iView MediaPro 2.0.1 full review

People have long been using iView MediaPro to help organize digital photos and images, sounds and movies. It makes Web galleries in a snap and catalogues disk contents with ease, at a reasonable shareware price. But the media-cataloguing world has become crowded recently in the professional and consumer spaces, with rival products such as Apple’s iPhoto, and Extensis Portfolio. It’s no longer enough to make catalogues, create Web pages and have good dinner conversation. Now a cataloguing application has to sing and dance as well. And iView MediaPro 2 does a fine tap shoe. It has become a complex and powerful digital-asset manager with increased capabilities and, not surprisingly, price. As its name implies, iView MediaPro is a professional’s tool. Designers and publishers will be happy to see that this version surpasses version 1.0 with its speed, while adding some interesting and versatile features such as improved slideshow creation, simple-but-useful image-enhancement tools, high-resolution PDF creation, and customizable HTML themes. We’ll tell you more about these below, but first let’s address its most versatile tool of all –file conversion. Anyone who’s had to convert a group of images from one file format to another – and let’s face it, every graphics professional has – can now breathe a sigh of relief. Saving you from having to open a dedicated imaging application such as Photoshop, or even something as small as GraphicConverter, iView Media Pro 2 can change file formats individually as multiple selections or whole catalogues. Image Re-purposing
iView MediaPro 2 can set image size, resolution, image depth and colour space. So, for instance, you can take a set of files that were ready for a print brochure, and instantly convert them from 300dpi CMYK TIFF files to RGB JPEGs at 72dpi, ready for a Web project. But iView MediaPro doesn’t only handle image conversions. Since it can catalogue movies, sounds and images, each of these formats has its own conversion options. Movies can be converted from QuickTime to DV stream (a handy tool for iMovie enthusiasts), MPEG-4, or several other formats. It can convert sound files from MP3 to AIFF, Wave, or System 7 Sound. You can also save your settings so you don’t have to go back each time to repeat the more tedious aspects of your workflow. A recurring theme in this program is that it performs just enough utility to keep you from needing to open other more-specialized applications. iView MediaPro can now import files à la iPhoto, directly into the program. It also mirrors iPhoto’s ability to erase files from a camera’s media from within the application. And like iPhoto, iView MediaPro includes image enhancement tools. The program’s array of tools is wider than iPhoto’s. Beyond brightness and contrast control, crop, resize, and remove red-eye, you’ll find sharpen edges, adjust saturation, convert to duotone, and invert photo negative. All these filters are adequate adjustment tools in their own right; iView MediaPro’s batching and version control increases their professional value. Version control lets workgroups keep abreast of new or altered files, backing up copies in a designated Version Control Backup Folder. After performing an enhancement, the Batch command can perform that same function on other images in that catalogue and safely put those enhanced images into a new folder. PDF creation is one of those things we’re starting to take for granted in the OS X era. This program will create high-resolution PDF’s for offset printing, not just Internet distribution. For some reason unknown to this writer, the PDF maker is hidden under the Window menu, rather than next to the conversion menus in the Make menu. Yet, this tool is also a powerful innovation. It acts as a rudimentary page-layout application, letting you choose image areas, resize and crop them, overlay images, and then make that sheet into a PDF. While it isn’t QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign, it’s a quick and easy way to make customized one-sheets and contact sheets without too much trouble. HTML galleries have always been easy with iView MediaPro. The difference now is the ability to add custom HTML templates through the greatly enhanced theme-based Make HTML Gallery menu. You can make HTML themes and store them in the new Plug-ins folder. After you’ve catalogued files, iView MediaPro lets you back up media assets directly to CD, saving you from going outside to a CD burning application.
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