Preview tips, Music apps for non-musicians

The March meeting was held on Friday the 11th. Robert showed how the Mac’s including Preview app (that tends to be used mostly as an image and PDF viewer) actually has a number of powerful image editing and annotation features. DavidK then gave us an entertaining demonstration of several music apps that even non-musicians can have fun with.

Preview Tips

Robert pointed out a number of powerful image-related features in the humble Preview app that has been supplied with every version of Mac OS X. These included:

  • Opening multiple images in Preview, viewing them as a contact sheet and then moving any not required to the trash. It’s also possible to start a slideshow.
  • Selecting areas of the image in various ways including Smart Lasso to select objects and Instant Alpha to remove backgrounds.
  • Adding text and various shapes, arrows and other elements.
  • Adjusting colours and the overall look of the image.
  • Scaling the image to the required size.

Apple’s support page for Preview has details of many of these features.

Enhanced Folders

We played DavidB’s video where he shows how to make enhanced folders by customising folder icons on your Mac (also using Preview).

Music apps for non-musicians

DavidK showed us a trio of music or sound making apps that can be enjoyed by non-musicians. They were:

  • Novation Launchpad - Lets you make music of different styles by selecting from a large grid of buttons representing music loops. The app works in such a way that your selections always work together and stay in time. You can add additional effects to further customise the result and record your creation.
  • Vio - Transforms your voice when you sing (or make any other noises) into the microphone with a variety of presets for different sounds.
  • Beatwave - Tap in a grid to place notes that are always kept in tune. Choose from different instruments and layer up to 4 at once, there are additional drum tracks on top of this.

All these apps are free to download with in-app purchases to add additional sounds and features.


We discussed: