 review
Apple now uses Core Animation throughout the app
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Pros: New code base and polished user interface, improved Facebook and Flickr integration, design templates for email, full screen mode for maximum use of display, improved Books and Cards design tools, lower price for upgrade
- Cons: Editing controls virtually untouched, no more Extended Photo Info screen, text and number-of-photo limitations for email attachments
- Min specs: Requires Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Intel only.
- Price: £8.99 (Mac App Store), £45 (as part of iLife '11)
- Star rating:
A number of adjustments were made to iPhoto's output options, and the most radical among them are the new designs for sharing pictures via email. Instead of the traditional attachments that you've been accustomed to, you must now choose from eight templates: Snapshots, Corkboard, Cardstock, Announcement, Celebration, Collage, Letterpress, and Postcard. When the recipient opens the email, they are greeted with your photos integrated into the selected design. You have the option to additionally attach the images (optimized or actual size) in a zipped archive. Essentially, your entire iPhoto library is now source material for your own electronic greeting card factory.
There are tradeoffs, however, for this new feature. The new templates limit the number of photos you can attach to 10. There is also a limit to how much type you can include, depending on the particular template. And you only have two file size options for attached photos: optimized or actual.
An email composed using one of the new templates in iPhoto '11.
Keep in mind that you can work around these changes if you want. For example, if you want to send 15 photos, select their thumbnails in iPhoto '11 and drag them to the Mail app on the Dock. A new e-mail will appear with the images attached. You can then choose among four file sizes (actual, large, medium, and small) and add as much type as you want. Or you can go the other way: open the Mail app, click on the New Message button, then click on the Photo Browser button. Your entire iPhoto library is available to you for attachments. Simply drag the images you want from the browser to the e-mail, and those images will be included in your message.
Speaking of email, if you use a different service than the Mail app, you can add it in the new Accounts tab in iPhoto '11's Preferences (iPhoto -> Preferences -> Accounts). Click on the "+" icon in the lower left corner, choose "Email" from Add Account, click the Add button, and choose from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, or AOL. If you have a different service, click on "Other" to add it.
Better Facebook, Flickr, and MobileMe integration
iPhoto '09 brought us direct connectivity with Facebook and Flickr, but iPhoto '11 makes it usable. Now you can directly upload an iPhoto image to an existing album or set, in addition to creating a new grouping altogether. For Facebook, you can also update your profile picture directly from iPhoto, and even tag people. Since iPhoto is actually synced to the images you upload from the application to the online site, changes you make in iPhoto will be reflected in Facebook (and Flickr too). If you try to delete a Facebook picture that wasn't originally uploaded from iPhoto, you'll be strongly urged to copy the image to iPhoto so you don't lose it all together.
Choose which existing Facebook album you want to upload a photo to, or start a new one.
MobileMe receives a similar makeover as the other two, so regardless of which site you're managing, the online networking interface in iPhoto is essentially the same.
Books and Cards look pretty good too
The new interface for designing books is flat out beautiful. To start designing, select a group of photos and choose Book from the Create flyout menu at the bottom of iPhoto's interface. The next screen lets you choose your theme with great looking examples for each option. Once you've decided the type of book you want to design, click the Create button to get started.
iPhoto autoflows the images into the theme you've chosen. Its first attempt should look pretty good, and for good reason. The code base for the Book tool has been completely rewritten with some fun new touches. Your key photo for the album becomes the cover; Face Detection is used for proper framing of people shots; and photos within a timeframe are grouped together. If you want to tweak individual pages, add text, or move things around, click on the Design button in the lower right corner to open the full design editor.(Image Caption: Browsing the many picture book design templates.)
Browsing the many picture book design templates.
The design tools are easy to use. And once again, working in Full Screen Mode is fun. And even if you don't want to upload your creation to Apple for purchasing, you can output individual pages to PDF or a printer via the Print command. This means that you have a powerful layout program built right into iPhoto. The possibilities are truly endless.
The Card tool works essentially the same. iPhoto '11 adds Letterpress cards to the theme options, which means your images can now be printed on high quality paper with debossed designs. The previous standard card options are also available.