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Getting Started

Getting Started

Welcome to the official Apple training course for the iLife '05 suite of products—iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand. You don't need to have any special background to get started, other than having a Mac (and perhaps a healthy curiosity about what you can really do with it). Learning iLife really means learning to live digitally; you're not so much learning to use new software as learning how to comfortably integrate your Mac into the niches in your home, school, and work. The iLife tools are only part of the picture—and this book is not so much a training manual as it is a way to show you how to enrich your world by weaving digital audio, photos, and videos into many aspects of your life.

Even if you're a longtime Mac user, delving into these interesting and fun applications may be something you've put off, having chosen instead to focus on other, perhaps higher-level software tools. It's time to take a look at these (deep breath) life-altering products. Instead of teaching you all the geeky details of these hip tools, I'm going to concentrate on how real people really use them. I may even skip entire areas of functionality, all with an eye to having fun, achieving quick success, and forming a foundation of confidence from which you can build.

What iLife Does for You

There was a time (probably last week) when your photographs were in one part of your house, your music collection somewhere else, VHS videotapes scattered around the television, and, if you have a camcorder, Hi-8 (or some such format) cassettes in a bag. Each medium is tricky to keep organized.

But when all your media is digital—in the form of digital snapshots, digital audio (CDs, MP3s, and so on), and digital video (DVDs and DV cassettes)—keeping them organized is pretty easy, sharing content is streamlined, and using the material interchangeably between formats is both simple and kind of fun.

A Macintosh is designed to sit at the epicenter of your digital home. It's just a computer, but now it's finely tuned to make the management and combining of all this content effortless. Better than that, Apple provides—free on all Macs—software that orchestrates the commingling of all this content. iLife is a family of products made up of programs designed to stand alone but also tuned to work together in remarkable ways.

What iLife teaches you is media literacy: the ability to communicate in a variety of powerful ways, different from speaking or writing or even doing page design. Making professional-quality videos and movies, and being able to combine picture and sound together effectively, is a skill that applies throughout your life. Once you have it, you'll be stunned how often you can use it—for personal pleasure or commercial advantage.

It's too simplistic to say that iTunes is the music software and iMovie is the video software. iTunes handles the organization of your music, true, but once your music is there, using it in slide shows and videos is very easy. There's music in iPhoto and iMovie too. You can't build a box around each component of iLife. So while you might want to learn all you can about each product, the truth is it may be more fun to learn a little bit about a bunch of products. Rather than focus on expertise in, say, iTunes, this book will aim to help you create real-world projects. Face it, learning software is no fun. But making movies or promoting your business or building a creative report for school can be. You'll end up learning the software along the way.

The Methodology

This book moves through lessons by progressively increasing the complexity of the media you're using. You start by learning about audio alone, then move to managing still images, printing still images, turning still images into moving (dynamic) images, and exploring the possibilities of video. With digital content and the three core iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie), you can create everything from scrapbook photos to T-shirts, books, DVDs, dynamic content for Web pages, and even a feature film ready for projection on the big screen.

Course Structure

Beyond all, the lessons are meant to be practical—not esoteric projects to show off the software, but rather real-life projects from real-life people, with time constraints, well-worn equipment, and concerns about budget. The lessons cover three general areas: music and sound, still images, and movies.

  • Lessons 1 and 2: Mostly music: use iTunes to make a custom CD, and play your music on both an iPod and through a regular stereo system.

  • Lessons 3 through 6: Mostly still images: use images from your digital camera in iPhoto; print photos; make a slide show; and create a professional looking book of prints.

  • Lessons 7 through 12: Mostly movies: combine still photos with music, special effects, and titles in iMovie; make a time-lapse video; learn to shoot video creatively and edit to maximum effect; add narration to your videos; mix sound with picture; and create original music that you add to videos.

  • Lessons 13 and 14: All of the above (sharing your projects): upload slide shows and videos to the Web with an Apple .Mac account; email photographs; and burn DVDs of your projects using iDVD.

Role Playing

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is that you're going to assume the role of three different people, all using iLife, all using the same equipment. One is a parent, Christopher, overseeing his daughter's 12th birthday party. The second is a high school student, Charlie, putting together a report for school. And the third is a small-business owner, Jennifer, using her Mac for a variety of commercial media functions.

Your alter egos: Christopher, Charlie, and Jennifer

All three of them happen to be in the same place at the same time—a contemporary ceramics painting studio. You will see the one place and common event through iLife from three unique vantage points.

The setting: Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge, on a typical January day.

Therefore, you can progress through this book of lessons in a number of ways. You could start at the beginning and work systematically, Lesson 1 to Lesson 14. I recommend this.

