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Microsoft spreads HD Photo to Mac OS X

A plug-in lets Photoshop for the Mac comprehend the image format Microsoft wants to succeed JPEG.

Microsoft, while trying to get its HD Photo image format standardized as "JPEG XR", also continues to work on spreading the technology by more conventional means such as building Photoshop support.

The complicated HD Photo options in the advanced section of Microsoft's Photoshop plug-in, running here on a Mac. Microsoft

The company released a new beta of its HD Photo plug-in for Photoshop a couple of weeks ago, the most notable new feature being support for the Mac OS X version of the image-editing software. Previously only Photoshop on Windows was supported.

"This supports both Photoshop CS2 and CS3 running on OS X 10.4 (Tiger)...on both Intel and PowerPC Mac systems," said Bill Crow, the HD Photo program manager, on his blog.

or twice the quality at the same size, Microsoft argues. It also supports a richer and finer range of colors and is geared to be built into camera electronics.

Microsoft is treating HD Photo not as a profit center unto itself but as an indirect money-maker that could help elevate the company's stature in a multimedia future. That's the motivation behind decisions such as the Mac support and the change from the earlier, more loaded name, Windows Media Photo.

In addition, the Photoshop plug-in helps users see HD Photo image thumbnails when viewing files in the Finder. When saving an HD Photo image, the plug-in creates the thumbnail image, Crow said.

The new beta also separates encoding controls into two parts, a basic screen that governs quality and an advanced screen that governs numerous other options.