Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 7:20a EDT - In late 2005 we learned Adobe was going well beyond their September 2003 offering of Creative Suite and Creative Suite 2, from April 2005. We knew every feature in those apps. When we heard that Adobe was working on a "design suite," a "web suite," a "production suite," and their big monster, "Master Collection," at that moment we decided we were going to master their Master Collection. To kindly set our expectations in proper focus, many people at Adobe told us that our goal couldn't be done. That set off even louder voices in our heads which said, "DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!" In 28 days, the CS6 Master Collection will be officially superceded by Creative Cloud. Already, none of the suites are available from the adobe.com anymore. Now, the CC desktop apps include:
• After Effects,
• Camera Raw,
• Flash Pro,
• Media Encoder,
• Premiere Pro, and
Sure. They're 15 heavy-duty apps. Around seven and a half years later, we're still exploring them, daily. The goal posts have been repainted. There's great new turf on the field. Adobe's installed a technologically more advanced scoreboard. However, the mastering goal remains the same. Our resolve is stronger than ever. We're even more revved. Many of you depend on our guidance. Nothing there has changed. We're here for you now more than ever.
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 2:29a EDT - The Barcelona, Spain based animation/live action studio, Dvein, spent two months working on a fascinating 88 second project which starts with a frozen tundra fantasy scene and melts into liquid motion. Almost as riveting is a two minute back-story on the making of this masterpiece.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 4:54a EDT - Are you getting e-mail messages from what appears to be companies that you do business with but then discover the provided links take you to eCommerce websites you've never heard of, so the sender is not who it claims to be? What's worse are the ones which have attachments. That's how viruses are spread and "bots" are unleashed. How do you know that it's not a real message from FedEx? In Apple Mail, if you rollover the hyperlink, without clicking on it, the true web address is revealed. But what about those PDFs that you get? That's where it can be dangerous. How do you protect yourself from stuff people embed in PDFs? There was a time when Adobe controlled what happened with PDF readers through the paid Acrobat apps and the free Adobe Reader apps. Since Portable Document Format is an international open standard, everyone and the uncle can offer PDF readers. On just about all Apple products, Apple provides a free PDF reader. But, is Apple staying on top of all the PDF security issues the way Adobe is? We see more frequent security updates coming from Adobe. Here's a way to stay safe: if you have not purchased Acrobat Pro or gotten it as part of Creative Cloud or a Creative Suite, download the free Adobe Reader. Make it your default PDF reader. It's available in the App Store for your iPhone and iPad. Be protected all around and be smart about what you open.
Saturday, May 18, 2013 - 9:02a EDT - Need something to celebrate? We'll bring the cake. Our dear friend and exceptional food stylist, Tracey Lee, created this for a shoot we were doing. Janet gave herself the challenge of exploring impasto painting techniques in Photoshop CC. The first trick is to balance the texture while maintaining the smooth values associated with sweet baked goods and rose petals. Janet creates these painted images so they are large enough to print at 150 pixels per inch for framing and exhibit. The second trick is in re-purposing this illustration, as we have to with most of the images we create. People want it a little larger, a little smaller, in higher resolution for publication, or lower resolution for on-screen use. Normally, the latter is no big deal; we use Photoshop's image size dialog box, which has been around for decades. The problem is when an image has textures, like this one. In resizing, some of those qualities are lost. Or we should say, "used to be lost." For Photoshop CC, Adobe introduces a very new set of image size choices. The dialogue box is completely new. It offer 7 choices for how images are resampled while providing a preview screen. You can still have it done for you automatically, the default. If you are enlarging an image, you can choose to preserve the details or go for bicubic smoothing. When reducing an image, as we had to with this one, bicubic sharpening is the perfect option. You can also stick with bicubic but go for gradient smoothing, use the nearest neighboring pixels for harder edges, or choose a bilinear option. Either way, the 7 options offer you a chance to re-purpose your images and maintain the look you desire. It's our favorite new feature in Photoshop CC.
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 10:43a EDT - Flash Pro projects FINALLY return to the web and mobile devices as clean, simple HTML5. Even for those of us whose advice Adobe seeks, it came as a surprise that Tom Barclay, the Senior Product Manager for Flash Pro, was going to announce a Flash toolkit for Google's Dart, yesterday. There's no need for the web audience to have any special plug-in on their desktop or mobile browser. In the background, it's just the basic stuff, which runs on everyone's favorite modern-day internet applications. Okay, so why's this a game-changer? Since this is all news to us, we're not 100% sure how it's going to work, but, here's an example of what we envision. On our website, when you rollover a menu bar item, it goes to a darker shade of gray. In Flash Pro CC, we can create a little animation which when you'd do the same rollover it would go to a three-dimensional graphic, which could have a streak of highlights and shadows roll across it. Flash Pro is the web designer's coolness tool. People have said that the Flash plug-in was too heavy and a pain for the user to regularly update (those never-ending messages to download the latest plug-in were always eye-rollers). Many of our web designer pals lost faith in creating cool stuff in Flash Pro. Well, it's time to find those books and videos and brush up. Internet coolness is about to get a breath of fresh, invigorating life. Here's a little blurb, about yesterday's announcement.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 12:04a EDT - What's better than a 200-400mm f/4.0 zoom? How about one with a built in 1.4x teleconverter? Tuesday was the announcement of the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x for a cool $11,799. If you don't want to do the math, the teleconverter makes it a 280-560mm, with the flick of a switch. Adding a little more teleconverter glass builds another optical layer set for the light to travel through, so that makes the lens's widest aperture f/5.6. Usually, teleconverter accessories need to be optically coordinated to a variety of lenses, but this innovative approach matches the entire optical suite. Power Focus mode is super quiet for filmmaking. We also applaud Canon for choosing a fixed aperture design. This is terrific for on-the-money exposure, while the camera is in manual mode. At almost 8 pounds, about 4 times the weight of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body, many tripod and monopod touting sports and wildlife shooters will see this lens as an object of desire.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 9:53a EDT - There's been a huge amount of Adobe CC discussion on the web. It's been 9 days since the MAX keynote and the chatter has not subsided. What we're not hear much talk about is InDesign CC and Flash Pro CC. Why is that? Even the keynote was completely mum on those apps. The teams for those apps no longer have any hair. They've pulled it all out. InDesign and Flash began development around 20 years ago. The architecture of apps that big get very, very old over time. For CC Adobe had the teams of Audition, Flash Pro, InCopy, InDesign, and Prelude rewrite all the code for speedy 64-bit use. In the cases of InDesign and Flash Pro there was a need to institute the same user interface as Illustrator and Photoshop have, making the experience of jumping from app to app feel very familiar. In eleven and a half minutes Terry White will show you the top new features. Yes, in spite of rewriting the thing, in 12 intense months, the ID team came up with some new features, too.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 8:32a EDT - So you've wanted a Nikon D800 but $3,000.00 is too expensive? Would a $200 savings make a difference? It's not a mail-in rebate. An authorized Nikon dealer can offer you the discount on the spot. Yes, that includes the dealers who sell online.
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 7:21p EDT - We just checked EVERY page on http://m2media.com. It's fully back up and running. Network Solutions, which has had our site hosting package since the inception of the internet, made no apologies for the outage. They're claiming that outside "bots" may have invaded our site and somehow that's our problem. It went down at 2:27p and came back up at 6:36p. We're sorry for any inconvenience it caused anyone. Soon after we got started with Network Solutions, we pondered building our own server farm. Getting close to 5 hours of our day back, and months of never ending Network Solutions hassles, makes the insane complexity and ongoing expenses of such a server farm sound tempting.
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 9:24a EDT - Okay. We've been talking about Adobe CC; it's time to have something to show for it. Here's a 13 minute look at the new Photoshop features. One of the most painful things about a new version is that all those preferences you setup disappear. Terry White gets into how the new Sync Settings come to the rescue. For Photoshop CC, Adobe is talking more Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). That's where the most new features are found. We must say, in all candor, that some of these initial CC apps have fabulous new features and others just don't take our breath away. ACR brings some good stuff to the table and we're glad to have it. But Photoshop doesn't lead the CC pack. Why is that? This is an aspect of the new CC direction. The Photoshop team has not been on vacation for the past 12 months. They've been fertilizing and watering the feature farmland. Not everything is ready to pick. However, they'll be releasing cool new tools, periodically, in the months ahead. Instead of getting out a truckload of new features every 18 to 24 months, Adobe will be shooting them our way as they are ready.
Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 9:22a EDT - Last evening, the deacon at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, in Fort Monroe, Virginia told us that "mothers are saints on earth." Many of the parishioners we met are retired from the military or from other government service. Many of them know a great deal about history: history of St. Mary's, history of Fort Monroe, history of North America, you name it. By way of example, we learned that the stone block used to build St. Mary's came from the ballast of ships, for this church which can trace its history back to the first mass, 190 years ago. Since the 565 acres, almost entirely surrounded by water, were established in 1609 as Fort Algernon, near where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, the site has endured much history including many devastating wars and intense weather events. Yet, its foundations remain firm, more than 400 years later. We dedicate this day to all those saints on earth who kindly blessed us with our firm foundations. Like the strength of the mother church, those maternal foundations are what allow us to endure life's most difficult challenges and continue onward, maintaining and improving upon our cultural base for uncountable generations to come.
Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 11:32a EDT - Last evening, our Wacom Cintiq 22HD touch arrived. Our world has changed forever. We've been talking about Wacom tablets since 1991, when we got our big monster of a 12"x18" serial tablet for the Mac Quadra 700. We primarily used it with the first release of Fractal Design Painter and it became something of our claim to fame. We go back to that original Wacom Cintiq HD, too, in 2007. But, the "touch" is a very different animal. As depicted, we can use both the pressure sensitive stylus and our hands, on the screen. Sure, we're used to the gestures on our MacBook Pros' trackpads. We do all the iPhone and iPad stuff, too. The Cintiq touch is on a much higher level. We have plenty to explore and it'll probably take a week or two (maybe more) until we have mastered it to the point of the whole thing being second nature. In the mean time, imagine this: you've heard about all the cool stuff the new Adobe CC apps can do. Some will tell you that mastering audio and video, on screen, is not the same as having your fingers on all those sliders and buttons of a physical "board" (those big control panels). That argument is, quite literally, so yesterday. As that Maroon 5 song says, "Put Your Hands All Over Me." Something very new is about to happen.
Friday, May 10, 2013 - 7:16a EDT - Has technology made the creative community more methodical? Sometimes it seems that way. In order to create the defacto digital content you need to master technology. The learning process cannot always be methodical, in itself, because some of the best creative tools provide the user with more than one way of accomplishing a task. So, there are many ways to learn. We have studied and written about the roles of the left and right sides of the brain, in today's creative process. Those lobes have something of a left-right switch between them. Some mechanical switches toggle: they snap on or snap off. That sounds abrupt when we're talking about applying this concept to creativity. Speaking only for ourselves, mastering technology and applying it to creative workflows happens better when we move from one hemisphere of the brain to the other, via something of a rocker switch. You know that kind of switch: you hold down one side and it dims something up or down. Highly functional rocker switches execute their tasks more quickly if greater pressure is applied. We like to do our left-brain methodical applications and then swiftly and smoothly slide over to the right hemisphere to do the creative stuff. But, yes, the more we flex the left side of our brains, the more methodical we become. The trick is in having two very well developed lobes of the brain and a rocker switch that makes the process feel seamless.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 8:15a EDT - Not everything announced this week, at Adobe's MAX conference, was well received. There's been plenty of negative internet chatter about the subscription-only model for delivering new releases. We feel we should address these concerns. You deserve our insights. Before we do that, let us toss out our usual disclaimer: We have many friends at Adobe. We are not on their payroll. They don't give us any money to talk-up their products. It's freeing to be able to tell you when we think Adobe makes mistakes. (We have not gotten over the discontinuation of GoLive. We never felt Fireworks was our cup of tea, as hard as we tried to make friends with it. The HTML code Muse generates is terrible. We could go on and on.)
That said, we are thrilled with the new Creative Cloud direction, announced this week. We think it's a super deal.
Here's what people are bothered about. If you bought a perpetual license of a CS6 app or suite, it's the last one you'll be seeing for a while, maybe ever. That means if you want the latest and greatest, it'll be delivered via a subscription. Here's how it works: If you have Photoshop CS6, and want Photoshop CC (the new branding) it'll cost you $10 a month for the next 12 months. Then it'll go to $20 a month. If you want a few Adobe apps (like the suites were) they're going to give you pretty much every professional app they have for $30 a month. It goes to $50, 12 months later. If you've been picking up every perpetual suite license, as we have for the Master Collection, $600 a year is dirt cheaper than the cost to upgrade those perpetual licenses. On top of that, there's a ton of other goodies they are throwing in the Cloudy basket. That includes a type library which would cost us $25,000 to buy. Student/Teacher pricing is $20 a month.
We want to be sensitive. This is a change. The environments of After Effects, Audition, Dreamweaver, Flash Pro, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro are peoples' creative sanctuaries. We know what that's all about. Some people feel that their space is being threatened if they can't own the license for what's 100% up to date. We get that, too. CS6 will work for a while, but we all know what will happen. After a while, it won't integrate with new operating systems. Hardware will need to be replaced and it won't play nice with the old stuff. New printers and cameras will come along and there won't be drivers and profiles and things. So, yes, it appears to be a disconcerting future, for some. We also know that a company the size of Adobe burns through better than a billion dollars in expenses a year. Making and supporting all the cool stuff isn't cheap. Adobe isn't a non-profit organization. They need their financial health to be stellar. Receiving the tools which stay ahead of the technological and creative curves are a must-have for us.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 8:36a EDT - There's been a revision to our home page, this week. Some would say it's a minor change but to us, it's a joyous big deal. Our smallest friend, Monica, is now, quite literally, the poster child for our blog section. Why is this? Last month, Monica overheard us talking to her family about how many people comment on the images we make of Moni. She asked, "How do people know me?" She had our iPad in her hands, at the time, so we called up our blog page and showed her how many times her sweet little face appears there, which made her smile. Good blogs are all about talking up important topics. It's clear to us that there's been plenty of Monica talk. We hope the chatter is good for everyone. As Monica grows and advances we hope all the thousands of our followers are advancing their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls with her.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 3:32p EDT - There's a fabulous library of materials coming out about the 13 new Creative Cloud desktop apps we listed yesterday, even though those apps are thirty-some days away from release. We've been talking about Adobe SpeedGrade for around a year. Most of the stories have not been the easiest for some of our avid dSLR shooters to embrace, since the majority of you are just getting into photographing HD movie clips. Last month, when we published our 6 page PDF on "39 Great New Features in 6 Adobe Apps," we talked a little about SpeedGrade Shot Matcher. For our dSLR shooting subscribers, who work in Photoshop, which probably accounts for just about every one of them, the only response to this 3+ minute video is, "COOL!" Shot Matcher IS super cool. Here's what always happens: We shoot clip #1 as a close-up, maybe with a half sensor Nikon D7000. Clip #2 is of the same subject, but we have pulled back, gone wide, and used a different lens, for a different angle, probably with a full sensor Nikon D800. No matter how hard we try, the color and exposure just won't match perfectly. Light is like that. With Shot Matcher, "POOF!" they match. It takes seconds to do that and you can make that happen with an entire sequence. Watch this, hosted by Robbie Carman, one of our favorite Washington DC area Adobe masters, and get revved.
Monday, May 6, 2013 - 6:40p EDT - Here's tomorrow's blog, today. It's a long one. As suspected, Adobe had plenty to announce, today, and… yes… some of it was a well-kept secret. It's a game-changer. Let's start with the business side of things:
• Adobe is re-branding their "CS" apps as "CC." It's far more than a trade of initials. The "Creative Suites," as we knew them, since September 2003, are completing their run with CS6. The "CC" re-points branding to "Creative Cloud."
• The new "CC" brand means that these products will no longer be sold in boxes nor will users have a "perpetual license" for these products. Everything will be on a subscription basis, meaning users will obtain access to these products through a monthly fee.
• You don't have to buy into the whole Cloud thing. It's possible to subscribe to just one app for $19.99 a month. For many, this will be a better deal than getting an annual upgrade, plus it provides a path to some new features throughout the year.
• June 17 is the availability date for the new CC apps.
• Missing from the following list of new apps are Encore and Fireworks. Adobe isn't leaving those users high and dry. They plan to continue to support those apps and keep them as functional as possible through operating system upgrades.
Here are a bunch of links we want you to have so you're able to get the specifics on the new products, which were in CS6, plus InCopy. Feel free to copy and paste these onto a notepad for future reference. These links include overviews, new feature details, tech specs, videos, and more:
• After Effects: http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects.html
• Audition: http://www.adobe.com/products/audition.html
• Bridge: http://www.adobe.com/products/bridge.html
• Dreamweaver: http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html
• Flash Pro: http://www.adobe.com/products/flash.html
• Illustrator: http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator.html
• InCopy: http://www.adobe.com/products/incopy.html
• InDesign: http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign.html
• Media Encoder: http://www.adobe.com/products/mediaencoder.html
• Prelude: http://www.adobe.com/products/prelude.html
• Photoshop: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html
• Premiere Pro: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere.html
• SpeedGrade: http://www.adobe.com/products/speedgrade.html
We're excited about this. It's positive and forward thinking. Most of it, we saw coming. We are also well aware that not everyone shares our enthusiasm. Since the live presentation wrapped up around 2:40p EDT, our e-mail box has been flooded some unhappy thoughts. We've been down the road of change before. Eventually, people adapt.
Cloud continues to include Acrobat, Behance, Business Catalyst, Creative Cloud Files, Digital Publishing Suite, Edge Animate, Edge Code, Edge Inspect, Edge Reflow, Edge Web Fonts, Flash Builder, Kuler, Lightroom, Muse, PhoneGap Build, ProSite, Story, and Typekit. For $50 a month, that's not a bad deal, at all.
Monday, May 6, 2013 - 6:03a EDT - By April we usually have the final stats on dSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera sales for the previous year. In the days of the Nikon D1 (June 1999) and Canon EOS-1D (November 2001), the original pro dSLRs, such sales were easy to track, but near impossible to find data about, because... well... next to no one cared. (What professional wasn't mesmerized with a 2.7 mega-pixel D1? Okay... no one we knew.) For the majority of the previous decade, the dSLR market belonged to professionals, enterprise users, and serious enthusiasts. That was easy to track, too. Today, you can get a dSLR body, with a fabulous sensor and 1080 HD movie capabilities, from Canon, Nikon, and Sony, for a few hundred bucks. But, the majority of the dSLR sales numbers are now generated by consumers, not professionals. So, the stats for what professional image-makers bought in 2012 are very difficult to figure out. Those camera writers behind the blogs, which have "rumors" in their dot com names, have already spun out their story as to why Canon or Nikon or Sony were the 2012 winners. Some say that dSLR sales, in general, are down. Others tell us that Europe has finally gotten into the dSLR game, in a big way. We have even seen that the big three are being clobbered by Olympus, Panasonic, and Pentax. These people could even teach politicians how to stretch the truth to their advantage. For quite a few thousand dollars we can buy the real stats, study and tabulate them for days, and report on it ourselves (that ain't gonna happen). What's our take on all of this? 1.) Just wrap your hands around a great camera, new to this decade. (There are 15 such pro-level dSLRs out there. Drop us an e-mail, if you'd like a list.) 2.) Master that camera's features and create some fabulous images!
Sunday, May 5, 2013 - 7:29a EDT - Brand graphics have to endure, decade after decade. Evolving a logo, especially for consumer products, is no small task. A new version has to look not only fresh, but it has to be so appealing that it evokes positive reactions while continuing the brand identity which had its beginnings before most people today were born. Let's face it, we can get so sick of seeing some of these things that our brains no longer even register them, after a while. Here's a look at how a dozen logos have evolved, in some cases, for over a century. It's more than an overview of corporate identity, but a little tribute to graphic design. Look at this.
Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 8:20a EDT - Something big is cooking at Adobe and it's possible that the lid may pop off a very large pot, Monday. As we reported, April 25, Adobe's MAX, "The Creativity Conference," starts today. Adobe has scheduled a keynote for 12:30p EDT, Monday. Sign-up to watch the keynote address, live, over the internet. They have another free live event, Tuesday. Sign-up on the same link. We'll be watching both of them.
Friday, May 3, 2013 - 7:11a EDT - Creative minds solve many problems. Fertilize those minds and watch what blossoms. In Roxbury, Massachusetts a prison-like school began to thrive once the school district refocused the facility on the arts. The building kids once hated became a sanctuary where they found themselves. If you have not seen this news story, it's a must-see. If you have seen it, watch it again. Put your fertile mind in gear and ponder how creativity can improve your community.
Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 8:52a EDT - There's promising financial news for those of us in the content creation world. It's a surprising update on what's happening with newspaper circulation in print editions as well as the digital ones. The recently well-publicized loss of circulation appears to be slowing down to hardly anything noticeable. 593 US daily newspapers saw a combined decline of just 0.7%. Some publishers are popping corks. A new report by the Alliance for Audited Media, for the 12-month period ending March 31, shows papers like Wall Street Journal (+12.3%), New York Times (+17.6%), Los Angeles Times (+6.0%), Chicago Sun-Times (+11.6%), and quite a few others of the top 25 US newspapers making circulation gains. This is combined print and digital, but as far as many are concerned, active subscribers are active subscribers. Still it's not great news for all of the best named mastheads. USA Today (-7.9%), New York Daily News (-11.0%), New York Post (-9.9%), and Washington Post (-6.5%) saw notable downturns. In our opinion, those previously mentioned winners made impressive strides forward in the past 12 months but we also saw USA Today and Washington Post making some innovative moves, though admittedly that was in recent weeks and won't be fully understood until this time next year. If we see this upward trend continuing, newspaper publishers may have found the new voices they have been searching for in recent decades and don't great newspaper stories and fabulous graphics go together?
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 6:00a EDT - Ever hear of a thing called the World Wide Web? On April 30, 1993, not too many people did. An innovative mind at CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, a.k.a European Organization for Nuclear Research), who has now been able to place Sir in front of his name, Tim Berners-Lee, created the first web page in 1989. 20 years ago, yesterday, CERN made the web available to the public on a royalty-free basis. To celebrate, yesterday CERN reposted that original page. You have to enjoy viewing the first internet page's simplicity here. Admittedly, we heard the muffled discussions of web possibilities, in 1989. Yet, we were so involved in CompuServe, since the mid-1980s, that we did not fully comprehend the magnitude of what was evolving until 1994 when the first version of the Netscape Navigator hit the streets and Adobe responded, almost immediately, with the PageMill app for creating web pages to try to fuel those of us with dial-up modems.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 7:28a EDT - Many thanks to our fabulous subscribers who gave our website some record traffic over the weekend. Our 6-page PDF review on the 39 features in the 6 apps Adobe did a sneak peek about had five-figure download numbers. This really revs our engines. Helping our subscribers grow into being the best they can be is our mission. We appreciate your telling us that our mission's goals are right on target.
Monday, April 29, 2013 - 1:38p EDT - Every year we are pleased to participate in the announcement of the Sony World Photography Awards. The 2013 winners have been announced. Once again, we feel these winners say a great deal about where judges feel the leading photographic efforts are going, at this point. Be sure to see these 20 photos.
Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 7:08a EDT - It's been unseasonably cool in Virginia, but young people often dress for the calendar, not the weather. As we see beautiful leggy girls in their late teens wearing cut-off jeans, which come up to their hip sockets, we think of the wannabe models seeking portfolios. We're both honored and warned when it seems like seconds after they receive images from us, they have them as their Facebook profile photo and start FB albums of our shots. Some of this young talent will spend the majority of their lives in front of cameras and theatre audiences. Others will go onto buttoned-down careers. It's the responsibility of the photographer, and the team involved in the shoot, to be certain that every shot paints a respectable portrait of the talent, even if the subject wants to exhibit a great deal of skin. Trustworthy talent agents have no need for provocative images. Photograph each of these young men and women as if they are your own children.
Saturday, April 27, 2013 - 9:24a EDT - What are the 2 most important tools you need to be a great image-maker? A couple fabulous cameras? Over $100,000 in lighting? Case loads of lenses? How about an Apple hardware farm? The latest and greatest apps? There's nothing wrong with any of those. Bring 'em on, right? But do they make you a great image-maker? Of course not. They're the tools, sure. But the 2 things everyone needs to make those awesome images are a pair of eyes and a creative mind. We talk about the tools and how to use them, but once you have the tools and the know-how, the rest is up to your own creativity. If you don't have lots and lots of stuff, don't let that stop you. Just get out there with what you have and create, create, and create some more. That's how you train those eyes and sharpen that mind.
Friday, April 26, 2013 - 4:08p EDT - Things have leafed out in most of Virginia and for some photographers spring leaves mean spring weddings. Does that mean it's time to shoot the same old stuff just with different bodies in possibly the same locations? Let's hope not! It doesn't matter if you shoot weddings or not. You'll find inspiration in how Greg Gibson translates photojournalism into wedding documentaries. It's all in the eye, at the moment, just like covering an unfolding news event, which, after all, is what a wedding is, if the photographer allows it to be.
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 9:05a EDT - New technology announcements are changing as fast as the technologies themselves. The big Apple introductions used to happen at the Mac World show in January. Neither Apple nor Adobe even have had booths on that trade show floor, for years. Adobe has been going to the web, in recent years, to announce big things. They inherited Macromedia's MAX event, when those companies merged. MAX has been the conference for what innovative technological tools are rumbling around in people's minds. This year it's May 4-8, 2013, in Los Angeles. People have been waiting to hear what's coming down the road for Creative Suite/Creative Cloud. Learn more here. Tickets go on sale at 1:00p EDT, today, for Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) June 10-14, in San Francisco. Apple is promising to unveil the new Mac OS and mobile device iOS. People are expecting to hear about hardware, too. These things are not cheap. Apple's WWDC is $1600. Get tickets here. Until March 31 Adobe's MAX was $1300. Today it's $1500, $1700, on site.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 7:31a EDT - Great book design is a page turner. This photo gallery for "The Rock and Elvis Presley" is proof of that. As you scroll down, it feels like you're turning the pages. They're a visual feast complete with a vinyl record and how the book fits into a retail point of purchase display. Fabulous design lives!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 10:58a EDT - When does a customer courtesy become a disservice? In the image-making world, one issue would be when the customer is provided with something that they may not be able to utilize properly. Some photographers and filmmakers, who cover events, shoot the project and at the end of the day give the client the images and/or film clips. Most of the professionals on the commercial-side of the project know exactly what to do to get the most out of the shoot. For some (probably most) on the consumer-side will take the images to the mini-lab in a drug store, supermarket, or big-box discount store, to get prints. The results could be awful. At that point, the mini-lab becomes the shooter's final delivery point. The customer has every right to say, "YUK!" The shooter gains a bad reputation and the consumer feels ripped off, even though that may be what they asked for. Represent the industry well while thinking through what the customer needs and deserves. We doubt there are many doctors who say to their patients, "Well, that does it for the surgery. If you want to stitch yourself up, it'll save you a few dollars."
Monday, April 22, 2013 - 10:13a EDT - It's been almost a year since Adobe introduced Creative Cloud, their subscription service which gives people full access to all things Creative Suite, and then some, for $30 per month. Admittedly, many were skeptical that it was going to take off. Not a third of the way through the year and we have seen technological innovation move forward, with new product concept proposals, at a faster pace than ever. It's something of a non-stop push for the great "what's next." It's clear that waiting around 18 to 24 months for new apps no longer works for many of us. Us end-users need to stay on top of where things are going as much as vendors like Adobe does. Those upgraded "dot releases" (CS6.1) have become an essential element in our ever escalating work environment. We see a point coming, in the very near future, where living without them will not be possible for a studio to survive with and remain competitive.
Sunday, April 21, 2013 - 10:38a EDT - We often see messages, on internet sites we frequent, which say, "This Site Will Be Down for Maintenance..." Often, these are the implementations of new technologies. The trick is to do the back-end work without needing to take the site down. That's our approach. Yesterday we ran into a glitch on our home page. Fortunately, the thousands who visit our site every day don't use the home page as their point of entry. There were a few hours, yesterday, when you saw an unusual message. We apologize. Our maintenance continues but the front end of the site is back to normal.
Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 9:03a EDT - Opening film credits have gone from typewritten sources of basic documentation to elaborate little productions in themselves. Here's a 12 minute tribute to the history of opening credits, which evolved over time and transformed the genre. Directors quickly learned to use every second of the motion picture to tell their story. As the digital tools became available, opening title became more of a visual element. At times, those visuals have taken a higher priority than the need to communicate the words on the screen. The role of the title designer has become that of an integral contributor to film's message.
Friday, April 19, 2013 - 9:58a EDT - What's HTML5 canvas? Of course, you know how HTML relates to the web; it's the Hypertext Markup Language source code behind the web pages. It has a reputation as somewhat static, related to its humble public beginnings in late 1994 as the now defunct first iteration of the Netscape browser surfaced. Those unvarying characteristics are what revved people about the motion and intereactive Flash-based pages before the close of 1990s, which were sustained until mobile device development caused it to fade from the web, in recent years. Does that mean super cool web visuals are over? Nothing could be further from the truth. The fifth generation of the HTML standards have opened the door for some fabulous motion-related aspects. Are you yet to be convinced? Take a look at this. It's just a beginning to the creativity which is on the doorstep of brilliant web developers. Just as the early tools have concluded their web reign, for now, new, exciting, innovative opportunities are just emerging.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 1:33a EDT - What's next for Photoshop? Adobe gave us a sneak peek at the 6 apps we featured in our most recent Online Learning PDF. Now they're giving us a teaser for Photoshop. See this 45 second clip on correcting camera shake.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 9:53a EDT - Can you force yourself to be creative? If you make your living on producing creativity, do you have a choice? First, what is "creative?" According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, it's "relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work." We often associate "artistic" with creativity but it's relative to any great problem solving. Some of the most advanced methods for forced creativity comes from the Pentagon. It's what NATO strategists set to use in the field. They need those "original ideas" on command. We would suspect the teams of investigators, in Boston, are stretching and flexing their creative muscles, as we speak. So, get out of your comfort zone and do some creative flexing, today.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 7:36a EDT - We're currently tweaking how our mass e-mail database works. We have subscribers in the five figure range. Many of our subscribers use e-mail marketing where they pay a monthly fee to a company to use their online service. The more clients you have, the more it costs. Web Assist, the company which specializes in Adobe Dreamweaver extensions, has Power Messenger. It works with our Network Solutions package from that web hosting provider. We bought into Power Messenger once and there's no additional monthly fee from Web Assist or Network Solutions. We've done the monthly fee thing. It's not only expensive but the results were never representative of the exact visual directions of our own. They fit into the templates of those companies. Power Messenger has every feature which any e-mail marketing company offers and then some. It takes a little doing to go super professional, but, it's worth going that extra mile.
Monday, April 15, 2013 - 7:52a EDT - As promised, yesterday, we published our 6 page review of the 6 apps Adobe revealed at the NAB show, last week. We focused on 39 features in these forthcoming versions which we feel will be the most helpful to our subscribers. It's a nice heads up on what's coming to the video and audio side of our business. Shooting film clips with dSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras is becoming more and more prevalent. We know our subscribers will want to stay on top of things and stay competitive. We have a special web page just for this free PDF. Our subscribers will get an e-mail reminder.
Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 10:08a EDT - Digital imagery requires many professions to make radical changes in how they make their living. That is not news. Though, we know that's the case for making movies, there's one unseen career professional whose time is ticking: the projectionist. Yep, those guys way up in the back of the older cinemas still splice together trailers and coddle film prints. Photographer Joseph Holmes' got the idea to visit those projection booths before those prints are replaced by feature films, which are delivered as highly encrypted files over secure internet connections. Here's a great story of how Joseph set out to visually explore this project.
Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 5:37a EDT - Do your lenses let you see the way you think? Our use of optics, for eight and a half years, was distorted by our shooting with half sensor cameras. The Nikon DX format cameras expand the FX lenses by a 50% factor. Our beloved AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 became a 52.5-105mm. What was once a moderate wide to moderate telephoto became a normal at it's widest. Since July, we have been primarily shooting with the D800, a FX format camera, so our 35-70mm is back to being its old self. We see things as moderately wide. We think that way. We dream that way. We also see things as macro shots and in all sorts of telephoto situations. Admittedly, we have not been thinking much in terms of wider angles. We see panoramas. Even our trusty old 28mm f/2.8 has been kind of lonely. Should we force our brains to think in wider terms? We're going to do that. It's a fun experiment. So, join us. Ask yourself how lens usage can expand your mind. Get out of your comfort zone with us.
Friday, April 12, 2013 - 7:00p EDT - Three years ago, to the minute, a very tiny version of the current m2media.com went live. We didn't have a single subscriber, at the time. We thought it was pretty cool to have 1,100 page views in a single day, during our first month. This weekend we celebrate our 3rd anniversary by publishing new weekly content to the site, again. Those things have a way of bringing us better than 100 times those original page views. Now the goal is to report far more substantial numbers this time next year. It's our mission to help move creative talent further forward. CHEERS!
Friday, April 12, 2013 - 6:58a EDT - Get up early. It's worth it. The morning light is filled with special colors, as Janet proved yesterday. The cherry blossoms put in a late appearance this year. The cold temperatures kept their buds closed (you can't blame them, there). But unseasonably warm temperatures in the 90s brought them out this week. Janet was up early yesterday morning, waiting patiently as the first light welcomed them at peak before this morning's winds and rain whisks them away. She photographed this with our Nikon D800 and an AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED. The shallow depth of field and telephoto compression rivets the eye on the blossoms, popping them out from the background.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 1:06a EDT - Do you get those HTML e-mail messages, which look like a little website complete with the navigation bars and animated graphics? Okay, some of them are really annoying and the volume of e-mail from the same companies, over and over again, day after day, seems burdensome at times. Other e-mail messages are pretty cool and cause us to stop and examine them. We get a few e-mails from photographers (mostly in the wedding and portrait business), people offering workshops to exotic locations, and illustrators who do personal portraits (we're not sure how we got on their mailing list, or why they think we're the target audience, but that's okay). There was a time when any HTML e-mail was pretty innovative. Today, the marketplace for inbox attention is quite crowded. If you can do a website with Dreamweaver, you can create HTML e-mail the same way. You can grab eyes with the best of them (probably better)!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 6:58a EDT - If you create content for TV don't you deserved to be paid for it? If it's broadcast over the air, it's free to those with an antenna. However, next to no one receives today's HD signals through an antenna on the roof of houses (remember them). The majority of us get them via cable, fiber optic, and satellite. Those providers have to pay the broadcasters to retransmit those signals. But what about watching TV on your computer or mobile device? Most of the broadcast and cable channels put that content out there after it has been delivered to your television. That's free. A company called Aereo has been delivering live broadcasts, in the New York City area, over the internet, and not paying the broadcasters a penny. Some broadcasters are even considering shutting down their transmitters and only providing content via the paying providers. This has been a hot topic of discussion for weeks, which we have been following. Yesterday, it flared up during the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. It made enough noise that it was even carried on NBC Nightly News, last night. If you didn't see it, watch it now... legally!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 8:14a EDT - It isn't always 100% about the money. Last week we started working on a big project. As it rolled along, far more was needed to make it a success than we were asked to offer. No one ever said, "You have to do more." No one needed to. It wouldn't work for all parties unless we dove in, 100%. By the end of the day, yesterday, it was clear to everyone that we not only got the plane off the ground, it was flying high. Always give it your all; the money will come.
Monday, April 8, 2013 - 6:21a EDT - Last week Disney shutdown LucasArts. That's the 30 year old gaming company named for the Star Wars creator, George Lucas. Disney only owned the company for 5 months so, on the surface, putting all 150 employees on the street didn't make sense. One might guess that the house built by Micky Mouse only wanted the gaming titles and rights and doesn't care about the people. Disney is outsourcing new projects to independent developers. An event like that is sad. Jesse Harlin wrote a eulogy to the company and photographer Joel Aron captured these images of the people behind the LucasArts name.
Sunday, April 7, 2013 - 7:48a EDT - It's not easy to figure out the best user interface (UI) solutions for technology to be used by creative professionals. That group's minds are not always predictable. We cannot imagine how many more times that difficulty multiplies when creating a UI for kids whose creative minds are way out there in the upper atmosphere. There's a free iPad app from Disney called "Talking Tom." Tom's a cat. When you talk to him, he repeats what you say. It can cause kids to be entertained for hours. We showed this, yesterday, to our 7 year old friend Monica. She figured out that Tom had audio responses but she expected him to have visual responses, too. Since Tom opens his mouth quite wide, as he talks, Monica wanted to get closer to the screen and open her mouth even wider to see if Tom would do the same. The people at Disney are clever but can they stay a step ahead of Monica? That's way to tall an order for ANY adult.
Saturday, April 6, 2013 - 6:09a EDT - CPI Corp of St. Louis, Missouri ceased American studio operations, yesterday. Who? You may know them better as the photo operations in Sears or Walmart. They've had a tough go of it in recent years and have been unable to pay their creditors. Some analysts have pointed to a decline in portrait sales in general. It is thought that many families are satisfied with with the photos they snap with their smart phones. To us, it's sad that the chance to capture big sharp a photos of a family's annual progress, performed by a professional photographer, is no longer a high priority. There are many excellent photographic studios ready to pick up the slack. Let's hope they're successful at convincing Americans that those photos are worth every minute and penny.
