updated 02:30 am EDT, Wed August 22, 2007
HD Photo plugin ships
Microsoft has released a new beta plug-in for Photoshop CS2 and CS3 that adds support for the HD Photo (formerly known as Windows Media Photo) format, which the company touts as a superior alternative to and possible replacement for the well-entrenched JPEG format. Microsoft says "The HD Photo plug-in supports a wide range of pixel formats (including high dynamic range, wide gamut formats) and numerous advanced HD Photo features." The plug-in requires Mac OS X 10.4. The Mac version is functionally identical to the Windows version and supports all the same pixel formats, encoder options and file format features as the Windows version. The encoder options dialog is functionally identical to the Windows versions, with all the same options and controls.
A Mac-exclusive feature included in this release is support for thumbnails in the Mac OS X Finder. A posting to the Microsot HD blog states "OS X doesn't currently HD Photo as a native format. However, whenever Photoshop writes and HD Photo file, it also creates a thumbnail on the resource fork in a compatible format for OS X. The result is great looking thumbnails for HD Photo files in Finder. Very cool!"
With the name change from Windows Media Photo to HD Photo, the spec now adds support for a new file extension - .hdp, though it is suggested that current implementers stick with the current .wdp extension. Microsoft says you can "future-proof" your application by also adding support for the new .hdp extension.