I would not recommend the seemingly logical path where you skip from lesson to lesson, focusing on one product, say iPhoto. By the end you'd think you'd have a pretty good set of experiences in iPhoto, but you'll miss the intricate and powerful ways the different products intertwine and build on each other.

I would also encourage you to pass on trying to follow one personality—for instance, Jennifer, the business owner—through the iLife suite. Maybe you too own a business and are primarily interested in the ways your Mac and iLife can immediately impact your work. Again, this has its merits, but since all three people are using all the products, being too faithful about following the individual with your agenda will lead you to miss important points that may be the focus of one of the other characters.

A Word About the Lesson Content

Often, training materials are professionally created—using actors, complicated production (with lights, microphones, tripods, and a crew), and so on. The resulting material is of high quality but bears little similarity to the kind of projects you will be working on. In order that this training be as real-world and practical as possible, it was made in precisely the way you would make your own videos—the quality of the shots (for better or worse) is comparable to what you can get with a typical consumer equipment; the sophistication of the projects is precisely what you can achieve using the iLife tools, with settings (and challenges) you will commonly find yourself in. The events depicted here were truly recorded in the way you are being taught to work. Hopefully, this will give you clear and realistic expectations about what you can do with your newfound skills.

System Requirements

This book is written for iLife '05, which comes free with any new Macintosh computer. If you have an older version of iLife, you will need to upgrade to the current iLife version to follow along with every lesson. The upgrade can be purchased online at www.apple.com, and is available from any store that sells Apple software.

Before you begin the lessons in this book, you should have a working knowledge of your Mac and its operating system. You don't need to be an expert, but you do need to know how to use the mouse and standard menus and commands, and how to open, save, and close files. You should have a working understanding of how OS X helps organize files on your computer, and you should also be comfortable launching applications (from the Dock or at least the Applications folder). If you need to review any of these techniques, see the printed or online documentation that came with your computer.

The minimum system requirements for the iLife suite of products are:

  • Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G3, G4, or G5 processor and built-in FireWire

  • 600 MHz G3 for GarageBand, G4 for GarageBand software instruments

  • 733 MHz G4 for iDVD

  • 256 MB of physical RAM (512 MB is recommended)

  • Mac OS X v.10.3.4 (Mac OS X v.10.3.6 is recommended)

  • QuickTime 6.5.2 (included with iLife)

  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution

  • 4.7 GB of free disk space to install iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand; 350 MB to install iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie only; and an additional 4.2 GB to install all projects and media files on the accompanying training materials DVD

Copying the iLife Lesson Files

The Apple Training Series: iLife '05 DVD-ROM includes folders containing the lesson files used in this course. Each lesson has its own folder, and you should copy these folders to your hard drive to use the files for the lessons.

To install the iLife Lesson files

Insert the ATS_iLife05 DVD into your DVD drive.

Drag the Lessons folder inside the iLife05_Book Files folder from the DVD onto your Desktop.

This will copy the folder to your hard drive. Inside this folder is the Lessons folder, which contains all of the files you'll use for this book.

About the Apple Training Series

Apple Training Series: iLife '05 is part of the official training series for Apple applications, developed by experts in the field and certified by Apple Computer. The lessons are designed to let you learn at your own pace. Although each lesson provides step-by-step instructions for creating specific projects, there's room for exploration and experimentation. You can progress through the book from beginning to end, or dive right into the lessons that interest you most. It's up to you.

For those who prefer to learn in an instructor-led setting, Apple also offers training courses at Apple Authorized Training Centers worldwide. These courses are taught by Apple Certified Trainers, and balance concepts and lectures with hands-on labs and exercises. Apple Authorized Training Centers have been carefully selected and have met Apple's highest standards in all areas, including facilities, instructors, course delivery, and infrastructure. The goal of the program is to offer Apple customers, from beginners to the most seasoned professionals, the highest quality training experience.

To find an Authorized Training Center near you, go to www.apple.com/training.


Apple Training Series: iLife '05 is not intended as a comprehensive reference manual, nor does it replace the documentation that comes with the applications. It's designed to be used in conjunction with other comprehensive guides that explain features, functions, and lots of interesting details. These resources include:

  • Apple's Web site: www.apple.com.

  • The Macintosh iLife, by Jim Heid (Peachpit Press), an accessible and popular reference to all the iLife products.

  • The Little Digital Video Book, by Michael Rubin (Peachpit Press), a concise resource on how to make your videos have more impact and look professional. While the book is not about the iLife software specifically, it expands on many of the concepts touched on in the lessons on shooting and editing video.

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