Friday, April 5, 2013 - 9:46a EDT - Aren't newspapers just so yesterday? Some think so. Can't you get all those stories on your browser or your iPad? For some papers, sure. But if you're a visual person, who loves a fabulously-designed newspaper, with great photos and illustrations, isn't something lost? In our disappointed minds, yes. So when our favorite newspaper, The Washington Post, announced that we could get the print edition, on our iPad (yes every page of the thing), we were very happy. Check this out and feast your eyes on the visuals while scrolling horizontally on the screen shots.
Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 6:19a EDT - Today, in advance of the NAB show exhibit, Adobe began to offer a huge sneak peek at the next versions of their professional digital video audio tools (in alphabetical order):
• After Effects 12
• Audition 6
• Media Encoder 7
• Prelude 2
• Premiere Pro 7
• SpeedGrade 7
...and a few other goodies, too. These 6 are among the 14 Adobe daily tools of our trade. Adobe has created a website just for the reveal. We're highlighting all of what's important to our subscribers in one of those always popular PDFs that we do. As usual, it's free. Some of our friends at Adobe are working to get us clearance on what we can tell you about. Hopefully, we'll have that for you, this weekend.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 6:46a EDT - Is Adobe Flash Pro dead? Rumor on the street says so. Don't accept rumors without seeking the truth. Sure. Apple's April 2010 refusal to allow Flash Player on their early mobile devices dramatically crippled Flash's once sky-high use. And, Adobe further hurt Flash themselves once they pulled out of all Flash Player mobile devices in November 2011, a move many, including us, say was premature. But where do you find the truth about the app which launched the once widely-accepted project animator and cool website creator for 2013 and beyond? How about this little video on the next version of Flash Pro presented by Tom Barclay, Adobe Senior Product Manager for that app. He gives you a quick preview of a Flash Pro which has been totally rewritten for an extremely fast 64-bit architecture under the code name, Hellcat (complete with a humorous bug chasing feline graphic). Would Adobe invest all those resources to completely rewrite an app which is dead? We don't think so. They surely have something up their sleeves for Flash Pro's future.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 9:46a EDT - When a disaster strikes, what possessions are people the most pained to lose? They often say "photos." Photoshop's Senior Product Manager, Bryan O'Neil Hughes, was moved by the stories he saw about Hurricane Sandy. So he created 25 quick videos on Photoshop restoration. Don't wait for a disaster to strike. Watch the videos and digitize your memories, now. Store files in a secure way. You, your family, and your friends will appreciate the effort. Hopefully no disaster will ever happen to you but you will have organized all of those memories to be enjoyed year after year.
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 6:42a EDT - With the NAB show, which we mentioned Wednesday, starting in just a few days, we have our minds on dSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) camera movie production and post-production. Nikon has added a cool new section to their website, Nikon Cinema. It has some great insight into dSLR production in a professional environment.
Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013 - 6:04a EDT - What's going through your mind this Sunday? Even in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the buds are on the trees and hardy flowers are blossoming everywhere we look. All things nature are saying, "NEW!" For those of us who have been on a Lenten journey, it's over. Newness has arrived, right on time. Celebrate the day in enjoying nature and see yourself as fresh and new, as well. It's how to press the Reset button.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 8:48a EDT - Why is the date for Easter always moving around and what makes this year's date extra heavenly for image-makers? That's an interesting story. The moving dates are known as "movable feasts." Easter can be as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. In 325 AD Easter was chosen to be the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. This year the spring equinox was 7:02a EDT on March 20 and the full moon was at 10:27a on the 27th. So, why's that so special? Most people think the equinox, in March, as the start of the length of day exceeding 12 hours. Historically, folklore has tied that to the resurrection. Of course, it has much to do with where you are on the globe. The imaging opportunities actually started on St. Patrick's Day, for those of us in the mid-Atlantic. That's when we had 12:02 of daylight in Washington DC on March 17. So, love the light. Grab those cameras and let the spring image-making begin.
Good Friday, March 29, 2013 - 8:24a EDT - We wish you a peaceful Good Friday. We have stories of how our mothers made us go to our rooms and be quiet on this day. That's okay. They did their best with the tools they had. However, we had no idea what that was all about and thought maybe we were being punished for something we didn't remember doing, so it really didn't mean anything to us. A few decades later we see Good Friday with more mature minds. Good Friday doesn't have to be about feeling you've been bad. For us, it's as a contemplative time. You don't need to be of the same exact denominational directions as ourselves to make Good Friday meaningful. Please set aside some time today in peaceful reflection. You'll be glad you did. May your Good Friday be all about a greater, loving goodness.
Maundy Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 7:24a EDT - Today is Maundy Thursday, but what does Maundy mean? Some assume it's corresponding to The Last Supper and its relationship to Passover. To some degree, that's correct. But, the word Maundy is derived from the Latin word Mandatum which means mandate, relative to the washing of the feet. In this act, Jesus passes His ministry onto his followers. It appears in the Gospel of John 13:1-15. Must you get you masters degree in divinity to do the work of God? Nope. You don't even need to be a regular mass attending Christian. Make your Maundy Thursday mean that you'll do His work on earth for the rest of the year.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 10:47a EDT - We've been listening to NAB chatter for weeks. It's okay if you say, "NAB?" It's the National Association of Broadcasters. They do a big trade show in Las Vegas every year. Just as the CES show did consumer toys, in Vegas, earlier this year, NAB does the toys of bigger kids. The name of the show is deceptive. It's not just for broadcasters. All us tech heads from one person shops to the big dudes from Hollywood show up for this. So, NAB chatter is kind of like guessing what Apple is about to show. It starts Saturday, April 6 and runs through Thursday, April 11. Admittedly, we've lost our edge for these big things and our schedule is fully booked that week. Nevertheless, we've heard of and played with some of the cool stuff which will be shown there and as it's made public, we'll share with you what we think every image-maker needs to know.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 4:21a EDT - Do you have Photoshop Touch on your iPad? Did you know you can get it for your iPhone, too? It's only $4.99. You're not up to speed on Photoshop Touch, at all? That's okay. Here's a great little overview video as to what it's all about. For five bucks it's worth a try.
Monday, March 25, 2013 - 12:58p EDT - We are dealing with our third late season snowstorm. The snowflakes are tapering off and it's 36.6°. We totaled 5" of snow on the raised surface we use for measuring and reporting to the National Weather Service and our friends at NBC in Washington. Visually, it's an interesting snow to observe. Because the surface temperatures are relatively warmer, this time of year, than in late January, it's not always easy for the precipitation to be snow and when snow does develop, it's heavier. That's both a recipe for downed trees and wires as well as something which is not all the splendid to photograph. Nevertheless, nature in action is fascinating to observe.
Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 5:21a EDT - Have you ever begun work on a project and halfway through it a brilliant idea came to mind? Yesterday, we were shooting video for a pro bono project. 30 minutes into it, shooting with three cameras seemed like a better solution. From Premiere Pro CS5 forward, that became an easy post-production edit. Shoot with two or more cameras and you can sync them up. Start telling your story from camera 1, switch to camera 2, go back to camera 1, and then switch to camera 3. It's just like you are directing a live news show or sporting event. Multiple cameras allows the audience to experience an event from various views. It's stimulating storytelling. It works for educational footage, something documentary, or perfectly for a wedding. Of course it works wonderfully with Canon, Nikon, and Sony dSLRs.
Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 7:52a EDT - Tuesday, we chatted up yesterday's Connect session on new features in the Adobe Dreamweaver dot release. The session was extremely well-attended and the relatively new Dreamweaver product manager, Alejandro Gutierrez, commanded the presentation and lively Q&A like a seasoned pro. We noticed that most of the questions showed that the audience didn't know many Dreamweaver basics. This wasn't all that surprising. Dreamweaver isn't a plug-n-play kind of app. If you know know absolutely nothing about one of Adobe's most popular apps, here's a 2 minute overview.
Friday, March 22, 2013 - 10:04a EDT - Yes. The Spring Equinox was just over 51 hours ago but due to a historically unusual Arctic Oscillation a good chunk of us in North America are freezing our [insert any body part which comes to mind] off. Nevertheless, just seeing the word "Spring" triggers images of flowers in our brains. So, once again, if you have no flowers outside your windows, go buy some and shoot in the comfortably warm indoors. Before you say, "You guys have all the cool lighting gear..." we'll respectfully cut you off and say, "Take a look at this well thought through super simple diffusion set-up." The whole setup fits on a one page PDF.
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 12:05p EDT - This week, Wacom announced a 13.3" HD Cintiq. It'll be available next month. If you're not familiar with the Cintiq, it's something of a combined pressure sensitive tablet and display. So, you work with a stylus on a screen. This is nothing new; Wacom has had small Cintiq units for a while. We have never cared for them. They were always kind of clunky. It looks like Wacom got this one perfect, this time. It's just over two and a half pounds and a thing of beauty. With a MacBook Pro, the Cintiq 13HD becomes a second display, so it's as if your laptop gained an extra 1920 pixels in width. Here's a quick video on what it's all about. We have a big Cintiq HD but this one's tempting.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 2:42a EDT - Do you have "Photoshop Eyes?" You don't need to license an Adobe product to have them. We see with something akin to Photoshop retouching tools. Our brains interpret the images our retinas send them so that we see people at their best. It helps us envision how we'll capture them in still images, illustrations, and footage. Some of it is our creative energy but other parts of it come from our hearts and souls. In short, we visually and personally reach out to people and love them. Love is your most powerful creative tool. Bring a heaping dose of it to every project you do. Your work will soar.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 7:34a EDT - How much do you know about Adobe Dreamweaver? We use it every day, for websites. For Creative Cloud subscribers, there are a ton of cool new features to Dreamweaver. Sure. There are a bunch of cool new things to learn about in CS6, but, where do you learn about the new features in one of these "dot releases?" (You know, like Dw CS6.1.) Friday, at 3:00p EDT there's a Adobe Connect session about them with Dreamweaver Product Manager, Alejandro Gutierrez. We'll be there. Register here. It's free.
Monday, March 18, 2013 - 10:01a EDT - So you think Adobe Illustrator is for making a bunch of boring vector graphics? In the hands of Madis Põldsaar, nothing could be further from the truth. We've always loved how artists use Illustrator to capture fabulous portraits, which absolutely captivate the eye to the point that you cannot help but look and look and look some more. Keep an eye on Madis. This graphic artist is going places. In the mean time, visit this site to enjoy Illustrator creativity unleashed.
St. Patrick's Day, Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 4:52a EDT - St. Patrick wrote of a vision he had, "I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 9:13a EDT - We got our darkroom starts in college. There was something wonderfully magical about seeing an image develop before our eyes. However, there was nothing romantic about the chemical odors. The really successful wedding-portrait photographers had their own little in-house color lab. Over time the truth became known about color prints fading. The archival qualities of ink-jet printers and great papers came to the rescue. However, it's not all that easy to knock-out bunches of wedding albums or school portrait packages with the traditional sheet fed or roll paper ink-jet printers. The Epsonģ SureLab™ D-Series printers are something of a little ink-jet print mini lab. The digital archival progress train keeps rolling.
Friday, March 15, 2013 - 6:42a EDT - Today we would like to memorialize Louise van Dort. She was an Apple pioneer, driven by passion for the innovation of the Mac. Apple is currently a business, creative, and technological legend. However, it wasn't always smooth sailing. Those of us who have lived the meek 1976 Apple I and 1977 unassertive Apple II plus their 1983 disastrous Apple Lisa remember the humble Apple beginnings. The Lisa and the 1984 ground-breaking Macintosh were sold as a little sideshow at computer stores which were heavily invested in the IBM PC, DEC Rainbow, and Compaq (sort of) portable (lug-able). Louise dove into the Mac in historic "Little Washington" Virginia, amongst small, sweet shops and the also legendary 5-star Inn at Little Washington, 60 miles west of Washington, DC. Louise opened BlueRidgeMac, an exclusive Apple dealership which was once a gathering place for Mac enthusiasts who were part of an Apple users group. This was long before Apple opened its first store, around 45 miles away, in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. Louise died Sunday, walking distance from the beautiful home she designed and built. May the REAL iCloud open its gates to welcome her home.
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 7:53a EDT - We are pleasantly surprised at the extensive coverage the media has given to the election of a new Pope. We tuned to NBC News and noticed the reports ran yesterday from 3:00-4:00p, commercial free, in 1080 high definition. That's no inexpensive production. HD technical standards in Europe are different than in North America. That means NBC had to have people and hardware on the ground in Rome with no idea as to how long they were going to be on site. All the major English newspaper websites, in North America, have had unfolding coverage of the papal events at the top of their home pages. When something like that runs for a few days, as it has, it tells us that the readers are responding and the web traffic numbers look good enough to support that level of coverage. God bless them one and all.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 7:17a EDT - Do you use iCal on your Mac AND iPhone AND iPad? Then you want an iCloud account. We use iCal to plan our month, schedule our week, and account for the time we log on projects, each day. Every time we enter something into iCal, it gets sent up to the cloud and sent back down to all our devices. We're always up to date, wherever we are. For years we have told people in our industry that time is primarily all we have on our inventory shelves. Make the most of your inventory.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 7:40a EDT - Some of the most rewarding work we do is consultation. Sometimes that work is very private. We're just doing one-on-one work with someone, in their office, where learning a few new things about an app is needed. Other times, the only way it works is if we are on set for a live project. Earlier this week we were working with two photographers as a shoot was in progress. They needed some fine tuning of their lighting techniques where a combination of natural illumination and AC flash was involved. We coupled that with some camera setting refinements. The results were exquisite. Once the session is over, they felt like they learned something and their careers had jumped up a step or two. That's one blessed gig we have.
Monday, March 11, 2013 - 11:07a EDT - Happy 50th Anniversary PMS! Huh? Yep. By 1963 Lawrence Herbert's system for categorizing a printer's inks and pigments was significant enough to be offered to the public under the name of the Pantone Matching System. PMS revolutionized how we communicate color. Now under the ownership of X-Rite, Pantone has gone beyond color for inks and displays. They're currently very big in colors for clothing and home decor and, of course, has become a noteworthy factor in many Adobe apps.
Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 11:43a EDT (yes, that says Eastern Daylight Time) - All weather events are global. We often discuss that topic extensively. Weather, environment, and nature has been baked into this studio's stairs upward. Weather forecasters look at many computer-generated models. Here in the geography the US National Weather Service classifies as the Northeast Sector, we have seen some extremely jolting weather, in recent months. Which of those computer-based models got it right? Not ones from North America. Since the weather patterns roll eastward, over North America, and primarily transport their way to the northeast before visiting Europe, our neighbors on the other side of the Atlantic need to be aware of what's coming their way. The European weather supercomputers are rolling on the floor laughing at how they are constantly wearing the gold medal of weather modeling over North America. Here's an interesting overview news segment on what that's all about.
Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 4:43a EST - What did we do during three days without electricity? Well... we did our best to stay in touch with our friends at the National Weather Service to report ground truth weather data. We also did the same for our pals at NBC4 in Washington via Twitter, so they could re-tweet our reports. Outside of that, we polished our skills in Adobe Audition, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro, as we prepare to release a series of video/PDF combinations, this month. Hey, Americans and Canadians: Don't forget to set your clocks forward one hour, tonight. Wake up to Daylight Saving Time, Sunday.
Friday, March 8, 2013 - 11:20a EST - The power is still out but we are Richmond bound, later, today. The snowfall total was 11.5" most of which has melted.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 5:22a EST - It is 32.6°. We have 5.75" of snow on the ground and our power went out at 5:00a.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 9:32a EST - The National Weather Service is forecasting 13.0" of snow for our Northern Virginia location. This storm is driven by two lows, moving east, currently blanketing the northern Midwest and soon to be covering a big chunk of the northeastern quadrant. Yes, this makes for transportation headaches. But, it also provides some excellent photographic opportunities. Keep in mind that all the whiteness is not conducive to automatic exposure. Three words to the wise: bracket, bracket, bracket.
Monday, March 4, 2013 - 7:58a EST - We often write about our little friend Monica. She may be only 7 but she flash thaws our brains with the ideas she tosses our way. Yesterday, after mass, we wished her a great week. Her response was, "I wish you a great 2,000 weeks." Our math skills are lousy. Admitted, we had to use a calculator to figure out that 2,000 weeks equals almost 38 and a half years. Some people don't want to think about who they'll be 38 years from now. The concern might be the physical changes their bodies will endure. We like to think about the experiences we will have, the love we will share, and the projects we will work on to keep our minds sharp. There's many a Monica which have yet to be born. We want to contribute to moving our culture forward for all those Monicas.
Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 6:20a EST - Everyone and their uncle has jumped on Apple's bandwagon and has an iPad-like tablet device. The technology rumor mill is something of an industry of its own. The current tablet rumor is that our friends at Wacom, the champion of tech savvy creative professionals, may have a tablet on the way, according to Tech Crunch. We doubt it's another iPad wannabe. Knowing Wacom, it's more like a light-weight battery operated version of their beloved Cintiq.
Friday, March 1, 2013 - 1:34p EST - Happy Spring. No. We're not getting 21 days ahead of ourselves. Meteorological Spring started at midnight, today. Without delving into the scientific and logistical reasoning behind it, let us just say that, it's not 100% technology. So what skill sets do you need to observe nature? To some degree, a few centuries of constant study. On the other hand, maybe as much study as a first grader. What do you see when you look out the window at 3:00a? Most would answer, "blackness." While staying just 50 miles west of the US Capitol building we saw cloud forms. It's a story of how much light pollution prevents you from seeing more detail in the night sky. Is night lightscaping bad? Well... maybe if the light points toward the sky, it robs many from the joy of nature. To properly direct and manage outdoor down-light creates a safe and beautiful night environment without limiting a view of the sky.
Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 3:55a EST - What stimulates your creative thought process? For us, one contributor is environment. Until we can build on our Etlan, Virginia 3+ acres (maybe 12 or so months away), we need a new, bigger studio, something with soaring ceilings. But, it's not completely about the physical dimensions of the interior environment. Some of it (well, plenty of it) is about exterior surroundings. We need to be outside; look outside. We need the stimulation of a glorious, natural habitat.
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:42p EST - Have you experimented with Photoshop's HDR filter? We pulled a few HD movie frames and wanted to develop a special visual treatment. After experimenting with a variety of techniques, HDR filtering hit it out of the ballpark, in our minds.
Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 5:42p EST - Here's a cool little web page for choosing colors for your website. When the thing loads, move your arrow around the screen and watch what happens. The colors change, just like with a color picker. It displays the web hexadecimal color code. When you see a color you like click on it. the color code and color appears on the screen. Many thanks to HailPixel for a useful tool.
Friday, February 22, 2013 - 7:43p EST - If it sometimes seems like our studio has some very lofty goals, you're only given that impression by the fact that we do! We do our best to think through and plan these things to the best of our ability. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. When it DOES work, that's something to celebrate! We planned our new video series as a set of quick cuts in a multi-camera setup. That means we say a few things to camera 1 and then say the next few things to camera 2. Yes, that makes it more interesting to the viewer, but it also allows us to quickly update our content. This week Nikon put us to the test by introducing the D7100. They aged two of our videos, already in post-production. However, it took us but minutes to refresh them and the PDF combination. Let the weekend begin!
Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 7:44p EST - We have been talking about the future of the Nikon D7000 for a while. Yesterday, Nikon tossed a little more curiosity into the speculation with the introduction of their D7100, which they refer to as "The new flagship of Nikon's DX-format HD-SLR lineup" but categorize it as a camera for the "advanced enthusiast." Nikon Professional Services have yet to list of the D7100 as part of their automatically qualifying cameras. Nikon shows the D7100 at a street price of $1,200, the former cost of the D7000, which has been bumped up to $1,350. However, amazon.com is has priced the D7000 at $996.95, showing $1,199.95, as the list price and the D7100 for $1,196.95 with a list price of $1,499.95.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 4:52p EST - What's the future of newspapers? Even the big players like The New York Times and The Washington Post have declining circulation for their print editions. However, they are reaping millions from their websites and mobile apps. It's still not the kind of money they brought in with newsprint during that heyday. However, these electronic versions grow their revenues every year. Some of the less metropolitan, not-so world-renown papers have very little going on beyond traditional print. Even the print edition of The Washington Post is very visually based, today. Less text bothers the long-term lovers of stories which jump from page to page to page. Could the future of newspapers look more like magazines? Is it possible that they won't even be inked to newsprint, down the road? Will the visual trends of the electronic media rule the print editions into daily magazines printed on glossy paper stock? (No more newsprint ink on your fingers, so those fast-moving roll-fed presses have no time for dryers.) If so, does that open the doors for more and more designers, illustrators, and photographers?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 1:27p EST - There are a variety of cool things you can do with video playback on some Nikon dSLR cameras. When you press the Play button, to view the video footage you just captured, it prompts you to press the center button on the Multi Selector to play it. But, there's more to it than that. Did you know that if you press the up arrow it stops the playback? The down arrow is a pause button. The left and right ones act as rewind and fast forward. The more times you tap those two, the faster it gets. The more you know, the better you get.
President's Day, Monday, February 18, 2013 - 8:59a EST - When you see our videos do you know that we are reading from a script printed on 11x17 paper? One of our very media-savvy friends told us they would be better if we spoke candidly. When we see other educators do that, we notice that they make mistakes. To offer anything which wasn't fact-checked would drive us nuts. In the new series, which you'll see in just a few days, we read over the script and then speak from our hearts. In short, we have impressed ourselves, and that's very difficult to do!
Sunday, February 17, 2013 - 10:07a EST - What's in the source code behind Photoshop? You're sure Adobe would never tell you? In truth, it's been made public. But, it's not the code behind Photoshop CS6. It's being offered by the Computer Science Museum for Photoshop 1.0, going back to 1990. The interesting story behind it is that technology from 23 years ago has nothing to do with today's computing directions. For those of you who closely follow Adobe, you know that they have been completely rewriting all of their apps to provide 64-bit newness. For the most part, that leaves nothing from an app's beginnings in tact. Adobe engineers have told us that it literally requires many man years of collective labor to do that. Maybe in 23 more years, they'll release the source code for CS6.
Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 6:54p EST - After a few challenges, with our web hosting provider, the new Consult+Collaborate section of our website went live a few minutes ago. We used the opportunity to redo every page of the site. All of this was quite ironic. We just opened that section to let people know we're here if they need us, when they are struggling, creatively or technologically. And, yes, we overcame the issues, but we realize that not everyone (okay... next to no one) is equipped to deal with this stuff. Now, if you need to send up a flare, that new section has 4 "Contact Us" buttons. We're here for you.
Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 9:43a EST - We've done our share of pro bono projects, for good causes. Sometimes, creating those PSAs (public service announcements) are no small projects. This morning, Savannah Guthrie debuted her PSA about the plight of childhood hunger. Renowned filmmaker Joe Pytka shot this one. It got our attention that he did the whole thing with a dSLR camera. We're sure no one can dispute that shooting it with something more expensive and larger would turn better results. So, if you must, watch this just for the photography, but, be lovingly prepared, you won't be able to escape the message.
Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 8:45a EST - Mardi Gras is over; Lent has begun. Easter Sunday is March 31. Pesach (Passover) culminates April 1. Of course, there are many liturgical traditions over the next seven and a half weeks, but over that same period, for those of us in many parts of the northern hemisphere, nature will be reminding us that this is a time of newness. Buds will pop out on the trees. Each day will add minutes of light. Warmth with return to our lives. We want your spiritual life to move into a new phase, by the end of next month, but we also want you to not just appreciate the fresh new start around you, but to capture it ways you have never done before. Make a resolution, today, to be better in fifty days.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 7:21a EST - "He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." - St. Francis of Assisi
Monday, February 11, 2013 - 10:02a EST - We're always helping people with their communication arts needs, but we have yet to officially announce that we're available for consulting and collaborative projects. We are always teaching things but we have to realize that sometimes people would just rather have us do it for them. We're working on a new section to our website, which goes live this week. It doesn't matter if that doesn't generate a ton of new projects. It's just nice to let people know we're available.
Sunday, Feburary 10, 2013 - 7:01a EST - The pursuit of perfection with GIF transparency is a story of compromise. We roll out a bunch of changes to our website this week. The GIF animation, which has been on our home page, moves to the Online Learning section. The animation needed some updates so we put the new one on our home page, yesterday, just to try it out. This time, the GIFs are transparent, so they run over the top of the light gray background. It adds a little more pop to the animation and the look of the whole page. Since GIFs are limited to 256 colors, gradients are kind of choppy. Yes, Photoshop's File > Save for Web... offers a few options for diffusion transition but limited pixels are what they are. We did put the huge GIF animation file size on a diet by using the Restrictive choice of colors. That pulled 2 megabytes out of the 97 total frames.
Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 9:42a EST - So you have some great ideas for a new visual direction and you'd like to shoot a few samples to show customers. The only problem is that all your sample shots already feature your favorite models and these new shots have to look fresh. Well... pay it forward! There are plenty of great new models and actors who need great head shots or some terrific new portfolio photos. Strike up a trade. Let someone help you as you help them. Check in with community theatres and college theatre departments. You never know when that new talent might be able to inject some great ideas into that direction you're after. And, if you get some great results, remember to share the photos with a talent agency or two. If you do good deeds, goodness will come your way.
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 11:36a EST - Do you print to the same inkjet paper image after image? Is the content of the image at all relative to the paper you're using? For those of us who have been immersed in professional inkjet printing since the introduction of the 17" wide Epson Stylus Color 3000, in September 1998, we have seen the marketplace go from next to no available paper to a dramatic change in the attention the paper mills are giving us. Here's an article to encourage you to explore. Look into those sample packages it mentions. Do you have a small press run coming up (even if your own inkjet is the press)? The paper merchants, who supply the big commercial offset printers, have huge inkjet selections from the big paper mills. Many of the paper merchants have sample studios which are more than happy to send you free sample books to assist you in requesting free sample sheets. Paper merchants have retail outlets in metropolitan areas, which have racks of paper where you need not buy more than one ream.
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 7:06a EST - Do you give the same care to your video lighting as you do stills? In some cities, at some stations, local news footage is shot in a grab-and-go manner. It's what some of us get used to seeing, so we fall into a bad mimicking phase. We're currently shooting new educational footage for our Online Learning series and we're spending some time really upping our game with lighting and camera angles. Yes. It takes more time. It's extremely fine tuned and we really like what we see. We welcome mimics. It's what makes our industry better and better. Always be your absolute best.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 8:47a EST - Can you bake a birthday cake with Photoshop? Of course you can. The best pixel-pushers create amazing goodies in Photoshop. Here's the deal. February 19 is Photoshop's 23rd birthday. They'll choose the best submission and turn it into a real birthday to be presented at Adobe's headquarters in San Jose, California (there's no mention of flying you there). Preheat your Photoshop ovens, now. You need to submit your creation here, by Friday.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 7:15a EST - What do you do when your Mac's hard drive gets sick? Well... you used to get out the Mac OS X installation disk, put it into the optical drive, and do a restart. Once the DVD was in control of your Mac, you then ran Disk Utility. That way, you were not using the hard drive. After all, how can a hard drive, in use, fix itself? Now, with Mountain Lion, Mac OS 10.8.2, there is no DVD. It's only available as a $20 App Store download. Sunday, we found out what happens. We do regular maintenance with Disk Utility, while the computer's hard drive is up and running. Previously, Apple Enterprise Support said that was an okay idea but not a great one. Sunday we had to run Disk Utility and it discovered that one of our MacBook Pros had major issues. What did it do? As the Apple TV commercials used to say, "There's an app for that." It comes with Mountain Lion and somehow or another it does a restart and we suspect it gets loaded into the memory slots. Nevertheless, it 100% fixed everything. So, like good Mac moms and dads, we ran Disk Utility on all Macs and we've feeling very clean. It's not the be all and end all. We let TechTool Pro do that. But, it's a start. Be clean.
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 9:22p EST - What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial? We had seen discussions of so many of them in advance it was kind of a "I've seen that." series of moments for us. There was one commercial which we had not seen. It had us glued to the screen. We're talking about the "So God made a farmer." spot which Dodge ran for their Ram trucks. If you have not seen it, or you're like us and want to see it again, it's here. This is a fabulous photographic ode to farming. It's a beautiful visual story of the people who make North America great.
Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 3:24p EST - Have you been to the Super Bowl of camera sensors? DxO Labs owns the scoreboard. They test various aspects of photographic equipment. We monitor what they learn in their camera sensor testing. Every time a new camera is tested, the board could reshuffle. We keep our eyes on the 14 currently available professional level dSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Sony. Though the new Nikon D5200 is consumer oriented, it came in at #11 in recent days. So here are the most recent professional level winners' stats out of 192 cameras in 15 brands after the D5200 resorted the playing field:
• 02 - Nikon D800
• 03 - Nikon D600
• 06 - Nikon D4
• 08 - Sony a99
• 09 - Nikon D3x
• 16 - Canon EOS-1D X
• 17 - Canon EOS 6D
• 20 - Canon EOS 5D Mark III
• 25 - Nikon D7000
• 28 - Canon EOS 5D Mark II
• 34 - Sony a77
• 61 - Nikon D300s
• 75 - Canon EOS 60D
• 78 - Canon EOS 7D
To learn more about DxO's sensor ratings, visit here.
Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 4:07a EST - What does that funny number on the memory cards that you put in your camera mean? You've seen it on CompactFlash (CF) cards. It's on some of the SDHC cards, too. There's a "x" after it: 100x, 133x, 266x, 600x? Oddly enough, it's relative to the music CD! (We wouldn't make that up). Originally, the Compact Disc was able to transfer data at 150 kilobytes per second. So, the speed of a 100x memory card is 100 times that of the first CD. That would be 15,000 KB/sec (100 x 150 KB), which is a 15 megabytes per second transfer rate. A Nikon D800, in full frame mode, produces a very big 20 MB camera raw file. A 133x card is able to transfer an image at 20 MB/sec. So, that card can transfer 1 camera raw image per second.
Friday, February 1, 2013 - 8:31a EST - A few weeks ago we heard a photo educator say, "It doesn't matter what camera you have." The guy seemed to be telling his audience that they can get professional results with a $29 camera. We said, "HUH!" The statement wasn't as surprising as the message within it. The guy was communicating, "I'm going to say anything to get as many people as possible to buy my videos." but he was also saying, "Don't trust what I say. I'm in this to make a buck. Period." As we scripted our next couple dozen video/PDF combinations we took on a few controversial topics. We didn't set out to find the controversy. That's not us. We know our positions on these topics are not going to make 100% of the world's image-makers nod their heads in agreement with us. It's not our goal to ruffle any feathers. We're dedicated to educating people about the best practices. If we have to be less than truthful, now can our subscribers trust us? We want everyone to produce at levels which help everyone be technically and creatively the best they can be.
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 5:19a EST - If you're a Nikon shooter and look with envy at all the Canon photographers, at sporting and news events, as they tote those big white EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lenses, bury your jealousy. Nikon has finally announced the AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR super-telephoto lens. Whether you shoot with Canon or Nikon, chances are not very good that you'll be lugging either of those big guns, though. The Canon 800mm is $22,200, but if you look around you can get one for a steal of $13,249. Nikon has priced theirs at $17,900. It's too early to tell what the real street price will be, however, it looks like it will not be available until April 4. Yet, starting today, if you set aside $284 a day, you should be fine. In the mean time sit back Sunday, starting at 6:30p EST, with your nachos and favorite beverages and say, "I'm going to let those guys hoist the heavy glass, tonight. I have more important things to do."
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 3:05p EST - Janet has shown samples of the impasto technique before, using Tim Shelbourne's brushes for Photoshop. But she pursued a greater challenge using a photo we took at the kindergarten graduation of our little friend, Monica. Generally, a 3D crackled look does not seem to apply to the very smooth skin of a then 6 year old. The trick is to apply it selectively. In this case, it's seen just in her hair. The illustration has something of a storybook appearance, which is exactly what we wanted.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 4:06a EST - We can test and test and test the tools of our trade, all we like. It's part of what we do. The REAL field testing, though, is when we are out on one of our consulting gigs, with another photographer. We regularly work with shooters who are not getting the performance out of their cameras, which they perceive they should be able to obtain. Yesterday's photographer felt as if she's missing shots because her Nikon D800 was too slow. So, we set her Nikon's Release Mode Dial to Continuous High Speed (CH) and attached our Nikon MB-D12 Multi Battery Power Pack. It was interesting reviewing the results of some test sessions. Since that camera + battery pack configuration makes the D800 a 6 frames per second (fps) camera, for rapid bursts of action, in something as simple as a puppy licking someone's face, we can clearly see when the battery pack allowed her to capture the perfect shot at 6 fps, which could have been lost at 4 fps. There are 9 current professional dSLR cameras capable of 6 fps to 12 fps. Canon: EOS-1Dx, EOS 5D Mark III, and EOS 7D. Nikon: D4, D800, D300s, and D7000. Sony: a99 and a77. What's rapid action? It could be professional sports. It could be a child being a child. Be sure your toolbox is ready for you to be your best.
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 8:41a EST - It's no secret that we have been big fans of editing footage with Adobe Premiere Pro. We got on board with it in 1991 when many of our director friends, who were still editing to video tape, told us that non-linear editing (NLE) was a toy of a concept. Along the way Apple's acquisition of Final Cut Professional (FCP) became the darling of Hollywood. Unfortunately for Apple, last year's more sparse version of FCP was not well received. Apple's error became a major success story for Adobe and Premiere Professional which really came to life back with CS5 as a very nimble 64-bit. We finally feel vindicated by this video from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. So many of these innovative filmmakers are talking about how they cut their projects with Premiere Pro. TA DA!
Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 1:59p EST - There are tons of things dSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras do which next to no one knows about. Here's one that maybe you don't know but will enjoy applying your creativity to. Practically all dSLR users know that the shutter release button (called a shutter button by Canon and Sony) has two phases: partially pressed and full pressed. When it's partially pressed the camera's auto-focus goes to work. Some people do not realize that when you focus, if you continue to hold the button in that position, you have locked your focus. That permits you to then recompose your shot insuring that the focus will be exactly where you want it.
Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 9:59a EST - So you get out of bed on a Saturday morning. The sun is out it's 21.3° and snowing. You throw on a robe, grab a camera and step outside for that great grab shot... or so you think. Something in the back of your mind says, "You know this isn't going to take 2 seconds." Well... the back of your mind is smarter than the front portion. Skip the auto-focus. The snow is going to mess with it. Skip the auto white balance. It loses the golden tones of the rising sun. And, above all, stomp the snow off your feet before walking around the rest of the house!
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 7:52a EST - Hopefully when you hear the term "library" that word evokes a positive response reminisce of a place you loved to go soon after your learning to read. Shouldn't authors have the same mental triggers? Once a book has been on the market for a while and sales lag, that "product's" publisher considers it to be "library." That means it remains in their catalog but for the most part, the public has lost interest in it. It would feel like your work was dead. It might happen in 18 months, sometimes sooner. Digital media has given new life to books, music, movies, and some television shows. We are dazzled when we bring old CDs into our iTunes library and the music takes on mpeg4 qualities. It's as if they were remastered. All the cable channels and digital downloads have fed Hollywood studios with the financial enticements to rework thousands of films and television shows for 1080 HD. Even our first book, published in 1986, is available digitally. Life is good.
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 11:35a EST - With 1.5" of snow on the ground and bright sunlight, the angle of winter's light is extremely obvious. At this point the sun travels from the Southeast to the Southwest, low in the sky. So, at 10:45a, in January, the shadows are far longer than they will be 5 months from now, when the sun will be much higher in the sky with more of an East to West trajectory.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 9:03a EST - We've been reporting weather to our friends at NBC for 19 years. We have never reported a low of 8.2° until this morning. (No. We didn't go outside to see what that feels like.) As our regular followers know, we put a huge effort into reviewing every page of all 10 volumes of the Adobe Press Creative Suite 6 Classroom in a Book series (we're revisiting some of them this week). After posting all of those reviews to amazon.com our hearts were warmed when someone sent us a thank you note, this morning. We've gotten a few of them but it still feels great to know that we're helping people learn, grow, and be their best.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 9:38a EST - We've loved them all: Canon, Minolta (now Sony), Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax. (Obviously our love had been fickle, prior to settling down with Nikon, in 1984). For years we've been listening to the never ending dSLR arguments over, "Which is better? Canon or Nikon?" That's one we're really sick of hearing. Operationally, a Nikon D800, Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and Sony Alpha 99 are remarkably similar. Why is that? Our guess is competition (as in manufacturers looking over each others shoulders). But, admittedly, we're also seeing some very impressive innovation across the marketplace.
Monday, January 21, 2013 - 8:13a EST - We have 14 new video/PDF combinations for you, next month. These are the most exciting educational endeavors we have ever worked on. The content of them is unlike anything we know of, which exists. Our goal has always been to serve our subscribers. Yesterday the goal posts became visible. Blessings.
Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 1:16p EST - What is typography? What is lettering? Is there such a thing as "hand-lettered typography"? Even word processors offer leading and kerning. But, what's that all about, anyway? Are hats are off to Joseph Alessio and Smashing Magazine for this excellent web article. It's worth bookmarking for reference. We have an extensive type library and love calligraphy. We have not heard a great deal from digital type foundries, in recent years, but we are aware of some new technologies, on the horizon, which will change that, in the near future.
Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 1:28p EST - We have been told, by a very reputable source, that the professional-level dSLR products from Canon, Nikon, and Sony do not "pay the bills" for those companies. The consumer products are what make those divisions tick. That includes consumer oriented dSLR cameras as well as the point-and-shoot products. We can't say that amazon.com is the bellwether of pro dSLR sales, yet we get some confirmation of what we are being told with amazon's dSLR top 100 list. This is updated hourly. At this hour a pro level dSLR (body only) doesn't show up until #7 the Canon EOS 60D, #9 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, #10 Canon EOS 7D, #11 Nikon D7000, #18 Canon EOS 6D, #19 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, #23 Nikon D600, #26 Nikon D800, #49 Nikon D300s, #60 Nikon D700, #61 Sony A77, #62 Nikon D90, #72 Canon EOS-1D X, and #75 Nikon D300. Only 3 of them show up on the top 100 list of cameras in general. It's also interesting that on the dSLR top 100 list 77% is dominated by those three brands. The other 13 dSLR camera slots are divided up among 5 other brands, (in order of ranking) Pentax, Panasonic, Olympus, Leica, and Fuji.
Friday, January 18, 2013 - 10:07a EST - We regularly pester our friends at Adobe about the interoperability of their CS apps. By way of example, when we create something in one app, we don't want to need to recreate the thing in one or more other apps. That's a big waste of time. Say you created a swatch or a very involved gradient in Illustrator and you want to drop it into InDesign. It's easier than you think. Watch this 5 minute video and save hours from your workflow.
Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 7:56a EST - So you love floral macro photography but you live in the northern sectors of the northern hemisphere (as we do) and all the flowers to be photographed are indoors. So, buck up bucky. Shooting indoors might prove that it's more successful than anything you've gone outside to do. David Leaser does some fabulous in-studio florals with a Nikon D3x (no surprise: the D800 would be our choice), an AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED, the Nikon R1C1 wireless close-up Speedlight system, and a Cognisys StackShot (a what?). No, you don't have to go out and buy all that stuff, if you don't have it. Improvise. Read this article, be inspired by the story and photos. Then use your imagination to do something similar, which is all your own.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 9:48 EST - Asher Benson does some amazing work with Adobe Illustrator. Her work is truly imaginative in its freedom. Asher starts a project with paper and pencil, scans it, and builds from there. You have to see her centaur girl. It's a step-by-step how to.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 2:02p EST - It's okay to say, "I've changed my mind." We have been strong opponents of variable aperture lenses. As much as we love the AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED and one of Nikon's most popular lenses the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II, we have had numerous problems with them while shooting with our former Nikon D2x cameras (circa 2004). As we zoom, the aperture changes. When we are shooting with all things Nikon, it's not a problem. We have been creating some great images with AC flash since 1981. We take light readings with a flash meter and manually set the aperture. With the D2x that seemingly minor difference between f/3.5 and f/5.6 often meant the loss of detail in highlights and shadows, which was always a disappointment. We would have no idea what the exact aperture should be because we'd be changing the focal length as we worked. We were please to discover that the sensors in newer Nikon cameras compensate beautifully for this. The D800 appears to have sufficient compensation as does even the D7000. So, we've taken variable aperture lenses off our "no fly list."
Monday, January 14, 2013 - 12:01p EST - We're always encouraging people to be their best. One of our dearest friends, who is a photographer/stylist, got a new printer, right before Christmas. So, for Christmas, we gifted her with some great photographic paper, which came with a challenge. Dean Collins, one of the world's greatest photo educators, told us that he would print projects of his, from time to time, and hang them on the walls of his home and studio. He said that was a means of forcing himself to look at the past projects and think through how to make new ones better. We ask our friend to print two images a month and do the same. She took it further. She setup up a daily blog where she posts images and encourages dialogue. We're impressed. How will you encourage yourself to become better in 2013?
Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 4:15p EST - Poking around amazon.com, we noticed the pricing on some Canon and Nikon dSLR cameras have dropped since November. A Canon EOS 60D, which has a list price of $999, is now $699, a $100 drop. A $1,200 Nikon D7000 is at amazon for $897, also roughly $100 less than a couple months ago. We noticed quite a few other Canons and Nikons having been marked down. Sorry Sony shooters those prices did not vary. It's a buyers market.
Saturday, January 12, 2013 - 7:15p EST - November 29 we showed you a Photoshop piece we did with John Derry's impasto tools. Janet is pleased to post a piece she photographed and painted in Photoshop with Tim Shelborne's impasto tools.
Friday, January 11, 2013 - 12:44a EST - Who didn't want cameras with higher resolution for both stills and movies? Our wishes have been granted. The downside? Well... big resolution requires big storage. For which most of us, when weighing the value of the resolution think, "So?" This week, LaCie announced 3 very innovative big storage devices. The one getting all the buzz is from another one of LaCie's world-famous designers, in this case Philippe Starck. It's called "Blade Runner," a very novel 4TB (Terabyte) work of art for $300. 2 very welcome RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) solutions have also been announced. As the name implies, a RAID has multiple drives inside the unit. You can use RAID to mirror on one drive what is happening on another. That way you have an extra copy should something go wrong. The more popular use is to gain speed. Imagine 4 or 5 disks doing the work of one, simultaneously. It's something akin to driving on a 5 lane super highway instead of wandering through a single lane road. The 5big NAS Pro has, as the name gives away, 5 bays. On the front, this unit looks like a wide version of the typical LaCie storage unit. However when flipped around to the back you can swap in and out the drives. But why would you want to do that? Think of the amount of storage needed for a movie. You could load up the unit with drives just for that project and then store them away when you're done. The 5big NAS Pro is great for network use so many people can access the drives. Looking quite similar is the long-awaited 5big Thunderbolt™. You can transfer data at a once seemingly fantasy world speed of 785 Megabytes per second. So, for us, we can transfer around 8 images from our Nikon D800 per second. Like the 5big NAS Pro, the 5big Thunderbolt™ stores as much as 20TB at a time. The former starts at $530 with no disks, the latter $1,200. When fully loaded to 20TB, both units are $2,200. Only the 5big Thunderbolt™ is currently available. We've been waiting for that one for around a year and a half.
Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 4:01p EST - What will be your source of creative inspiration in 2013? Yesterday, we were in the Safeway (a grocery store) and we heard "Daddy, daddy, look it, look it, DADDY DADDY!" It was the voice of our little friend Monica who was thrilled to see us. She's a very creative child. Moni had a few twist ties from produce and she was making them into a flower. The route from the front door to produce takes you through the floral department. That may have been her inspiration. We're supposed to be the Adobe Master Collection masters but we are forever learning new things. The undisputed master of fine art 3D in Photoshop is Kat Gilbert. We've been wanting to pump up both our 3D skills and fine art layering techniques. We are thrilled to own two prints of Kat's work. They are framed and have been hiding under our bed. Why? It's because we wanted to wait for that time when we're ready to dive in and do. They go on the walls today. Those prints are going to be our source of inspiration. We will joyfully look at them day and night. Get inspired, too, especially if you're thinking, "fine art 3D?" Visit Kat's website. (It's in Flash so don't try it on a mobile device).
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 3:35a EST - Yesterday the monstrous 2013 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) officially opened in Las Vegas. As you can imagine, most of the stuff on exhibit is very consumerism oriented (translated: things you really don't need and will be sick of this time next year). The big buzz at CES is about 4K television. Sony and Samsung appear to be grabbing the headlines. These are big (we mean REALLY BIG) TVs. Some have curved screens. The standard for HDTV, in North America, is 1920 pixels wide x 1080 high. 4K is around 4352 x 2176 pixels. Yep. That's a bunch of high resolution detail. It all sounds very cool. There are just a few tiny, tiny downsides to the thing: 1.) There's next to no content available to watch. (Okay. Sony tosses in 10 movies.) 2.) These TVs (when available) cost around $25,000. 3.) A 4K movie is around 10 terabytes. A 10 TB hard drive isn't one of those things you pop into Best Buy to pickup on the way home. 4.) If you have very expensive, insanely fast internet, it would take around three days to download a movie. 5.) In the United States, broadcasters switched to all HDTV standards three and a half years ago. Canada just finished the job. Mexico shuts off the old broadcast standards in 3 years. That's quite a few billion dollars of new broadcast equipment and consumer expenditures. 4K TV seems like consumerism fantasies to chat about in Sin City. As the tourism promos say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 9:51a EST - It's easy to accurately forecast what will be happening for you at Adobe, in 2013, in a broad overview. In November of 2011, Adobe's CEO, Shantanu Narayen, announced that Adobe's Creative Suite products were going to an annual development cycle. This was a departure from their 18 and 24 month cycles for full versions. Once their Creative Cloud subscriptions far exceeded Adobe's goals, upon the May 2012 launch, regular new features began to appear in an ongoing provision of "dot releases" (a.k.a. CS6.1), at no extra charge. The availability of a completely new Acrobat, again, at no extra charge, to Cloud subscribers typified this, in October. So what are the new features we can expect from a Adobe in 2013? We doubt there's anyone, even Shantanu, who has an answer to that. What he can tell you, for sure, is that when "CS Next" hits the streets, all it costs Cloud subscribers is to keep paying their monthly subscriptions. Cloud has turned Adobe into a very organic development environment. It fits into how media technologies seem to change daily. Your creative environment deserves the same.
Monday, January 7, 2013 - 10:50a EST - Our specifics on what's happening in 2013 with professional dSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras is absolutely nothing to take to the bank. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Nikon's announcement of the D4. Next month it'll be a year since they announced the D800 and we think they've finally fulfilled their backlog of orders for our favorite camera, ever. We were a few months into 2012 before Canon even began to deliver the EOS-1D X. Nikon and Canon do not announce big, rugged sports/journalism cameras every year, so that market space seems full. Canon did deliver on their EOS 5D Mark III, which like the Nikon D800, became an instant darling of Hollywood. Sony just began shipping their new flagship a99 in November. So where do the big 3 of pro dSLRs go for 2013? You can depend on them continuing to keep an eye on the competition, while striving to innovate. Sony upped the game on video features with the a99. Nikon's D800E is Dx0 Labs' #1 sensor plus it has 36.6 effective pixels. The Canon flagship camera has an ISO range of 100 - 51,200. Ain't competition great!
Sunday, January 6, 2013 - 11:20a EST - It's Epiphany Sunday. Most of us know the hymn "We Three Kings" and the story of the Epiphany star. Epiphany is defined as "a moment of sudden revelation or insight." Be a star this year. Be a bright, positive, guiding light in the lives of many.
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 4:26a EST - From Fauquier Hospital ER - This week we added a Nikon MB-D12 Multi-Power Battery Pack to our D800. It turns it into a completely different camera. Is a boost from 4 frames per second to 6 noticeable? Absolutely. Does the additional functionality of a few extra controls make a difference? It does to us. The additional weight and form the battery pack adds to the camera actually makes it feel a bit better balanced in our hands. That said, where do we see professional dSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras going in 2013? We'll share our thoughts on that, tomorrow.
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 6:20a EST - Some of the Epson Stylus Pro line has been around for a few years. With significant rebates running through the end of February, we would not be surprised to find a bunch of new Stylus Pros arriving in 2013. What would that entail? That's an excellent question. Some of Epson's wider throated printers introduced a much bigger color model by using 11 inks. Would an even larger color model cause some wallets to open? Or, is the professional printing market already saturated?
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 11:21a EST - What are we expecting, for 2013, from Apple? Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has publicly said that they'll build a Mac in America. We're expecting it to be a Mac Pro tower. The Mac Pro has been around for six and a half years. We are guessing that it will appear in a new form factor. The opening of the April NAB show would seem like an excellent time for its announcement. It's okay with us if they bring back the 17" MacBook Pro with a Retina display, then, too.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 4:34p EST - Two of the least popular things we teach about are color displays and printers. We're clueless as to what that's all about. Yesterday, we were in the Fair Oaks Apple Store. Yes. People are so into the new Retina displays. We have no insider information to share about where things are going, so this week, we'll go out on a limb and tell you where we guess (just guess) where technology is going in 2013... and we'll even tell you why we think that is.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 8:37p EST - What did you do which was really great in 2012? Can you do it even better in 2013? That's our goal for the new year.
Monday, December 31, 2012 - 1:31p EST - Before 2012 concludes we have set aside time to be thankful for the many great things we have been able to do this year. We've taken time to reflect upon them. It's been an honor and a pleasure to reach out to the many who sought our assistance for projects which are important to them. Is there anything better than to love and be loved?
Sunday, December 30, 2012 - 1:57p EST - We gave ourselves a goal of completing our study of all nine Adobe CS6 Classroom in a Book (CIB) volumes for the Master Collection apps, plus the one for the Production Premium Suite, by the end of the year. We have now posted all ten reviews to the amazon.com site. The tenth review is for Flash Professional. It's the only one we rated as 4 stars instead of 5. Do we think it's not that good? Actually, it's best in class. It's just that it has nothing to offer the creative professional, who checks out every CIB edition with each cycle. It's pretty close to the same book as the CS5 edition. That also means it's geared toward Flash for the internet, for which the beginning of the end arrived when Apple announced the iPhone, in 2007, and the subsequent revelation that iOS would not (or maybe we should say, "could not") support Flash Player. Nevertheless, Adobe assures us that Flash Professional has a secure future as does Flash Player and the, somewhat, companion AIR app. Flash is now directed more at gamers, app developers, and the high-end delivery of motion pictures. We can envision some really cool apps which could be developed with Flash. Read our review, here. What's on your learning horizon for 2013?
Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 3:29p EST - We just completed our review of another Classroom in a Book learning experience. This one is on Fireworks CS6. It may be one of Adobe's least explored CS6 apps. However, that didn't slow down its author's zeal to create an all new edition of a book which clarifies the power and usefulness of Fireworks in the web design environment. We're impressed with what Jim Babbage did with this edition. Read our review, here.
Friday, December 28, 2012 - 2:21p EST - Ignite the creative energy in a little person and you'll receive a gift which never stops giving.
Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 10:50a EST - Today is the 7th birthday of our smallest friend, favorite model, and upcoming artist, Monica. One side of our kitchen refrigerator is Monica's art gallery. So, today we have 100 real cool markers and a great sketchbook for her. Just as we post all of Monica's art work, we print and display, all around our studio and home, our favorite photos, illustrations, and designs. We frame some, but we also just push-pin things to bulletin boards and tape them up in places. This forces us to continually look at our own work and become our most constructively critical viewers. It becomes a tool for us to figure out how we can better our techniques. We urge you to do the same. Make it your new year's resolution to not allow a month to pass without having at least two great visuals to add to your very casual self-exhibit spaces. Keep improving yourself so that this time next year your December projects are better than the ones which seemed like your greatest, this coming month.
Tuesday, December 26, 2012 - 7:26p EST - Did you get excited about all those Christmas photos of family and friends? Congratulations. That's what love is all about. Did you blow open the doors on all your creative and technical energy for the people who mean the most to you? But, now that you've messed with all those menus on your Nikons, how do you undo all that stuff? Well... sometimes the quickest thing to do is to go back to the factory settings and build from there. But, how do you do that? For the most part, on the pro-level Nikon dSLR cameras, just hold down the "Qual" button and that button which has a "+/-" on it, simultaneously, for 2 seconds. Now, go through the menus and be sure the factory defaults are okay. You're back to shooting jpgs instead of shooting for NEF camera raw files. The more you review this stuff, the more you'll know your cameras inside and out. You want to be there.
Monday, December 24, 2012 - 5:38p EST - "What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race." John 1:3-4. Merry Christmas.
Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 5:41a EST - We have some big technology projects in front of us for 2013. That's part of why we have been scouring the entire library of all CS6 Classroom in a Book lessons, which we have blogged about, here. There are all sorts of cool things you can do with Dreamweaver, which has nothing to do with the web, especially where dynamic pages are concerned. It's just the core of how images are created that have live data involved. The more we study CS6 apps, the more we discover benefits of them beyond how the average user applies their power. Read our "Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Classroom in a Book" review, here. The more you get into the core of these technolgies, the more your creative mind kicks in.
Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 11:23a EST - Today, in Washington, DC, we'll have 2 seconds more sunlight than we had from yesterday's 9:26:17 of sun. Christmas Day will enjoy 9:26:51. From yesterday to the end of the year the amount of light increases each day by 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 32, 36 seconds more than the day before. It's a fact: as Our Lord comes into our lives, this Christmas season, our world becomes brighter.
Friday, December 21, 2012 - 1:53p EST - We have been offering you links to the Classroom in a Book (CIB) series as we complete each one and post a review on amazon.com. Today we posted a review of the CIB for Adobe After Effects (AE) CS6. If you're new to AE and want to get comfortable with this very robust app, it's a very good book. However, if you have plenty of AE background and just want to brush up on what's new, we're afraid this is a skip-it. There's only one new chapter since the CS5 edition, which left us disappointed. There are minor updates to a few chapters, but usually the CIB authors do extensive reworking which is often significant. This brings out some of the most devout Adobe CS users to the CIB series. Hopefully the CS7 edition will see a major make-over. The amazon.com site only allows ratings of whole stars but on our scale it's a 4.5 out of 5 if it's considered a beginners-only book. Read it, here.
Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 6:18p EST - Can you tell a story about emotion? Three directors traveled the world with Nikon gear to create a very short film about tears and the various emotion they represent. This is worth watching.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 6:30a EST - Okay... it seems like we know all things Adobe... all things Apple... all things Nikon... all things lighting. The fact of the matter is that we spend many hours a week studying, studying, studying. Yesterday we completed weeks of study on Adobe Audition (Au), their audio app. If you ever wanted to be the dude behind the big mixing board in a recording studio or at a concert, Au is it. We confess that we have been struggling with Audition. Craig Anderton, who wrote "Adobe Audition CS6 Classroom in a Book" has a long history with audio recording for the music industry. We've been studying his book and all the lessons on the CD. If you'd like to read our book review, click here.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 7:34a EST - Since we reported on our review of "Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium Classroom in a Book," on Saturday, and discussed a Classroom in a Book (CIB) specifically about Premiere Pro (Pr) we thought, "Why keep you in suspense?" We've been studying Pr CS6 CIB for a few weeks. It's a total rewrite from the CS5 edition. Richard Harrington and Maxim Jago are the new authoring team. We have a few of Richard's books. He never disappoints. Maxim is the co-presenter on "Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Learn by Video," another favorite of ours. In summary, we think Pr CS6 CIB is the best book we have ever seen on Premiere Pro. You can read our hopefully very informational 5 star review, here.
Monday, December 17, 2012 - 9:05a EST - We normally chat up what's happening in the world of image-making but today's joyful news is that it's our 24th wedding anniversary. For 2 dozen years our Christmas celebrations have been extra sweet.
Sunday, December 16, 2012 - 11:34a EST - Do you need to feel some warm sunlight, right now? Click here and see 12 results of shooting in the Canyon Country of the Southwestern United States. They're inspiring photos.
Saturday, December 15, 2012 - 10:51a EST - Do you want to shoot some great footage with your digital single lens reflex camera but the learning curve of all that software seems like a very steep mountain to climb? Help has arrived. It's "Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium Classroom in a Book." It gets you up to speed on After Effects, Audition, Encore, Media Encoder, Prelude, Premiere Pro, SpeedGrade, and Story. It also ties in Flash Pro, Illustrator, and Photoshop for a very complete tour of the Production Premium Suite. Yet, it's more than a look at getting comfortable with software. It's an excellent overview of the post production process. On amazom.com we gave it a solid five stars. Read our extensive review, here.
Friday, December 14, 2012 - 6:18a EST - Is developing cool stuff on Adobe Flash Professional historic? You would certainly think so. When Apple announced that their original iPhone would not support Flash Player, people started tossing in the towel. We announced this year that next to no one was viewing our interactive Flash-based features anymore and choosing our PDF versions instead so we pulled the Flash-based stuff. Even though Adobe said that Flash Professional was very much alive and well, but they were going to primarily focus Flash for developing games and delivering high-end video content. As hard as the Flash Pro team worked on exporting to HTML5, they ran into problems. It's been over a year since Adobe stopped Flash Player development for mobile devices. So is Flash Professional projects for devices beyond the shadow of a doubt dead? Nothing could be further from the truth. Continue to create great stuff in Flash Professional and export it as an AIR app. That'll run on iPhones and iPads, too. Here's an excellent, simple step-by-step on how to do it.
Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 12:50p EST - There's something exciting about stumbling upon a very unique communication vehicle. Click here to view what we can only describe as a web comic book. If you click on the website's auto play feature it will guide you through an adventure with a female action hero, frame-by-frame. As each frame changes new sound effects play. Some frames have an additional layer which moves. If you'd like to more carefully observe the frames, skip the auto play and just scroll down.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 11:28a EST - Our climate is changing. But, what can you do about it? For starts, say something. That's what Jim Balog decided to do. He created time lapse images of glaciers melting using 25 Nikon cameras over a period of three years. The results are in his book "Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers" and documentary film, "Chasing Ice." The film got a cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival, this year. You have to watch these two trailers. The paradox is that it's both frightening and beautiful at the same time. Read more of the project's story, here.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 2:15p EST - In case you were not able to see Adobe's Create Now presentation, the biggest discussion was relative to a new dot release of Photoshop, available specifically to Create Cloud subscribers. The new update refines the non-destructive smart filters to do things like combine liquefy and blur tools. Since you can do video in Photoshop, the smart filter can be applied to either stills or movies. For web designers, there's a fabulous means of opening CSS (cascading style sheets) files from a website and you then have a site's complete color palette to work with. It's also ready for the resolution power of Apple's new Retina displays. There are a bunch of little goodies hiding in today's newest Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw. This is what makes the Cloud aspect wonderful, the dot releases don't just fix bugs, it provides new features.
Monday, December 10, 2012 - 12:48p EST - What happened to the Photoshop font preview size in CS6? You used to be able to set that in preferences. It's still in Photoshop. The setting for it just moved. Here's a roughly 1 minute video which shows you where it is now.
Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 2:25p EST - We've become a book reviewing machine! Our review of "Adobe InDesign CS6 Classroom in a Book was just posted on amazon.com. We love to see when a new edition of a book is published and the authors make a significant effort to revise the majority of what they did in a previous edition. That's what John Cruise, Kelly Kordes Anton, and the whole Classroom in a Book Team did with this one. You can read our review, here.
Saturday, December 8, 2012 - 12:57p EST - We thank everyone for their nice comments on our review of "Illustrator CS6 Classroom in a Book" we have posted. We have posted an even longer one on the Photoshop CS6 book in the same series. It's not exactly a glowing review but we feel it can be of great assistance to someone just getting started or someone who has decided to finally get serious. Please see the review, here.
Friday, December 7, 2012 - 9:50a EST - When one of our fellow authors does a great job, we want to tell everyone. Though we have been using Adobe Illustrator since version 3 shipped, we're always brushing up with Classroom in a Book ("CIB"). It's something of a written list of everything a creative professional should not only know but the foundational topics for everything which should be mastered well beyond what appears in the book. There was a time when CIB was a handbook for studying up on becoming an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE). Of course, that's not possible anymore. Most of those books would require at least 2,000 pages, cost a few hundred dollars, and would sell very few copies. In choosing a rating for Brian & Wyndham Woods "Adobe Illustrator CS6 Classroom in a Book," we gave it a solid 5 stars. Read our review, here.
Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 10:09a EST - Friday we talked about this Adobe Create Now Live buzz. Tuesday, December 11 there's a 3 hour live streaming event on Adobe's Creative Cloud Facebook page, of all places. If you have not signed up, yet, here's the place to do so. We think the first hour is when the presentations happen and a variety of known-name speakers follow.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 10:49a EST - Does your studio have a identifiable brand? Big studios do. There's MGM's roaring lion. That's even a trademarked sound. There's also NBCUniversal. The NBC chimes are also a trademarked signature. Of course there's Disney/ABC's magic castle and Mickey Mouse. Other very identifiable brands, in our industry are Adobe, Apple, Canon, Epson, LaCie, Nikon, Sony, and Wacom. They're all big multi-billion dollar international companies which have divisions to shepherd and manage their brands. Maybe your whole studio is just you. You can't be a brand manager... or can you. Does everything which goes out your door (including the electronic doors) bear your logo? Is everywhere your studio's text appears have a familiar, consistent typeface? How about your logo's colors? Are they on everything you do? It may seem small, but these little things become your signature. It's how people know your studio. They're your voice... even if you don't roar like a lion.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 11:07a EST - We encourage creative professionals to find a style they can be identified with. As we see some of our subscribers websites, we know that many of you are doing a very good job at finding your style. Many of your galleries exhibit a visual signature which is all your own. However, some of us need to appeal to a broad audience, so a single style doesn't work. We have begun to develop a catalog of illustrative styles. Those of you who have been following Janet's Photoshop paintings will recognize that her Blue Bunting is a departure from the styles she's been exhibiting. The image builds up slowly. It's less photographic. The brush strokes are highly visible. Executing the illustration requires less precision than other styles she's worked with. Overall, it allows our studio to display a versatility. We look forward to sharing more of the catalog with you in the weeks ahead.
Monday, December 3, 2012 - 11:20a EST - Whatever happened to Eastman Kodak? Sure. Most of us have made the transition from traditional film and chemicals to a cleaner digital environment, but why didn't Kodak transition with us? This was a story featured on the front page of yesterday's Washington Post. Apparently, Kodak is about to put their film division up for sale. Though it's been better than 7 years since we've burnt a roll of film, it makes us a little sad. Kodachrome has been gone for a couple years and Ektachrome hit the road this year. It's believed that they'll hang onto their motion picture film stocks but even that side of the industry is transitioning to digital not just in shooting movies but in their cinema projection. In spite of all this, film sales actually increased a little this year. Kodak made an attempt at papers for ink-jet printers but got themselves into trouble over the lack of archival quality, which further hurt their reputation. Kodak does hold over 1,000 patents, many of which are relative to ink-jet printing, so when they announce their reorganization in February, it's probably not going to turn the lights off in Rochester, NY. The sale of the film division just might fuel a new generation of yellow-boxed innovation.
Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 2:07p EST - Are you making a bad impression on the customers you are trying to attract? Every day an e-mail box of ours is flooded with messages from photographers, designers, illustrators, and other creatives who "suggest" we "like" their studio's Facebook page. Usually, we don't "like" what we see. We visit some of these pages and are often surprised at how difficult it would be for us to contact the studio, at that very second, if we wanted to contract their services. Some of these Facebook pages do not provide a "real" e-mail address or even tell us where they are located. Others force us to visit a website to learn more, but there isn't much else to learn. The oddest ones are the websites which have a form for us to fill out, but never even tell us the names of the people behind studio, and promise to get back to us in the next 48 hours. It's very impersonal for a business which is all about buying the creative senses of the individual. All of us are told how popular mobile devices are. Many people do everything on their iPhone or iPad. None of those devices have ever used Flash. Why do so many studios still have Flash-based websites so that millions of customers cannot experience what they have to sell? So many of these websites have the same cookie-cutter form which some company provides to thousands of studios. We have to wonder how many prospective customers are turned off by the very tall walls of communications studios are building. Don't do that. Open yourself up to your customers. Help them to trust you. Communicate on the customer's level. They may love your creativity but are turned off by your inaccessibility. First impressions are lasting ones. Make a fabulous impression.
Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 11:21a EST - Do you have Photoshop eyes? We do. We've been retouching images with Photoshop for over 20 years. We can look at a face and know exactly what to do. Some faces, which we see on our screens again and again, come back to mind as to which retouching techniques we used in the past. However, we've been noticing that we see people we love as if we've retouched them. The eyes of our brains put them through the retouching process. While we're looking at them, their wrinkles lessen, their blemishes diminish, they have whiter teeth, the color of their eyes pop. See the people that you love with Photoshop eyes. Always process how you think of them as being their absolute best.
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 12:22p EST - Adobe is putting a great deal of buzz on the street about Create Now Live. The trick is, they're not really telling us what it all about. It has something to do with Photoshop and design for web and mobile. They're also hinting at how it's relative to Creative Cloud. Watch this 43 second video and you can probably fill in the blanks.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 10:57a EST - What do you know about the impasto painting technique? It's a process of laying on paint so thickly that the paint begins to raise from the painting's surface in something of an almost three dimensional environment. We have written often about the tools and techniques of John Derry, one of the original players in the Painter 1.x team prior to the Corel days. John is not only a world-class painter and teacher, he now empowers Photoshop users to create masterful images through traditional media techniques. Currently, John offers some fabulous impasto tools. Here, Janet has taken a photo of Brian's, in Sperryville, Virginia, and applied John's impasto tools, using the impasto varnish, in a few places. The opacity feature permits the extent of the varnish to be varied with a slider. John's tools and extensive step-by-step video are only $20. Get them here.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 10:45a EST - There's been quite a bit of discussion about the quality of older lenses when used with today's sensors. The general thinking is that the lenses which were fabulous on the films of a few decades ago are still as great as ever. It's just that the big high resolution sensors are far sharper than film ever was. The three professional dSLR manufacturers have been replacing some of the lenses in their line with newer ones. Does that mean you should sell off all your old lenses and replace them? That would make those manufacturers very happy. You have to remember that these are both tools and technology. We have a 35-70mm push-pull Nikkor zoom with a wide-angle macro feature. There is no new replacement for that lens. We capture great images with that tool and I'm sure we will for many years to come.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 1:29p EST - How well are you integrating dSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera movies into your image-making? Many of you have the same cameras used to shoot big multi-million dollar Hollywood feature films. Learning to shoot movies with high-end Canon, Nikon, or Sony dSLR cameras is not a steep mountain to climb. The little extra features you need to learn are not more complex than making movies on your iPhone or iPad. From what we hear, many of you are frustrated about making movies. The disconnect does not come from shooting the footage. After days and days (okay, maybe months and months) of extensive exploration, we think we know what's wrong. It's what needs to happen in postproduction. Adobe Premiere Pro is a power house app, intended to fill the needs of people shooting on film, video tape, or dSLRs, to name a few. Premiere Pro can be very intimidating. It's steeped in all the technical jargon of everyone from Hollywood studios, to broadcast news ogranizations, to the one person production companies, to the brand new dSLR shooter. If that's your roadblock, we'd like to hear from you. Drop us an e-mail, here.
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 1:03p EST - Are you as creative as a 7 year old? You've seen and heard of our little friend Monica. It's too cold for her to go to the playground, after church. So, she's been drawing on our iPad each Sunday. Many children make visual interpretations of their world's realities: a house, school, a car, mom and dad, etc. Monica has begun to sketch visual expressions of abstract thoughts and feelings. She drew deep water, yesterday, where she's not allowed to swim. When we asked her to put herself on the water, she drew herself standing on the back of a huge bird which had landed there. It made us think of where such an inspiration may come from. Around here, it's not unusual to see a big blue heron land in a pond. This caused us to ponder what visuals we encounter daily and how we can inject those experiences into our own preproduction process.
Sunday, November 25, 2012 - 9:59 EST - From time to time we find something on the web which is both so much fun and so clever that we have to ask ourselves, "How did they do that?" Try this site. Rollover a dot. Rollover another one. Go back to a now smaller dot. Start to create a pattern with the dots. This one page website is beautifully designed, conceived, and executed. Enjoy.
Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 10:15a EST - A cold front has moved in and we are reminded of how novel the light is, this time of year. In around 4 weeks, the sun will travel across the mid-Atlantic sky at around 25 degrees above the Southern horizon. Rather than the sun rising in the East and setting in the West it will be closer to a Southeastern rise and a Southwestern setting. This means light is coming in at a far different angle than it was 5 months ago. Since sunlight travels through atmospheric particles, this creates a fresh new color of light. Don't let the photographic opportunities pass you by. Get out and tell a winter light story.
Friday, November 23, 2012 - 12:25p EST - We see hundreds of great Photoshop projects some weeks. Every once in a while we see the work of an artist which just pops off of our computer display and we have to share the experience. It's tough summarize exactly what Ben Heine does. He's somewhat free spirited in his exploration of imagery. Yet, his work is so innovative that it inspires us to create and more deeply probe our own creative ingenuities. Take a look, here.
Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 4:15p EST - It's Thanksgiving Day in America but you don't have to be American or even a North American to give thanks, today. Prior to the giving of thanks in Plymouth Rock, Massachusettes, in 1621, explorers, seeking westward passage, gave thanks in what is now the northern Canadian province of Nunavut, which was celebrated October 8, while Americans were celebrating Columbus Day. Years later, missionary priests held a feast of thanksgiving in what was to be colonized as Mexico. We often feel we are explorers pioneering the digital environment. Some have told us that our zeal to educate those on what we're exploring is something of a ministry of ours. Please be thankful, today and every day, for all your blessings.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 11:06a EST - We learned today that the father of Tim Shelbourne died. For those of you who follow this blog, Tim's name is well known. We've been talking about his The Artists Quarter brushes for Photoshop and Tim's web workshops. Earlier this year, Tim's mother died. Ironically, Janet just finish an illustration of Tim's dad, yesterday, which she is about to sent to him.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 4:55p EST - How do they get those super smooth motion picture horizontal moves? Steve Heiner not only has a step-by-step web page on the topic but an inspirational video he created using this technology. This is a real "I can do that!" sort of story. Look for more and more of these rigs which give dSLR cameras similar capabilities as the traditional Hollywood camera rigs. The beauty is that this stuff costs a fraction of the price. Since the cameras are so much lighter, so is the support gear.
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 3:21p EST - How easy is it to come up with some of the slider actions in Adobe apps? It can't be that difficult, can it? Apparently, determining how we'll using something is not that simple. Here's an insider's story of coming up with what's involved in doing something we may think of as commonplace, using a slider to bevel.
Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 10:25a EST - Have you been wanting to do one of those long night exposures of car lights which become streaks of red, yellow, and white? We're coming up on the best time of year to do that in most of the Northern Hemisphere's urban areas. In the weeks ahead, we'll have the fewest hours of light in the year, so the evening commute is the darkest. Words of caution: It's dark. It's late. People have many things on their minds. Set-up your sturdy tripod from a very safe vantage point. To avoid camera shake, trigger the shutter using the self timer.
Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 3:34p EST - How good are you the Adobe Pen Tool? Have you been avoid the thing? Here's a real nice intro video which focuses on Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop uses for it. But, if you subscribe to Creative Cloud or own a license to the Master Collection, you know it's in far more places than those three apps. If you've been in this as long as we have, you also know the Pen Tool goes back to the 1987 first release of Adobe Illustrator 1.0. Terry White has more than a basics video, he shows you some cool things to do with the Pen Tool. See it here and share the link with anyone who needs to feel they own that tool.
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 2:35p EST - We've done some pretty involved Photoshop projects but we don't think we can top this one. This is an inspirational video of the steps one photographer took to make it appear as if a scissors cut a slit in the roadway and folded it back in two directions. It's a challenge to see if you can identify all the steps he's taken in Photoshop. Take a look.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 12:40p EST - It's exciting to discover an image-maker remaking his career. Bob Davis had been a photojournalist, in Chicago, for 15 years. The urge to get into shooting weddings fit right into his nature as a storyteller. Bob brings a very fresh approach to telling a story about love. Enjoy a mini-gallery of his work and be sure to watch these three interview clips.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 6:39a EST - You can watch a movie or you can study one. If you want to improve your photographic or cinematography view point, try carefully studying a great film. In recent days we've been deconstructing Sydney Pollack's 1985 "Out of Africa," his first project after "Tootsie." It took Pollack and his team 3 years to put "Out of Africa" together. It's an excellent example of focusing on detail. Much like Hitchcock, Pollack carefully planned each scene. Due to the complexity of the project, he didn't have much choice. Admittedly, close to 30 years after work began on the film, we can see how today's tools and technologies would have fine tuned some aspects differently, yet, "Out of Africa" remains a superb example for any image-maker to study and learn.
Monday, November 12, 2012 - 9:43a EST - There's been a recent healthy discussion of "prime lenses." Prime lenses are not zooms. They have a fixed focal length such as 14mm ultra wide or 400mm super telephoto. In the late 1950s, when the Nikon F first came on the scene, professional photographers carried quite a collection of these primes. As zoom lenses became more respectable, demanding photographers still rejected them. There were issues with contrast and sharpness. Today, the pricier zooms have pretty much overcome those problems. So, what's the deal with the increased attention for primes? First, they're smaller and lighter than zooms. This follows the trend, this year, with the introduction of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Nikon D800, and Sony a99. These top performing cameras fit into a smaller form factor while offering higher effective pixels than anything else from those same manufacturers. The great volume of talk we hear in fixed focal length lenses has to do with image-makers finding a very specific visual voice in their work. They've found a style which is very much their own. That's healthy.
Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 12:19p EST - Some pictorial logos are so well known that as soon as you see that graphic, you know the company, or at least what it sells: think of an apple, a roaring lion, a peacock, or a whole slew of automotive emblems. How about text logos? They're the ones which have a lettermark, such as a M formed into a couple of yellow arches or a wordmark like Kleenex. Here's a great must-see feature on text-only logos.
Saturday, November 10, 2012 - 9:03a EST - We've been talking about Canon and Nikon cameras shooting movie footage, but are any of those cameras ready to compete in Hollywood? Are they ever! Do you know those Point of View (POV) shots of breath-taking stunts in "Marvel's The Avengers"? They were shot not with the big traditional Panavision cameras but on Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 7D dSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras starting at $1,500. The cable television channels FX and Showtime series “Wilfred” and “Dexter” are shot with Nikon D800 cameras. Many Directors of Photography (DP) and editors, who have worked with dSLR footage, say they can see the difference between the frame-by-frame image quality these small cameras offer as opposed to the traditional filming vehicles. As with all things media, we're in an era of major change.
