Editing media in other applications

Expression Studio 2.0

Helper applications are programs installed on your computer that you can use to modify, play, view or compress catalog items.

Your workflow will most likely involve performing some actions outside the Microsoft Expression Media working environment, such as advanced image editing with Adobe Photoshop.

This is where using Helper applications with Expression Media can help out. Select any file (or group of files) in the catalog and open the catalog with a Helper application directly from Expression Media. This prevents you from having to start a program, navigate through the desktop, and locate the file, and thus cuts extra steps out of your workflow.

To open items with a Helper application

  1. Select a group of images.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Open With button. In the Open With menu, click a Helper application.

    • Press CTRL and click and, on the shortcut menu, point to Open With and click a Helper application.

      The application starts and opens the batch selection of files.

When Expression Media first starts, it automatically scans your computer for Helper applications. However, you might want to add or remove some of these programs later.

To add a Helper application

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Open With button, click Helper Applications. This dialog box enables you to select media editors, utilities, or viewers so that you can quickly access them either through the toolbar or by pressing CTRL and clicking to display a shortcut menu.

    • On the Edit menu, point to Preferences, and then click Helper Applications.

  2. Click Add in the Helper Applications dialog box.

  3. Navigate to the desired application, select it, and then click OK.

    The Helper application will be added to the list.

When you use Helper applications in your workflow, you have a great amout of editing possibilities. The following are some ways in which Helper applications can assist you:

  • Editing images   Assign a program such as Adobe Photoshop or Jasc Paint Shop Pro as a Helper application for editing photos. Find images that you want to modify, open them in the Photoshop, make corrections to the images, and then save them over the existing files or as a copy to a new folder. When you go back to your Expression Media catalog and rebuild the item, the corrections will be reflected in updated thumbnails. If you saved the images as copies to a new folder, they will have to be imported into the catalog.

  • Editing non-image files   Assign the appropriate program for the file and click the Open With button. The same technique for editing images can be applied to almost any other kind of file, including desktop publishing files such as Adobe InDesign and Quark, graphics files such as Adobe FreeHand or Illustrator, and even audio, or video and text files.

  • Raw conversion   Select a batch of raw images, and open them with a raw image converter, such as Capture One PRO, Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe DNG Converter, or Canon Raw Converter. Your images will be ready to color correct and process.

  • Compression and packaging   Assign programs such as WinZip or Allume Systems' StuffIt, DropStuff, or DropZip tools to compress items or create self-expanding files for the Macintosh and Windows. This method is excellent for packaging a group of media files to be sent as e-mail, or for making backups or burning CDs or DVDs.

  • CD/DVD Burning and Backup   Assign any CD or DVD burning program as a Helper application, and add files to a new disc image ready for burning. This action is similar to, but not exactly the same as, the Expression Media Backup command.

  • E-mail   Add any file, directly from Expression Media, as an attachment to an e-mail. To do so, select the file, click the Open With button, click Helper Applications, and then choose an e-mail client (such as Microsoft Outlook) in the Helper Applications dialog box. The file will automatically open as an attachment to a new e-mail. Results will vary depending on your e-mail client and operating system. This is a useful option if your e-mail client is not supported by the Expression Media Send Email feature.

  • Previews and Players   While Expression Media is an excellent viewer for most formats, you might want to view your files in another program such as the Macintosh OS X Preview program, browsers such as Internet Explorer, or Windows Media player. If you use other players, such as iTunes, WinAmp or Audion, set them as Helper applications. This will make it easy for you to add a particular MP3 to a player's database.

  • Font management   On Macintosh OS X, you can assign Font Book as a Helper application for a quick, efficient way to add fonts from an Expression Media catalog to the active fonts panel. This means that making any font active in your system is only one click away.

  • Droplets   You can integrate droplets created by Adobe Photoshop or ImageReady into your workflow by assigning them as Helper applications. A "Rotate 90 Left" Photoshop droplet or "Make JPEG (quality 60)" ImageReady compression droplet can save you quite a bit of time when you use it as an Expression Media Helper application.

  • Applets   Any AppleScript applet, scriplet, or droplet that has been saved as an executable file is viewed by your operating system as an application. You can define it in Expression Media as a Helper application.

  • Online photo printing services   While Expression Media does not have built-in functionality for ordering prints from an online photo service, you can make Expression Media work with photo services by using Helper applications. Set the online photo service software as an Expression Media Helper applicationas described earlier in this topic. Then, open the images with this Helper application. For some photo service software, this might not work. If it does not, you can select the images that you want and drag them from the Expression Media catalog to the printing service software.