New to the Mac? New to Mavericks? Here's what you need to know

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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When we last met, we’d just waded into the first lessons for getting the most from iMovie. And I’d fully intended to push on through iMovie and into GarageBand and then the iWork applications. But a funny thing happened—Apple picked up the board and threw all the pieces in the air, which naturally caused me to give the future a significant re-think.

Of course, this is about more than me. I can imagine that those of you who’ve followed these lessons from the very beginning are quietly fuming, “Great, all that time spent on the old operating system. Now I have to relearn the whole thing.”

Fortunately, no, you don’t. While plenty is going on in the newest version of the Mac OS (known as Mavericks), on the surface it’s not radically different from what you’ve used before. In this lesson I’ll provide you with some information on the obvious changes so that you can get on with your work and play rather than stumbling over something unexpected. Let’s start with the Finder’s most significant changes.

Notifications

If you take a gander at the top-right corner of your Mac’s menu bar—whether you’re running Mountain Lion or Mavericks—you’ll see three lines, preceded by dots. This is Notification Center, the place where alerts issued by your Mac appear. These can include Calendar events, received Twitter tweets, text messages, and email summaries.

Notification Center in Mavericks looks and operates very much as it did under Mountain Lion, but it has a few changes you’ll find helpful. To begin with, when you receive a notification from Apple’s Messages application, you can click directly within the message and type a reply in the Reply field. You’ll also see email notifications sent from Apple’s Mail application. Hover your cursor over such a notification, and you can choose to reply to the message or delete it. Choose Reply, and Mail opens with a reply message already set up for you.

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First iMovie steps: Importing video clips

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Last week we took a broad look at iMovie’s interface. Now that you know your way around, let’s dig in and learn something about importing video into the application.

Creating a project and importing video from a camera

Start by launching iMovie and choosing File > New Project. A Project Themes sheet will appear. We’ll look into themed projects in another lesson, so for the time being just go with the default No Theme project, enter a name for your project in the Name field, choose Widescreen (16:9) from the Aspect Ratio pop-up menu if you’re using high-definition footage or Standard (4:3) if you’re importing video from an older camcorder, leave the frame rate set at 30 fps (frames per second), and click Create. iMovie will display an empty Project pane. As I explained last week, any clips you’ve already imported will be listed in the Event Library pane, and a preview of the clips within a selected event will be visible in the Event Browser.

Importing from an iOS device

If you’ve never attempted to import an iOS device’s video footage into iMovie, you’ll be pleased to know that the procedure works exactly as if you had attached a digital camcorder. Just as with the process I’ve described, when you physically connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac with iMovie open, the Import window opens and displays any clips the device holds. Select those that you want to import, and click the appropriate Import button. You’ll see the same sheet I mentioned, with the same options. Click Import, and iMovie will do so, generate thumbnails, and place the clips within the selected event.

Importing from a point-and-shoot camera

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Getting started with iMovie

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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This week we begin our exploration of Apple’s video-editing application, iMovie ’11. With it you can import bits of video (called clips) from your camera, add existing clips currently on your Mac, add still images from iPhoto, add music background tracks, edit clips so they contain just the parts you want to see, combine clips into a fully realized movie, add transitions such as fades and dissolves between clips, add effects and titles, and share the results with family, friends, and the world at large.

Powerful? Oh my, yes. Easy to use? After I complete this series of lessons, absolutely. In this first lesson we’ll focus on iMovie’s interface.

About cameras and file types

The Project pane

In iMovie’s top-left corner is the Project pane. This is where you drag clips to piece together your movie. It’s iMovie’s answer to the timeline. For example, for a simple movie project you might first click the Title button and drag it into the first dotted box. You could then move to the Clip Browser, select some footage from within that clip, and drag and drop it right after the title clip. Now you might choose a different event from the Event Library pane, make a selection in the Event Browser, and drag it into line. Repeat for other clips and add a title at the end.

You assemble your clips in iMovie's Project pane.
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Exploring iPhoto's ratings, keywords, and local sharing features

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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You’d think that after seven full lessons on the workings of a “simple” image cataloging and editing application such as iPhoto we would have thoroughly exhausted the subject. But no, I have just a little more to talk about before I can wrap up this soon-to-be-tidy package.

