The Picture Effects on PhotoBooth for Mac

Written by breann kanobi
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The Picture Effects on PhotoBooth for Mac
The fish-eye effect creates the appearance of a fish-eye lens. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The Apple program Photo Booth allows users to take images with the built-in webcam found on Mac computers. Photo Booth offers a number of effects that help you distort or enhance your image in numerous ways. Some effects alter the image slightly while others completely change it to make it unrecognisable.

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Colour and Shape Effects

Standard effects that deal with colour and shape include sepia, comic, glow, coloured pencil, thermal camera, black and white, X-ray and pop-art. Sepia adds a filter to the photo to give it a warm, golden tone. Sepia photos are found in shades of brown and grey. The comic-book effect adds outlines to the defined shapes, such as the eyes, and increases contrast. The glow effect adds highlights to make the photo look as if it glows. Coloured-pencil effects adds a filter that makes the lines appear as if they were etched by coloured pencils and decreases the vibrancy of colours. Black and white removes all colour, turning the photo grey-scale, while X-ray inverts the colours. Pop-art turns the photo into a four-panel image in which each panel uses a different bright colour as its main hue.

Distortion Effects

The main distortion effects for Photo Booth include bulge, twirl, dent, squeeze, mirror, light tunnel, fish eye and stretch. Each of these filters stretches or shrinks a certain portion of the photo to create a special effect. For example, twirl moves all of the edges of the photo so that the image twists from the centre. Mirror flips the image horizontally so that everything looks backward. Fish eye contorts the image so that the centre appears larger and the sides appear smaller, as if the photo were taken with a wide-angle lens. Stretch pulls the sides of the image apart.


Though they are not found in all versions of Photo Booth, backdrops are included in the Mac OS X v10.5 version of Photo Booth and later if your Mac uses an Intel processor. These backdrops replace the still background of an image so that the subject appears to be standing in front of one of the preset backdrops. Still-image backdrops include clouds, colour dots and earth rise. Video backdrops include sunset, Yosemite, the Eiffel Tower and a roller coaster.

Getting New Effects

Apple offers a Photo Booth and iChat effects add-on that provides 56 new effects and works with versions of Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later. The download is free and found on the Apple website, under "Downloads." Apple also offers iGlasses and CatEye downloads. Though iGlasses is a free program, there is a small fee to download CatEye. CatEye offers three sets of effects designed to emulate pixilation and 1980s styles, while iGlasses allows you to make your iChat of Photo Booth photos brighter or enhanced.

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