Friday, November 9, 2012 - 2:27a EST - So you think Adobe After Effects does some pretty cool stuff and you've been meaning to learn all about it, but the whole thing seems a bit foreign? First, AE isn't difficult. It's a very powerful collection of tools. Second, you're right. AE does some extremely cool stuff. Finally, don't you need a little Getting Started Guide? You do. Here it is.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 8:15a EST - Give some thought to making your portfolio an iPad app. That's what Graham Peace Design did with great success. The Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS), Single Edition , which comes with InDesign was Graham's launch pad to the iPad. If you're up to speed with the interactive features of InDesign (how we do our newer Online Learning PDFs) you're pretty much up to speed with DPS. If you're completely clueless about DPS, here's both Graham's story and some great DPS links for learning the concepts to the step-by-step.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 7:11a EST - Yesterday, Nikon announced in Europe the D5200. It has not been announced in North America so pricing and availability is unknown. It's another one of the consumer class cameras like the D5100, D3200, and D3100. The surprise is that it has the same sensor of Nikon's very professional D7000. The consumer Nikons are usually very difficult for professionals to get used to because the interface is very different than the pro class Nikon dSLRs. However, many nature photographers are going to want to take a look at the D5200. This is the kind of Nikon backpackers and bikers will ponder as a viable trade-off for situations where size and weight is a factor. Here's a link to a Nikon European site.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 7:03a EST - We've recently been asked for input on boudoir photo sessions. Admittedly, we don't do that sort of photography. Many women seem to feel more comfortable with a female photographer they've developed a relationship with, over the years. The best work we have seen from boudoir is not different from any other portrait; it portrays the subject exactly as they are. Thy photo captures the subjects character. When some people hear "boudoir" they think "sexy." The best results we have seen from these sessions we'd simply characterize as "beautiful." We've recently seen a session of a mom snuggled up in bed with an infant. We encourage photographers to create boudoir sessions which their clients feel great about and the results make them feel comfortable in sharing the photos with family.
Monday, November 5, 2012 - 6:32a EST - Canon, Nikon, and Sony have 15 professional dSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras in their current line-ups. They fit into 3 classes: 1.) the rugged sports-news-extreme nature photographer's camera, 2.) full-featured + high resolution, and 3.) economy. Together, they offer a very diverse set of features. Saturday, we went price shopping on amazon.com. Interestingly, it's not possible to make a camera choice based strictly on price comparison. There are many factors to weigh against price. Overall, we see the healthiest crop of pro dSLRs to chose from, ever!
Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 7:35a EST - Who do you have to thank for an extra hour of sleep? While an American delegate in Paris, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay, "An Economical Project." The year was 1784. Ben wanted to conserve lamp oil use. It wasn't until 1916 that Germany passed an act to move forward on the idea. 9 years later, the British got on board. There may have been as much opposition to the idea in North America as there was in Europe. An act of the US Congress came 2 years after Germany's. Though 70 countries have adopted Daylight Saving Time ("saving," not "savings") the start and end dates vary. Though DST ended in North America, this morning, it was over last weekend in Europe.
Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 1:28a EDT - We've been waiting around 3 months to learn the story behind the Old Spice television commercial where Terry Crews seemingly plays musical instruments by flexing his muscles. As expected, Adobe's After Effects, Flash Pro, and Photoshop are in the unseen cast of characters list. Jake Friedman's Los Angles-based Wildlife brought the creative technical energy to life for Old Spice's advertising agency, Weiden+Kennedy. This is hardly a step-by-step how-to on the making of the commercial, but anyone who pushes the Adobe Creative Suite envelop to the edge will enjoy reading this interview.
Friday, November 2, 2012 - 9:50a EDT - How do you know where to go if you don't know where you've been? As we've said before, we applaud universities which have students shoot photos on film, work in the darkroom, explore hot type, print projects on a letter press, and cut and splice film footage. That way they know what all the new technologies are trying to accomplish, electronically. But how about design? Here's a wonderfully web gallery of vintage graphic art, brought into a present day environment, which is well worth the visit.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 9:17a EDT - The 1st of November is traditionally a day many Christians commemorate as All Saints Day. This does not just apply to all those with a "St." in front of their names but all who have been welcomed into the heavenly kingdom. Please join us in taking some time today to remember those who have gone before us.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 10:17a EDT - Dangerous weather events have a way of messing up our routines, but maybe that's a good thing, sometimes. We have a structure as to how we work on the Online Learning series. During the storm, we continued to work on upcoming editions in spite of electricity and internet issues. It was a mind opener. Some things we are working on require a huge amount of content to get the whole story to you. Do we stuff the key content into the existing structure and skip other learning experiences? We decided not. Newspapers and magazines have editorial wells with a specific number of column inches. Books have page counts. Broadcast news has time blocks. Our overriding mandate is for you to have the complete story if you are to become the world class professional you are intended to be. You make rethinking the structure worth it. We're here to serve you.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 4:41a EDT - It's still raining, but the hourly rain rate is down to just 0.09." The barometer bottomed out at 11:34p: 28.734", now 28.821" and rising. The non-stop ROAR of the storm is currently missing. It's 41.9°. When seeing the devastation Sandy brought elsewhere, we feel very blessed for how well we fared. The lights have stopped flickering. Some services are up; others are not. But we won't be complaining, just giving thanks.
Monday, October 29, 2012 - 11:08a EDT - This just into our It's About Time Dept: Adobe has a free Creative Suite 6 Printing Guide intended for Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop users. For those of us who go back to the days when Adobe products were delivered in a slipcase with a bunch of 3.5" floppy disks and a slew of fabulous books and guides, our day has returned in the digital form. The days of traditional offset and web press printing are admittedly not as vibrant as they used to be, but there's a new digital print component soaking up the landscape. And, we all need to get on-board. Read about the purpose of the guide and download the 149 page 20.78MB PDF, here. (FYI: The bands of Hurricane Sandy are becoming more intense, and though we not fully up and running, to capacity, everything's okay, so far. Thank you for all your concerns and most welcome prayers.)
Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 1:07p EDT - As we await Hurricane Sandy, it's good to borrow the WWII moniker of the British: remain calm and carry on. We heard so many positive comments about the memorial painting of Bill. Thank you. Janet decided to use those same brushes in a lighter, freer style with our little friend Monica. The lesson at the core of this project is to be ready to adapt your style to suit the content of the subject.
Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 7:32a EDT - Thursday we mentioned a family choosing a portrait we did to memorialize their father at a funeral, this morning. Historically, sitting for a painted portrait was the sign of royalty. The faster paced world, than a few centuries back, does not stop people from having an artist using a photo reference to electronically create a portrait. Janet used some special Photoshop tools that our colleague on the other side of the Atlantic, Tim Shelbourne, created. Tim's project, TAQ, The Artists' Quarter, is offering "Peefer+" brushes. Tim has a class in it today. Learn more, here.
Friday, October 26, 2012 - 6:52a EDT - This week we completed a 66 (yes 66) page business plan. (Big business calls it a BP. Funny how medical professionals refer to BP as blood pressure!) We started on the "BP" over the summer. iCal can tell us how many hours we put into the document, but we probably do not want to know. As this studio has grown, we've needed to be more aware of how we use our time to be certain everything is on track. It's a fascinating document. Just as Apple needs to know what it costs to make an iPhone, from concept to delivery, do you know what it costs, in time, materials, and subcontractors, to make a photo? We have had a great time creating stock images. We learned what it costs us per salable image and how long it takes for us to reach the break-even point on all our stock endeavors. We invite all creative professionals to put on a businessperson hat and crunch some numbers.
Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 4:06a EDT - When you create a great portrait of someone, you never know what important role it may play. Yesterday we learned that a parishioner of ours died. Bill was a media executive and later a Washington diplomat. Surely there are many portraits of him out there. Last night, his daughter chose one we did of him, 3 years ago, to use at his funeral, Saturday. That is such a huge honor to have created an image which memorializes a person's life.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 4:23p EDT - So you just shot some fabulous images. You pop the memory card into the reader and you see a message that it can't read the thing. (PANIC!) You attach the camera to the computer's USB port. It doesn't recognize the thing. You try another computer and another reader with all the same results. What do you do? On our newer Nikons, with two memory cards, we can copy the images from one of the camera's cards to the other. From the menu choose Playback Menu (the option on top), choose Copy Image(s), and choose Source Card. From there, make your choices and after a little while your great images will be great, again. (Panic over!)
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 7:47p EDT - All the Apple buzz has been about the Mini iPad. That's nice. It fits a market. We get it. To us, the real buzz, for creative professionals, is about the new iMacs (not available in the next few days, to say the least) and Retina coming to a 13" MacBook Pro. The industrial design of new iMacs are absolutely stunning. We're not ready to talk them up, just yet. We need to get more hands on. Stay tuned.
Monday, October 22, 2012 - 9:05a EDT - It's one thing to photograph some fall foliage, on a few branches, with backlight, as we did last week, here. It's another thing to put that to practice in a situation where there are background and foreground subjects and still balance the exposure for the entire frame. What were our exposure rules for this scene in Sperryville, Virginia, yesterday? We came into the space more as location scouts than photographers. We checked out possibilities on the way to early church and just hoped the light would be right 90 minutes later. Some exposure compromises may have bothered others but we were able to tell the exact visual story we had in mind. The main character in this photo is the leaves. The American flag speaks of the flavor of the village. Those two elements are where our highlights are found. If we popped out the white on the painted surfaces, our exposure would have gone in a different direction. Our exposure choice placed the buildings in a supporting role, and that's precisely how we saw it.
Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 6:05a EDT - What kind of images are professional photographers making? 52.9% of them are weddings. 25.6% are commercial. Looking to professional photographers for portraits is declining even at the big corporations which run the photo studios inside department stores. Yet, overall, professional photography is a growth industry fueled in part by the need for images on the internet and the growing 10 billion dollar commercial side of image-making, in the US alone. Still, full time commercial photographers see entry-level shooters getting a growing piece of the pie. The male professional photographer has a median age of 50 whereas the average female pro shooter is 41. Point-and-shoot digital cameras, which once supported camera manufacturers, is on the eroding side of the market due to the popularity of cameras in smart phones. All of this has been compiled by IBISWorld, a huge publisher of US business data. Some can see this as an industry which is a moving target. Others look at the data and see an industry which is ripe with opportunity.
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 11:06a EDT - It's easy to become quite literal when illustrating from a photographic clone source. We see many such illustrations which are so similar to a photo that we can hardly tell it's an illustration. Those illustrations seem to beg for their own personality. That's what Janet set out to provide something as technical as a weather station. On a beautiful, calm autumn morning, weather sensors are not all that exciting. However, when rain is falling at better than 10" per hour or winds approach 60 mph, weather instruments are at the heart of the drama. To many, all that weather technology is too complex. As seen below, Janet gave our Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus a more pleasant congenial personality with watercolor and pencil.
Friday, October 19, 2012 - 7:51a EDT - Will there ever be another John Hedgecoe? To many of our fellow photo how-to authors he's a revered one name "Hedgecoe," which translates to "excellence." Many of the long list of titles, with his name emblazoned on the cover are among the best illustrated books in their category. We figure if one illustrator worked on one of his book, 40 hours a week, the project would take over a year to complete. John's books don't have the standard how-to photos; Hedgecoe's photos inspire to reader to love the medium.
Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 8:13a EDT - Do you want some fall foliage photos with color that pops? Around 8:00a or 4:00p try this experiment: 1.) Find some great color and shoot with the sun to your back. 2.) Come around almost 180 degrees and shoot the same tree with the sun practically in your eyes (be careful about lens flare, and, of course, your eyes). The backlight makes the leaves translucent rather than reflecting light back, from the oppose side of the street. Here are two examples of the backlight option.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:00a EDT - Dean Collins has to be the most influential and innovative photo educator, ever. In the early 80s, Dean had a subscription how-to series he called FineLight. Every month Dean had a compelling image, the step-by-step development of how it came about, and a visual on how he set up his lighting. We had something of a mutual admiration society going. We had plenty of praises for him. He was in awe of our ability to focus on the huge task of doing books. It's our job to pick up his mantle.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 6:51a EDT - We got into computers, in the studio, in the early 80s, strictly for management and word processing (what else was there at the time). Along the way, we became very involved in creating database-centric apps for other studios to manage their businesses. We doubt any of those developers are still in that business, but the genre of management tools for the creative community appears to be still in gear. This article shows that most of these new offerings are subscription-based and cloud-oriented for the business model of more mobile photographer. Some plans cost less per month than some cups of coffee.
Monday, October 15, 2012 9:41a EDT - Last month Sony announced their A99, a new flagship in the dSLR line. Rumor has it that the Sony SLT-A99 will hit the streets Tuesday, November 6. In the North American dSLR market landscape Sony comes in at a distant 3rd place. Some professional photographic suppliers do not even carry the line. Six years ago, Sony acquired the once significant player, Minolta, which had been in the business of camera manufacturing for 78 years (Brian's first SLR was the Minolta SRT-102, so he's a little biased). At this point, Sony has revived the line to what takes on Nikon and Canon, head-to-head, for quality, features, and value. The A99 is an excellent example of that forward motion. For $2,798 Sony delivers a 24 mega-pixel camera body capable of top of the game 1080/60p video and boasts of a 25,600 ISO, full-frame sensor. So, the A99 is priced between the Nikon D600 and D800. This article takes you through some of the other innovative, exclusive features of the Alpha 99. Fan-boys of the three brands will argue the details until your brain is sore. But two things are not worth arguing: 1.) Sony's a major player in the high-end dSLR battles. 2.) The more innovation Sony brings to the party, the more Nikon and Canon are going to have to up their competitive games.
Sunday, October 14, 2012 6:13a EDT - Adobe announced Acrobat 11. Don't pay $449. Get it for free! A leading player on the Acrobat team confirmed some very good news to us yesterday: if you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, don't worry about the $200 upgrade fee for Acrobat Pro; it's part of the Cloud deal. Cloud members get to download the upgrade at no additional charge. If you have an Adobe CS3, CS4, CS5, or CS5.5 product, you can still get a Cloud subscription for $30/month. Here's the upgrade link. We can't get the Acrobat 11 ship date, but it should be soon. Here's an overview of what's new Acrobat Pro 11. Bottom line: a year of Cloud is cheaper than a full version of Acrobat Pro 11.
Saturday, October 13, 2012 8:10a EDT - Rod Planck with his wife Marlene offer popular nature photography tours. But nothing they do brings out more participants more quickly than their photographic adventures in fall foliage. The Plancks are not out there advocating a bunch of fun snap shots of color. They approach the topic in utilizing all the exposure tools available with the latest digital single lens reflex cameras. As soon as we read about that in this pro tips and techniques article, we knew they were for real. Use all the power of modern in-camera matrix metering but don't assume it's going to be that perfect image. Use the in-camera histogram to insure that you have the best exposure possible.
Thursday, October 11, 2012 6:44p EDT - Janet's been working to perfect her watercolor techniques in Photoshop. This is no small project since the Photoshop CS6 box comes with no watercolor brushes. As previously mentioned Janet's been taking classes, online, with Tim Shelbourne who has created the means to do watercolor in Photoshop. Janet's at a point in this learning process where she's ready to release her first effort, Brian with our little friend Monica at her kindergarten graduation party in June. This was made possible by Russell Brown's Watercolor Assistant Panel. It's a free download and comes with a video. You can get it, here.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 5:35a EDT - It's been a little over a year since the Borders store closed in Warrenton. The building's still vacant. Here on the eastern face of the Blue Ridge Mountains there is quite a creative community. The Borders cafe was a great meeting place. It's where journalists would come to interview authors. There was something about being surrounded by all the latest books, CDs, DVDs, and magazines from around the world and people who wanted to strike up a conversation about them. With the constant supply of Borders e-mail coupons, it was tough to get out the door without something in our hands. The closest Barnes & Noble is around 45 minutes away, too far to be a neighborhood hangout, so it's not quite the same. We do have some great libraries around here, but a library is no more a bookstore than a bookstore is a library. Doesn't amazon.com need at least one instantly available Washington-Baltimore area brick and mortar location to test the concept?
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:22p EDT - Though we are known as the masters of many technologies who go back to computers prior to the Mac or Windows, we have not played with databases in many years. Like most of those in our industry, we take the easiest pathway to working in db: Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers. Going beyond there is not the wisest use of our time. So, when those massive amounts of data need to move to the secure site of m2media.com and something goes wrong, what do we do? Fortunately, the engineers at Network Solutions take over resolving the project for us. We have pondered going with less expensive web hosting packages from other vendors, when our web efforts were quite modest. This is one of those days when the few extra dollars we pay are worth every penny. If you want to play in the big leagues, you need muscle engineers on your team. 3:17p Update - FYI: As we think about this, we didn't mean to exclude Filemaker for db solutions. For a one person shop or a bigger media venue, FM makes sense. For a medium-sized shop, FM Server plus a few workstations gets to be a little costly and to do great things with it requires more of a time investment than we have available (as if you didn't know).
Monday, October 8, 2012 9:05p EDT - e-mail marketing is essential but it isn't cheap. The companies which provide those services can be very expensive. Some of them do not work very well, either. We primarily had good experiences with the not too costly Mad Mimi service. The rapid growth of our subscriber base thrills us. However, since the more subscribers we have, the more it cost us per month. If we were still with the highly problematic Constant Contact, we would be heading for an annual tab of $3,000.00 and not getting anything close to the visual impact we want to deliver. We made a one-time purchase of Web Assist PowerMessenger. The whole thing runs off the MySQL database features we already have with our web hosting package. So our annual tab is now $0.00.
Sunday, October 7, 2012 9:29a EDT - At 8:37a our new Online Learning section went live. We have completed live testing. Come in and enjoy the new section and find our fresh edition: #00127-Preproduction it under both the Online Learning's The Latest and Video+PDF tabs. For our subscribers, your e-mail notification is not lost in cyberspace. We have some work to do to our new subscriber database, so you may not hear from us until tomorrow.
Sunday, October 7, 2012 2:19a EDT - dSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras entice the photographer into automatic exposure modes. There's nothing wrong with that. In some circumstances, the camera can make wiser decisions than we can. It's great that the days of in-camera exposure meters working completely on 18% neutral density gray are over. Terrific metering factors in many elements. Unfortunately, this lulls us into giving the camera control over our vision, which in many situations means our vision is not truly realized. Sometimes it is close; other times it's a few hundred miles from close. Keep in mind the exposure trinity: sensitivity, speed, and depth. They act in unity. A change to one effects the other two. It's all about control. Continually ask yourself which of the three gets priority in your vision. Fabulous new camera sensors provide greater sensitivity range without any noticeable noise, so it's no longer the exposure bully that it used to be. This permits superior choices in stopping action or extensive depth of field. Own your vision. Take control of exposure, even in automated modes.
Saturday, October 6, 2012 10:47a EDT - We're doing a one-on-one masters class on new Nikon camera features, tomorrow, for someone we've worked with for decades. These things are rarely a 100% teaching situation, for us. We always learn things along the way. Last evening, we learned where the D4 very much outshines the D800 for specific kinds of photography assignments. After dinner we had an extensive discussion with the photographer on her needs to capture sporting events, a high energy, endeavor. We reviewed some of her recent experiences, in the field. We could clearly see that a 10 frame per second (fps) D4 could have captured some slightly better frames than she got with a 4 fps D800, without the battery pack. These kind of shooting assignments are very physical. Unlike the days of the Nikon F, which photojournalists beat the living daylights out of, as if to earn some kind of badge, today's digital cameras don't respond well to major poundings. However, the D4 is engineered to endure and survive unexpected rugged treatment.
Friday, October 5, 2012 9:15a EDT - Last month, we were talking to Jim Michaelsen, a renowned Chicago photographer/creative professional, about editing the audio segments of video subclips. For a few years, Adobe bundled Soundbooth with the Master Collection and Production Premium Suite, while selling a stand-alone Windows-only app called Audition. During the quiet release of CS5.5, Audition replaced Soundbooth, which was unceremoniously interred to the celebrated Adobe app graveyard. Neither Jim nor ourselves shed a tear. We never cared for Soundbooth. Audition, on the other hand, a year and a half later, still seems like a magic act which leaves us in awe. It's very much like Photoshop for audio. It has some of the same tools. We look at a colorful visual depiction of sound, play little segments over and over, use the lasso tool, encircle a portion and enhance or minimize it. Much like retouching someone's face in Photoshop where people ask, "Can you make me look like that in real life?" when we are done with the audio even we can say, "I want to always sound like that!"
Thursday, October 4, 2012 4:17a EDT - The people who do website construction, every day, deserve a special shout-out. It's no small project. There's a special mindset we have to get ourselves into as we make major revisions to our Online Learning section. Doing all the slicing of graphics, be it in Fireworks, Illustrator, or Photoshop, requires extreme precision. Nothing can be off by one pixel in this direction or that. Planning where all the components go and how they operate is a huge endeavor in itself. This is not to say that a very involved website is beyond the grasp of a Photoshop professional. It's not. In that regard, the mechanics of the construction are quite simple. It just requires primarily analytical left-brain skills. If you normally approach those apps with the creative lobe of your brain, you're in for a new mental workout. As with any great workout, it should leave you feeling stronger.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 3:27p EDT - It's "leaf looker" time in the Blue Ridge Mountains when an army of visitors drive out to see the fall foliage. The National Park Service does its best to predict this thing, but there are so many factors which play into it. 6 days ago, we photographed the first light on our weather station. The backyard was both quite colorful and quite promising for the weeks ahead. We have had 2.77" of rain this week. In the side-by-side comparison, many of the once colorful leaves are now on the ground and some of the trees are bare. Still, there are many trees which are filled with very green leaves, so the season's young. Our watch-word in photographing fall foliage is to never wait. Grab all you can, when you can, because tomorrow could start the clock on waiting another 52 weeks for a second try.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 4:56a EDT - How you use our Online Learning has caused us to reformat our materials based on the statistics we're seeing. (Thank you.) You love our videos and PDFs. (Thank you, again.) Flash's SWF file format seems to be fading, maybe due to Flash mobile devices no longer being supported. Generalized statistics told us that Windows users do not respond well to the QuickTime format for video. We shouldn't believe everything we read. Next to no Windows users watch the video format specifically created for them. We have a new approach to our PDFs as a companion to our videos. (We're very excited about them.) This week, you'll see a streamlined version of our Fall Online Learning. We'll keep our ears tuned to our subscribers, though. If we're not fulfilling a need, we'll act quickly to adjust.
Monday, October 1, 2012 6:35a EDT - We have been fine tuning this week's video+pdf edition. The series has all sorts of cool elements to it which have to be just right. Yesterday, we tweaked the color, exposure, and contrast of the video's sub-clips. It's as simple to do in Adobe Premiere Pro as it is in Photoshop. The interface is a little different. The trick is to have a consistency across the entire sequence. To us, each of these projects have to really pop. Once we get the process established, the rest of the series should be much easier to do in post-production. These have to be the best of the best. It's what you expect of us, but more over, it's what we demand of ourselves.
Sunday, September 30, 2012 6:43a EDT - A type treatment can make the world stop and take notice or be ignored by the majority who hardly glance at it. We've come across a collection of cool type tutorials. This one on using Photoshop to render a watercolor effect to type is extremely inspirational even though the chosen text is such an odd wording that it does not read well. Photoshop has clearly evolved from what was once the tool of photographers to reach a far broader user group, such as designers. This should also open up new doors for the photographers who have been working with Photoshop for decades.
Saturday, September 29, 2012 8:01a EDT - Brian's father owned a business. Without waiver he was out the door promptly at 8:30a, looking crisp and dapper with the scent of Old Spice after shave. After dinner he worked on his accounting. Just because we're in a creative industry it doesn't mean we can get creative with our work ethic. We use iCal to plan weeks out, update it throughout the day, and that helps us to approximate the time it takes to complete similar tasks. Brian's father sold furniture. We primarily sell our time. Monitoring and efficiently using our inventory is essential.
Friday, September 28, 2012 8:40a EDT - Teach a child to draw, paint, or make a photograph and you may do more than make an image; you could be making a career. Sunday, after church, our little friend Monica was looking over Janet's shoulder as she took a photo with the iPad. Within seconds Moni figured out how to use Apple's Camera app. She instantly began not only making photos but little videos, too. As you can see from the photo, below, Moni traded in her face for an iPad, as her family gathered around to see what she was seeing. A couple weeks before, Monica was drawing on our iPad with her finger. You never know what stimulates a child until you try... try!
Thursday, September 27, 2012 5:19a EDT - Next month, you'll see weather graphics appear in our website. They'll be generated from real time data which our weather station, here at the studio, generates every 60 seconds. When it appears, it will be quite an anniversary. 17 years ago, in October, we presented NBC News-Washington with a design for a pioneering project, weather on the websites of local television stations. At the time, just about everyone with an internet connection was on dial-up. Most modems were not even up to speed with the full capabilities of telephone lines, in 1995. Still, we designed a very visual prototype. The download speed of a visual website was thought to be impossible, at the time, due to dial-up issues. But we found the technological solution to overcome that. Continue to push your creative mind. When it looks like your ideas may be ahead of the technology, find fresh work around solutions to make it happen, anyway.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 5:37a EDT - Our little friend Monica has quite an imagination. We've watched her stare and stare at a plush toy, smile and stare some more. Something's going on in her mind. What lives in a child's imagination? Can you remember being 4, 5, or 6 and dreaming up all sorts of fun scenarios? Isn't it great to get a glimpse inside the imagination of a little person in your life? Here's a cute little video of a dad who not only sent his son's favorite toy into the stratosphere, on a balloon, but used Photoshop and After Effects to bring the little toy train engine to life as he imagined his son sees Stanley going on an adventure. Keep your imagination youthful.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:20a EDT - Many of you know that we have had some nasty brushes with death through their own "brain insults" in 1993 and 2002. Brian didn't have rehab; Janet immersed herself in it for a year and a half. In retrospect, a remote player in the rehab game was software. Back on the job and having just moved, Brian decided he was going to tackle architectural design with Adobe Illustrator's first muscular version, 3.0. Janet, while still in her hospital bed, trying to learn to see and talk, wanted to relearn Mac OS X, Painter, and the full list of the apps which became Adobe's original Creative Suite. These responses, which medical professionals refer to as "over achievement," are not always a good thing. Nevertheless, when a brain needs to be rewired, technology introduces a methodology to the learning equation. Everyone has sick days. (We're talking the legitimate ones!) Do your best to get right back into the groove, if not better than ever.
Monday, September 24, 2012 8:42a EDT - Do you want your information sources to challenge you? Or, do you prefer that they reassure you that you're views are shared by others? This is a much discussed topic for both media executives and content creators. People we know on the front line of some broadcast news organizations and how-to book publishing tend toward the challenges. Anyone who has been following our seminars, books, Online Learning, and blogs knows that we don't want you to walk on an even educational path. We want you to leap up a tall step to a higher level. That's what we demand of ourselves every week and we'd be disappointed in ourselves if we didn't offer you that same experience. We immerse ourselves in news and information media as well as entertainment. Some it makes us go, "Huh?" or "Yuk!" but that's okay. For us, it has to remain civil, though. The TV talk shows where the host treats the guests rudely have no place in our world. Equally, it's okay with us if some our followers want to pick and choose from what we advocate. We hope no one feels we are forcing our direction on anyone. But most of all we want everyone to feel that we create a peaceful, welcoming, and inspiring environment.
Sunday, September 23, 2012 6:57a EDT - To celebrate the first full day of Autumn we're pleased to announce that next Sunday we begin publishing our Fall series of new Online Learning editions. The best place to start is with a free edition on Preproduction. Our most successful projects start with great planning. Spontaneous creativity is a very important ingredient, but much of that creative exploration begins with picking up a pencil before we pick up a camera. "Prepro" insures that we get what we're after when production begins. It keeps us working efficiently and insures an excellent outcome. Creativity has a workflow. It's as organized as a kindergarten classroom. Some preproduction is not just focused on one project, but the entire working environment. We've even reorganized how the video + pdf combination makes for a more effective learning tool and fits together with the rest of the series in building your very unique learning library.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 2:26a EDT - Do you want iOS 6 for your iPad and iPhone? It's free; shouldn't everyone get it? Last year, we reported problems with iOS 5. Many of our apps initially vanished and were not in the App Store. We needed to download them again, trying to remember what we had. We also reported numerous problems with upgrading our Mac OS X from Snow Leopard (10.6.8) to Mountain Lion (10.8). iOS 6 was comparably simple for us, excluding what you've heard about the new Maps and the YouTube app getting pink-slipped. iOS 6 actually repaired a few things for us such as problems we were having with iCloud. The trick is that you'll hear about some great new features and when you go looking for them, they're no where to be found. Or, everyone's talking about how the upgrade was pushed to them when they unlocked their Apple mobile device but you received nothing, yet (Apple rolls those things out, over time, so everyone doesn't crash their servers). First, if you have iPhone 3GS through 4S, you're in luck. You can upgrade to iOS 6. The same is true for iPad2 and the one they call "New" instead of iPad3. If you have a device in that list, but have not seen an invitation to update, tap the System icon (a.k.a. "the gears"), go to the General settings, and choose Software Update. If you have iPhone3 or earlier or the original iPad, don't bother; iOS 6 doesn't work with them. Next, just because you installed iOS 6, it doesn't mean some apps like FaceTime cellular, Flyover, Panorama, Turn-by-Turn navigation, Passbook, or Siri will be available for your device. Of course, all of these work on iPhone 5. If you have not heard, you can currently get the 8 GB iPhone4 for free ($199 a few weeks ago), with a 2 year commitment to AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. But, that doesn't mean any of the previously mentioned features of iOS 6 will be waiting for you, just because it's a new device, but the price sure ain't bad, especially if you have an ancient iPhone? If iOS 6 sounds enticing, you've downloaded it, but you're clueless as to how to use any of the features, there's is a 156 page color manual. It's based on iPhone5 and you can download the PDF, here. Finally, just because you have a bright shiny new iOS, you may have a few free updates for your non-Apple apps waiting for you. Tap the App Store icon, if it has a number in it, and chose Updates at the bottom of the screen and select Update All. Enjoy.
Friday, September 21, 2012 7:07a EDT - We do not know how many times we have heard, "Today the media is controlled by a bunch of bean counters." The bean counters are the lawyers and accountants. Some of that may be true. We have seen our share of great projects crippled by a lack of upper-management understanding. We have also seen, many decades ago, quite a few drunk and drugged-out celebrities failing to give their all for a project. Our industry, today, is very well-defined. Big dollars are on the line. A project is much like a body. The heart, mind, and soul of a project must be fully functional. It needs organization. Like medaling in the Olympics, everyone has to be in peak form, every day. It does not matter if your project has $200 million on the line or $20, make it great. It's okay to be both creative and a your own bean counter. Never be half-hearted. Always be realistic. But always be your most fabulous, too.
Thursday, September 20, 2012 6:57a EDT - We really enjoyed contributing to and group editing another edition of the "Illustrator WOW! Book." Our library includes every Illustrator and Photoshop WOW! and most of the Painter editions, too. It takes a community to create a book project of this scope. Sharon Steuer, the author and truly brilliant illustrator, serves as the traffic cop for the mind-boggling operation of putting the book together and coordinating all the talent and army of those of us who proof the project via acrobat.com. Though we've been looking at the pages as they evolved, once we hold the book in our hands, we have to say, "You can do this in Illustrator?" As much as we've loved every edition, "The Adobe Illustrator CS6 WOW! Book" has to be the most inspiring one, yet. Janet contributed the following Flowering Maple project. It's a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator from a photograph.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 8:12a EDT - The Live View feature of the Nikon D800 is improving our photography, both still and video. We see little things which need some tweaking. By way of example, we love to explore mixed light sources. Yesterday we were combining natural light, quartz halogen, and daylight fluorescent. The latter was too cool. Fully covering the Westcott Spiderlite with a sheet of Rosco 310 Daffodil was too yellow, partially covered was better, but opening up the exposure by a third stop was exactly what we wanted. Tweaking requires more than Live View. We do view the results on a Wacom Cintiq before giving it a thumbs up but the back of the D800 moves the process along more quickly.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:12a EDT - All of the buzz about the photos of the Duchess of Cambridge got our minds in gear on the topic of what we do with cameras as opposed to how others use their cameras to make a living. Our images bring people joy. They help businesses to communicate. These photos capture memories which last generations. Our images inform and we hope inspire. To the best of our knowledge no finished image we have ever created made anyone feel bad about themselves, hurt anyone's feelings, or caused them embarrassment. Keep it positive. Be known for doing good and improving the lives of others.
Monday, September 17, 2012 8:34a EDT - One of the major issues with designing for the internet is how text appears. To us, type has a voice. Some typesfaces sound like Darth Vader and others Kermit the Frog. We have been creating gif and jpeg images for the web since 1995, but that has its own set of issues. Nevertheless, it insures that everyone who sees web pages we create looks exactly like we want them to see it. In 1999, when Adobe was beta testing LiveMotion, a Flash creation app, we jumped on board. Flash is another way to get pixel-perfect type onto browsers since 1996; of course, that's no longer viable for mobile devices. So, what's the answer? Today we begin exploring Adobe Typekit. It's nothing new to many of the most techie web professionals. Typekit was a little project which launched 3 years ago, this month. If we can make pages more gorgeous, more adaptable, more search engine driven, more cool, count us in. Take a look at this little video and think, "I want to do that."
Sunday, September 16, 2012 1:16p EDT - We apologize that our website's home page became unavailable, today. We are installing a grown-up database which will make it easier for our subscribers to log into our Online Learning section plus receive e-mail updates from us. Unfortunately, the setup has to be done live. UPDATE: 1:40p EDT. We're very pleased to say that our website is back up and fully operational. (WHEW!)
Saturday, September 15, 2012 2:58p EDT - In 1987 Adobe launched their first app, Illustrator. Why? At the time, they were in the business of creating their own typefaces and licensing Postscript to laser printers and all sorts of printing technologies. So, Illustrator was basically a spin-off of their own in-house software for creating families of typefaces. Over time Fontographer became the software tool of choice for many type designers. We still hear from many who would like to see Illustrator get back into the business of typeface creation. Without the need for Adobe to do anything new to its vector creation for type, so very cool things can be done with the Calligraphy tool. Here's a nice how-to.
Friday, September 14, 2012 6:24p EDT - Many broadcasters don't think much of b-roll footage. B-roll? Yep. It's those visuals which run in the background to accentuate what the story is about while someone talks over it, as if it isn't there. It takes more time to shoot great b-roll. In our next video you'll see a bunch of macro b-roll to make sure you understand what we're teaching. Yesterday we were averaging a clip every 5 minutes. When we played it back on a big screen, it was just not worthy of our mission, so we trashed it all. We love the b-roll we shot today. What did we average per clip, which we just wrapped? 6 minutes. Isn't it worth one extra minute to do great work? Create images like your entire reputation depends on it.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 9:10a EDT - Nikon has announced the D600 camera body, this morning. Where it fits into the Nikon line-up is a little confusing, at first. At $2,100 it's $900 less than the very professional D800. Yet, it weighs in at a fraction of an ounce more than the D4, Nikon's war horse for the photo journalists, sports shooters, and the people who photograph nature in extreme climates. According to the bottom of the Nikon USA D600 Overview web page, this is a hobbyist camera. It is available as an optional kit as do the D5100, D3200, and D3100. Yet, nothing else about the D600 suggests amateur. Of course, DxO Labs has yet to weigh in how they'll rate the sensor. We'll research this further.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 9:25a EDT - Does your business card speak boldly of your creative brand? While working on a forthcoming video about preproduction, we rethought our own cards. Since we're known for our books and our collaborating with others on their books, we thought a folded card as a book feel to it. A business card is a little billboard which can either make a visual statement about your creative direction or it can make your business look similar to your doctor's, lawyer's, or accountant's. In a few days, you'll not only see what our business cards look like but you'll learn of the preproduction process to make them happen.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:19p EDT - Tomorrow is the 92nd birthday of celebrity photographer, Cornel Lucas. Visit here and page through some of his images. What's striking is that he had no formula for lighting, something which was popular among early Hollywood photographers. Cornel lit each image in order to convey a visual message about the star in front of his lens. Of course, we do not know how he lit these scenes and what lighting instruments were used. But, look at how he illuminated women. It has the look of today's large white Chimera soft banks. The lenses and lighting Cornel chose for male celebrities varied by the face in front of him. His is the story of a career which paved a pathway to how we photograph everyone from the famous to the little known. We must pick up his torch and light a path for future image-makers.
Monday, September 10, 2012 7:47p EDT - We are just getting back from a fabulous private Nikon learning event in the gorgeous home of renown still and video photographer Ariel Skelley. This Fall, we'll be sharing what we learned in a special Online Learning master class, which has been in development for almost 2 years. We and the other 6 well-credentialed photographers can attest to the fact that this information is not available anywhere else. Our presenter, today, was Nikon Technical Representative with Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Mark Suban, one of 2 US tech reps for video directions. He travels the world assisting with all sorts of professional photographic needs. Many thanks to Mark and Ariel for giving us special inside knpwledge to share with you. Always supporters of whether you choose Canon, Nikon, or Sony, to be honest, among the nine in attendance, 4 have either already sold off their Canon gear or are about to, after today.
Sunday, September 9, 2012 5:46a EDT - We have been toying with Adobe Prelude for months. Yesterday, we rough cut a shoot with it for the first time. Besides cutting unneeded footage we must have cut an hour off our post-production time. It's insanely simple to use. 1.) Click the Ingest button to bring in the clips and they all appear in your Project panel. 2.) Double click on a clip, just like in Bridge, and it becomes active in your Monitor panel and a Timeline appears in another panel. 3.) Click the Play button to find your In point. 4.) Fine tune the Playhead Indicator on the Timeline to get the In to the frame. 5.) In the Marker Type panel, Click on the Subclip button and a Track Bar appears from the In point onward plus an In and an Out button appears in your Marker Inspector panel. 6.) Play the clip and find your Out point. 7.) Fine tune it on the Timeline and click the Out button and the Track bar adjusts. 8.) Save it and your done. All the clips are stored to a project file ready to be assembled in Premiere.