Ratings and keywords

We’ve talked about iPhoto’s smart albums—albums that iPhoto can generate based on the conditions you create, such as pictures taken with a flash during 2012. You can make your smart albums even more powerful by “tagging” your images with ratings and keywords. Slap a five-star rating on your favorite images, and it becomes a cinch to gather them into a single smart album. Assign the keyword “jojo” to any pictures that include that ill-favored cousin, and you never need view the guy’s smarmy mug again. Doing each is easy to accomplish.

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How to use iPhoto's Faces and Places features

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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You may recall that when we started this iPhoto series I mentioned that Apple has done its best to automatically filter and file photos for you. Two additional ways that it’s done so is through the use of face recognition and location, better known as the Faces and Places features.

iPhoto ’09 introduced both of these features, and they’ve been updated over the years. The Faces feature attempts to identify the human face within your images and queries you for the identities of the people they contain. Once you tell iPhoto that the guy with his tongue touching his nose is indeed Cousin Jo-Jo, it will then search your photo library for other images that might contain the black sheep of the family. You then confirm which faces are the aforementioned dark ungulate, and iPhoto then offers up another collection of possibilities. Keep confirming until iPhoto runs out of suggestions. During this process, the identified images are tagged with Jo-Jo’s name, allowing you to select the Faces entry in iPhoto’s Library pane and view just those images that contain his baleful mug.

Places depends on location data that’s embedded automatically by your camera (or mobile device that adds location information to your images’ metadata) or that you assign after the image has been taken. This can be very helpful if you’ve shot a load of pictures with your iPhone during your many sojourns to Manteca, California, and later wish to view that collection of images in a single album.

Going Places

The Places feature is most convenient when your images have location data already planted within them, but it’s also possible to add locations after the fact. Let’s see how Places works in each case.

Images with embedded location data

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Everything you need to know about sharing iPhoto images

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In our last lesson, I walked you through the process of creating printed books, cards, and calendars from within iPhoto. While printing your images is a great way to pass around your photos, some people prefer sharing via digital means. And that’s exactly what we’ll focus on in this lesson.

Exporting your images

In the earliest versions of iPhoto, the tried-and-true method of moving images out of iPhoto was to use the Export command found in the File menu. That command remains and, when selected, reveals an Export window that contains three tabs—File Export, Web Page, and Slideshow. Here’s how they break down.

The Share menu

iPhoto provides a very broad clue that its images can be shared with others. That clue comes in the form of the Share menu in iPhoto’s menu bar and the Share button that appears at the bottom of the window. Each of them contain Photo Stream, Messages, Email, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter entries. We’ve already covered Photo Stream, so there’s no need to go there.

In the case of Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook, you’ll first need an account for the service you choose to use. Once you have that account, just enter your username and password, and you’ll be able to post your images to the service.

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Organizing and creating iPhoto projects

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Heavens, such a lot we’ve learned about iPhoto. You know your way around the interface, you’re up to speed on importing your images, you grok Photo Stream, and you can edit your images so they have more pow! and less patooey! In this lesson we turn to organizing and packaging your images.

The art of albums

As you know, iPhoto automatically organizes your images into events. But the application provides plenty of other avenues for image organization. The main thoroughfare in this regard is albums.

Making books, cards, and calendars from your images

Images are meant to be shared. And while the digerati point us toward electronic means, there’s something pretty wonderful about the printed picture. Apple understands this idea, and demonstrates that awareness by providing the tools necessary to create printed books, cards, and calendars.

The general idea is this: First, you create an album that contains the images you’d like to appear in one of these projects. Next, you select images, click the Create button, and choose the kind of project you want to make. Let’s see how this arrangement works with each type of project.

Card

You can create photo cards with iPhoto, too. Choose Card from the Create menu, and you see an interface similar to the one that appears when you’re creating a book. In this case you can choose from three styles of cards: Letterpress, Folded, and Flat. Letterpress cards are … well, let’s have Apple explain the idea in its most glowing terms.

Each letterpress card is made from premium paper and produced using a centuries-old printing method that presses a design into the card for a unique look and texture. Then the card is digitally processed with your photos and text.
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