iPhoto is perfectly capable of displaying your photos as a slideshow or one at a time. But you’re limited to a flat display that doesn’t exactly “wow” anyone. With one simple download, you can view your iPhoto collection on a visually stunning 3D wall, right in your web browser.
Cooliris is a browser plugin available for Safari and Firefox that allows you to view photos and videos in a beautiful full-screen, 3D-wall format. You can scroll across the panoramic wall with your mouse, clicking on photos to enlarge them. At its core, the plugin allows you to view images on web sites such as Flickr, Facebook, and Google Images, as well as search through news outlets and movie trailer sites.
But one of the great features of Cooliris — that few people even notice — is the ability to quickly view photos located in folders on your hard drive or inside your iPhoto library.
First you’ll have to install the Cooliris plugin for either Safari or Firefox and restart your browser. Once installed, you simply activate it with the button in your browser toolbar. You will enter Cooliris in Full-Screen mode, and start out in Discover mode — which will show off a images from a variety of sources. Navigate to the upper left corner and click the My Computer tab from the source column. The tab will expand to allow you to select folders on your hard drive, as well as choose your iPhoto library, and any albums you currently have available.
Choose your iPhoto library, or the album you want to view, and the magic begins. All the images appear on a wall against a dark background. You can use the futuristic scroll bar at the bottom of the screen, or a mouse with side-scrolling capability (such as Apple’s Mighty Mouse) to navigate. Scrolling left or right speeds you along the wall of images until you get to an image you want to view. If the image sizes aren’t to your liking, you can scroll up or down to enlarge the images on the wall. Once you’ve found an image, you simply click to enlarge it. Your image enlarges and a frame includes more information about it, such as the file name, camera settings and more. As an added bonus, you can click a button to reveal the iPhoto image in the Finder, saving you a trip into iPhoto to drag it out manually.
To enjoy a slideshow of your photos, click the Full Screen button in the lower left corner of the Cooliris interface. This will zoom your image to fill your screen, as well as provide a horizontal frame-by-frame preview of your images.
Cooliris is absolutely free, requires OS X 10.4.11 or later, and is available for Safari 3 and Safari 4 Beta, as well as Firefox versions 2, 3 and the 3.5 Beta. To install the browser plugin, simply visit the Cooliris home page, and the proper version of the plugin download link will appear at the top of the page.