Posted Thursday, January 27, 2005

Understanding the Two Flavors of iPhoto 5 Slide Show

Over on Macintouch, reader Arthur Busbey complains that iPhoto 5's Slideshow button is disabled when you're viewing a shared photo library: "When I mount a shared volume the Slideshow icon is grayed out and unselectable. I tried this with shared albums and with shared slide shows. It appears that in iPhoto '05 you cannot make slide shows of shared images. For me this is a major disaster."

The reality is more subtle and not nearly as grim. To understand it, you need to come to terms with the fact that iPhoto 5 provides two different kinds of slide shows. Let's call them permanent and temporary.

A permanent slide show is one that you create with the Slideshow button: it hangs around in the Source pane of your iPhoto window, and you can apply all the slick new iPhoto 5 slide show features to it: Ken Burns, local effects, different transitions and durations for each image, and so on.

As Arthur discovered, you can't create a permanent slide show using shared photos. When you think about it, that makes sense: how can iPhoto record what your image-by-image settings are if the images aren't stored in your local library?

On the other hand, a temporary slide show is one that iPhoto 5 displays when you click the little play button in the lower-left corner of the iPhoto window. A temporary slide show doesn't hang around. Like a bad Broadway show, it plays once and then vanishes. You can't apply manual Ken Burns settings to its images, nor can you specify per-image durations, transitions, and effects.

Ah, but here's where we put a smile on Arthur Busbey's face: you can create a temporary slide show using images from a shared library. Give it a try: connect to a shared library and then click the play button. To show only some of the shared photos, select them before clicking play.

Now taking orders. Most of the information on the page isn't right, but Amazon is now taking pre-orders for The Macintosh iLife '05, the next edition of my book and its two-hour companion DVD.