I think (hope) everyone knows how fantastic iPhoto and Graphic Converter work. This isn’t about those applications. I wanted to write about a few small image utilities/apps/whatever that you may not have heard of yet. I use these almost daily and haven’t found anything I like better (as always, Your mileage may vary!).
If you’re anything like me (hold the insults please), you prefer to use iPhoto for your photos, and not the miscellany that you accumulate through emails, photoblogs, etc, etc. I want my joke images, graphics work, cameraphone pics, etc, just in a folder on my computer, not mucking-up my own photographs in iPhoto. So viewing these images quickly and simply can be a pain sometimes (using Preview or what have you). CocoViewX is great for quick, thumbnailed browsing, of any directory you choose. It can even mass-update filenames for you which is handy all by itself.
Similar to CocoViewX, but different… QuickImageCM is a contextual menu plugin (think CTRL click, or ‘right’ click) that allows quick viewing of any image you want. It also allows you to size, convert to different formats, and apply a few filters. Nice for quick, single image viewing at a moment’s notice.
iPhoto Diet (free)
iPhoto [as of iLife 2004] can handle thousands of images fairly easily. But it still doesn’t change the huge amount of data being stored behind the scenes. Did you know that everytime you rotate an image, (here’s another tip in case you didn’t know: hold OPTION and then the rotate button will rotate the opposite direction) apply effects to an image, crop and image, iPhoto stores the original versions of the photograph. That’s great in case you want to get back to your original file, but it takes up a lot of space. In the case of rotating images to the upright state, you probably don’t care about the original, sideways version. iPhoto Diet will strip those extraneous image files out and leave your hard drive a little (or a lot) extra space. It’s got some nice options, so you can choose what’s ‘dieted’ and what’s not.
I don’t recall where I read the review of this app, but I do recall that the writer nailed it on the head by saying [something along the lines of]: You don’t realize how difficult printing from iPhoto is, until you’ve done it with the ease of PhotoBooth. It’s true too. I’m pretty good at eaking out whatever I want from iPhoto, print-wise. But PhotoBooth does it so much easier. It’s non-desctruvtive to your images (cropping in PhotoBooth makes no change to the iPhoto version). You can ‘nudge’ your crop by using the arrow keys. You can size and add borders, etc, without even thinking about it. If you print a lot of pictures, definitely check this out!
ThumbScrew may not be interesting or useful to you if you’re not a web person, but listen anyway cuz it’s cool. You tell ThumbScrew what images you want to work with, and it creates a thumbnail of the image(s) based on your prefs, and applies a nice looking border and skews the thumbnail image (think, not a perfect 90 degree look) per your prefs, and then adds a drop shadow for good measure. This is just fun. Nice for quick, different, great looking thumnails.
You know those collage images that are made up of lots of tiny photographs? That’s what MacOSaiX does! It’s really cool to play with. You can tell it what photo albums, folders, or even quicktime movies you want it to pull images from to generate. You can control how often images are repeated, what shapes the small images end up in, and more. The results are just awesome. But beware, depending on the size of the image you’re trying to create, and the number of images you’re giving MacOSaiX to sort through (and your cpu/ram) it could take a while. My 1ghz cpu/ram powerbook took about 45 minutes to do a 4megapixel, full quality photograph of my family. But it was worth the end result.
Among the selection of freeware offered from Freshly Squeezed Software is Backlight. It’s not exactly fitting with the rest of these apps, but I’m working it in anyway cuz I like it. Backlight is a very lightweight (think processor NON intenssive) utility that rests in your menubar, and allows you to run your screensavers as wallpaper. I’m working it into this photo app write-up, because you can use your iPhoto albums as screensavers. So there. (Yeah I know OS X does this anyway, but like I said, I’m trying to work this into my image app write-up! sheesh.) Keeps your desktop fun, without completely hijacking your cpu…unlike Deskshade – but that’s a whole other story.
Got others that I’ve missed? Alternatives you’ve found and like better? Let’s hear them! I’m always testing out new apps I find. If you read the review on Virtual Desktop apps, you already know that I like the intuitive apps that make my life easier without a lot of learning curve. These fit that bill pretty well. Hope they are fun for you too.
I’m not affiliated with any of these developers, nor do I gain anything by mentioning them.