iView MediaPro 2.0
At a Glance
iView MediaPro has long been an excellent application for organizing your digital images, sounds, and movies. For a reasonable price, it lets you create Web galleries in a snap and catalog disk contents with ease. But the media-cataloging software category has recently become more competitive, with rival products such as Apple's iPhoto and Extensis's Portfolio springing up, so asset managers now have to do more. With version 2.0.1, iView MediaPro has evolved into a complex and powerful digital-asset manager with increased capabilities and, not surprisingly, a higher price (a $30 version, iView Media, is also available).
Designers and publishers will be happy that this incarnation of iView MediaPro surpasses version 1 in speed, and it has some interesting and versatile new features, such as improved slide-show creation, simple but useful image-enhancement tools, high-resolution PDF creation, and customizable HTML themes.
Anyone who has ever had to convert a group of images from one file format to another can now breathe a sigh of relief. iView MediaPro can change file formats for individual files, multiple selections, or whole catalogs at one time, so you don't have to open another imaging application. This instant file conversion would be enough to satisfy most users, but the breadth of tools within the conversion dialog box makes iView MediaPro a necessity for graphics and photography professionals.
iView MediaPro 2 lets you set image size, resolution, bit depth, and color space. For instance, you can take a set of 300-dpi CMYK TIFF files that you prepared for a print brochure, and instantly convert them to 72-dpi RGB JPEGs for a Web project. But iView MediaPro handles much more than image-file conversions. Since it can catalog movies, sounds, and images, each of these formats has its own conversion options.
MediaPro can convert movies from QuickTime to DV streams (a handy tool for iMovie enthusiasts), MPEG-4, and several other formats. It can also convert sound files from MP3 to AIFF, WAV, or System 7 Sound, and it lets you save your settings.
Vast Array of Tools
iView MediaPro now lets you import files directly into the program, à la iPhoto. It also mirrors iPhoto's ability to erase files on your camera's media from within the application. And like iPhoto, iView MediaPro includes image-enhancement tools. However, the program's array of tools is larger than iPhoto's. For example, you'll find Sharpen Edges, Adjust Saturation, Convert To Duotone, and Invert Photo Negative commands. All these filters are adequate adjustment tools in their own right, but iView MediaPro's batch and version-control features increase their professional value.
Version control lets workgroups keep abreast of new or altered files; iView MediaPro backs up copies in a designated Version Control Backup folder. And after you enhance an image, the Batch command lets you perform the same function on any number of images in that catalog, and then safely puts the enhanced images into a new folder. While this is a powerful and time-saving feature, we wish you could choose multiple filters simultaneously and apply them in a batch process, along the lines of Photoshop actions.
PDF creation is one of those things we're starting to take for granted in the OS X era. This program creates high-resolution PDFs for offset printing and for Internet distribution. For some unknown reason, the PDF maker is hidden in the Window menu, rather than appearing next to the conversion menus in the Make menu. Nonetheless, this tool is a powerful innovation. It acts as a rudimentary page-layout application, letting you choose image areas, resize and crop them, overlay images, and convert a page into a PDF. While it's not QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign, it is a quick and easy way to make customized one-page marketing sheets and contact sheets.
Creating HTML galleries has always been easy with iView MediaPro, and it still is. The difference now is that you can add your own custom HTML templates through a greatly enhanced theme-based Make HTML Gallery menu. You can then store your themes in the new Plug-ins folder.
After you've cataloged your files, iView MediaPro lets you back up your media assets directly to CD, so you don't have to use a separate CD-burning application, such as Roxio's Toast.
Macworld's Buying Advice
Photographers, designers, and graphics professionals will find a good friend in iView MediaPro 2.0.1, which does an admirable job and has a justifiable $160 price. Rather than making you turn to dedicated image-editing, file-conversion, or HTML tools, iView MediaPro lets you get as much of your work done within the program as possible and saves you time in the process. You'll be surprised to see how many mundane aspects of media management this powerful little application can handle efficiently and with excellent results.
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