Open Your Eyes!
So what’s this you say? Apple ripping off the Creative Suite! How Dare They! Well, perhaps that was a touch strong for what has really happened, and after all it’s not really a new thing.
Apples iLife software has been bundled with Mac computers since 2003 and consists of 6 separate pieces of software, Photoshop, Dreamwea…. I mean iPhoto, iWeb, iDVD, iMovie, Garage Band and iTunes, although thankfully iTunes was removed from the software bundle in 2006.
The idea was to create a bundle of user-friendly (both in interface and cost) software, which could either be downloaded separately, for free in the beginning, and then at a relatively small cost, as well as having the software bundled with the newer Mac computer releases. The iLife suite has expanded since its initial release, which only consisted of iDvd, iPhoto and iMovie.
The first piece of software I want to talk about is possibly the most impressive! The iWeb past of the iLife suite was a late release, not part of the bundle until 2006. It was marketed as a way for users to create websites without having to learn, know or ever write a single piece of code, in which it is very successful! I was astounded at the ease of website creation that iWeb offers, especially for the coding handicapped like myself.
After first opening iWeb you are shown a menu full of website templates, each with individual page layouts such as a home page, an about page, a photo album and loads others. There are also hundreds of downloadable themes to choose from, some of which are free and some of which aren’t.
While scrolling through the menu of themes, you are shown the preset templates for each theme on the right hand side of the window, you can select any of these to begin a website, although Home is usually a safe bet for that, and you can add individual pages after creating your first, either the same one or from entirely different themes, if you want a website that will…get noticed.
Here is an example of one of the themes. Browns and Beige have never been my colour, but that’s OK because if you like the style of one page but dislike a certain aspect of it, you can simply delete the part which you don’t like. The customisation isn’t entirely endless, however pretty much everything on the page can be edited, for example, the hideous hands pointing inwards on the About Me header…
Here is the home page for a small website I put together in about 30 minutes using iWeb. The theme I chose is known as Darkroom, and as you guessed, is rather black, however you can overlay shapes on top of your website, in this case a rectangle with a green colour at 50 percent opacity, to change the background colours.
I decided while creating this website, that four pages would be sufficient to prove the awesomeness of iWeb. Whats that you say? Approval of something Apple has created from the Opinionated One? Well not to worry, as impressive as iWeb is, it doesn’t make up for my irrational dislike of Steve Jobs. Anyway, a portfolio of work was required, I had decided. And so, here we are, one of the preset pages was a photo album, and so after a small amount of adapting, here are a few pieces of my work, displayed rather nicely online (theoretically), in under 10 minutes (five to create, five to find images I wasn’t ashamed of).
I then added another page, a movie page this time, and adapted it to suit my not so diabolical needs. As I had recently been creating panoramic images and movies in VR Worx, I decided that my last two pages would display the final creations of my madness. Here is a link to a previous blog I created all about the VR Worx software! A small amount of playing, and I ended up with this page, one that I think looks pretty damn good. Also, a point of interest here, the “Made on a Mac” image at the bottom of the page is deletable, although there’s probably something in the terms and conditions about keeping that there… right next to the section asking you not to use this software to take over nuclear power plants.
Also, I’m sure you have noticed in these screen shots, but the navigation of the pages is in the column on the left hand side of the window, making navigation whilst working easy.
Just so you don’t think I’m going insane, the Dalek is holding a banana…you can’t really see it but its there…next to the fleas.
Anyway, the final page, another of my VR Worx creations, was about this object movie. iWeb, amazingly even supports the uploading of interactive Quicktime movies, which, Youtube does not! Shock Horror. Tweak Tweak, Kiss Kiss, BAM, the final page was done, and so begin the exporting!
And so, here we are, almost at the end. You have several choices when publishing your website, you can either publish to Apple’s MobileMe, which will cost you money, or you can publish to a folder and the upload your own damn website, a difficult choice for me considering money in the UK’s current financial situation can just be found on the street! But alas, I guess today I must keep my money as MobileMe is an Apple creation. Thank you Steve Jobs for helping me make my decision. When publishing to a folder, all you have to do is set the folder you want to publish to, and give the soon to be URL name for your website and hit Choose! If you then open the folder to which you published, you will see that iWeb furnishes you with an index page, meaning all you have to do after this is to upload the website, and you’re good to go.
And so, onto the second piece of software in the iLife suite, iDVD, which I must say is almost as impressive as iWeb. The iDVD software package was designed to create interactive DVD menus, which can hold movies, songs and other audio tracks, as well as images, and then burn them onto disc in a professional looking way, as well as making the disc user-friendly for DVD players and other such mediums.
beginning the process of creating an interactive DVD menu system, opening the program!
After opening iDVD you are faced with this menu, one which is fairly self explanatory. I suggest beginning by creating a new project, unless the video tutorials sounds more appealing that is.
After hitting create new project, iDVD will ask you to choose an aspect ratio, and also to save your new project. I personally think that this makes iDVD rather self-important, as if it’s saying “Well done, you have created a blank iDVD file. Quickly quickly save it now before you lose it!”, either that or the creators couldn’t iron out all the bugs in the program, and accidentally created iDVD with ADHD, and are worried about it running away. If anyone out there has ADHD or knows someone with it, and feels I’m being unfair using it as the butt of one of my jokes, please feel free to email me and I will furnish you with a long list of my own hereditary disorders, starting with being so blind I actually freak out when my partner moves my glasses.
After saving your overly pompous file, selecting a theme seems like a breath of fresh air. Like iWeb, each theme has several pages to it, such as a main menu and chapter select, as well as extras. Most of the DVD menu templates are animated in some way, some more so than others, as well as having at least one drop zone in which you can drag a movie file, which then shows a preview of the movie file playing, whilst the user browses the menu system.
After dragging the movie clip into the drop zone, you can see iDVD render it in the background and play it as part of the rotating banner. I have also changed the name in this image to suit the movie, which you can see in front of the rotating banner, as well as a play button which I added to, obviously, play the movie.
As you can see in this image, the banner rotates whilst playing the movie, to give a nicely animated preview of things to come.
You can also create chapter menu page for your DVD menu, and link it to the main page. Unfortunately my movie only has one chapter so the over all effect is lost for the chapters page, however you get the idea.
The final stage of the menu creation process is to burn it to DVD, however I’m afraid I don’t have any screen shots to show you!
And that’s about it for Apples iLife software, unfortunately for the general user, Steve Jobs will never be releasing a newer version of iLife as, and here I must say more unfortunately for him, Adobe have finally heard of iLife and the comparisons between it and the Creative Suite, and so have sent Snake Plissken round to have a friendly chat with Steve Jobs.