8.10. The Adjust Panel
For thousands of people, the handful of basic image- fixer tools described on the previous pages offered plenty of power. But many others wound up disappointed with previous iPhoto versions.
Power users were irked at having to trot off to some other program like Photoshop to make more advanced changes to their pictures, like fiddling with the saturation (the intensity of colors) or the sharpness of the image. Meanwhile, Apple clearly detected that the landscape of inexpensive photo editors was changing; even the most basic free digital shoebox program for Windows offered full-blown image controls.
All of which sets the stage for one of iPhoto 5's most important new features: the Adjust panel (Figure 8-6). It appears whenever you click the Adjust button in editing mode.
Note: Except for the Brightness and Contrast controls, the Adjust palette doesn't work unless your Mac has at least a G4 processor. And if you want to apply these effects to photos in the RAW format, you'll need Mac OS X 10.3.6 or later.
Now, before you launch yourself into the following pages and turn yourself into a tweak geek, here are some preliminary words of advice concerning the Adjust panel:
When to use it . Plenty of photos need no help at all. They look fantastic right out of the camera. And plenty of others are ready for prime time after only a single click on the Enhance button, as described earlier.
The beauty of the Adjust panel, though, is that it permits infinite gradations of the changes that the Enhance button makes. For example, if a photo looks too dark and murky, you can bring details out of the shadows without blowing out the highlights. If the snow in a skiing shot looks too bluish, you can de-blue it. If the colors don't pop quite enough in the prize-winning soccer goal shot, you can boost their saturation levels.
In short, there are fixes the Adjust panel can make that no one-click magic button can touch.
How to play . You can fiddle with an Adjust panel slider in any of three ways, as illustrated in Figure 8-6.
Backing out . You can always apply the Undo and Revert to Original commands to work you perform with the Adjust panel. But the panel also has its own Reset Sliders button, which essentially means, "undo all the Adjust-panel changes I've made during this session."
Tip: The Reset Sliders button is also useful when you just want to play around with an image. You can make some adjustments, see how they look, then hit Reset Sliders before closing the window or clicking the Done button. In this case, iPhoto leaves the photo just as it was.
Moving on . The Adjust panel is a see-through, floating entity that lives in a plane of its own. You can drag it anywhere on the screen, andhere's the part that might not occur to youyou can move on to a different photo without having to close the panel first. (Click another photo among the thumbnails at the top of the screen, for example, or click the big Previous and Next arrows at the bottom.)