Saturday, September 8, 2012 10:10a EDT - An illustration of the famed Venus de Milo statue was associated with Adobe Illustrator's splash screen and box art from its introduction in 1987 until the Creative Suite bundles got their start in 2003. We watched with joy as this art evolved since we left Freehand behind and got on-board with Illustrator 3.0. As excited as we were with our first CS box we were sad to see the beautifully aging Illustrator spokes-babe depart. For those of us who had a love affair with her, Tad Crawford was commissioned by Adobe to introduce her more modest daughter (with arms) for inclusion with the CS6 app's folder. For those of you who have not followed her history as closely as we, here's a collection of the art, which makes Tad's illustration all the cuter. For those who are well-enough versed in Ai to admire Tad's skills, here's how he created it. Print, save, and feel empowered. [11:55a - Thanks to Victor Gavenda for correcting us with "Nice tribute, Brian! Just one thing, though: the hero (heroine?) image for AI has always been Botticelli's painting, "The Birth of Venus" (commonly known as "Venus on the Half Shell")" We should have remembered.]
Friday, September 7, 2012 10:05a EDT - Have you tried shooting video with the Nikon D800? We enjoy doing videos with the D7000, which is nice, all of the setup and operation on the D800 has greater clarity. Live Mode on the D800's display is fabulous. You not only see a clear image on the display but can read exposure data, as well. As you adjust the exposure, the display is showing you the effects of those adjustment changes on the display. Though we still prefer working with the readings we take on a hand-held exposure meter and judge the results on a big display, the D800's Live Mode display is very helpful and assuring. Starting the recording via a button adjacent to the shutter release is very helpful, too.
Thursday, September 6, 2012 2:21p EDT - Have you been watching us do cool things with painting in Photoshop and said to yourself, "I'd love to do that but I just don't have those sort of skills plus in Photoshop, painting is so involved." Well Photoshop CS6 users, you're out of excuses. Adobe's Russell Brown has a cool little free add-in panel for you, Adobe Painting Assistant 2.0.4. It's a great way to get started in converting a photo into a painting. Russell has a free video, too, here. Below, Janet took Painting Assistant on for a test drive with a photo of our favorite little model, Monica.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 11:15a EDT - We have been telling you for years to get your exposure correct when you shoot. Attempting to fix it later may not be 100% possible. That's when we were shooting with Nikon D2x and D200 cameras. We admit to seeing more latitude with the Nikon D800, thanks to an awesome sensor. That said, once you nudge the raw NEF file's exposure a little in one direction or the other you may be doing away with shadow or highlight details at some points in the image. It could adjust the color in incorrect directions, as well. So, the good news is that with a great new sensor if you make a small mistake you may be able to make a terrific save. The word of caution is that you shouldn't let a great camera make you lazy.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 9:15a EDT - The day after Labor Day is forever the first day of school. Sure, some of our children have been back in the classroom for a week or 2 or 4, but the clock in our brains just keeps telling us that it's time to open those fresh new notebooks. We're working on a brand new series of video/PDF combinations. So you don't feel as if the school day bell isn't ringing for you, we'll begin publishing them in just a few days. We promise to make this a challenging and inspiring school year. And, yes, there's plenty of time scheduled in for play.
Monday, September 3, 2012 12:19p EDT - Nikon manuals list SanDisk and Lexar Compact Flash (CF) memory cards for use in their cameras. Does that mean there are compatibility issues with other brands? Are the other ones unreliable or can could damage the camera? Nothing could be further from the truth. The two listed brands are just the ones Nikon tests. We started with three SanDisk cards when we got our first D2x camera bodies in 2005. We don't have a single one of them, today. They all had problems. We've been using Kingston CF cards for over six and a half years and never had a problem. We use their SD cards, too. So, don't overspend for Flash memory. Buy the fastest cards which fit into your budget.
Sunday, September 2, 2012 6:50a EDT - 21 years ago, today, we set off on a day trip to find where we could locate a studio in a scenic. mountainous, visually inspiring location. Over two years, we searched from North Carolina to Vermont. On that first day, we started in Albemarle, County, Virginia and ventured into Madison County without getting the sense that we were getting anywhere close to what we were looking for, though we had no idea what that was. Before heading back to Richmond, we thought we'd check out the much talked about Inn at Little Washington. That's when we traveled up Route 231 through Etlan, Sperryville, Washington, and Warrenton, the site of our new studio, where our church started construction, a few days later, and where we now shop regularly. Today's a special anniversary for us. We found where we were supposed to be, we just didn't know it, at the time.
Saturday, September 1, 2012 10:59a EDT - Ever heard of Adobe Pass? Unless you are in television IT, probably not. Yet, chances are, you or someone you know has been using Pass without knowing it. Pass enables that TV Everywhere thing which television delivery systems have been touting as an added advantage to subscribing to their cable/fiber optic/satellite TV packages. You get to watch shows on your computer and mobile devices without needing to install a plug-in. Pass is based on Flash, which some have been claiming to be historic, though nothing could be further from the truth. The biggest test of Pass came during NBC's coverage of the Olympic games in London. Pass delivered 88 million streams. Here's a story on it.
Friday, August 31, 2012 9:34a EDT - Have you looked at what's happening in the arts at colleges today? A wonderful friend of ours started her freshman year at William & Mary, this month. She sent us her course list for this semester. We were very impressed with the innovative academic direction W&M has taken. It caused us to look into what is happening on other campuses with art, music, and communications/theatre. Brian's alma mater, Lock Haven University, has nearly doubled the faculty at the Sloan Fine Arts Center, since he graduated and they are offering extensive course work in all things Adobe. At the University of Delaware, Janet's alma mater, there are now 119 professors in those departments and the facilities are awesome. We looked around at other universities in North America. Our next generation of creatives are well prepared to do great things.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 9:30a EDT - "So and so has more Twitter followers than I do." ...or do they? Here's an interesting story about how some of the biggest brands in the world, which claim to have millions of Twitter followers, actually have many fake followers (Google = 33%) or inactive ones (Intel = 46%). We're not 100% sure how they do that or what their corporate strategy may be for wanting to display a huge number of followers which don't follow them, but we have a pretty good idea of how and why this happens. Our purpose in doing a daily blog, which appears in quite a few places, is simply to get information to those who want it. We have no idea exactly how many people see it. As far as we can tell, around 2,000 people a day access what we post. Someone recently told us that what we do is a ministry. That should be all the motivation we need.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 7:54a EDT - Hollywood has embraced the likes of Canon EOS 5D Mark III ($3500 - 22.3 mega-pixel) and Nikon D800 ($3000 - 36.3 mega-pixels) cameras at the highest levels of great film-making. How do you go from shooting stills to translating that photographic know-how into motion? That's easy. It's all in your mind. Nikon's Senior Technical Manager, Steve Heiner, shares how his decades of love and knowledge with motion pictures culminated into a 2 minute fine art-oriented film. Read his quick overview and see the film, here. Then get out there and start your only little Hollywood studio; use what's in your head.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 6:29a EDT - Did you upgrade your Flash Player, this month? You should. Hackers are hoping that you didn't. Adobe has a big security group which patches the vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Reader. Hackers love apps like that. They give them access to Windows, Macs, and Linux instead of their usual Windows-specific hacking. There was a time when the Mac and Linux operating systems were exempt from hacking only because these evil-doers were going after Windows since they could do more damage to more users. Like Linux, the Mac OS is Unix-based. But, hackers have to find specific vulnerabilities and Unix comes in so many flavors, that it's a needle in a haystack. So, using broadly adopted Adobe apps is a way for hackers to get to many. The current hacking scheme sends you an infected Word document with a Flash trigger. Adobe patched it August 14. We get little pop-ups asking if we want to upgrade our Adobe apps daily. Of course, we always say, "Yes!" Apparently, not everyone does that and some may have ancient Reader and Player apps. If you are among the latter, upgrade your Flash Player and your Acrobat Reader, here and go to the Downloads links in the lower right of the page. There are many apps which read PDFs. It's an international open standard. Make Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat your preferred means of seeing PDFs. That way, you're always protected, as best you can be.
Monday, August 27, 2012 10:20a EDT - Are you avoiding the super long telephoto lenses because they weigh too much? How about if a 1000mm lens were just 1 millimeter long and weighed next to nothing? It's possible. The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has announced their work on a wafer thin lens. Rather than just sitting around and letting light shine through it, as today's lenses do, the panel goes to work refocusing the light by shifting it using the wafer's properties. Read this quick overview and imagine the future.
Sunday, August 26, 2012 5:05a EDT - Do you want to create a cool self-promotion poster in Adobe InDesign (ID) but mastering ID basics have never come your way? Here's a great 6 minute video which serves as an ID crash course. We use ID for everything. It's practically our word processor. We've been working with publishing apps that way since PageMaker 1.0. InDesign allows us to visually express ourselves in all that we do. But, that also keeps us exercised and nimble with the app, ready to go to work on terrific design projects at all times. We suggest that all visual communicators do the same.
Saturday, August 25, 2012 1:10p EDT - Just because you put a battery pack on one Nikon camera model, with one set of results, it doesn't mean when you provide the same addition on a different Nikon, the results will be even close to identical. By way of example, adding a MB-D12 to a D800 bumps your maximum shooting speed from 4 frames per second (fps) to 6. However, attaching a MB-D11 to a D7000 doesn't boost the speed beyond the 6 fps it has without the battery pack. The same is true of the D90 and its battery pack. Nikon doesn't make it easy to find these specs. We'll be sharing plenty of Nikon knowledge with you in the near future, to make you far more successful image-makers.
Friday, August 24, 2012 9:37a EDT - Adobe Illustrator CS6.1 is coming and Adobe has made a sneak peek available. Ai CS6.1 is an exclusive for Creative Cloud subscribers. One of the cool new features is something InDesign users have longed to find in Ai, since it's been a mainstay in ID since day one. If you do a bunch of cool stuff with either app and you're the end-user, you're fine. However, if you need to hand-off the completed project to someone else, ID makes it easy. It packages all the project's assets into a single folder: all the images, typefaces, whatever is there and ready to go off to someone else. After 16 versions of Illustrator, tediously doing the packaging manually has come to an end. Get the complete story in this two and a half minute video and stay tuned for this dot release.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 11:03a EDT - Here's a great story on achieving excellent lighting by keeping it simple, in the words of some accomplished photographers. We have over 20 AC flash heads and monolights. We sometimes have 3 or 4 setups happening simultaneously. Have we ever used all that flash power on just one photo? Never. The planet has only one sun and as far as we're concerned, it produces some spectacular light. For us, the more natural our artificial lighting appears, the better.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:33a EDT - What are you doing with the next 5,000 days? That's around 13 years + 8 months. What have you done with the last 5,000? We map-out annual, quarterly, and monthly goals with iCal and it serves as our time log. It exports and imports so we know what everyone is doing, but we haven't planned 5,000 days out... yet. Can it be done? Looking back 5,000 days we did a few small, insignificant things: shown a beta version of InDesign 1.0, Photoshop 5.5 added "Save for Web", bought the first model of an Epson Stylus Pro printer, toyed with the Nikon D1 (2.7 mega-pixels), and experimented with the initial Mac OS X on a fruit-flavored iMac, gave away our drum scanner and bought a far superior desktop version, to name a few. So, yes, we can plan the generalized goals for the next 5,000 days (if we are so blessed to be here), but specific details of what will be happening, day-by-day? We don't think so.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 11:58a EDT - We have lit some very big subjects. Mike Butler has us beat. He's lit the exteriors of some pretty big hotels. It sounds like a near impossible task. See the 3 photos in the gallery and then read this story. It will seem like a less daunting task than you think. As with many things in our industry, much of your most successful creativity is in finding solutions to what appears to be huge challenges.
Monday, August 20, 2012 12:37p EDT - One of the possibly foreign apps, in your world, that we mentioned yesterday, was Adobe SpeedGrade. We have been looking for a video to show you on this for months. Most of the available videos are filled with the jargon of video editing professionals and are way too esoteric for the vast majority of our readers. Finally we have something very basic to show anyone who does anything with video, no matter how minor. If you correct exposure or color in Photoshop for highlights, mid-tones, and shadows, how the same is done for video, with SpeedGrade you will find exciting. Check it out, here.
Sunday, August 19, 2012 3:53p EDT - One of our followers admitted, this week, to not knowing much about all the apps in the Adobe Master Collection (MC). Because we use everything in MC and hang-out with a bunch of people who do the same, it took us by surprise. Adobe's website can give you a better rundown on the apps than we can but we thought we'd tell you what we do with them:
Acrobat Pro: This is essential to us. People send us documents to proof and annotate. It's a great app for scanning text to drop into Dreamweaver or InDesign, using the OCR (optical character recognition) feature. We're not big fans of the app's UI (user interface).
After Effects: You have yet to see the cool stuff we are working on with AE. It adds exciting motion graphics to our videos.
Audition: This app replaced Soundbooth in CS5.5. It used to be Windows-only, so we're admitted new to it. But, it's a life-saver to the audio portion of our videos. It cleans up all our vocal glitches and makes us sound far better than we are.
Bridge: This is more than a photo editor for us. It's how we preview all our creative assets and we even use it to drag attachments in Mac Mail. Bridge creates the Gallery section of our website and allows us to quickly create custom portfolios. The Photo Downloader, which comes with Bridge, is not our cup of tea.
Dreamweaver: Our website couldn't exist without it. We're not fans of the UI and still have fond memories of GoLive CS2. At this point, Dw is not very designer-friendly.
Encore: To us, this is something of InDesign for creating DVDs, Blu-ray, and a few other cool things we have coming down the road. It gives this media a very creative interface for the end-user.
Fireworks: Admittedly, we're not doing anything with this app, now. We've studied to master this thing with an eye to using it to redo our website, last year. But we ran into too many bugs and really disliked the UI. It's trapped in Macromedia-ville and needs a make-over. We do all our Fireworks-like work in Ai and Ps.
Flash Pro: We loved LiveMotion (LM) for creating Flash projects. We tried Macromedia Flash and just couldn't get into it. Once it came to Adobe, it started becoming more LM-like and more liked by us. We have some cool web motion coming up, created in Flash Pro.
Illustrator: We got started with vector graphics using Freehand but got into the Ai pew by Illustrator 3. Illustrator CS6 (Ai 16) is our favorite version yet. We love it.
InDesign: PageMaker 1.0, QuarkXPress 3.2, InDesign 1.0 (ID), we've tried them all. We're one of those operations which treat ID like a word processor. We do everything in it. Print, interactive, Flash, whatever - if ID does it, we use it.
Media Encoder: Exporting Premiere Pro (Pr) projects in Pr is a pain; it ties up Pr and feels like waiting for water to boil. Media Encoder (ME) comes to the rescue. It allows us to export many projects simultaneously and still work in Pr. The downside is that the terminology is for video techies and the occasional video user can't figure out the jargon of the format choices.
Photoshop Extended: It should come as no surprise that, like ID, there are no features of Ps which we skip. But, we confess that we are constantly finding new things to do with Ps. Going back to our Ps 2.0 excitement, it's still a thrill to explore.
Prelude: This new app is our Bridge for video in the sense that it allows us to quickly view, trash, or mark and annotate freshly shot video clips. There's still much for it to do so it has a very 1.0 feel to it. It's been adopted by some big broadcast/cable news outlets so we'll see it grow in versions to come.
Premiere Pro: Here's another app we started with in its 1.0 days and always loved when big video editors claimed it was a toy. Now that Apple has ruined Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro (Pr) is what video pros have fallen in love with. The new UI for CS6, which matches Ai and Ps, has much to love.
SpeedGrade: Adobe acquired this app. It's a cool way to finish video on the scale of a Hollywood film. The UI is a tough one to get used to. It's not like any other Adobe app. It has been improved from the pre-Adobe days but it has a long way to go, yet, what it does makes our Premiere Pro projects look fabulous.
Saturday, August 18, 2012 11:56a EDT - It's easy to grab a camera and release the shutter. Enhancing a good photo into a great one takes a little more doing. Overcast skies and windy conditions threatened to ruin our plans for this poolside session with model/actor Brian Chandler, this week, in North Chesterfield, Virginia. The image on the left isn't bad but when compared to the one on the right it literally loses it's sparkle. It took a little break in the clouds to pump up our ambient lighting. That gave us the opportunity to bring out a large silver/gold reflector to not only fill in shadows and add a wonderful warmth to his skin, but it puts an enlivening special sparkle in his eyes, to go with the vibrancy the sun brought to the pool. We planned this as an end of day shoot for the quality of light available around 5:30p in mid-August.
Friday, August 17, 2012 8:35a EDT - We're back in the studio, this morning, following 4 days on location. Doesn't it take us forever to unpack a car-load of gear? Great preproduction, production, and post-production starts with a terrific organizational system. We plan our months and log our time with Apple iCal. It took 15 minutes to unpack and 15 minutes to get everything back in place. We organize this operation with the kindergarten classroom in mind. There's a place for everything and everything needs to be in its proper place. No time is wasted looking for what we need. Brian's mother used to say, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." She was a graphic artist/painter who kept a very organized studio.
Thursday, August 16, 2012 1:05p EDT - If you have a Nikon D800, we have a little test for you. 1.) Get a tight photograph of someone in direct sunlight or direct flash. 2.) Make a full resolution psd file. 3.) View it at 100% in Photoshop. 4.) Use the Spot Healing tool on a wrinkle. Is the result an even skin tone or is the image so high in resolution that the smoothing too provided look mushy? Please drop us an e-mail here.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 9:08p EDT - Every once in a while, we do a photo session with up and coming talent. There's that magical few minutes into a shoot when we go, "WOW! This person has something HUGE to offer." Today was one of those days. Soon, you will see what we're talking about. This is when we feel blessed about what we do for a living.
Monday, August 13, 2012 1:33p EDT - We have a poolside shoot tomorrow afternoon. Weather forecasts get more dependable when they are in the 72 hour range. At 24 hours out, the National Weather Service is forecasting 10-13 mph breezes for tomorrow. We have been in situations where the sustainable winds are pretty much as forecast but maximum gusts exceed the forecast. AC flash, poolside, has its own risks. We have had gusts topple lighting rigs which have 25 - 45 pound sandbags on them. We would not even want to imagine what would happen if high voltage flash got into a pool. We'll still do the shoot. We just need to work with a higher sensitivity setting in an overcast situation and see what we can do with reflectors. You want to keep your gear safe, but more importantly, you must be in a paternal/maternal frame of mind for everyone on set.
Sunday, August 12, 2012 9:45a EDT - We've been working with side light techniques for decades. Hollywood and beauty product advertising has been capitalizing on the exact placement of the perfect sized lighting instrument to side light as to pop out the color of the subject's iris. This week we are refreshing the portfolios of a few actors and wanted to experiment with that technique. Appropriately, Janet was interested in a new bio shot, done as a painting, so we got to play with her baby blues. Our lighting instrument was an extra small light bank, the same size as seen atop many news video cameras. Moving the light source two or three inches changed the entire look. Even if Janet moved off her mark a bit through off the image we were after. We wanted a more painterly look for the finished image and are real pleased with the end result. A special thank you to our brilliant stylist, Gabby.
Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:55a EDT - If you have Adobe's CS3, CS4, or CS5 apps, and have not upgraded to CS6, you have 20 days left to get Creative Cloud for $29.99/month. There's a one year commitment to that deal, so you get all of the CS6 Master Collection, an upgrade price of $1,399.00 (CS3) to $525.00 (CS5.5), for $359.88. Adobe's CEO has announced that they are on a one year cycle for the version releases. That would seem to mean that CS7 will be announced during that one year commitment. So, new subscribers could get all new apps before the 12 month introductory price concludes (of course, you would need to re-up your subscription for another year to keep those apps running). Cloud comes with a few other great goodies. Check it out for yourselves here.
Friday, August 10, 2012 1:28p EDT - We are always pleased at how the creative community comes together to assist one another. Wednesday we blogged about an illustration of Monica. John Derry, who we have blogged about a few times in the past, saw it and suggested a few revisions. They may seem minor, but to us, the fine details make the project all the better. Photoshop has a lighting effects filter which placed the backlight's source at the center of the two faces, this draws the viewer's attention to the point where the two subjects' eyes meet. It provides a touch more backlight on the edges of faces, which pops them out of the background, too. John also suggested adding a catch light in the man's eye to create a natural response to the backlight as well as focus the man's gaze on the child. We needed to enhance the highlight's in Monica's hair to compensate for the lighting effects.
Thursday, August 9, 2012 11:35a EDT - We've been glued to the Olympics, sometimes until midnight. The story we relate to the most is that of Adam Pretty, a 35 year old Australian photographer who has been covering the Olympics for Getty Images. There's a great deal of camaraderie among photojournalists, but it's also competitive to find those images which capture the eye of editors and fill the very hungry media machinery. Ann Curry, who many do not know totes her Leica or Nikon with her on many assignments and captures some very compelling images, sat down with Adam and brought to this interview some insight which even the most professional image-makers will find valuable.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 6:03p EDT - You've heard us talking up the prowess of the Nikon D800; you've heard us talking up the joy of painting in Photoshop CS6. This storyline was as predictable as it was inevitable, huh? Janet, armed with a D800 and an AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED, couldn't resist capturing our all-time favorite little model, Monica, who needs no direction. Either she plays model and strikes pose after pose or she's just her energetic little self. When it comes to illustrative style, we wanted to strike a median line between something which could be in an award-winning children's book and the painting for a family portrait. The result is playful enough to earn a home on a little person's bedroom wall, while being a life-long keeper. The side-by-side image, below differentiates between a photograph and an illustration.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 7:41a EDT - Seen any great mountain bike photos, today? If not, you have yet to discover a gallery of Sterling Lorence. "Sterl" is a visual storyteller of both the scenery and action. Read his story and realize that his work is not a series of grab shots but a history of well-planned (but not easy to execute) photo sessions.
Monday, August 6, 2012 2:45p EDT - Have you ever noticed in both Bridge and Lightroom your image initially appears on screen and then it changes a bit? It's all relative to the technology built into the Camera Raw app to coordinate with your camera's profiles. It's something you can take control of. Let Adobe Evangelist, Julieanne Kost explain it in this enlightening video.
Saturday, August 4, 2012 11:36a EDT - There are many things which Through-the-Lens (TTL) metering historically did a terrible job at handling. Some of the camera manufacturers have a full-fledged hype-machine to tell us why what they have today puts all of that in the past. We've heard it all before and it has improved over a few decades ago. Seeing is believing. Yesterday we test drove a new Nikon D800 to see how it could do in the programmed automation mode. We were amazed. In the first example, below, we have the camera pointed toward a clear blue sky. This usually renders a perfectly exposed sky with the foreground subject as a silhouette. In the second photo we wanted to try white blooms against a dark background. Historically, the details of the white subject are lost. Obviously, we're not trying hard enough to encourage the D800 to mess up. (We'll stay at it!)
Friday, August 3, 2012 7:01p EDT - We have been on location do consulting work for a photographer who just bought a Nikon D800 and thought a D3200 might make us nice backup. She immediately discovered that as lovely as the images which the D3200 provided, the entire user interface is radically different than other professional Nikons. The D3200 is a very consumer oriented product. We get that. The upside is that the thing is very light weight. The dealer we bought it from has 2 shooters for National Geographic who use the D3200 when they have to crawl down into tight, small locations. She has another pro photographer who loves it while biking. We see it as a great camera to toss in your car's glove compartment and just grabbing when you see a great shot which would pain you to lose. DxO Labs rates this $500 camera as the 11th best, quite an honor. Could Nikon build a very professional little camera for a few hundred bills? Sure they could. Is there a profitable market for such a sweet treat? Probably not. Can your recommend it to friends and relatives? That's an easy, "Of course!"
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 7:53p EDT - Our first three illustration galleries just opened. We have a bunch of photography galleries in the making. Of course, we're very excited about this. Getting to this point was no small event. We experimented with Flash but were unsuccessful in adapting it for HTML devices such as the critical iPhone and iPad market. The basic infrastructure of the galleries are accomplished with Adobe Bridge's Output Module (AOM). You need get into a deep trail and error (more of the latter) to really get it right. The HTML source code, which Bridge generates is quite elegant, unlike what other visual web page creation apps fail to do. That means it's ready to go for adapting in Dreamweaver. That, however, is not for the faint of heart unless you are a master of code. Nevertheless we are very pleased with the fruits of our labor. Enjoy. Please let us know what you think.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 5:36p EDT - Every once in a while a camera manufacturer taps into exactly what creative professionals need. At this studio, we sometimes get all excited about new toys but for one reason or another, they don't catch fire with the general pro community. As of today, every living Nikon shooter we have ever shot with has bought a Nikon D800. Dozens more we communicate with weekly have adopted that body, too. Though it's admittedly the finest camera we have ever had in our hands, some of the success story is just market conditions. Many of the buyers have Nikon D2x bodies, which still work excellently. It's simply an 8 year old, terrific camera which just does not have all the current-day, much-needed features. This tells us that some great image-making is about to flood into the marketplace, upping everyone's game.
Monday, July 30, 2012 11:07p EDT - There was a time when photographers had a local professional photo supply. Their contact knew them to the point that that person was so tuned into exactly what their business was all about that it was as if they were part of the studio's team. Apple's enterprise solutions people are like that. What about the individualized pro photo suppliers? We've turned on creative professionals around America to McClanahan Camera in Warrenton, VA. They're a serious Nikon Advanced Systems dealer. That's nice, but what makes them and dozens of others work is that it's like decades ago: they're there to understand what creative professionals really need. Please support your local energized professional supplier, even if "local" is a thousand or so miles away. Help them to understand you and welcome them into being a player on your team.
Sunday, July 29, 2012 7:27a EDT - Many magazines are discovering that they have more subscribers for their iPad edition than for the print one. Unlike eBooks, where the reader gets pretty much what's in the printed book, less in the minds of some, iPad apps of magazines offer far more than their ink and paper siblings. If you need a crash course and regular updates on what these publishers are doing, you need to bookmark this link. Before you do, checkout this link for the App of the Week about National Geographic. Interactive apps are clearly the future of publishing. They're bringing in the money so they're in the forefront of publishers minds.
Saturday, July 28, 2012 12:12p EDT - We did a contributing piece for Scott Valentine's book "The Hidden Power of Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop." The week after the book went to print, the publisher realized they forgot to include it. Scott has posted it to his website.
Friday, July 27, 2012 1:01p EDT - Tim Shelbourne is an artist's artist. Many of the most accomplished Photoshop illustrators have been carefully following Tim's projects. Equally at ease in either digital or traditional media, Tim comes from (and continues to work in) a traditional media background. What probably intrigues most Photoshop professionals about Tim's work is that he's truly mastered bringing a pure traditional look to digital media. Adobe's Photoshop team has been flexing their painting muscles for a little over two years. We have given them our list of 60 brushes which we feel they need. Today, Tim fills some of that void with his own set of tools for doing some drop dead awesome watercolor in Photoshop. Tim shared these with us earlier this week. Mastered them we have not. That's going to take a few more weeks. Below is a little watercolor study of a tomato. To help us get from a "study" to something which begins to approach mastery, Tim has developed an extensive online course of study. Visit The Artists' Quarter website and click on the "Q" to register as a free member and start enjoying all the site has to offer. A monthly subscription gives you access to everything on the site.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:25p EDT - We just updated our website's Book page to include the collaborative efforts we have worked on.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 2:06p EDT - There's been some concern about the Adobe CS6 hardware requirements. This is especially true of the more high-power apps such as After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Premiere Pro, and SpeedGrade. Adobe has published a white paper on that topic. To say it's a "white paper" sounds intimidating, but the 16 page document pretty much hand holds the reader through the hardware basics. Download the PDF, here.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 11:47a EDT - The latest Mac OS, Mountain Lion, became available in the Mac App Store, this morning. Unlike most Apple product introductions, we are not inundated with e-mail messages about the roll out. Getting the thing to download was no small effort. There were many hoops to jump through, mostly security related. On advise from Apple Enterprise Support, which is very familiar with our network, we skipped the previous OS, Lion. We're hearing that for some development efforts we are working on Mountain Lion is a wise upgrade. At just $20, it's downloading now. If we discover issues, we'll let you know.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:58a EDT - Jack Reznicki has been creating people images which jump out at the viewer. Even the most accomplished professional photographer, upon seeing Jack's work, must think, "Why isn't something like that in my portfolio?" Beyond Jack's images, he's also been an unstoppable force in shepherding the industry through leadership positions with the Professional Photographers of America, American Society of Media Photographers, and Advertising Photographers of America. Take a look at Jack's mini gallery, here.
Monday, July 23, 2012 3:59p EDT - Jump-start your lighting with some big splashes of color, even if that's not your thing. There are two interesting tools you need. Use this link to get Rosco swatchbooks of their color media. Choose some interesting color combinations by opening the Kuler panel in most Adobe CS apps. Once you have your subject in mind explore adapting a Kuler color set to Rosco colors. It can provide a dramatic look to your photography.
Sunday, July 22, 2012 5:55p EDT - InDesign 1.0 included the ability to setup type styles. They may have gone back to PageMaker 1.0 (that's too long for us to remember). Photoshop got into type around Photoshop 5 or 5.5. FINALLY type styles arrived in Photoshop CS6. Let Photoshop's Julieanne Kost, Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist and original beta tester, take you through it, here.
Saturday, July 21, 2012 9:05a EDT - When you're shooting outdoors, with a team, you have to wear an extra responsibility cap. We've been having some seriously crazy weather, recently. Be your team's momma/poppa bear. In the US, the National Weather Service (NWS) updated their local weather page this month. Here's our current location, for the next few hours. That's known as hyper-local forecasting. It pin-points the exact longitude and latitude. Use the NWS page's hourly weather graph and radar features. The radar's composite loop and auto updater are essential to know what's coming your way. You must get WeatherBug on your computer. It sends you alerts of any approaching weather events and provides you with real-time weather data from a network of local weather stations. Finally, since we shoot around our neighborhood, we have our own weather station. Admittedly, these things are not cheap, but we're trained weather spotters for the NWS and need professional instruments. There are some inexpensive alternatives for well under $100. We even see them at Home Depot. So, there's no excuse for not being weather-wise, at home or on location.
Friday, July 20, 2012 8:36a EDT - There's something very special about that very first photo you take with a much anticipated new camera. If it's as hyped as the D800, that shot has to be a challenge. In this case, I wanted nothing more than room light and the glow of a TV screen. The camera is set at an ISO of 2000 and exposure is just programmed automation. The other settings are all right out of the box defaults. For a hand-held shot, we're impressed.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 5:08p EDT - It's been 3 months since Adobe announced CS6. All the initial "What's New" hoopla should be dieing down. The more serious deep dive stuff is beginning to emerge. That's when the real fun begins. No one puts on an educational show quite like Russell Brown. If you've seen Russell's initial look at Adaptive Wide-Angle, you're in for a treat. He has a new 18 minute video which provides a more detailed look. It's a must-see.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:27a EDT - A few times a month our subscribers contact us and ask, "What did Adobe do with [name the feature]?" We try to find a nice way of telling them, "It was deprecated." It was WHAT? That's a bureaucratic sounding term for, "It was thrown in the trash." Why would Adobe take features and deep six them? Well, for one, they're always features which are not used all that much. Second, another Adobe app may have a similar feature which is more powerful and gets more love from the users. So, why would Adobe go through all the trouble of trashing something which already exists? So far, we have seen Adobe rewrite After Effects, Bridge, Encore, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro as faster and more powerful 64-bit apps. Those rewrites are no small project. Some are many years in the making. If they had to rewrite the duplicate unused features, we'd all have more wrinkles before we ever see the revised apps emerge. Overall, the process gets the apps more focused, easier to navigate with less clutter, and the suites much easier to learn. So, as we gain wrinkles, the apps become more youthful!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:23a EDT - We're been researching logo design for a feature story we're working on. When we discovered this PBS Off Book video about the subject, we knew we had to share this one. It's not only great insight, it has the kind of educational production values we celebrate. Have a look.
Monday, July 16, 2012 3:27a EDT - Today we're on a new photographic adventure. We're shooting a huge family reunion. That's not our usual thing. We're very committed to preproduction. It's the key to success. We have been part of the family's group e-mails for this since the early spring, attempting to guide them in making our side of it as fruitful as possible. That said, this multi-day event is planned to be somewhat free-flowing, so there's just so much preproduction which can be done. We're primarily doing the big group portrait, so we're taking major poundage of AC flash with us. We're part of the side-show, too. We are bringing a Wacom Cintiq to retouch as they have a meal prepared, completing the job on the spot. Everyone gets to take memories home with them. There's something blessed about playing a role in capturing a family's history in images which will out-live us.
Sunday, July 15, 2012 3:48a EDT - For better than 2 years we have been extolling the virtues of painting in Photoshop. Have we gotten you revved? Yes? No? Not yet? Well... if you're in any of those categories, let us rev your engines further. John Derry is the original master of painting electronically. Though we go back to Painter 1.0, in the first day or two it began shipping, months after we got started, John became a key team player at the company which was developing the app. Today, John is one of Photoshop's premiere painting evangelists. You have to checkout his image gallery. (John throws in a Sunday jazz brunch, no charge, for everyone who comes into his gallery.)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 10:52a EDT - We have admired the fashion and portrait photography of Barbara Bordnick, over the decades. But, what has truly grabbed our attention were her still life images. They have a clean, well-defined museum-quality, fine art direction to them. Her photographs are the kind of exhibition images which make you stop and want to study how her light wraps around flowers and vegetables. It's as if you have never seen her subject material before though you know you have. Take a look at this.
Friday, July 13, 2012 8:58a EDT - Who needs a big camera? For years we touted the benefits of the Nikon D2x. Last year, when we got our hands on the then difficult to obtain Nikon D7000, our love affair with the D2x bodies came to an end. The hot camera of this year has to be the Nikon D800 (around 32 oz.). It's about the size of our D7000. The D2x is approximately the size of the D4 (about 42oz.). Admittedly, we've added the Multi Power Battery Pack to the D7000 as we will the D800, when we pick it up, next week, after waiting months to get one. As seen in the photo below, the D4 is a much larger camera body, even when the battery pack is attached to the base of the D800. The D4 body, like its single digit predecessors, comes with a more rugged interior structure. But we've never dropped a camera. We think the rough-and-tumble nature of the D4 is great for those running-and-gunning photojournalists and sports photographers. The D4 is $6,000 compared to the D800: half that. The D800 is capable of far more mega-pixels and DXO Labs rates the D800 as the #1 sensor. In choosing our next camera body, we decided that smaller is better.
Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:06a EDT - There's been plenty of buzz about Adobe SpeedGrade, however we hear from people who are clueless as to what it's all about. Most creative professionals know SpeedGrade does cool stuff with color and exposure on footage, the way Photoshop does with stills. Yet, the understanding ends there. We've been in search of a video which assists you in getting a broader view of this, especially since what you do in SpeedGrade you can pass back to Photoshop. Well, we still have not found exactly what we're looking for in videos, but here's the closest thing we've found, so far.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:36a EDT - Yesterday, Wacom announced what is indisputably their most innovative product ever, the Cintiq 24HD Touch. If you carefully follow Wacom, as we and thousands of our fellow citizens of the creative community do, they introduced the Intuos 5, a few months back, a tablet which allows you to work with both a stylus and interact with the tablet much as you would with a huge version of a MacBook Pro's track pad. It has not been that many months ago that Wacom began shipping the Cintiq 24HD. We had a sense that a Touch version of that fabulous device was coming down the road, but, we didn't see that coming this soon. Nevertheless, come early August Wacom plans to begin getting out the door what will surely be gobbled up in no time. It's no secret that the original 24HD has been near impossible to obtain. The demand for the Touch version is surely going to take off in a much bigger way. To get the whole scoop, click here.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 6:49a EDT - Is your printer being honest with you about the cartridge's being empty? No one can convincingly argue that selling ink jet consumables is not big business. Some have offered statistics that printer manufacturers practically give away the hardware in order to sell ink and paper. We have proven to ourselves that third party inks are a terrible idea. We've tried them. They cost us far more in repairs than we saved in ink. Nevertheless third party inks, from small vendors, with their destructive properties, cost far less than the ones from the big boys. To buy the genuine printer manufacturer's ink is an expensive proposition. When the printer tells you that one of your ink cartridges are empty, it shuts down the entire printing process. We assume the cartridge is indeed empty. But is it? Epson ink cartridges have a chip in them. It tells the printer that it's the correct cartridge and sets up a line of communication with the printer. Ink2Image sells a $40 chip resetter which fools the printer into thinking it's a new cartridge, full of ink. We use their EUNIRESET to reset our Epson Stylus Pro 4800, as depicted below. To experiment with our theory that maybe we had not run out of ink, we let the printer shut down four times over the four inks shown below. As the yellow was about to run out, yellow was clearly missing from our images. We were curious when we pulled the cartridges, shook them and could hear liquid still slopping around inside. Once we reset each cartridge, it printed a perfect test pattern, for all 8 inks, every time.
Monday, July 9, 2012 5:18a EDT - What are your sources for creative inspiration? Sometimes they come to us from unsuspecting places. Recently, the enthusiasm of new and upcoming followers have re-ignited memories. By way of example, our interests in photographing lightning and fireworks have long-since waned. Watching how others try to explore such shots, and give them their own signature-look, caused us to dig into what used to excite us when we were coming up. That's not to say that you can expect to see a series from us on photographing lightning any time soon and we've probably missed the boat on 4th of July fireworks shots, too, for this year. That's okay. Our point is that maybe you should erase any "Been there, done that." thoughts and instead tell yourself, "Now that I have this wealth of expertise, how can I revisit what once revved me and use that as the foundation to create something very fresh?" Get your novice's enthusiasm back in gear.
