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Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Photo Booth

It may be goofy, it may be pointless, but the Photo Booth program is a bigger time drain than Solitaire, the Web, and Dancing with the Stars put together.

It's a match made in heaven for Macs that have a tiny video camera above the screen, but you can also use it with a camcorder, iSight, or Webcam. Just be sure that the camera is turned on and hooked up before you open Photo Booth. (Photo Booth doesn't even open if your Mac doesn't have some kind of camera.)

Open this program and then peer into the camera. Photo Booth acts like a digital mirror, showing whatever the camera sees—that is, you.

But then click the Effects button. You enter a world of special visual effects—and we're talking very special. Some make you look like a pinhead, or bulbous, or a Siamese twin; others simulate Andy Warhol paintings, fisheye lenses, and charcoal sketches (Figure 10-14). In the Leopard version, in fact, there are five pages of effects, nine previews on a page; click the left or right arrow buttons, or press - ⌘-left or right arrow key, to see them all. (The last two pages hold backdrop effects, described below.)

Some of the effects have sliders that govern their intensity; you'll see them appear when you click the preview.

The Photo Booth effects must have been dreamed up one night at Apple in the midst of a serious beer party. They're truly, disturbingly creative. If you decide that you really look best without any help from Apple's warped imagery, click the Normal icon in the center.

Figure 10-14. The Photo Booth effects must have been dreamed up one night at Apple in the midst of a serious beer party. They're truly, disturbingly creative. If you decide ...

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