Photo Booth's new 10.5 tricks

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Photo Booth is one of OS X 10.5’s new apps—new, at least, to those who don’t own a Mac with a built-in iSight, as these machines have had it for a while now. In Leopard, though, Photo Booth has a new mode—burst mode. Burst mode takes four quick pictures in succession, and then displays the result as a single multi-paned image in the Photo Booth window. While you may have played around with this feature, here are a couple things you may not have known about it.

First, if you use the iPhoto button on one of these four-panel images, you’ll wind up with one four-paned image in iPhoto. But what if you wanted each image that makes up the montage? It turns out that Photo Booth actually does store four pictures when you take a burst mode photo—you can find them all in the Photo Booth folder within your user’s

folder. So to add any one (or more) picture to iPhoto, just visit that folder and drag the desired images onto iPhoto’s Dock icon.

Second, if you’re looking at the four-panel image in the main Photo Booth window, clicking on any single panel will zoom that panel to fill the Photo Booth window; click it again to zoom back out to the four-pane view. You’ll even see a fancy reflective-glass-like flash as the images zoom into and out of the frame. (Oddly, this animation is one of the few I’ve ever found in OS X that you can’t slow down with the Shift key.)

Finally, if you use File -> Export, Photo Booth will export the image as an animated GIF. You can then use this animated GIF as your iChat buddy icon. In iChat, click on your user picture and select Edit Picture, click Choose and navigate to the animated GIF you just created, then click Set. Other 10.5 users (and those using third-party AIM clients that support animated buddy icons) will then see your four-picture set. (Note that displaying animated buddy icons is disabled by default; to enable it, open iChat’s Preferences and check the Animate Buddy Pictures option in the General tab.)

And remember, if you want to take a Photo Booth picture immediately—bypassing the three-second delay—just hold down the Option key before pressing the Camera button, as explained in this hint.

Updated 11:42amPST: Added info on exporting the image to an animated GIF.

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