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Use iPhoto albums with third-party photo screen savers Apps
I quickly got bored with Apple's default photo screen saver and found one I liked better, namely Carousel, which is part of the XScreenSaver collection. Unfortunately, this screen saver doesn't support iPhoto albums, so you have to point it to a folder. You can point it to your entire iPhoto Library, but then you get everything instead of your album of favorites.

I'm not about to copy over 1 GB of photos into one folder just so I can have my favorites in a screen saver, so I decided to make a folder of aliases. Unfortunately, regular Finder-created aliases don't work; you have to use UNIX symbolic links. (System Preferences crashed when I set the screen saver to use a folder full of Finder aliases.) I was about to teach myself Perl so I could extract the 700+ file paths from AlbumData.xml in my iPhoto Library and create symlinks from them, but then I found a hint about burning iPhoto CDs using aliases.

I tried it out, and sure enough, the iPhoto Selection folder in the iPhoto Library was filled with symbolic links (not Finder aliases, but the Finder doesn't seem to know the difference) and my third-party screen saver recognized the photos. This setup sometimes causes System Preferences to crash when you set the pictures folder, but I haven't been able to figure out exactly why. Maybe it happens when iPhoto is open and the screen saver first accesses the photos. I haven't fully isolated the issue yet, so it could just be a bug in the screen saver I use. Here's a summary of the steps I took:
  1. Install your favorite photo screen saver.
  2. Select the photos or album you want the screen saver to use in iPhoto.
  3. Select Desktop from the Share menu (your desktop will start using the photos you selected as the background randomly at the interval set in System Preferences, which will automatically open at this point).
  4. Set up your screen saver to use the iPhoto Selection folder inside your iPhoto Library, which is normally in your /Users » Username » Pictures folder. This setting is normally accessed by pressing the Options button in the Screen Saver System Preferences pane.
  5. Reset your desktop background to whatever you had before.
  6. Optionally move/copy the symbolic links to somewhere else if you think iPhoto might do something with it, like if you want to share photos to the Desktop again later. Just point your screen saver at the right folder.
[robg adds: As described in this hint, a similar trick must be used to create automatically-changing desktop images.]
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Use iPhoto albums with third-party photo screen savers | 2 comments | Create New Account
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Easier to just cmd+opt+drag
Authored by: jecwobble on Aug 14, '07 09:16:38AM
Read the comments for the hint linked to burning iPhoto CDs using aliases. There's no need for the 'share - desktop' stuff; just go straight to step six by starting a drag from iPhoto, then pressing command + option before letting go of the drag in the desired folder.

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Re: Easier to just cmd+opt+drag
Authored by: Sensei on Aug 14, '07 01:03:22PM
I tried using cmd+opt+drag, but it creates Finder aliases instead of UNIX symbolic links. As I mentioned, these Finder aliases don't work with my screen saver, although other screen savers might use them just fine. Strangely, however, I can't seem to get cmd+opt+drag from iPhoto to even create an alias unless the destination folder is a Burn Folder. I found a good post at Cocoatech that explains the difference between symlinks and aliases. Also, as a demonstration, I created a folder with an original photo, a Finder alias, and a symbolic link in it (using ln -s original.jpg symbolic_link.jpg). This is how the directory looks in Terminal:
$ ls -lhF
total 3664
-rw-r--r-- 1 User Group 0B Aug 14 13:30 finder_alias.jpg
-rw-rw-r-- 1 User Group 1M Aug 14 09:56 original.jpg
lrwxr-xr-x 1 User Group 12B Aug 14 13:31 symbolic_link.jpg@ -> original.jpg
The Finder, however, sees both the alias and the symlink as aliases.

Also, as an update, I think the crashing problem is just a bug in my screen saver. When I point the screen saver to a folder full of Finder aliases, the screen saver still runs, but it uses a generic error image in place of image files (or aliases) that it cannot read.


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