Sunday, July 8, 2012 3:16a EDT - We love Adobe InDesign. It's on our screens daily. We do everything with it. We started playing with ID before version 1.0 was released. However, some aspects of it remind us of the grandfather of all page layout apps Aldus PageMaker 1.0. We go back to the beta days of PM in 1985. Whether we are designing for print, web, or video, there's always plenty of visuals involved. Getting all of them onto a page feels like an antiquated process which reminds us of little beige Macs with the tiny black and white screens. Mini Bridge was an improvement for ID CS5. Two months ago, when the Content Collector tool join ID CS6, InDesign started coming into this century. In this video, it only takes Terry White a little over a minute to show you the basics of this simple but valuable new tool.
Saturday, July 7, 2012 11:35a EDT - What's the story with all the images on Adobe's CS6 boxes? Adobe gave this daunting project to Steve Tolleson's design studio, in San Francisco. Tolleson specializes in what may be called, "brand enhancement." Clearly, Adobe wanted to put a new face on their CS6 products, and for most of the boxes, they do indeed have a unique (sometimes scary) facial graphic. The goal appears to be providing a graphic sense for what each app does, but from a not-so-literal perspective. If that sort of thing fascinates you, you won't want to miss this video.
Friday, July 6, 2012 6:17a EDT - Travel photography seems like a glamorous life, especially to store-front photographers who may have the same sort of structure to their workdays as any other retailer. Bob Krist and Rosanne Pennella, two accomplished travel shooters, have a video discussion on how to make their work on the road the most productive. The more you listen to them, the more you get a sense for how structured and deep-rooted their work ethic must be if they are to come home with those fabulous images. Profit from their insight, here. It's tale of seeing and thinking, on your feet, while they're in motion.
Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:28p EDT - Attempting to capture the likeness of a famous face is no small effort. Everyone has an image in their minds of how that person looks. That means you have to exceed what lives in their head. A 2.5 hour Photoshop effort, to illustrate Hugh Laurie (a.k.a. "Dr. House"), is compressed into 5 minutes. It's worth watching.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 3:24a EDT - If you didn’t do too well with chemistry class and wished there was more to the course that you could fit into your right brain world, there's still a chance to run the clock back and feel triumphant. Here’s The Periodic Table of Typefaces. The more you explore this, the more you may become fascinated with a new way to think about a vast library of type. (There's nothing wrong with thinking on Independence Day. America's founding fathers certainly did plenty of thinking 236 years ago, today.) This guy's web page has some very fresh-minded type goodies on it. Start a type revolution of your own. We are seeing some very exciting new directions for type usage in the very near future. AND: Thanks to the suggestion of Scott Weichert, here's another valuable tool.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:25a EDT - Last week we told you about the live Adobe Edge webinar. We thought it was just us. When we logged in, we could not get to the Connect session. Of course, we opened a technical case with Adobe. Last evening, we learned that no one got to attend. A technical glitch prevented the show from going on. It's been rescheduled for Friday, July 13 at 1:00p EDT. If you have not yest registered for learning how to get cool interactive elements and motion into your HTML5, register here. It's free.
Monday, July 2, 2012 4:15p EDT - Need to go somewhere cool in this hot weather? Grab your camera and head for an aquarium. We love the National Aquarium in Baltimore. But how do you deal with the unique lighting and reflection conditions? Paul Van Allen gives you an excellent rundown on how to manipulate the situation to your advantage, here. Chances are, you have the expertise to deal with this already, however, Paul provides a great overview of some of what could confound you as you begin to shoot. It's best to go prepared to make the most of every minute.
Saturday, June 30, 2012 2:05p EDT - FINALLY! Adobe has completed its library of reference manuals for the CS6 Master Collection. It may seem like we are often singing the praises of Adobe, but this Monday, it will be 8 weeks since the CS6 products shipped and we have been extremely bothered that it has taken them this long to get reference manuals to us. Nevertheless, as of this morning, the last of them have been posted. There is a total of 14 manuals. That comes to 5,398 pages. If we printed them duplex (both sides) on 28 lb paper stock, we would need 2,699 sheets of paper which we calculate would create a 13.6" deep volume. We don't know how much ink that would consume but suffice it to say that it's enough to make the people at Epson very happy. You can download them here, click on the app you want, and then click on "CS6 Help PDF." Or you can get started with the Photoshop reference manual: http://helpx.adobe.com/pdf/photoshop_reference.pdf and for the rest of them switch out "photoshop" with the name of the next one you want (such as "bridge"). UPDATE: Here's a better one stop shopping place for the manuals: http://bit.ly/cUSJa8
Friday, June 29, 2012 5:19p EDT - We've seen hundreds of portfolios from wedding photographers. Bob Davis has channeled his background as a photojournalist into creating a truly unique take on weddings, like none other we have seen. It's as if he is covering a story about love. Bob is one of Canon's Explorers of Light. You'll want to catch a glimpse of his work, here.
Thursday, June 28, 2012 4:38p EDT - Many of us need a means of getting cool interactive and motion from Flash format over to HTML5. Adobe Edge is supposed to be the answer, but we have never been briefed by anyone at Adobe as to what it's all about. The wait is over. Tomorrow at 3:00p EDT there's a Connect session, that is free to all, which promises to do just that. You can register here. And, we'll see you there.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:18a EDT - How great are your Photoshop skills? Would you like to be able to tell your clients that you're an expert? For many years Adobe has been running their ACE program (Adobe Certified Expert). Adobe needs some people to help them test the test for Photoshop CS6. It doesn't cost a thing and the test center is probably available at a location near you, July 2 through July 13. If you're interested e-mail: email@example.com. To learn more about the ACE program, click here.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:20a EDT - If you subscribe to Creative Cloud, Adobe has a little gift waiting for you this morning. Lightroom 4 has joined the Cloud line-up of apps. There's an army of satisfied LR users seemingly spanning the planet in all directions. Admittedly, LR has many Bridge fan boys (and girls) scratching their heads saying, "I don't get it." Discussing which app is better proves to be an even less productive activity than arguing "Which is better Canon or Nikon?"
Monday, June 25, 2012 10:46a EDT - Yesterday we were forced to make an emergency trip to Sears at the Fair Oaks Mall as our car's 10 month old Die-Hard battery was on the verge of death. That got us into the Apple Store while we were waiting. We just happened to have one of our 17" MacBook Pros with us. That let us do a side-by-side comparison with the new 15" MacBook Pro with the Retina display. It's an eye-popping improvement. The color and resolution are a big leap forward. That said, could we trade a 17" display for a 15"? Nope. We squeeze some of the Adobe apps into every square inch of available space. Could we do without the DVD drive? We don't think so. How could we watch the DVD training videos as one of us drive? We bought our 17" Macs for around $2300 each. Are we so impressed with the Retina display that we'd pay around $3,500 to get the fully-loaded one? Considering the other short-comings, we'll sit it out to see if a 17" Retina is introduced later, and decide then. Get a new car battery; make a business decision!
Sunday, June 24, 2012 10:45a EDT - There's something fascinating about high speed motion picture photography. Seeing something which the human eye and mind cannot experience on its own always makes our eyes pop. The Marmalade studio in Europe has mastered both the technology and creativity. You have to watch their reel.
Saturday, June 23, 2012 9:30a EDT - Testing wannabe talent is one of the most rewarding things we do. No one has ever walked out of here without a string of great images, we are pleased to say. Some people come into the studio with a look of fear in their eyes. Whether or not the fresh talent is brimming with confidence or they want to run back out the front door, we spend some time chatting with them about the process after they sign the talent release form which we e-mail them in advance. Their telling us about the aspirations they have and our explaining how they might achieve them always loosens-up the fresh talent. Once we get the head shots started these people always begin to have fun. After they see get the results on a big screen, they discover new things about themselves which they may not have previously known. Continuing from there always nets great results. There's something terrific about not only delivering a great portfolio but allowing someone to walk a little taller.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:06a EDT - A few years ago we were creating a series of weekly stories for NBC about weather, nature, and the environment. It compelled us to study the ever-changing angle of the sun throughout the year. For as many days as possible, we marked the changes on our studio floor. Over time, we created a bit of a sundial. Of course, fluctuating environmental conditions made it a less than perfect experiment. Nevertheless, we forced ourselves to gain a greater understanding of the sun's light throughout the year. The project motivated the graphic on page 19 of "Stoppees' Guide to Photography & Light." We'll dig deeper into this in the not too distant future.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 5:29a EDT - This evening the Summer Solstice arrives. At the US Naval Observatory, in Washington, DC, the sun will rise at 5:43a and set at 8:37p. That's 14.895 hours of light. Tomorrow it's going to be an exact repeat. Unfortunately, around here, it's going to be really, really hot. So, here, getting out to shoot is ill-advised, later today. Our 12-part series on lighting has been purposefully leading up to this day. Talking artificial light plays with both the left and right sides of our brains; we understand the technology yet it revs our creativity. The more we study natural light the more seductive harnessing it becomes. You can't dim the sun up and down, at will, but you can manipulate its light. It's all in your technological and creative mind, the most powerful tool image-makers have.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 6:58a EDT - PART 12: An intriguing "reflector" doesn't reflect anything. It's black. It absorbs light so the process is appropriately called "subtractive lighting." If you have ever attempted to throw one side of a face into shadow. while shooting in a white room, you can testify to the need for a panel which absorbs light. This is a very effective technique when you have to add mystery to a face or a product. If you have yet to experiment with subtractive lighting, we invite you to shoot an image with and without a black panel. When you compare the nuances of the two images, you'll understand the power of black.
Monday, June 18, 2012 11:14a EDT - PART 11: Professional image-makers are familiar with hand-held reflectors. Often they're used outdoors to redirect light. Anyone who has shot some great product photos knows reflectors are the string section of the lighting orchestra. We love Matthews Dots and Fingers plus the all the related support gear which precisely adjusts those tiny details of studio light that make viewers of our food and beverage photography drool. Here's a link.
Sunday, June 17, 2012 5:42a EDT - First we want to wish all dads, dad-wannabes, and guys who teach children what love is all about a great Father's Day. Second we're going to take a one day break from our lighting series and try to inspire you with the artwork on something many guys are into: action movies. Adobe's Illustrator and After Effects played an important role in the heads up display (HUD) graphics for "Marvel's The Avengers." Here's a great story on how they were done.
Saturday, June 16, 2012 12:11p EDT - PART 10: You can weight down an umbrella outside and a bit of a breeze will still cause it to take flight. A light bank doesn't do much better. A diffusion panel is easier to hold down since it has points on the ground at either end. We like Chimera's diffusion frames. They come together fast and strike even faster. We have fired artificial light through them and modified sunlight, as well. The results are always great. Being able to choose from various grades of diffusion material is helpful in getting the exact results we want. Westcott has a popular Scrim Jim product which is similar to Chimera's frames. The setup and strike on the Scrim Jim is very different than Chimera's, though. You need to get into a professional photo supply, which stocks both, to learn which one works the best for you.
Friday, June 15, 2012 10:58a EDT - PART 9: Umbrellas are an age-old light modifier. They remind us of the school portraits which every kid gets one click of the shutter whether it was a good one or not. Many of those people had some very well-worn umbrellas. We have a small arsenal of umbrellas. They're in many colors and sizes. They're color correct and best of all, when they become beat, they go in the trash. Umbrellas are cheap. Choose the right umbrellas to ideally suit your subject. Don't run a photo factory. Even if your subject is a complete and total stranger, get acquainted like he or she is your new best friend. As you talk, examine their face while you're carefully listening and then design the lighting to which will make that person feel great about themselves. Make it your mission.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:27a EDT - PART 8: Our favorite and most frequently used light modifier has to be the light bank (sometimes called soft box). When it comes the leveling the playing field of light sources, it's the light bank. That's where you learn how well your favorite light sources perform. By way of example, in Part 3 we discussed the pluses of daylight fluorescent but in Part 6 mention that it's not very controllable. Since the bare tube flash head and smaller daylight fluorescent instruments disperse light at over 180 degrees they are perfect for light banks. So is the PAR for HMIs (pretty much a HMI bare tube). The light from these instruments takes full advantage of a light bank's parabolic back shape. Unfortunately, most hot shoe mountable battery flash units fall short in this arena.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:13a EDT - PART 7: The bare tube flash head is our favorite lighting instrument. It's as flexible as our imaginations. We can use it with reflectors, bare, or in combination with other instruments. We've been lighting with Novatron for 31 years. Their bare tube only has two reflector options. Other brands have quite a few. That's where the light manipulation begins. The 6.5" reflector is standard. Their 16" illuminates large areas evenly. A few years ago we pitched the idea of Novatron redesigning their bare tube in a smaller form factor where a 4" reflector is standard. We figured greater portability and lighter weight would be extremely popular, providing the ability to transport a complete, powerful lighting system in airline carry-on luggage.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:14p EDT - PART 6: Manipulating a light source to give you the precise image in your mind is what great photography is all about. HMI and AC flash excellent in aspect. As previously mentioned, daylight fluorescent is more of a general illumination; it does not offer precision control. Many efforts have been made to force-fit hot shoe oriented battery flash into a broad spectrum of uses, however, when compared to AC flash we have had results which have fallen far short of being identical. Tomorrow, we'll begin to explore the manipulation options of AC units.
Monday, June 11, 2012 8:27a EDT - PART 5: What do the 4 light sources, we've been discussing have in common? They're all in the vicinity of 5500 Kelvin so they play nice with one and other and work well when they supplement daylight. We invite you to experiment with combining light sources. We have had many excellent results lighting an interior with flash using a long shutter time so the exterior illumination burns in. On an overcast day, these light sources become the much needed highlights and provide the illusion of a sunny day. The two continuous light sources interact great with flash, too. So, turn your techie side into creativity.
Sunday, June 10, 2012 3:01 EDT - PART 4: Don't Hollywood films have enviable lighting? Some scripted TV dramas are fabulous, too. Even a few TV news shows have terrific HMI light. How do they do that? Most of it happens with HMIs. These are very controllable continuous lighting instruments. The ARRI brand has become something of a staple. We've always liked Dedo. This stuff isn't cheap. It's spot-on daylight, so you can use it in conjunction with ambient light and combine it with flash and daylight fluorescent. If we could afford a few hundred thousand dollars of HMI, it would be our go-to light source.
Saturday, June 9, 2012 11:43a EDT - PART 3: dSLR cameras, which shoot fabulous stills and Hollywood-quality HD movies, have turned the lighting business around. As excited as we are, the fabulous all-purpose lighting system has yet to be invented (note to self: find 25th hour in the day, ASAP). As mentioned in part 1, the fans in bare tube flash head are too noisy for clean audio. We use daylight fluorescent for that. A Westcott TD5 produces the equivalent of around 225 watts. We put 4 of them behind a single diffusion frame. That's a pretty big rig. One TD5 is $350. The whole rig is an easy $2K. We still need to crank up the camera's sensitivity if we want a great depth of field. The lamps are delicate to transport and the light is difficult to manipulate. But, they can also be used for still.
Friday, June 8, 2012 7:58a EDT - PART 2: We've been known to drag a sports car filled with AC lighting gear to many a location. That works beautifully unless, of course, where we are shooting has no AC! Hot shoe mounted flash units have become very popular as a do-all photographic lighting resource. We get it. It's light, battery powered, and comes with a very full system of clever controls. We have enjoyed exploring what we can do with Nikon Speedlights. We have yet to find a hot shoe flash which came anywhere close to the power output of our even smallest AC units. These battery-based sources are not inexpensive. Nikon's most powerful flash is $550. When we balance cost vs. power (and many other factors, too) we lug around our Novatron AC system more often than not.
Thursday, June 7, 2012 6:34a EDT - PART 1: What are our favorite lighting instruments? That's difficult to answer. We've written about the attributes of AC and battery flash, HMI, and daylight fluorescent. Because we need to shoot both stills and video (with audio), it's difficult to say that one resource fills all needs. We admit to being partial to AC flash. It's plenty of light from either the flash tube or the modeling light for still or motion. The fans are an issue for the audio though. That's where fluorescent resources bring plenty to the table. Unfortunately, neither are good for "running and gunning" shoots. We'll discuss that, tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 9:39a EDT - Historic photos are not always easy to view. They don't always paint our culture favorably. The important thing to remember is that they are mile markers. That's where we were. Here's where we are. Now the goal is to move even further forward in the same time frame. You'll want to study the New York Public Library's collection of photos from the Farm Security Administration's perspective of the 1930s and 40s.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 9:17a EDT - So, you're a Photoshop professional. Are you any good at Illustrator? If not, why not? As we have pointed out before, with CS6 Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro began sharing many UI elements. However, the renewed CS6 bond between Illustrator and Photoshop strengthened to the level it had when the original Creative Suite launched on September 1, 2003 when the feature sets were far smaller. Could you use a 15 minute overview of Terry White's Top 6 Favorite Features? It's a great way to get comfortable with Ai CS6 if you are well versed in Ps CS6, but are not fully flexing your vision's muscle. Jumping back and forth between the two apps will enhance your creative expression to levels you may have not previously imagined.
Monday, June 4, 2012 5:14p EDT - There's been some discussion about soft proofing jobs with clients, on a big HD screen. Last year we bought 3 Mitsubishi LED TVs to assist us with our video efforts and to immediately preview a shoot to models. The Mitsu LEDs offered a 6 color model rather than just Red + Green + Blue. For reasons which were never explained to us Mitsubishi discontinued the LEDs. Each of the 3 TVs developed technical issues which might not bother others but they drove us crazy. Last week, Mitsu took them back and replaced them. Instead of a 55" LED, in the studio, we now have a 73" DLP. That's a projection invention of Texas Instruments. It's not the sort of display which you can walk up to and carefully examine as you can an LED. However, if you are previewing images to a large group of people who sit back a sufficient distance, it works quite will, once the setup is tweaked.
Sunday, June 3, 2012 7:15a EDT - What do you know about SpeedGrade? People in video and motion picture production are very excited about it but we get a sense that most users of the Adobe CS6 Premiere Pro app, the Production Premium Suite, the Master Collection, and subscribers to the new Creative Cloud are clueless as to what they have. SpeedGrade is not new. It's been a darling of the Hollywood finishing crowd. As a standalone product its very expensive. In the above mentioned Adobe products SpeedGrade is tossed in as part of the package. In short it provides a project with fabulous color and exposure refinement. Most of the SpeedGrade conversation has been difficult for the layman to understand. We don't promise that this video will clarify everything, but it hopefully gets you started.
Saturday, June 2, 2012 8:58a EDT - The score so far, Creatives = 1, Google = 0. Yesterday, U.S. Judge Denny Chin rendered the opinion, "given the sweeping and undiscriminating nature of Google's unauthorized copying, it would be unjust to require that each affected association member litigate his claim individually." So, there's no reason to pop a cork just yet. This case has a long way to go, but we salute all the creative organizations which got behind this one: ASMP, GAG, NANPA, PACA, PPofA, and the Authors Guild, which was granted a motion for class certification.
Friday, June 1, 2012 3:12a EDT - Midnight was the start of meteorological summer. Summer is when you skip the indoors and shoot outside. We all can do some terrific 3D on our computers but how great are you at 3D in your camera? Here's a cool story about a guy shooting some fabulous 3D with off the shelf Nikon camera bodies. It's no small article. To fully appreciate the thing you have to study it (and if you are as into this as much as we are, you'll love to devour this one). However, it's one of those things where you take the technology in front of you and grandly flex your creative muscle with it to do some truly innovative work.
Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:46a EDT - What's a bokeh? Whether you like it or not, your camera captures them. Photoshop CS6 allows you the create and enhance them when you camera didn't make it happen as much as you would have liked. Since it's a very current topic, all image-makers need to be up to speed, at least with the basics. Press the Start button, with this article.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:32a EDT - Photoshop has been a key component in 3D for quite a few years. Ps CS6 truly turned that around with a fabulously realistic 3D rendering engine worthy of a Hollywood animator's praise. Zorana Gee, senior product manager of Photoshop was interviewed about 3D. This is a must-read.
Monday, May 28, 2012 6:48a EDT - Memorial Day is traditionally thought of as the start of summer fun and, of course, big colorful family photographic memories. Eric Meola is a true master of color. It's only appropriate that Canon named Eric as one of their Explorers of Light. Take a peek at a sample of Eric's work, here, and ponder how you can improve your color expressions.
Sunday, May 27, 2012 8:17a EDT - Do friends ask you, "Did they Photoshop that image?" Usually lousy Photoshop work is pretty easy to spot. As you'd expect, there's a growing forensic marketplace to figure out if legal evidence is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Here's an interesting story on ways you can spot a doctored photo.
Saturday, May 26, 2012 8:43a EDT - Admittedly, we rarely use auto exposure and auto white balancing. We have in our minds the image we want to capture. Getting there is rarely achieved through automation. We test and refine which is primarily a manual process. So, to confess that Nikon's new Advanced SRS (Scene Recognition System) captures our interest makes quite a statement. We realize many shooters don't have the luxury of polishing an image. In those cases, all the assistance the camera has to offer is appreciated. This is a compelling SRS article even if just to keep up with what's happening in photographic technology.
Friday, May 25, 2012 12:54p EDT - Looking to create a truly dramatic stop-action image? Pouring ink into a fishbowl full of water has never crossed your mind? It did Italian graphic designer Alberto Seveso. You have to see this. It looks like a colorful fabric sculpture. Alberto utilized Photoshop to give his images a hand. Give Alberto a hand, too.
Thursday, May 24, 2012 6:03a EDT - Adobe Configurator 3 is now available for free on Adobe Labs. It's an excellent tool for trainers and educators to create learning panels. Such efforts normally require significant Flash Pro skills and scripting know-how. Doing great things with Configurator needs none of that. The latest version even comes with sample panels for you to adapt. In all candor, we have been pondering this for years with InDesign and Photoshop to enhance our educational projects.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:36a EDT - How are your InDesign productivity skills? Friday at 3:00p EDT, Adobe has a free Ask a Pro webinar with Nathan Brutzman, a designer at Adobe involved in testing of the apps, with the deceptive title, Quality Engineer. Nathan's "Productivity Enhancements in InDesign CS6" takes you through some of the ways you can do more, in less time. Register here. We must confess that though we go back to PageMaker 1.0 and our skills have grown incrementally, that expertise can sometimes be a detriment because we're not always using the latest and most efficient methods.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 7:27a EDT - The late Malcolm Emmons photographed professional football championships before the title Super Bowl was used. Malcolm's sons and wife made the business a family affair. Matthew Emmons was in his dad's darkroom since he was 10 years old. He naturally picked up the family mantle and has photographed 10 Super Bowls. Technically, things have changed dramatically since his dad's role in setting the tone for sports photography. Get Matthew's take on it, here.
Monday, May 21, 2012 6:56a EDT - Adobe MAX is an annual fall event where Adobe and professional users provide a glimpse into the future. This year the future is a little further away. MAX is in Los Angeles, May 4–8, 2013. Since CS6 shipped earlier this month and Adobe announced last year that they're going to annual development cycles, were guessing CS7 will debut prior to MAX (though we don't know that for a fact). If so, next year in LA, Adobe could be allowing us to peek at CS8 and beyond. These are very exciting times for image-making professionals.
Saturday, May 19, 2012 9:43a EDT - By now you may have been launching Adobe CS6 apps for days. You're used to the icons in your dock, the splash screens which appear while launching, and the connection to the related branding colors. It's a love it, hate it, or couldn't care less proposition. This week a very interesting exposition of the color theory and design concepts behind all of it was posted to this Adobe blog. For everyone in any aspect of image-making, this is a must read.
Friday, May 18, 2012 8:40a EDT - Listening to sports photographers discussing not just getting a great photo but capturing that truly unique image is very enlightening for those of us who shoot commercial images or capture consumer events. You'll want to see this video with Corey Rich and Robert Beck.
Thursday, May 17, 2012 7:01p EDT - How sharp is the Nikon D800? Watch this video and judge for yourself.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 9:25p EDT - Now that the dust has settled from the Photoshop CS6 public beta and the Creative Cloud launch, it's time to focus on mastering some of the new features. The Selective Blur feature of Photoshop needs some careful study since it's a needed departure from the typical Photoshop user interface elements. Yet, how you interact with the new tools is a perfectly elegant experience for you to exercise your creative energies. Get started by watching an 8 minute video by Julieanne Kost, Photoshop & Lightroom's Principal Evangelist.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 9:09a EDT - The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) seems like one of those big agencies which exists to serve huge arts centers doing events which attract national attention, from many years ago, and to support the many state organizations. This year, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) received two of those grants for Art Works', to assist middle and high school students and "100 Years of Design in America," a video series about accomplished designers.
Monday, May 14, 2012 3:55p EDT - Any imaging professional, who has traveled with a camera, has to fantasize about shooting stock travel images for a living. Ian Macdonald-Smith has been at it for 22 years. He brings a distinctive style to his images much like studio photographers have a visual identity of their own. Unlike studio shooters, Ian cannot move an object a little to the left or pull his light source back a few inches to add some contrast. Yet, he pursues nature much like someone who paints on canvas at the scene he is capturing, using his observation skills to manipulate the scene, optically. This is a read which could cause you to ponder how you image nature.
Sunday, May 13, 2012 7:22a EDT - Brian's mother was a graphic artist/illustrator. It makes sense that he'd marry someone in the same field. Brian's mother began teaching him about the visual arts while he was still a pre-schooler. Brian & Janet thankfully wish all mothers a very joyful day.
Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:45p EDT - Have you ever heard of recursive drawing? Toby Schachman is working on it for a programming environment thesis at the Tisch School of the Arts. Check out this video. We hope Adobe offers this guy a job. It's easy to imagine this fitting into a few of their apps. Toby clearly has a very innovative mind.
Friday, May 11, 2012 4:33a EDT - Adobe's Creative Cloud has finally arrived. If you have not heard about it, Cloud is a subscription service. You download all of the CS6 apps. (That doesn't mean you need to use them over the internet; the apps are on your hard drive). Also included are the Touch apps for iPad and other mobile devices. There is cloud storage and project sharing services, too. The cool part is that if you have any CS3 or later apps, it's only $29.99 per month ($359.88 for 12 months), for the first year. The Master Collection upgrade can be as expensive as $1,399 (from a CS3 or CS4 suite. Upgrading from CS5 or CS5.5 suites is less.) So Cloud is up to a $1,039.12 savings and it's easy to budget, plus you get more. As minor upgrades come out, you get them as well. The trick is that you have to make an automatic payment each month or your apps stop working. Of course, if you one-time buy the upgrade, it's yours to keep, forever. If you always want all the latest and greatest, as we do, Cloud is the best bet.
Thursday, May 10, 2012 8:18a EDT - The 2012 Sony World Photography Awards winners have been announced. American, Mitch Dobrowner has been awarded L'Iris d'Or top honors for his vigilant exploration of imaging the awesome power of weather. The website of the World Photography Organisation requires a little digging around to view the complete exhibit of all the winners, but it's worth the time investment. (If WPO would like to redesign their site, for the better, we won't complain.)
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:12a EDT - We have heard from some people having difficulties going from the Photoshop public beta to the CS6 retail version/30-day trial (also known as the "Gold Master"). We've had a few issues ourselves. Here are a few tips on making it go as smooth as possible.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 9:42a EDT - Have you seen the black & white celebrity nudes Patrick Demarchelier does for Allure magazine? They recently featured Debra Messing, Maria Menounos (seems like Monday night television?), among others. The magazine's website has a fun afterwards video interview compilation with these women, about trying such a thing, for the first time.
Monday, May 7, 2012 11:46a EDT - We've been teasing you about CS6 apps since March. The apps and suites are now shipping. After much ballyhoo about the Photoshop beta in March, the Production Premium preview at NAB in April, and the announcement of the whole thing a few weeks ago, you'd expect more noise about it finally shipping. It's possible that many are waiting for the Creative Cloud to go on sale. For loyal Adobe customers Cloud is only $30/mo for the first year. You get the entire Master Collection, Touch apps, and a bunch of other goodies.
Sunday, May 6, 2012 12:33p EDT - Can type treatments be entertaining? If a great feature film titling sequence studio has worked on them, they may be even better than the film itself. You won't want to miss this quick video. It will inspire you to explore the new video features of Photoshop CS6 or cause you to dive into Adobe After Effects CS6. We love working with the kind of thing. It revs our creative engines as we create new educational videos for you.
Saturday, May 5, 2012 3:59a EDT - The Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, and the rise of the Super Moon all on the same day is something worth celebrating! And, if that doesn't bring enough texture to your life Russell Brown can show you how to get more texture into your images. He not only points you to a free texture library but has a step-by-step video on how to use them in Photoshop as well as on your iPad.
Friday, May 4, 2012 7:57a EDT - We've enjoyed our years in stock imagery. It's a ton and a half of work but a great deal of fun, too. Unlike assignment projects, where we fulfill exactly what the client needs, stock allowed us to create what was in our minds, hearts, and souls. We explored getting back into it, last year, but educational and consulting projects were demanding all our time and are extremely satisfying. Yet, we're always interested in who is buying stock and how, so this interview with 3 stock imagery buyers got our attention. There's no telling what's in our future.
Thursday, May 3, 2012 9:11a EDT - We just can't stop teasing you with cool new stuff in CS6 apps. Redoing documents for different digital format usages is a real pain and seemingly non-stop time waster. As soon as Adobe gets InDesign CS6 into you hands, those days are thankfully over. Give Terry White 89 seconds and he'll give an overview of the new Alternate Layout feature set.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 11:53a EDT - Who still uses film? Obviously more professionals than you would think. Some manufacturers report that negative stock sales are on the rise and it's still a profitable business unit even though Kodak announced that it was exiting the transparency film market, March 1. This is an interesting article.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:28p EDT - We thank everyone who, in April, gave m2media.com the most traffic the site has ever seen. There was a 28.888% increase in page views for April over March, our previous biggest month, ever. This thing's on a roll. It feels great.
Monday, April 30, 2012 6:50a EDT - Are your Facebook Friends really friends of yours? Would they welcome you into their home to photograph them? Photographer, Tanja Alexia Hollander decided to find out in what has become a thought-provoking exhibit. You'll want to give this story and online gallery a look.
Sunday, April 29, 2012 9:14a EDT - For a few moments forget the digital stuff. Be captivated by historical photos of New York City "growing up." It's been 26 years since we had a studio on West 27th St in Manhattan. The place has even changed a great deal since then. These archival images show more than the growth of NYC, they photographically tell the tale of the life and times at the nation's gateway in times before most of us were born. Think about what they have to say and then go create the future's archival images.
Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:41a EDT - "You've got to hear this!" We're always trying to up our game, in all that we do, and overcome industry challenges with permanent fixes which benefit everyone. Some photographers are shooting some compelling dSLR video footage. The same cameras are becoming a mainstay in Hollywood feature film production. What's missing, technically, for small shops, is fabulous audio. The other issue is how to tell a rich story through audio design which is as great as the visuals. Here's a must-read story with 5 inspiring examples of audio which delights the ears of the audience.
Friday, April 27, 2012 10:04a EDT - Saturday were we talking up Kat Gilbert's move from graphic art to fine art. This week, Adobe honored her work with wonderful profile.
Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:59p EDT - Our friends who do training materials for Video 2 Brain have compiled a free 9 minute piece on their favorite new features for the core CS6 apps. We're used to some many of these things being big talking heads and static screen captures. It gets boring fast. These folks have added some fun motion effects. Enjoy it, here.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 5:37p EDT - What an amazing response to our CS6 new features list, which we published Monday evening. In the 1st 24 hour period we had almost as many page views as we did all last month. And, last month was our most trafficked, ever! Thank you so very much. That's why we're here for you.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:27a EDT - This morning we have spent a great deal of time sending "you're welcome" e-mail messages to all our subscribers who are thanking us for yesterday's list of CS6 new features. It feels great to be helping others, so it's time well spent. But, showing cool stuff we're doing with the apps feels even better. Attached is an illustration Janet did with Photoshop CS6's new airbrush feature, using a clone source image Mike Pocklington shot in Tuscany while working on our "Toolbox" book:
Monday, April 23, 2012 7:35p EDT - We are thrilled that Adobe has launched Creative Suite 6 and the Creative Cloud. We count 422 features in the 13 core apps. That's a bunch to sort through. All of them are not in the Adobe literature or website or anywhere we know. We have a free 6 page guide for you. Get it here.
Sunday, April 22, 2012 5:15a EDT - Many of us on North America's east coast will be "challenged" by rain if we want to celebrate Earth Day photographically. This week, the face of entry-level dSLRs took a leap forward with the announcement of the Nikon D3200. For $700 you get a 24.2 MP CMOS half- sensor (DX) camera with a $200 DX 18-55mm lens. The D3200 even does 1080p HD movies. September 16 it will be 8 years since Nikon tried to catch up with Canon by announcing the very rugged, professional D2x. It was their first CMOS offering with 12.4 MP, for $5,000, $3,000 less than Canon's flagship competitor. The D3200 body debuts with practically twice the mega-pixels for about 10% of the original D2x body's price. Capture more of the planet for less.
Saturday, April 21, 2012 7:05a EDT - Following up on yesterday's post, we have a story on making the jump from graphic designer to fine artist. Kat Gilbert uses photography, Photoshop, and Illustrator to create some visual treats which both delight and inspire. She has a Flash gallery of 83 images, here. In all candor, we have two framed pieces of Kat's. If you were at Photoshop World, last month, you saw one of them in the keynote presentation of Photoshop CS6.
Friday, April 20, 2012 11:36a EDT - Are you in an image-making comfort zone? (Good!) Is your business model going pretty well? (Also good!) But is it really what you want to do? Commercial photographer Parish Kohanim appears to have always had a fine art photographer hiding within him. When you see this gallery, you'll see a compelling transition from commercial to fine art.
Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:43a EDT - We can talk about technology tools all we like but the real fun begins when someone like Yogesh Sharma puts them to use. Watch Brenda Sutherland demonstrate the new Gradients on Strokes features of Illustrator CS6, and 00:1:05 into it see the motorcycle Yogesh created with the fabulous new tools. For us and a slew of our Illustrator friends it was a "I want to do that!" moment.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 6:24p EDT - The Nikon D800 has the best sensor of any dSLR, at this moment. Q: Says who? A: DxO Labs. They scientifically rate the sensors in cameras and report the results. This is not an effort to further discussion of that age-old Canon vs. Nikon vs. Sony battle (Nikon has never paid us a single penny). It's more intended to applaud Nikon and encourage all three of those manufacturers to continue to strive for that #1 stop. See the results, here.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:58a EDT - We've been treating you to links for all things Adobe CS6. Well, last night we got an official launch presentation announcement: Monday @ 1:00p (our time). Put it on you calendar, here.
Monday, April 16, 2012 12:48p EDT - There has been much said about the Content Aware Move tool in Photoshop CS6. Here's a great video which shows what you used to need to do, in CS5, compared to how simple it is, now, in CS6. This talented Photoshop professional demonstrates how to elongate the neck of a model.
Sunday, April 15, 2012 3:48p EDT - As previously announced, here, Thursday morning, Adobe is showing their DVA (digital video audio) CS6 apps all over the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show, in Las Vegas. This follows the public beta of Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop. March 27, we blogged about the teaser video on Illustrator CS6. For Illustrator (Ai), Photoshop (Ps), and Premiere Pro (Pr), Adobe has done a fabulous job of redoing their user interfaces and matching them, tool-for-tool. We're including samples of four tools in Ps and Pr. Can you tell which is which? The labeling is correct. We're hoping this direction is going more suite-wide for CS7. It gets back to what the original Creative Suite was all about, 09.01.03: learn it in one app, know it in all.
Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:46p EDT - Sunrise and sunset shots: aren't they for tourists to do as snapshots with their little point-and-shoot cameras? They are. But, the truly great professional nature shooters know what makes a fabulous photograph of the day's first and last minutes of illuminated sky and how that sky scene interacts with the rest of the photo's compositional elements. Here's Jim Harmer's helpful hints.
Friday, April 13, 2012 4:29p EDT - Here's a great example of camaraderie among designers. Have you been meaning to design an app for the new iPad? Does it seem like a headache to adapt all those standardized iOS buttons and things to the point that reinventing the wheel seems minor? Teehan+Lax is sharing a wonderful psd user interface file which comes to the rescue with Ps CS6 elements. Link to it, here.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 6:39a EDT - The secrets of Adobe's Production Premium CS6 apps have been revealed. Last month, Adobe released the public beta of Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop. Now we also know the specifics of the CS6 versions of After Effects, Audition, Prelude [new], and Premium Pro, plus Encore, Media Encoder, SpeedGrade [new], and Story.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:23p EDT - Are you creating web pages for Apple iOS and Android devices? How are you previewing them? Adobe has a cool like app called Shadow. You can download it here, as a free beta. To busy to learn a new app? No problem. Attend a free webinar about Shadow, Friday. Sign-up here.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:58p EDT - How efficient is your nature photography? Are you in the field for 3 or 4 hours? Could you capture just as much if you tried to be ultra productive in just 30 minutes? That's what Carol Freeman set out to do in summer heat. The results reset Carol's course for how she schedules shoots. Here's an interesting quick read.
Monday, April 9, 2012 11:55a EDT - Are you up to speed on how magazines are creating apps for the iPad? Here's a wonderful video overview which also looks are the differences between iPad2 and the New iPad. This all possible with InDesign and the DPS (Digital Publishing Suite). Some magazines have more app subscribers than they do subscribers for their print editions.
Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012 7:05a EDT - Using Adobe After Effects Jeff Desom took scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 "Rear Window" and built a panorama of the back of Jimmy Stewart's Greenwich Village apartment building. From there, he created a fast motion summary of the film's action. Though it's not easy to spot Jimmy, his 35mm Exakta Varex VX camera with a Kilfitt Fern-Kilar f/5.6 400mm lens, Grace Kelly, or Raymond Burr, it's plenty of fun in less than 3 minutes. It's your turn to spy on them.
Saturday, April 7, 2012 10:55a EDT - There's been a great deal of simple generalization about the Photoshop CS6 public beta. Here's more than an overview of the new Adaptive Wide Angle feature. Our bets are that this new feature set is going to change the look of wide-angle photography, in the post-production phase, to the point of equaling retouching celebrities on magazine covers.
Friday, April 6, 2012 7:00a EDT - We wish our Judaic-Christian brethren a most blessed Good Friday and Passover.
Thursday, April 5, 2012 5:02p EDT - There's yet another video teaser from Adobe on CS6. This time its about the new Content Collector tool in InDesign. This is a great way to re-purpose content from document to document.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 3:34p EDT - How do you design for web browsers, tablets, smart phones, and whatever, all at the same time? Learn how in 78 seconds with a teaser about Dreamweaver CS6 and Fluid (Liquid) Layouts.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 1:39p EDT - Do you need a one hour assist in getting up to speed on the Photoshop CS6 public beta? Allow our buddy Zorana Gee to give you a hands on overview with this video.
Monday, April 2, 2012 6:50a EDT - Thank you for making March the busiest month, ever, for m2media.com. Sure our Video + PDF + Flash addition was hot property, but our site's visitors climbed all over everything. We'll do our best to make April even tastier.
Sunday, April 1, 2012 7:46a EDT - It's free to join an InDesign Users Group (IDUG). There are 38 chapters in North America and many more all over the world. We belong to the chapter in Washington DC, the largest chapter in the world. With the launch of InDesign CS6 not that far away, an IDUG is a great place to see what's new and meet some of your fellow media professional. Find a chapter here.
Saturday, March 31, 2012 4:57a EDT - Why revisit a how-to video for Illustrator 88? It's to easy to forget where we came from, in 1987, and how and why we got into this electronic stuff, in the first place. As we look at this video, we more clearly see that over the past 25 years, Illustrator has become easier to use. It's just that it's so powerful, to the beginner, it seems intimidating. Once you look at the foundational elements, the overwhelming roar of Ai power settles down to a kitten's purr.
Friday, March 30, 2012 2:18p EDT - Have you ever shot some great video footage but all the ambient noise made the voice track a mess? Once Adobe ships CS6, all that background clutter disappears. Watch this sneak peak at Audition and you'll say, "YES!"
Thursday, March 29, 2012 4:48p EDT - Who are those people whose names appear on the credits when you're in Photoshop and click on the About option? Now you can both see and hear a few of them in a video of the Photoshop World keynote.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:59p EDT - If you're working with the public beta of Photoshop CS6, in this video you'll see that Illustrator CS6 has the same new, exciting UI (user interface). You'll also see the cool new pattern creation feature demonstrated by Brenda Sutherland, the very hard-working Illustrator Product Manager.
Monday, March 26, 2012 3:12p EDT - We enjoyed the trip into DC to Photoshop World, yesterday. We had the chance to share a little mutual face time with Photoshop Product Managers Bryan O'Neil Hughes and Zorana Gee plus engineer Meredith Payne Stotzner. Adobe had Senior Creative Director Russell Brown and the original Photoshop beta tester and official evangelist Julieanne Kost on hand, too. We wish we had more time to spend with all of them.
Sunday, March 25, 2012 3:39a EDT - Photoshop World officially started in Washington, DC yesterday, running through tomorrow. Some aspects of it are not cheap. But, today and tomorrow, the Expo is free. It includes some seminars on the Expo floor. Get a hall pass for two, here.
Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:39a EDT - Adobe has released Photoshop CS6 as a free public beta. We have a complete What's New Guide coming up for you on Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop. It's free, too.
Monday, March 19, 2012 3:31p EDT - We now have a You Tube channel for M2MediaStudios. We can't be everywhere, but we sure can try. If you didn't see our video on our website, You Tube has it here.
Sunday, March 18, 2012 12:22p EDT - Over 11,000 page views in the first 6 hours since yesterday's e-mail notices went out just astounds us, especially since it was 9:05p, on the East Coast when we sent them, on St. Pat's Day. Testing and debugging the project took weeks, with the help of a small army of some of the smartest people in the industry. We are thrilled at all the new subscribers and the flood of congratulations which have come in.
Saturday, March 17, 2012 4:35p EDT - A very Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. We feel lucky and so should you. Our new educational initiative went live a few minutes ago. Please click on the Online Learning tab above and tell us what you think of it.
Saturday, March 10, 2012 6:45p EST - Our many thanks to all our devout masters of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere who assisted us in testing our new educational material and work out as many kinks as can be found on current Mac, iPhone, iPad and Windows platforms. It was a far bigger event of tweaking than we imagined but once we the got the best of the best involved, we learned of more than we could have delved into on our own.
Saturday, March 3, 2012 10:55a EST - Despite Brian being under the weather, our pilot video is complete. This week, a group of Photoshop professionals have been helping us to fine tune the streaming engine to be sure we can, as flawlessly as possible, deliver HD video in 480, 720, and even 1080, optimized for Mac, Windows, and popular mobile devices. The pilot should launch tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 10:15a EST - Did you see that the Nikon D800 has been announced? 36.3 million pixels (7,360 x 4,912) for $3K. It's also capable of broadcast quality video at 30 fps.
Friday, February 3, 2012 7:15a EST - 15 minutes ago our home page banner changed to read, "An Unprecedented Educational Opportunity Starts Today!"
Monday, January 30, 2012 4:41p EST - Friday Adobe previewed a much needed new app called Prelude, to add to their growing collection of DVA (Digital Video Audio) apps with other show biz names: Audition, Encore, On Location, and Premiere. Some describe Prelude as Adobe Bridge for video. It allows you to ingest digital footage, review it, and do a rough cut without requiring the skills of a professional editor. This is going to be a big hit with producers, assistants, and broadcast journalists. Read more, here.
Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:35a EST - The following is a wonderful illustration Janet created in Photoshop from an image Brian captured at a Christmas parade. We are known for the cloning process, which is a good way to get something like this started. But the colorful joy that makes something like this shine is the freeform handwork Janet added to this dear little angel.
Thursday, January 26, 2012 2:15p - If color is part of your job, here's a computer game you should be allowed to play a work. It doesn't come with instructions but the idea is to use the ring(s) in the outer circle to match that color(s) with the colors of the interior circle. Most of them are timed. It grades you as you go and at the end gives you a score. If you didn't do as well as you'd like to, click "Start over." When you're done, click on "Subscribe to be notified" and you'll see games on Kerning and Shape.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:32p EST - Here's a cool little video with Pete Falco, a lead computer scientist at Adobe on the Photoshop's 3D team. It an inspiration look at some of the cool things people are doing with the 3D features of Photoshop. It's also a humorous story on how Pete got into this.
Friday, January 20, 2012 2:27p EST - Yesterday's Apple announcement about iBooks textbooks is an exciting chapter in innovative learning experiences. Admittedly, we're known as Apple and Adobe fanboys. We're also known for holding a magnifying glass to the media. The downside we see to iBooks Author is that it's focused exclusively on the iPad. We realize that makes good business sense for Apple. However, you do all that work and if the content is needed for any other media vehicle, you need to recreate the whole thing. That doesn't make good business sense for you. Liz Castro has 10 excellent points on her blog.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 2:27p EST - What typefaces are you using? We're not sure how Web Designer Depot arrived at this but they have posted a list of the most popular typefaces. It's an interesting article. Read it here.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:29a EST - Many thanks for the fabulous response to our backlight story. It had our most views... EVER! Yesterday, alone, our page views doubled. We are thrilled to assist you in becoming better image-makers.
Saturday, January 14, 2012 6:02p EST - We are pleased to have published a new feature story on backlight. This one is more than just an opportunity for us to speak to you. This one's a challenge to our readers. Our Help Desk is open. We want yo to get involved and we want you to contact us if you run into problems.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:10a EST - Adobe CS6 is releasing in the 1st half of 2012. There's been some talk about a new upgrade policy. Here's the official story that Adobe has shared with us: If you have CS3, CS4, or CS5 apps or suites you can get the upgrade price through 12.31.12. Upgrades available 3 versions back has been the policy for a long time. There's no change. Get the whole story here.
Saturday, January 7, 2012 3:47p EST - Would you like a little poster of InDesign shortcuts? Click here. How about one for Illustrator? Click here. When they appear on your browser's window, click on each one and it enlarges for printing.
Thursday, January 5, 2012 8:20p EST - It's less than 3.5 hours since we sent out the preview e-mail on our new educational initiative. We are a few dozen page views away from our best 24 hour response, ever. Many thanks to our loyal subscribers! We're here for you.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:22p EST - Today M2 Media Studios started it's 20th year. We held our annual meeting at McMahon's in Warrenton, Virginia. We're dedicating this entire year to the educational initiative which launches in 21 days. Our subscribers are fabulous. We've helped so many move forward in their careers. Who wouldn't drop everything else to focus on such a calling?
Monday, January 2, 2012 2:12p EST - Our new home page just went live. Check out our very exciting 18 keyframe animation on what our new educational initiative is all about. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please e-mail the studio. We want to hear from you.
Friday, December 30, 2011 2:07p EST - We are pleased to provide you with a sneak peek at the design of our forthcoming video initiative. The entire multimedia series requires just about every app in Adobe's Master Collection.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:58a EST - We started using a new logo, yesterday. It'll begin appearing in everything we do, as we build up to the launch of our new educational initiative, 01.15.12. In a few days, we'll show you how we went about creating it and implementing the thing, in case your studio's identity graphics need a touch-up.
Saturday, December 17, 2011 Noon EST - We have been working like crazy on a new home page animation for our educational initiative. It has 17 keyframes. Look for that Monday. Also we've been working on the planning of the videos in the effort. Below, Brian is at the drawing board refining the details.
Saturday, December 10, 2011 10:16a EST - Has your film scanning software stopped working when you upgraded to Mac OS X Lion? This is a frequent problem for older software apps. They're often in the PowerPC format which doesn't work with Lion. Many once thriving film scanner manufacturers cease development on software. ScanFast 8 has you covered. That 3rd party app works with many current and discontinued scanners.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 4:23p EST - Over the weekend we added a Books section to our website. Because we are always exploring new technologies, we open the door to getting ourselves in trouble. Since 01.15.12 is the launch date of our new educational initiative, we want to explore issues sooner than later. The site got a little messed up, but we've since figured things out. If you see anything odd, please drop us an e-mail.
Saturday, December 3, 2011 6:20a EST - In a few days, we'll introduce a 15 panel animation, on our home page, which gives you great insight as to what our video/interactive educational initiative will be all about. It's something we're carefully crafting. There's something deliciously precise about distilling a big project into 15 succinct panels.
Monday, November 28, 2011 5:20p EST - As promised, we are making a major announcement, today. 01.15.12 is the launch date of a new video series we will be producing. We'll change our home page, tomorrow, to provide more of the details. It's beyond just video. Our educational materials combine video with PDF to maximize the learning experience. This is our most exciting endeavor, ever.
Saturday, November 26, 2011 12:49a EST - Stay tuned. Watch this space, Monday, for the announcement of a new educational initiative. It sets the bar way, way up there.
Thursday, November 24, 2011 7:41a EST - We are filled with thanks for the gifts we have been blessed with. We love sharing those gifts with others, so that all of you may fulfill your purposes here on earth.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 1:54p EST - "The Russell Brown Show" always adds a little panache to presentations (sometimes with unique outfits). This video on Photoshop Touch, the iPad app, shows how you can use the device's camera to create backgrounds while using the Ps Touch app.
Sunday, November 20, 2011 8:07p EST - We are still undecided about what to do about Flash videos. Google introduced a cool plug-in for Flash Pro. If you need to publish your Flash creations on all web and mobile devices, check out the weblink for how quickly you can move a SWF file to the rapidly becoming universal HTML5 format with Google's Swiffy.
Friday, November 18, 2011 2:21p EST - This week we attended a very exciting Washington DC InDesign Users Group (IDUG) meeting. Noha Edell did a presentation on Adobe's Digital Publishing System (DPS). She also showed this video from Adobe MAX where Kiyo, an InDesign product manager, demonstrates the forthcoming Liquid Layout.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 1:53p EST - Yesterday we got the new Wacom Inkling. It's one fabulous device. The Inkling looks like a cool pen and it draws on paper, just like a pen. However, a little receiver is storing all of what you're drawing. Hookup the receiver to your computer and it shoots the images right into Photoshop or Illustrator. We're impressed.
Monday, November 14, 2011 12:22p EST - This week we are investigating the best means to move our new content beyond the web and print. We hope to be able to optimize it for mobile apps. We're thinking of the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and Nook. Our research tells us that they are the most popular. If you have other ideas, please let us know.
Saturday, Novemeber 12, 2011 3:01p EST - If you want an Adobe CS6 app or a suite you need CS5 or CS5.5 to get the upgrade pricing. Adobe announced that, this week along with a few other sales options. We're announcing it here for those who still are using CS4 or earlier. Adobe is offering a 20% discount through the end of the year.
Friday, November 11, 2011 6:38a EST - This week's news that Adobe has stopped development on Flash for mobile devices does not come as a surprise. This does not mean that the Flash Professional app is history. Adobe is investing in Flash Pro CS6 and beyond. It'll output to other file formats which work on mobile devices. Overall, we feel this makes for more efficient use of small hardware.
Sunday, November 6, 2011 5:51a EST - If you need a little divine inspiration on this first Sunday in Standard Time, take a peek at this link. Jann Lipka photographed the Stockholm Woodland Cemetery Chapel, yesterday, stitched it together to create a 360° panorama. A Java Script allows you to see a continual sweep of the chapel and the reverence on the faces of those in attendance.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 10:12a EDT - Did you read the complete eulogy by Mona Simpson, the sister of Steve Jobs? If not, read it by clicking here.
Thursday, November 3, 2011 9:41a EDT - If you have Photoshop CS4 or CS5, you have Bridge with the capabilities of generating contact sheets. Admittedly, it's not all the easy to figure out, but once you know how, it's simple. For that reason, we knew you'd need a step-by-step guide to get started. It is, where else, in our Online Learning section.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 1:05p EDT - Have you ever tried to photograph a beer pour? There are some lighting and staging tricks to it but it also has some great points about some challenging exposure situations. Read about how we do it in our Online Learning section.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 2:07p EDT - We cannot get out of our heads the final words of Steve Jobs, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." as told by his sister. Doesn't this final enigma of Steve's appear appropriate for this All Saints Day and tomorrow's All Souls Day? What revelations came to him, at the end? ...or should we say, "beginning?"
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 8:13a EDT - Yesterday was our monthly production meeting. We sized-up our workflow capabilities over the next 60 days. In a few days we'll have a big announcement about the launch of a major new initiative, starting 01.01.12. A hint: after the meeting we went to Lord & Taylor.
Saturday, October 29, 2011 3:18 EDT - Did you know you can make great contact sheets with InDesign? It's something of a hidden feature. There's been a great response to our story about it, this week. We have a step-by-step for those of you who are not InDesign experts. The end result is a contact sheet which has a style which is as individualistic as your images. See either of these Facebook pages for a contact sheet sample Brian or M2.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 11:57a EDT - Many thanks to all the wonderful e-mail messages of thanks from our readers. This week, we broke all previous records for page views. This makes us feel very confident about where we are going with our educational directions. We have some fabulous work happening with our soon to be released video features.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 6:30p EDT - We uploaded 3 new feature stories, a few minutes ago, and sent out the e-mail notifications. There's something so satisfying to witness over 1,000 views in the first few minutes. As Sally Fields said at the Oscars, "You like me; you really really like me!"
Sunday, October 23, 2011 4:55p EDT - We take a great deal of responsibility for the feature stories we publish. We realize that people are going to invest a fair amount of time and effort to study them, step-by-step. The results better be great. We e-mailed a one-man software developer whose product we're featuring in a story we've been holding. We heard back from him today. Now that we have fact-checked them, we'll release three new features in the morning.
Saturday, October 22, 2011 10:20a EDT - Are you bothered reading PDFs on your iPhone or iPad using iBook? Do you wish you had the familiar Adobe Reader, instead? Now you do. Go to the App Store. It's the #1 free download (imagine). Once it has downloaded, page through the first few screens. They're a quick start guide. Reader's also available for Android. The other big plus about getting Adobe Reader for your iPhone and/or iPad is security. It's the safer route to go for sensitive documents.
Friday, October 21, 2011 7:50p EDT - We're wrapping up 3 new feature stories for our Online Learning section. They should publish tomorrow. If you're one of our subscribers, you'll get the usual e-mail message. If you have not joined the thousands and thousands of professional designers, illustrators, and photographers, please drop us an e-mail along with your name, street address, city, state/province, and postal code.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 5:35p EDT - In about an hour it will be 18 years since a steel beam fell on Brian's head at the Richmond, VA studio, and he had a 25% chance of survival. We usually keep these blog posts business oriented but figured you would like to join what Brian & Janet call "Celebrate Life" day.
Friday, October 14, 2011 2:36a EDT - Cautionary words on iOS 5: We had to change our passwords. It makes security sense. It’s just that they never told us that would happen. It wiped out all our apps. We should have backed up to computers so we could have restored them and how they were configured (that burnt off 2 hours which could have been better spent). For iCal and Address Book, iCloud allows us to deploy that stuff from 1 Mac to a variety of Macs and devices. Very cool!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 5:38a EDT - Remember that Mac "Think Different" ad campaign? It included a 60 second TV commercial, "The Crazy Ones" with Richard Dreyfuss doing the voice over (VO). Did you know there's one where Steve Jobs does the VO? Please watch (and listen to) this on YouTube and let us know what you think.
Monday, October 10, 2011 11:25a EDT - You never know how you can inspire a budding new artist. A 5 (almost 6) year old friend at church wanted to do a card swap with us. We created a composite photo of us with Monica. It was incomplete but it was a great exercise in learning what we could freehand in Photoshop for a real quick rendering. See it on our Facebook walls: Brian or M2.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:05p EDT - CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple Inc. said the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday. He was 56. “We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” the company said in a brief statement. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:35a EDT - Photographing a 17 year old girl comes with age appropriate boundaries. You want her to look absolutely fabulous and feel great about herself but you can't depict her as an adult. Amber has such fabulous hair that we used a gold/white umbrella for a back light and worked a silver/white side light until we got her gorgeous eyes to sparkle. See Amber on the Facebook wall of Brian or M2.
Sunday, October 2, 2011 5:11p EDT - Photographing a young male athlete and giving him a masculine look is not always easy. He'll often have features which are still maturing. This is where side light works in the subject's favor. Lighting placement is crucial. Work with the subject until you find the point where light skims across the contours of his face, providing great shadows. See a sample on the Facebook wall of Brian or M2.
Thursday, September 29, 2011 1:51p EDT - For our Mac users who own a studio, if you have not developed a relationship with the enterprise team at your nearest Apple Store, we strongly suggest that you do so. It's like having your own IT department. Tuesday night we were in the Fair Oaks store in need of complex server solutions. We're quite good at that stuff but their team huddled together and produced answers beyond our capabilities. We were impressed.
Monday, September 26, 2011 3:15p EDT - We offer a special thank you to our buddies on the Adobe Bridge team. We have been holding up two stories to verify some feature functionality. Their engineering people got on it and provided us with the very specific information we need to share with you. We have to be sure that our story content produces excellent results. We'll publish tomorrow.
Saturday, September 24, 2011 3:53p EDT - Here's a link to a great color theory poster. This might all be second nature to you, but it's possible to have a client which is clueless as to what you are attempting to communicate. Share this link with them or print it to 11"x17" (its big enough to print as a 22"x34") and hang it in your studio, office, work area, or client area. Best of all, it's free!
Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:47a EDT - We are still finessing this week's feature stories and on one of the stories model Joi (pronounced Joey) Delaney keeps staring back at us from the pages. We're proud of Joi. We've been shooting with her for 4 years. She just keeps getting better. Joi's more fit, energetic, and filled with confidence and joy. On a shoot, Joi becomes part of the team.
Sunday, September 18, 2011 2:07p EDT - Though we're still wrapping up tomorrow's Online Learning features, we are at work on next week's, already. Everyone is used to Photoshop's retouching tools. They're fairly easy to use and never cease to amaze. But how do you partially eliminate wrinkles and blemishes to retain a very true resemblance of your subject? Stay tuned. We'll show you how we do it.
Saturday, September 17, 2011 7:18p EDT - Before we publish a feature story, we do our best to fully test our methods to be sure it doesn't lead you astray. Sometimes we come across technology glitches in the tools we use. We have been struggling with this is 2 out of 3 of this week's stories. Then, our job becomes finding you the workaround so everything goes smoothly for you. Our pub date goal is Monday.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 8:30a EDT - How do you create a photo of two women having a great time, and make it look like a candid snap shot? Practice, practice, practice! Start with two great models. Find the perfect setting. Add some very natural-looking artificial light. Choose the right optics and composition. Create a collaborative atmosphere. Next week, our Online Learning page will show you how we did it.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 2:19p EDT - We just posted a new animated banner to our Online Learning page. Please check it out and let us know what you think by sending us an e-mail. It should be different than the banners on any of the other pages on our website. If it isn't, you may need to refresh the page. If you have to do that, we'd like to know about it, too.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 11:57a EDT - It's been a very busy, productive, and enlightening 911 weekend. We have nothing substantially new to add to the 10th anniversary remembrances. Join us in looking to spiritual communication. One of the many joys of the weekend was an evening with Kat Gilbert and Ida Trusch. Visit their studio's website to find visual joy. More on the rest of the weekend, later.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011 5:11p EDT - Wise publishers listen to their readers. Professional photographer and Facebook friend, Tanja Mattfeldt wrote, "I really like that you state the ISO setting, and lenses you use in conjunction with the Camera body in your photos." This caused us to add the Tech Specs boxes, which appear in our books, to our new feature stories, starting tomorrow, thanks to Tanja.
Monday, September 5, 2011 2:34a EDT - We wish a happy Labor Day to one and all. The labour movement started in Canada, in the late 1880s. It didn't have anything to do with hot dogs and hamburgers. Today, it's a call to go back to school. As image-makers, please go out there and make this the best school-year, ever. Please push yourself to the limits and then push yourself around 100 yards further That's what we'll do for you in this educational year ahead.
Thursday, September 1, 2011 8:50a EDT - We're getting behind on this week's feature stories. There are no natural disasters to battle this week (okay... we had another aftershock, this morning, but we're getting used to them). This week, we're dealing with medical concerns. We're on the way back to the hospital for more tests, this morning. We've set our sights on Labor Day for our next publication date.
Monday, August 29, 2011 2:27a EDT - Mac Maintenance 3: Some things can go wrong with doing maintenance on a Mac. Booting from an optical drive requires enough RAM. If you have 4GB of RAM, you're probably okay. If you're trying to help someone, who only has 2GB, you could be in trouble. Part way through the process, you'll get "the spinning beach ball of death." That's because you've used-up all the RAM.
Sunday, August 28, 2011 1:17p EDT - Mac Maintenance 2: Once we have permissions taken care of we use TechTool Pro 6 to do a complete diagnosis of the Mac, this includes a surface scan of each block of the hard drive to be sure it's healthy enough to optimize the entire volume. Over time, files become broken into fragments. Optimizing brings them all together in continuous blocks. This allows everything to move at optimal speeds, with minimal wear and tear on the hard drive.
Saturday, August 27, 2011 2:40p EDT - Mac Maintenance 1: Just like your car or home, your Mac needs regular service. It'll run better and last longer if once a month you pop the OS X installation DVD into the thing, restart the Mac while holding down the "c" key. This boots the Mac from the DVD. Go to Disk Utility, from the menu bar. Choose the Mac's hard drive and click Verify Disk Permissions. As soon as it's done, choose Repair Disk Permissions. Next choose Verify Disk. If needed, choose Repair disk. Quit Disk Utility and restart a healthier Mac.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 8:22p EDT - If you are not fully up to speed on the resignation of Steve Jobs as the Apple CEO, here's a little more insight from the Wall Street Journal.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 9:22a EDT - Sidetracked by yesterday's earthquake, we did not get to shoot the beer pours, which are the subject of one of this week's feature stories. This follows-up on the story we did, last week, on lighting from below. In that shot, we walked a highlight/shadow tightrope. Imagine those challenges magnified, many times, once motion is introduced into the photographic equation.
Monday, August 22, 2011 11:04p EDT - We're working on a feature story about making contact sheets with Adobe Bridge. We want to follow up on last week's Bridge Web Galleries feature. Next to nothing has been written about Bridge contact sheets; we're surprised. We think it's a great, undiscovered feature of Bridge. Like Acrobat Portfolio, it's an hidden treasure. Use the tools to tell your story.
Monday, August 22, 2011 10:12a EDT - We are so pleased with the response to last week's feature story on Color. The stats are good and the e-mails very positive. We enjoyed putting the thing together. It took a great deal of research which was extremely fascinating. Now that we are aware of how our brains process color, our workflow has improved. We hope yours has, too.
Saturday, August 20, 2011 1:30p EDT - Adobe Muse, the app which allows you to design for the web without ever touching code, has had an overwhelming number of free downloads. If you're interested, but need some instruction checkout the video series that Adobe has created. Muse IS a beta, so it's a work in progress.
Friday, August 19, 2011 9:03a EDT - Our subscribers are SO fabulous! We didn't expect too many reads by publishing 3 features around 8:00p EDT. Were we ever wrong. Thousands of views in the first 12 hours. That's a record. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For a primarily North American audience, who knows what will happen in the light of day! You rev our engines to do even more.
Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:25p EDT - Check out what we just published: Color in Your Mind, Light from Below, and Your Web Gallery. It took a little doing to push the three new feature stories out the door, this week, but we are pleased to finally get them to you. As with the last set, they are in both PDF and Flash versions. Please let us know what you think of them.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8:00p EDT - Greetings from our annual meeting, at Griffin Tavern, in Flint Hill, VA. It's been a fabulous year but this coming one will far outshine it. Our buddies on Adobe's Bridge team are still working on that bug in the web gallery module. We can't replicate it, so we think it's no big deal. Unless we hear otherwise, we'll post 3 new Online Learning features in the morning.
Monday, August 15, 2011 3:40p EDT - We were about to publish 3 new Online Learning features when we have stumbled upon a possible Bridge CS5.1 Web Gallery bug (the subject of Feature #00120). We've made our friends at Adobe aware of it. We are hesitant to get you all revved up about creating something which might not work properly. Hopefully, we'll get this resolved and we can publish tomorrow.
Monday, August 15, 2011 7:27a EDT - Adobe Muse was released as a public beta a minute after midnight. It's an Adobe Air app which allows you to create a website without ever coming in contact with HTML code. This reminds us of the lighter side of Adobe GoLive (GL) which has not been around since CS2. Muse (a code name) appeals to designers as GL did. Get it, free, here.
Saturday, August 13, 2011 9:33a EDT - There's a "critical" security issue with Photoshop. A hacker can gain control of your Mac or Windows machine when you open GIF files, which contain malicious code. Adobe has a security update for Ps CS5 (12) and CS5.1 (12.1). Read the bulletin and get the plug in links, here.
Friday, August 12, 2011 10:35a EDT - For $2.99 Adobe’s Color Lava, for the iPad, is starting to turn the tide for traditional media mixing palettes coming to the digital workplace. Much as the old European masters mixed painter on a palette, you can mix color on your iPad and then export it to Photoshop. Even if you work on dual displays, as we do, the little iPad is a welcome addition to your workflow.
Thursday, August 11, 2011 12:02p EDT - Did you know that when you are making brush strokes, in Photoshop, that's the right hemisphere of your brain (the creative side) at work? However, when you need to open the Color Picker or Color panel and change the color, that's your left hemisphere (the verbal side) doing the heavy lifting. The creative process is something of an ongoing tennis match in your head.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 9:47a EDT - You probably are familar with Adobe Bridge for editing images and managing files. Did you know that you can create a web gallery with Bridge? Yep. This week, we'll show you how easy it is to do. We're getting ready to do the same, so see what we're up to.
Sunday, August 7, 2011 1:56p EDT - We love to photograph fruits and vegetables on glass with a portion of the illumination coming from below, much like those light tables do which allow you to view film (remember those days?). The lighting is a little tricky to perfect, but this week, we'll show you how we do master it in our Online Learning section.
Saturday, August 6, 2011 11:14a EDT - With Adobe's Fireworks, Flash Pro, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, you are used to opening the color panel and adjusting RGB sliders from 0-255. How come when you do video color correction, in Premier. the RGB is expressed in much bigger numbers or small ones, with decimal points? The 0-255 is for 8-bit color. Video is sometimes 8-bit, but it can be 10, 16, or 32 bit. Read more about it, this coming week, in our Online Learning section.
Friday, August 5, 2011 5:22p EDT - We have been joyfully toiling away on next week's Online Learning feature stories. There's probably no story's research which has intrigued us more than the one on color and color pickers. The brain has to switch gears from when you are applying color to choosing colors and then switch back when you apply your choices.
Thursday, August 4, 2011 5:21p EDT - To follow up on yesterday's post, if you have been following our PDFs on your iPad and now you want to print one, how do you do it? Go back to the App Store and grab one of both of the free apps, Epson iPrint or Print Jinni. Apple has a printing app out there, but for some reason unbeknownst to us, it's only for HP printers. FYI: The printers need to be WiFi enabled, like our Epson Artisan 835.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 7:54a EDT - Do you follow us on your iPhone or iPad? Have you tried to read the PDFs, but all you get is a black screen? If so, do you have iBooks? If you don't have iBooks, go to your device's App Store and download it. It's free. Once you have iBooks, roll your finger over the upper right of the PDF and press the Open in iBooks button. You're ready to read!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:21a EDT - Adobe's public previews of a new app, Edge, has had our web development buddies filled with excitement. It's a motion and web development tool based on the new capabilities of HTML5, which is the foundation of the newest browsers. You can get a free beta version of Edge on the Adobe Labs website.
Monday, August 1, 2011 12:53p EDT - We always encourage people to respond positively when the "Software Update" appears in the dock of their Mac. If you have an Epson Stylus Pro printer, we want you to skip any printer upgrades Apple offers you. If it messes things up, for you, open the Mac's hard drive and go to Library>Printers>EPSON. Empty that folder and reinstall your print drivers. Beware that Epson's "updates" are not standalone drivers. So, you'll need to load the latest driver and then update it.
Saturday, July 30, 2011 10:03a EDT - How tough is it to create a website like ours? For a skilled web developer, it's no big deal. If you're not Adobe Dreamweaver-savvy, it's going to take some study. In our Online Learning section, we have both a PDF and Flash step-by-step on how you can insert our pages' HTML code into Dreamweaver and then you can adapt it with your own images. If you get stuck drop us an e-mail. We'll help.
Friday, July 29, 2011 12:17p EDT - So many people wrote to say how impressed they are with the animated banner at the top of our website's pages. Thank you. Our Online Learning section has a four page PDF (or Flash) tutorial on how we make them. It's a detailed step-by-step instruction so that our readers can implement the same on their websites. Sharing the gifts is what we're all about.
Thursday, July 28, 2011 6:55p EDT - There's been much discussion about Apple's latest Mac OS X release, version 10.7, Lion. We're hoping for a 10.7.1 which will fix all the issues with the first release. But, at this point, we see no reason to upgrade. It messes up all sorts of issues for which there is no resolution. We waited a few days to fully evaluate the problems before publishing an opinion.
Monday, July 25, 2011 12:35p EDT - We are glad to see the huge response to our new feature story on flash duration. Stop-action is a photographic drama. It grabs the attention of the audience. The viewers experience something that their eyes cannot. We had a great deal of fun shooting stop-action wine pour. It took quite a few tries and made quite a mess, but the results made it well-worth it.
Sunday, July 24, 2011 12:47p EDT - Many, many thanks to everyone for your kind words about the new Online Learning features. We didn't know what to expect publishing a new concept on a Saturday evening (North American EDT) but we literally had thousands of views in the first 7 hours. This is the most gratifying time in our careers. We are so pleased to serve you.
Saturday, July 23, 2011 8:23p EDT - We are so pleased to publish 3 new feature stories on photographic flash duration, how we animated the new web banner in Photoshop, and how we designed the website's pages in Photoshop and assembled them in Dreamweaver. The interactive functionality we gave both the PDF and Flash versions of each is pretty cool. Please try them and let us know what you think.
Thursday, July 21, 2011 7:35p EDT - In the past we have published some 2 page PDFs in our Online Learning section. In proofing the feature stories, for this week, we were not sure we were playing our A Game for you. The story on the designer's use of Dreamweaver particularly needs expansion. Look for all three of them, tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 8:10a EDT - Tomorrow we publish three new Online Learning stories. We have the interactive PDF and Flash components figured out. We're working on converting the Flash version to HTML5 so you can explore them on your iPhone and iPad. We've consulted with a few folks who have done this, so stay tuned!
Monday, July 18, 2011 11:01a EDT - You can look at exhibit pieces, on the web, and get a sense for the work an artist is doing, but it's not until you see those big prints, in an exhibit environment, exactly as the artist tweaked it, do you experience the artist's vision. We've loved Kat's collages but never saw one before, yesterday. We're now assured: Kat's the best (and real cute, too).
Sunday, July 17, 2011 6:54a EDT - Today, we're pleased to be traveling to Hampton, Virginia for the opening of Kat Gilbert's exhibit of Photoshop collages at the Hampton Arts Center. It's a juried show and she's garnered Best in Show. We've known Kat since the mid-1980s and are happy to see the transition she's made from graphic designer to photographic fine artist.
Thursday, July 14, 2011 7:24p EDT - amazon.com has posted our extensive review of Chris Converse's "Create Interactive Documents using Adobe InDesign CS." It was instrumental in the development of our new PDFs and Flash versions of the same. There's more to his DVD than just interactive there. Chris has some very polished methodologies for all of his InDesign production. Look for our new Online Learning features this weekend.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 7:20p EDT - As we announced in our Online Learning section, earlier today, we are moving forward with a concept planned for a few weeks down the road. We're not just going to bring you interactive PDFs, this week, we're going to offer the same content in Flash. It's a very compelling way to learn. Right now, we're doing a VERY fast retool.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 12:27p EDT - Our web stats show that our feature on scanning like a pro has renewed interest. We want to note that Nikon has discontinued its scanner products. (That's a pity, but we suppose the market for them is good but not great.) If you look around, you can still find the fabulous Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 10:36a EDT - We monitor our web stats frequently. It's interesting that when we launched Online Learning, 04.12.10, around a third of operating systems used, to get to our site, was Mac OS X. As of yesterday, that evolved to 49.7%, for July. This month the most popular browser is Safari followed by Firefox. Only around a quarter of our page views were with Explorer.
Monday, July 11, 2011 9:08a EDT - We are finishing up on three new PDFs for the Online Learning section of the new website. Look for them Wednesday evening. After 114 feature stories we introduced an all new look to these popular educational pieces. The new ones are interactive so they're no longer strictly print options. They're pretty cool!
Sunday, July 10, 2011 8:38a EDT - Many, many, MANY thanks for all the e-mails, which have come pouring in, congratulating us on the website. We have never had so many overnight page views. We started planning the details of the new site during the Christmas break. It'll be the end of summer before you see the depth of the project and fully understand why this was better than a half year in the making. Many blessings.
Saturday, July 9, 2011 3:46p EDT - We are thrilled to finally start rolling out our new website. We'll be adding to it each week until it's fully functional, later this summer. In a few minutes, we'll be sending an e-mail notication to all our Online Learning subscribers. With the new launch comes a more simple temporary password system. Please let us know what you think of the new site.
Thursday, July 7, 2011 7:29p EDT - We are completing the initial Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 work for launching the new website. You'll start enjoying it, tomorrow. If you want a sneak peek at the first of a series of animated banners, which we mentioned earlier this week, see it here.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 6:01p EDT - We are so appreciative to acclaimed Adobe Dreamweaver author, David Powers, and Dreamweaver guru, Meredith Foster, who together, helped us through a few technical glitches in the new website. We're not HTML5 "code jockeys." Meredith and David looked at our code and figured-out how to perfect it. We still have hours of reworking, but what's better than perfection!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 5:59p EDT - One of the things which has delayed the website's launch is the animated banners at the top of each page. We just have not been able to get them 100% to our liking. Well, we just perfected them. The new site launches tomorrow. And, next week, we'll show you how we made them, so you can make them for your website, too.
Monday, July 4, 2011 7:05p EDT - We like to say that, "We have been in this longer than film." but we learn new things, every day. We have been trying to pull apart a Photoshop mural which is over 153" tall. It needs to be broken down into over 100 images. We went into this not fully realizing the best workflow. Once we established it, we went from averaging better than 5 minutes per image to less than 1 minute per de-constructed photo.
Sunday, July 3, 2011 12:55p EDT - To all our Canadian and American subscribers we wish you a fabulous Canada Day/Independence Day weekend. Celebrate safely!
Saturday, July 2, 2011 7:12p EDT - We keep packing the new website with cool stuff. We hope it goes live, tomorrow.
