iScreensaver

Using Third-Party Tools

Some big changes have rocked the internet-video world since iScreensaver Classic was released. HTML5 video has become much more cross-platform friendly, and Flash and QuickTime have been eclipsed in use (and then completely buried) as modern operating systems welcome the H.264 standards.

Adobe Flash

Using Flash brought its own security risks. iScreensaver Designer no longer supports Flash content.

Apple QuickTime

Movies have been transitioning to a cross-platform non-plugin HTML5-based solution for a few years, and QuickTime has been downgraded out of the primary Apple ecosystem. QuickTime Player can still be downloaded and be useful as a tool, but the technology is not used directly for creating and running screensavers with iScreensaver Designer any longer.

Salient Points for Authoring Movie Screensavers:

Creating QuickTime-free Screensavers

iScreensaver 6 does not require QuickTime.

Apple Photos

Use the Title and Description fields in iPhoto and Photos to set metadata that can be imported into iScreensaver.

iPhoto metadata

Import photo metadata information directly from Photos.

Apple iMovie and Final Cut Studio

Salient Points:

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is an invaluable tool for working with images. The program is wonderfully complex, and because of that, there are many paths towards achieving similar results. We urge experimentation.

Creating PNG Transparencies

When using background colors with solid images, the actual image shape may be much different than the square bounding-box of the image. In these cases, a JPEG image will not be the proper format, and the image should be converted to PNG which supports transparency within the file.

As an example, in reality the planet Jupiter is usually assumed to be a sphere, but many photographs contain a fall off into deep dark space. To overcome this, and to remove the bounding-box square around the image, we want to create a circle alpha mask to separate Jupiter from the background.

Photoshop Skills

Our original JPEG image.

Photoshop Skills

Set a background color to bright green.

Photoshop Skills

Importing the JPEG image and adding a background color with a slight tilt shows the bounding-box limitations of the JPEG format.

From within Photoshop, since the center of this image is off-set towards the right, use the Canvas Size settings to add extra pixel room to a create a full rectangle around the circular image.

Photoshop Skills

Anchor and resize the width of the image.

Photoshop Skills

The newly resized canvas.

Photoshop Skills

Use the Circle Marquee tool to select and 'complete' the image mask area.
It is recommended to use a slight feather to your final resolution's mask size, as hard edge masks can present some OpenGL edge artifacting.

Photoshop Skills

In Photoshop's Layers palette, change the Background Layer to a floating layer and add a layer Mask based on the marquee selection.

Photoshop Skills

The newly relayered canvas.

Photoshop Skills

Crop the newly relayered canvas.

Photoshop Skills

Use 'Save for Web & Devices' to save as a PNG with transparency.
Resize the final Image Size during save without affecting the original file, if desired.

Photoshop Skills

Import the new PNG file, and change the Transparency setting to 'Image.'
Set the Compression setting to Lossless, for PNG files.

Photoshop Skills

View the new planet with a background color.

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