Windows Media Center + Adobe Photoshop Elements = More Photo Fun

Maximum PC Staff

Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions include Windows Media Center (WMC) , an updated version of the Windows XP Media Center Edition "10 foot UI" designed to help you enjoy your media from across the room on a big-screen TV. Unfortunately, WMC doesn't include support for Photoshop (PSD) files. But, if you've installed Photoshop Elements 5 (PE5) since you installed Windows Vista, you already have the solution to your problem.

Launching PE5 from Within WMC

Photoshop Elements 5 is one of an increasing number of third-party apps that can hook into WMC. To launch PE5's WMC features, open the Pictures + Videos menu in WMC and scroll horizontally to locate the Adode Photoshop icon. Click it to start PE5's WMC interface.

How PE5 Supercharges WMC

From within WMC, PE5 disp[ays photos in full-screen with more playback options and transitions than WMC provides and - most importantly - enables WMC to display photos saved in formats normally not recognized by WMC, especially Adobe's own PSD format, which supports layers of various kinds, including object and adjustment layers.

Better Photo Selection

You can view all photos included in a Photoshop Elements catalog or select photos by date, by tag, or by collection. The Select Photos by Date feature displays a calendar; dates with pictures feature a thumbnail image of one of the photos taken on that date (see figure). You can also view photos by a specified date range. These features beat out WMC's Picture Library (which groups photos by the month) for convenience.

Better Photo Playback

Use the Slide Show menu to choose playback duration, transitions, and speed when you view your photos in WMC with PE5 (don't confuse this with the option to play back slide shows created with PE5). The default Fade transition provides a very smooth transition between images, very useful if you're wanting to view several versions of the same photo with different effects (full color, black-and-white, exposure adjustments, and so on).

Create Catalogs and Collections to Help PE5 Find All of Your Photos

To enable PE5's WMC support to find all of your photos, be sure to create a catalog of your photos when you use PE5 from the Windows Vista desktop. Otherwise, it displays only images you created or edited with PE5. To make it even easier to view your photos, create collections of related photos in PE5 and browse them within PE5's WMC interface.


Discover how Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions bring your photos, videos and music to life with Windows Media Center. Get Mark's new book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider's Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista . It's now available at , Barnes & Noble , BooksaMillion , and other fine bookstores.

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