Thursday, June 30, 2011 6:55p EDT - For the past 48 hours we have been working like crazy to launch the new website, but we just keep coming up with cool new things we want to do with it for you. We'll do our best to give you a sneak peak tomorrow, as we roll out innovative new stuff on it throughout July.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 1:30p EDT - We are working on the finishing touches to our website's new look. It'll expand throughout the month of July. We are known as Photoshop evalgelists. So why isn't the new site created entirely with Photoshop? Some of it is done with Ps CS 5.1. But Photoshop is not the most efficient solution for regularly updates a big site. Here's why a fellow Photoshop fan does websites with Fireworks.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 4:56a EDT - Here's an interesting 12 min presentation on where the video industry is going. We're beyond the days of the standard 4:3 video aspect ratio changing to HD 16:9. The digital instead of tape conversion is old news, too. The new story is about consumption. HD video is the new norm, as seen by its growth on dSLR cameras. How HD video is edited, enhanced, and shared is the present day developing story.
Monday, June 27, 2011 1:42a EDT - If you would like to learn about creating interactive PDFs, as we mentioned yesterday, learn from the master, Chris Converse. We saw his presentation, June 2, at the Washington DC InDesign Users Group meeting. Get his DVD and related mini-book at amazon.com. Like ourselves, Chris has mastered a good chunk of the Adobe Master Collection, a rare but much needed pinnacle to find yourself atop.
Sunday, June 26, 2011 2:19p EDT - There's something satisfying about creating the InDesign master pages for a new interactive PDF series. It's almost a parental experience. It's (quite literally) been on the drawing board for weeks. We have been tweaking it in InDesign, off and on, all weekend. It just keeps getting better and better. We can't wait to publish the first three new Online Learning features for you.
Saturday, June 25, 2011 7:59a EDT - Here's very innovative science on how we may be capturing photos in the future. Rather than a camera recording the light which is reflected from surfaces, as we do now, the new camera photographs "light fields," the light traveling in numerous directions off each object. Click here to see what Lytro is working on.
Friday, June 24, 2011 12:52p EDT - We're working on a fresh new design for this weekend's first e-mail newsletter in a long time. It's a preview of our new interactive PDFs. This is just one element in the redesign of absolutely everything the public sees. Since what we do is all new, we felt it was the right time for a change in our visual identity, as well.
Thursday, June 23, 2011 11:42a EDT - Going from a little static website to planning ahead for an industrial-strength interactive e-commerce site is no small effort. We have suspended photographic sessions for the second week in a row just to deal with all the technical background goings-on. It's mentally exhausting and energizing, at the same time.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 12:20p EDT - Sunday we mentioned Digital Asset Management. If you don't know anything about it, where do you start? Our late friend Mike Pocklington was a fan of Peter Krough's "The DAM Book." Peter has a 2nd edition of his 480-page authoritative reference. ISBN 978-0-596-52357-2. Get it at amazon.com.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 6:43a EDT - Many of you, who have websites done in Flash have been bothered that those with iPhones and iPads are unable to view your animations. Apple's refusal to allow Flash to run on those devices has been ongoing. There's a way around that problem. Adobe Labs has Wallaby a free little Air app which converts FLA files to HTML: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/wallaby
Monday, June 20, 2011 7:11a EDT - This morning, a friend of ours is photographing a lovely pregnant woman. She's bringing her husband with her to the shoot. That sort of session works best when it can become a tender, loving moment for the couple. The goal is to provide more than a series of exquisite portraits; you want to make the entire experience memorable.
Sunday, June 19, 2011 7:23a EDT - Our rapidly expanding image library is in need of a significant managerial make-over, to the point that we're not shooting anything this week just to reorganize what we have. This is called "DAM" (Digital Asset Management). How to manage a library of books is well established. Why isn't the same true for images?
Saturday, June 18, 2011 10:52a EDT - We have announced the evening of Wednesday, June 29 as the start of our new website emerging. That's when we debut the site's new look and interactive learning PDFs. Each week, through the end of July, more of the new site will be revealed. It's extremely innovative and quite a big push both creatively and technologically. It's no small effort to open huge new doors.
Friday, June 17, 2011 9:14a EDT - We go back to little beige Macs with black & white screens, circa 1984. We've installed hundreds for Macs and can practically do it in our sleep, but the Mac server is a slightly different animal. Fortunately, the guys at Apple Enterprise Support have been excellent hand-holders. The new home for our massive image library is up and running, but there's still plenty of work to do.
Thursday, June 16, 2011 6:07a EDT - Things here are usually moving at light speed (pun intended). We are doing postproduction on 376 food photos we shot at the awesome Griffin Tavern. Last evening we had a chance to throttle the speed back and go, "This is world class stuff!" Take time to feel blessed with the talents you have been gifted with and then make sure you are using those blessings to the max.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:24a EDT - Since February we've been struggling to get our photo studio better organized. Having all of that lighting gear in just the right place is essential to productivity. We tried manufactured cabinetry twice but had to send it back. We just met with Mike and Heidi from Appalachian Woodworks. They can deliver custom furniture for not much more than the manufactured junk.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:38a EDT - In this morning's Broadcast & Cable, we saw a story on a 3rd season cable news series being shot entirely with dSLRs. The show's host said, "There are definitely some workflow issues but the color, contrast and quality of images is so much better than normal news TV cameras." This is not news to us. A dSLR CMOS sensor creates awesome video footage.
Monday, June 13, 2011 7:18a EDT - We have been ramping up our food photography production. We normally shoot over 1,000 images per week in two-day spurts (though we did around 1,500 in a 90-minute marathon, last month). We are learning that if we dive right into Adobe Camera Raw postproduction, at the end of each day, it's all the more manageable.
Sunday, June 12, 2011 5:58a EDT - Today we start Lisa as our apprentice. It's been a while since we have seen both the photos and Photoshop work of someone who clearly has a fresh eye plus compelling technique. Our primary goal is to introduce her too AC flash illumination. These beginnings are always energizing, for everyone.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 12:05p EDT - A company's identity graphics are something which should evolve. If they change too radically, people think it's a new, uncharted entity. We're upgrading our logo and related visuals. It'll have some three dimensional elements to it, when introduced, this month. That's shockingly simple to do in Illustrator CS5.
Friday, June 10, 2011 6:30a EDT - This month we rollout our all new website. We're perfecting it in Adobe Fireworks CS5.5. There are many great things you can do with Photoshop and Illustrator to create websites. But, if you need to top-level manage web visuals and prototype a site, Fireworks is the must-have tool. Fireworks is to web pages what InDesign is to print pages.
Thursday, June 9, 2011 9:45a EDT - Thanks to our many subscribers who write wondering when our next Online Learning issues will be published. Next week, we give you a sneak peak at what the interactive PDFs are all about. We're excited!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:39a EDT - The three new PDFs are looking good. Janet has had to go to Fauquier Hospital, for medical imaging, so they might publish a day late. (We have our priorities)!
Sunday, April 17, 2011 12:35p EDT - Tomorrow we begin the first in a series of head shot tests with primarily young actors and actresses. We do this at no charge to them, to get to know fresh talent for future shoots. To those who show potential, we offer them call-back invitation for a free portfolio, which we develop over a few sessions. The portfolio's worth around $2,000. We'd rather give it away while we develop new models. Beyond the business aspects, it just feels good to help a young person get a foothold in the business, especially during Holy Week. Happy Palm Sunday!
Saturday, April 16, 2011 5:37a EDT - With 5 Macs, an iPhone4, and an iPad2 we're something of a traveling Apple store. This week, we got a Verizon store to install Personal Hotspot on the iPhone. That's to coolest thing we've ever seen a cell phone do. The iPhone becomes its own little mobile, password protected WiFi hotspot. Our Macs connect to it and everyone can access whatever, as we drive along. For a work ethic intense team, it's a $20 a month dream come true. Now we're always on top of what's happening with this very fast-paced company we've created.
Friday, April 15, 2011 12:18a EDT - How does this fast-growing studio stay on-track with our goals? It's not easy. We look at where we want to go in the quarter. We then parse that down to a month and further chop it down to days and hours. Each week,there's always a few pockets which just don't work, 100%. We retool and never miss goals, overall. Apple's iCal is a player on this team. As we do updates, we publish iCal to the Macs, iPhone4, and iPad2. We're trying to see how FileMaker can be another player. It sounds like MBA stuff, but it's also pretty cool.
Thursday, April 14, 2011 6:23a EDT - This week Adobe "announced" CS5.5, commemorating the 1st anniversary of the CS5 announcement. There may be a few more weeks until CS5.5 ships. InDesign and Flash have great, much-needed tools for portable devices. Dreamweaver is geared up for HTML5. Some of the apps (like Bridge, Fireworks, Illustrator, and Photoshop) are more of a CS5.1, with bug fixes. CS5 included Acrobat 9. CS5.5 comes with A10 for which Acrobat Pro has a new wizard not in the original A10. Soundbooth is gone, replaced by Audition which plays nicely with Premier. Premier works even better with laptops. Adobe had been rolling out big releases every 18 months. Technology changes so fast, maybe a full or partial release is needed every 12 months.
Monday, April 11, 2011 8:49p EDT - WOW! We were shooting grilled chicken, today, on three sets. The food just kept coming with four or five variations, per set, every few minutes. It was like photographing people; we had to just keep it happening, constantly restyling it, to keep it fresh. We're exhausted, but the results are fabulous.
Sunday, April 10, 2011 12:54p EDT - It's not easy to do professional photography inside the US Capitol. We started, Tuesday, with the office of the architect of the capitol. That didn't work and we were sent to the capitol police, who sent us to the special events office, who sent us to their website to fill out an application which we faxed back. Thursday the capitol police called to say that the interior of the capitol is not within their jurisdiction (huh)? So, we were transferred to the senate radio and television office, where we were asked our zip code, and were transferred to house majority leader Cantor's office (we're in his district). Once at his office, Friday, the staff assistant/legislative correspondent and avid photographer, Lisa Tolstykh handled everything for us (including a few creative suggestions). Our sincere thanks to Lisa for offering us so much of her time while congress was in the midst of some industrial strength doings.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 7:45p EDT - Tomorrow we solidify the new website's grid. It's pretty exciting stuff. We have been not only looking at current technologies but anticipating where things are going in the months (kind of, sort of) years ahead. When we started doing websites for NBC News, in 1995, this was MUCH easier! (Easy's not necessarily good.) You get your first glimpses, April 29. The whole thing rolls out in the 60 days which follow. This is a BIG deal.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:11a EDT - We solved our human resources dilema during an intense six hour luncheon, yesterday, in front of a roaring fire at the Griffin Tavern, in Flint Hill. We not only hired our intern as a full-time production assistant, but we brought her sister into the business, too. We built a day-by-day, hour-by-hour game plan for April and May. There’s truckloads of work to do.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 8:58a EDT - As the month and the quarter wind down, all of us are reviewing those pages of goals we periodically compile and print from InDesign and hang on the wall. We made some very good progress in Q1 2011, but in two meetings yesterday, it's clearly not enough. We're giving all we have to offer, 6 days a week. If we're not getting enough done, we need to staff up. We're doing a lunch meeting about this, today. This is when an arts & sciences grad needs a little bit of a MBA.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:13p EDT - We knocked out around 1,000 great food images, today. We're finding a new vibe for this production environment. It's a culmination of creative, technical, and research methodologies. Jane, our intern, is really excelling at this. She tells us that we have lifted her spirits. If you can do that for a young person, a fresh force in this industry, is there a better purpose on Earth?
Saturday, March 26, 2011 2:52p EDT - Since we are now immersed in video production preparations for our new online learning section, we picked up three of Mitsubishi's 40" and 55" six-color Unisen LCD video displays. Running an HDMI cable from the Macs to the TVs make the Mitsus a second display. We have found this to be a fabulous means of editing still images. The photos are so large, we can clearly check our focus.
Thursday, March 24, 2011 10:57a EDT - Yesterday we photographed tomato and lemon slices. It's a bit tricky. We sandwiched Rosco diffusion material between two plates of glass and lit it from below with an extra small Chimera light bank and above with a medium one. It's important to strike a balance between the two light sources.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 4:10p EDT - Our thanks to Vittitow Construction for swooping in here and updating our studios and offices, yesterday. We still have plenty of painting and reorganization to do. In the midst of all those goings-on. We've been shooting every day. Unfortunately, with all the renovation, shooting, and development, we've had to slow the publication schedule of our Online Learning section. But, as the song says, "The best is yet to come..."
Monday, March 14, 2011 7:55p EDT - We normally discuss the coolest image-making digital technology. This week we're working on some technologically advanced non-digital toys. Last week, we bought a 37.5" x 72" drafting table/machine. A few years ago, we took a survey of Adobe Illustrator professionals. All but one, in the survey, said that they start a project on paper. It's faster. We print-out grids and drop them under tracing paper and just draw, draw, draw. It's all part of the conceptualization process.
Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:19a EST - Our new intern, Jane, starts today. We're really excited about this. We've been talking to Jane about coming to work with us for at least five years. Things are so crazy here, we could use a few more Janes. We're hoping to mold her into a producer. Today, we're shooting red wine pours, plus zillions of blueberries, and strawberries.
Monday, March 7, 2011 11:37a EST - We have written about using third party inks in our Epson printers. For years we used Lyson inks, with no problems. We suppose the new printers require a finer ink formula. Our Stylus Pro 4800 always worked perfectly until we started using third party ink over a few years. The print head began clogging and needed replacement. Eventually, the service center replaced the printer. The replacement printer worked fine for a while and started clogging, too. Last month, we replaced another print head and went back to all Epson inks in all printers, and for now, everything is printing perfectly. So, the third party inks are cheaper but parts and labor exceeded a thousand dollars over the past two years, so the savings are not there.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 4:20p EST - We are very glad to be back in the business of posting feature stories. All the development time our new ventures require have slowed our editorial process, this year. Here's what's new on our Online Learning page:
• This isn’t the first time that we have explored light source to subject distance and light source size. This is a fascinating exploration into the difference between theory and practice. We have some real world examples which test how all of this is relative to your day-to-day lighting projects.
• When we e-mailed a poll of what you wanted from our content, this year, over 2,000 of you responded. When asked for the top five favorite topics, the majority of you wanted AC flash, wireless battery flash, or both (among other things). Here we compare the two in a real world light bank shoot. The results may surprise you. (They surprised us).
• Puppet Warp is one of the big new "WOW!" features of Photoshop CS5. True. It has all the trappings of Hollywood special effects work. Yet, Puppet Warp is very much a part of retouching a portrait. It should be just as much a key to enhancing someone’s image as is the Patch, Healing Brush, and Clone Stamp tools.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 12:31p EST - Thank you for all of your responses to our 3 question survey on what you'd like to see in our new Online Learning section, this spring. This is extremely helpful. We are rethinking our plans to suit your responses. We have been working very hard to get the thing ready. The development effort is huge. It has to be the best learning library available for image-makers. We're still hoping to launch it the week of March 27.
Monday, January 17, 2011 2:00p EST - We are pleased to be back publishing new feature stories. We've uploaded three of them and will be updating the Online Learning page in just a little bit. We need to add a bunch of new subscribers to our e-mail database, so it'll probably be this evening until we send everyone their new passwords. This week's stories feature:
• In Photoshop, we needed to place a little girl into a tree. The problem was that we did not have a complete image of her. This caused us to create parts of her arms, blouse, and skirt, in Photoshop. We show you how we do it, step-by-step.
• Now that we have the photo of our little friend, we made her into a children's book illustration, using Photoshop's paint engine. This can be an emotionally and financially rewarding aspect of offering special services like this.
• We prime you for next week's big feature on light source to subject distance and light source size. This week, we examine using a small source to vary dramatic lighting depending on your camera angle.
Friday, January 14, 2011 12:35p EST - Well this is pretty frustrating. We put 3 weeks into researching and perfecting an extensive Online Learning story for you on lens testing. We wanted you to be able to evaluate your own lenses. The deeper we got into the topic the more we discovered that it was far too easy to do this incorrectly. We felt certain that it would cause you to spend quite a bit of time attempting to get results which may not be accurate. So, we've abandoned the idea. We have something cool to replace it with, so look for three new features, this weekend.
Saturday, January 8, 2011 2:55p EST - Just what have we been doing with ourselves? We're working like crazy on the developmental work on the new Online Learning section, which will launch in a few weeks. It will be packed with some really cool HD videos with animated graphics and our PDFs will be interactive. We go back to Adobe Premier 1.0 and have always loved After Effects, but we are far from having mastered them. We are studying those apps and how they interact with the rest of the Master Collection.
During the Christmas break, we were out of town, dog-sitting for Tracey Lee, while she and her dad went to be with a friend's family, in LA. We got snowed in. Fortunately, we had plenty of study materials with us. We not only read and watched videos but we wrote reviews about them, as well (some are rambling). You can find them posted to amazon.com. We have also begun to publish things to B&H Insights.
Saturday, December 25, 2010 8:21a EST - We wish everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas.
Friday, December 3, 2010 1:52p EST - We have our new Mad Mimi e-mail delivery system working. It's a pleasure to create these messages compared to iContact. We're sorry it took a few days. Hopefully you'll get your passwords in the next few minutes. • We're pleased to bring you another story on use of the Wacom tablets. They are always popular downloads. This week we deliver on the promised story about the Art Pen. We guide you through the advantages of this tool which takes advantage of the stylus's barrel rotation capabilities. • On some occasions clients have handed us some old artwork that they wanted to be incorporated into a project we were working on. It's often something tiny, old, and ragged. Scanning it and cleaning it up in Photoshop just won't do. We show you how to make it easy with the Illustrator Blob Brush. • The feature story we did a couple weeks ago on the color meter was well-received. That tells us that our readers are in an excellent mood to dig deeper into color correction. It's not always possible to do in-camera. Sometimes the use of color media is your best bet.
Thursday, December 2, 2010 9:00p EST - We just posted this week's new Online Learning. If you are one of our ever growing number of subscribers, you will get your password, tomorrow. Working with iContact, our former e-mail service, has been an expensive disaster. They just could not handle our rapid growth. We're really jazzed about switching to Mad Mimi, a little husband and wife Mac shop, just like us and many of you. Thank you for your patience.
Monday, November 22, 2010 8:44p EST - This week, we have skipped our usual software oriented feature story to bring you two, next week. We are trying to up the game a bit, each week. We hope you are stepping up with the rest of our readers, as more stories are published. Lastly, we have over 1,000 new subscribers, this week. It's our most explosive growth, in a week, yet. • We are always pleased to hear of our educational institutions introducing students to the new digital ways of life by returning to our origins of film, the darkroom, and boxes of hot metal type. Since the new tools offer far more power, they are also more complex than the old ones. If you don't understand the basics of what the traditional tools and methods were all about, you'll never master the new power. That's what our D-Max and D-Min story is about. We look and traditional darkroom techniques and bring them into the digital darkroom era. • We have published a couple stories on daylight fluorescent lighting instruments, which were well received. Daylight fluorescent is gaining a great deal of popularity, especially the Westcott TD5. We look at how you use daylight fluorescent as an outdoor fill light, which some will argue is a "kicker" or a "rim." • Bounced light, to a photographer using a battery operated flash unit, mounted in the camera's accessory shoe, is often a different technique than what the photographer who works with a great deal of AC flash power encounters in a big space. The photographer who covers events must master bouncing light to avoid harsh shadows. Some of our readers who cover events, such as weddings, have shot certain reception spaces so many times that they know the space as if it were their own studio. We wanted to look at bouncing in big spaces, with AC flash.
Monday, November 15, 2010 7:02p EST - We explore three essential topics for commercial photographers to know, this week. Even if you do not shoot commercially, you will want to make these part of your lifelong learning knowledge base: • If you shoot, commercially, you are well aware of the various forms which are needed. However, if you are new to that aspect of photography, we have a toolkit to assist. Does it seem like so much of what we do, on location, has very little to directly do with making images? Image-making is very much a business and it needs to be treated as such. • Since this weekend, some portions of North America saw their first significant snowfall of the season, it's not too early to talk commercial snow shots. We walk you through how we shot a warm glow emanating from a home, just after sunset. • It used to be that no self-respective commercial photographer was without a color meter. Color meters, like many digital SLRs, measure color in mired shifts. Do you know what a "mired shift" is?
Monday, November 8, 2010 9:15p EST - We talk AC flash a bunch and extoll the fan-cooled bare tube head, but how many photographers use that flash head... well... totally bare? We take a look, this week, at using it, with zero modifiers. for something glamour oriented. We don't profess to know much about glamour photography. We've never photographed nudes. So, this pushes us. But, challenges is what we're all about. Also, there we have learned that there are some issues with some photographers understanding what upsampling is all about, especially when there are some great new 25 megapixel cameras out there. Some clients tell us that upsampling should not be done. Is there validity to that claim? The print window in Photoshop is filled with terminology. Are your producing the best prints possible in Photoshop? You should be. It's what your customers deserve. Do you know that window backwards and forwards?
Monday, November 1, 2010 8:03p EDT - Thank you for all of the feedback on last week's story on file formats. Some of you took a great deal of time to share with us some of the disheartening experiences you have had when given small JPEGs which need to become large print projects. This week, we are keeping this moving forward with the next in the series. This one's on image size. One feature story's name sounds more like holiday baking than image-making: "Hard or Soft Cookies?" "Cookie" refers to the nickname for a Cucoloris, a wonderful lighting tool for creating patterns. With daylight saving time about to come to an end, the earlier night fall is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of busy downtown areas in action. Night photography is filled with delicious colors and a sense of either complete stillness or the mood of nightlife happening all around you. We share some of our experiences and insights.
Monday, October 25, 2010 7:50p EDT - We are very pleased to have just published this week's three new feature stories. We always get such a fabulous response to the stories we do on umbrellas. This week, we wanted to feed that interest with a look at both reverse umbrellas and using an artificial light source as a key light, in an outdoor environment. We have very much enjoyed bringing you the series on lighting vocabulary, which Dean Collins inspired, so much so that we're sad to wrap it up, this week. Finally, we switched topics, at the last minute, on a story we wanted to bring you. We are hearing a great deal of confusion on behalf of even some well-established professional photographers, over file format. It seems as if some of you do not understand when you ought to be shooting camera raw but you are choosing JPEG, instead, and are getting stuck in an un-reversible bind.
Monday, October 18, 2010 7:42p EDT - It's time to publish three new stories. We're pleased to bring you the second in the series which Dean Collins inspired. This week we provide a deeper understanding of highlights and shadows from a technical and analytical vantage point, an arena in which Dean excelled. We have also been moved by the thousands of wedding a portrait professionals who are now subscribers of ours. That group of photographers have a great deal of responsibility to maintain the images of the very important life events which they cover. With that in mind we looked at servers for storing extensive image files. Since so many of you downloaded the past two feature stories about support tools and wrote to us about them, we created a new one about C-stands, in our continued effort to introduce the tools of Hollywood to the still shoot.
Monday, October 11, 2010 6:37p EDT - We're pleased to launch a new series inspired by the late great photographer/educator, Dean Collins. Dean didn't just light a subject; he didn't just educate the world about how he did it, Dean studied light and created systems for studying and analyzing it which really stirred professional photographers. So many of you have websites which run Flash animations, but they are created with packaged page layout tools, over which you have limited creative control. We started a new series on creating Flash projects with InDesign CS5. It puts you in the creative drivers seat and you can knock out great pages in minutes. Finally, since our feature story on "Umbrellas 101" had huge downloads, we had to provide a feature about some of the new gear which umbrellas inspired. We want you to explore some great new lighting opportunities.
Sunday, October 3, 2010 12:33p EDT - Once again, we are getting this week's feature stories published a day early. This past week, via e-mail, we did our best to help one of our readers, who was having issues with the color quality of his photographs, as seen on his display. That prompted us to publish a story on display calibration. If your display is off, you're under the impression that everyone sees your images the way you do and nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to our use of the soft, hand-held reflectors, which we have been discussing for the past few weeks, we like hard reflectors, too. Rosco has a wide-variety of reflective media which easily clamps onto a hard reflector. For just a few dollars, you can have a very versatile hard reflector. One of the most important things a photographer does is see. Matching natural light to what you see in your subjects is part of how you tell your story about them. We share with you some of our foundational thoughts on how styles of natural illumination help us to communicate who our subjects are, or want to be.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 4:05p EDT - We just verified, this morning, that hundreds of you attempted to register for our seminars and got error messages. This was an issue with our credit card processor. It's fixed now, so please try it again.
Monday, September 27, 2010 8:29a EDT - This week's three new Online Learning stories are just two pages each, but packed with information which requires some careful review to fully understand. We heard from so many people with a strong interest in last week's story on support tools that we rushed out a second one. This is the essential gear for photographers and film makers. Another set of tools for pros are flags and the means of absorbing light. This gear is the reversal of the reflectors we discussed a couple weeks ago. Finally, we've been meaning to explore for you the Repoussé feature set of Adobe Photoshop CS5. It's an excellent means of integrating 3D text into a photograph. It's another means for you to be a turnkey resource for image-making.
Saturday, September 25, 2010 1:55p EDT - We have finally gotten all the data for our thousands and thousands of Online Learning subscribers moved over to the new system and everyone has been sent their new passwords. Many thanks for your patience.
Thursday, September 23, 2010 3:20p EDT - It's been an insane week for us. So much is happening. Our Online Learning subscriber base keeps growing. We have had to go to an automated distribution service for our weekly subscriber passwords. Getting the old database over to the new one is no small effort. Not everyone has gotten their passwords, yet. Hopefully, it will be complete, tomorrow.
Friday, September 17, 2010 12:47p EDT - We just closed out registration for Charlotte and Atlanta. We had many who wanted to come but couldn't make those dates so we posted January dates for those cities.
Monday, September 13, 2010 9:20a EDT - As we get ready to hit the road for our 24-city USA seminar tour, we're getting this week's PDFs out the door a little earlier than usual. We're wrapping up our series on lenses with a look at wide-angle perspective. For digital cameras, which do not have a full-sized sensor, wide-angle is a significant issue. We've been talking about large reflection frames but have not had much of anything to say about hand-held reflection. So, we're starting a series on hand-held light modifiers. Finally, we've been promising a step-by-step look at the new bristle brush tool in Illustrator CS5 and along the way turned it into a four-page story about combining Photoshop and Illustrator to maximize the value of your digital assets.
Sunday, September 5, 2010 6:00p EDT - Since we were late in uploading last week's PDFs, we thought we'd make it up to our growing number of subscribers and publish this week's PDFs a day early. We have been hearing wonderful responses from our readers. This week, we're tackling the color models, gamuts, and work spaces. Until the image-making professional understands what they are all about, it's difficult to know how to manage digital color. We also continue with another segment of our series on "glass." This week we delve into standard telephoto lenses. With good reason, we have not mentioned the mainstay of many professional photographers' favorite light modifiers, the umbrella, until now. We have a nice Umbrella 101 on what should fill every photographer's lighting toolbox.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 5:39p EDT - Well, we're feeling better to have published the new PDFs and sent all the subscribers their passwords. We've been doing a few entry-level things on daylight fluorescent and thought we should crank up the complexity with a feature story on creating a moonlight look. It reminds us of autumn evenings. (It's 94 degrees in the Blue Ridge Mountains, as we post this). We can't talk moonlight unless we create sunlight. This goes hand-in-hand with the popular slave trigger story that we did. To wrap up our location series, which was so popular with so many of you, we look at the precautions we consider when going on location with computers as well as the optimal setups we have found.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - 7:05a EDT - We're just getting over a three-day move to a bigger studio. We've been without phones and internet, until now. This has delayed our posting this week's PDFs. We'll do that, this morning. Thanks for your patience.
Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 7:20a EDT - How do Photoshop professionals brush up when a new version is released? There are a variety of great ways of doing that. We are fortunate to be part of a worldwide group of upper-end Photoshop users. Like us, many of them watch videos on Adobe TV, lynda.com, and do the lessons in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Classroom in a Book. We recently posted a review of that book and DVD to the amazon.com website.
Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 10:42a EDT - Janet's working on a really cool Illustrator Bristle Brush project. She's starting with a pencil comp. This surprises many. Some think that people who are deep into the digital world have broken their pencils and torn up their sketch pads. Nothing could be further from the truth. About a year ago, we participated in an online discussion, with about a dozen movers and shapers in Illustrator. Only one person didn't start with paper and pencil. It's faster. In the time it takes for an app to launch, we can have a completed thumbnail comp.
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:54p EDT - There are 3 new PDFs waiting for you in our Online Learning section. We have been working with Wein slaves plus wireless triggers and are impressed with these very inexpensive solutions. Many photographers knock out image after image and never bother to check the histogram on the camera or in Adobe Camera Raw. We show how simple it is. Time is money. Just because a tabletop shot does not have a model, on the clock, does not mean that you can take your sweet time. That's a waste of money.
Monday, August 2, 2010 - 7:45p EDT - We just published 3 new PDFs to Online Learning.
Monday, July 26, 2010 - 12:43p EDT - We're putting the finishing touches on 3 new PDFs. One looks at the mixed lighting technique of dragging a shutter. This is important when shooting with flash, indoors, near windows. Safety is a big concern when using flash near water. We review the precautions we take when using supplemental flash around a swimming pool. There's a great story on how simple it is to use the new Roto Brush in After Effects CS5. Look for all three of them, this afternoon.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 4:15a EDT - There's a little more to this week's feature story on mixed light than the title explains. We got into how Mike Pocklington designed a photograph. It's more than a technical story. It's also about how a photographer thinks through a visual creation.
Monday, July 19, 2010 - 7:58p EDT - You have to check out the new PDFs we posted, today. Please let us know what you think of them.
Saturday, July 17, 2010 - 9:48a EDT - We're working on 3 new features for Monday. Since you responded so well to our mixed light and HMI features, we have two more for you. Also, many people are confused by the default settings in Adobe Camera Raw. Zero them out. We'll show you why they default the way they do and how to make them better.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 3:00p EDT - Yesterday we published an interesting look at the intricacies doing what some professional photographers feel is mundane work, copying fine art. We also looked at using a tent for very shiny surfaces. Together, they are anything but plebeian projects. Getting it perfect takes a great deal of skill. We also started a series on mixed light sources. This follows up on the flash alternatives we have been exploring. Now it's time to bring them all together. This first one is all about how we collaborated with Tracey Lee and used a snoot and grid as an accent spot. Finally, there's so much happening with dSLRs offering HD movie features. We to explore how easy it is to edit that video with the very powerful Premier CS5.
Friday, July 9, 2010 - 12:05p EDT - It looks like our Fall seminar registration processing fee needs to go up to $35. Save $10. Register in July.
Monday, July 5, 2010 - 6:45p EDT - We just posted 3 great new features.
Sunday, July 4, 2010 - 4:25p EDT - Independence Day cheers to all our fellow Americans and a belated happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north, and a belated festive Día de San Pedro y San Pablo to our neighbors to the south. We are wrapping up work on three new PDFs. As promised, we have a step-by-step Photoshop painting story. Capturing spontaneous moments does not always provide time for a tripod. We look at becoming a human tripod. In another look at non-flash lighting we visit the simplicity of the Chimera Triolet.
Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 3:44p EDT - In preparing a new story for Monday's Online Learning section, we did some informal research on how many photographers are strictly studio-bound. In checking the Virginia members of the American Society of Media Photographers, we only found one who was not showing any location images. This is a significant change over the past 25 years.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 5:30p EDT - As previously mentioned, Janet has been working feverishly to get six pages into Susan Bloom's next book, "Digital Collage and Painting, Second Edition: Using Photoshop and Painter to Create Fine Art." Here's the finished painting. The book is due out in October, published by Focal Press, the publisher of "Stoppees' Guide to Photography & Light."
Monday, June 28, 2010 - 7:46p EDT - We just post the greatest number of PDF pages we have ever provided in a single week. We're feeling good about now having 36 stories in Online Learning. Thank you for all your input.
Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 9:40a EDT - We're working on three new Online Learning PDFs for you, tomorrow. We continue to look at alternatives to flash illumination. This week we're offering the first in a series of stories on HMI, the lighting of Hollywood. Also, many of us have a huge library of images on film. We look at scanning them like a pro. There's a great article on perspective control lenses, too.
Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 2:30p EDT - It's been an insane kind of week for us. The fall seminar tour is our biggest endeavor, ever. We're partnering with big retailers in the 24 cities that we're visiting to offer you some fabulous deals. It's very encouraging to talk to these people. They're revved to be part of this project. There are plenty of great people out there who are very dedicated to doing great things for the creative professional.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 2:38p EDT - It's really us! We have gotten some e-mails from some of you wondering if we employ "surrogates" to answer your e-mails. Thanks for the complements, but nope, when you hear from us, you get the real deal! It's true that the workload is intense and sometimes the workday starts around 2:00a or 3:00a. Yet, taking breaks, to answer e-mail messages, helps keep it real. It assists us in knowing that someone is on the other end of the electronic pipeline.
Monday, June 21, 2010 - 1:55p EDT - Later today, we'll be publishing to our Online Learning section three new PDFs. We're just finishing them up, now. Since this is the summer solstice we did a feature on seasonal light. As promised, we have the first in a series on artificial light sources other than flash. This week, it's daylight fluorescent. And, we've continuing with our series on Adobe's Creative Suite 5 features by looking at Illustrator's new bristle brush feature set. As soon as we publish them, we'll e-mail passwords.
Friday, June 18, 2010 - 11:40a EDT - Some creative professionals bound out of bed in the morning, ready to start a challenging project. Others have a "fear of white paper." We have a little 4 year old friend, Monica, who loves to draw. She'll grab a pen and paper and just unleashes her desire to visually express herself. When Adobe introduced its new paint engine and tools for Photoshop CS5, Janet was a bit apprehensive, after 19 years of Painter. We put a folder on her computer's desktop filled with her favorite photo references and called it "Monica's Pictures." The goal was to just draw like Monica. It worked! Janet will be one of twenty featured illustrators in Sue Bloom's Digital Collage and Painting, Second Edition: Using Photoshop and Painter to Create Fine Art. It has an October publication date.
Monday, June 14, 2010 - 5:45p EDT - We just posted our promised new stories. We'll be e-mailing everyone new passwords, ASAP.
Saturday, June 12, 2010 - Noon EDT - We are working on 3 new PDFs for Monday. Since we did a feature on High-Key, last week, we obviously need one on Low-Key, this week. Our May 31st story on Sensor Size and Optics and Mastering Test Shots obviously points us toward "EV" (Exposure Value). So much of what goes on, behind the scenes with auto exposure. Much of it is based on EV. The more we learn about it, the better. Last week, we got into the new pressure sensitive options of Photoshop CS5. This week we'll enlighten you on tilt sensitivity.
Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 7:36a EDT - As something of a tiny postscript to one of our Online Learning PDFs, this week, we're impassioned about how long prints last. We expect them to last a lifetime and be handed down through generations. There's something very disappointing about the number of photos, of special occasions, which have faded. Customers expect longevity. Professional photographers and digital illustrators must strive to give their customers the best the industry has to offer.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 5:36a EDT - We just posted the following to our Facebook page (you can see the image, there): "Janet's back in gear with more Photoshop CS5 painting. We were in a bit of a quandary with the source photo of a hydrangea. It's a beautiful photo in the sense that the petals are quite vibrant and respond well to saturation adjustments for the underpainting. However due to the delicate nature of the petals it requires a fair amount of detail for the painting to properly convey what it's an image of. Janet did not want to fall back on the very photo-realistic qualities she often had with Painter. Additionally, she wanted to reach new comfort levels with the Ps paint engine and how it reacts. The trick was in holding the detail while letting it flow freely. Exploring new tools is exciting."
Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 4:10p EDT - We are very excited to already announce the dates and locations for our 2010 Fall Seminar Tour. Please plan to join us. We'll be announcing some very exciting opportunities for our attendees.
Monday, June 7, 2010 - 7:35p EDT - We just went live with 3 new educational PDFs. There are some great new pressure sensitivity tools in Photoshop CS5. This starts a new series of great stuff Adobe built into it's CS5 apps just for Wacom tablet users. We did a 4-page feature on a troubling issue for image-makers: print longevity. Since color photography was introduced the lifespan of prints has been an issue for which we must take responsibility. Finally, we want everyone to be up to speed on what High-Key images are all about.
Saturday, June 5, 2010 - 2:32p EDT - Here's something cool that Janet did with Adobe Illustrator CS5, this week, which we just put on our Facebook page. You've been watching us show off what she's been doing with Adobe Photoshop CS5's bristle brush and paint engine. Did you know that Illustrator CS5 introduced a bristle brush, as well? Just as Photoshop is pixel-based, Illustrator is vector-based. So the two have very different results. But, in both cases we start with photos which become the basis for the illustrations.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 7:10a EDT - To add to what we wrote in this week's story on Sensor Size and Optics, there was a time when professional photographers used to debate film quality. There was a Kodak vs. Fuji vs. Agfa thing. These were primarily E-6 transparency film discussions. In today's digital world, it's all about the camera's sensor. The sensor size and its affect on lenses is not that well understood. That's why we did this story. The story includes a link to a lab which tests sensors and rates them.
Monday, May 31, 2010 - 11:53p EDT - We tried to pack a great deal of high-level content into this week's PDFs. We just posted them. We hope you had a happy Memorial Day. God bless those who served.
Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 6:21a EDT - On our Facebook page is another one of Janet's Photoshop paint projects. We're proud of her ever developing skill sets with this. Janet used John Derry's brushes and asked about using the Restoring Brush - Sample All Layers to add detail from the photo. We felt that was not the best route to go. With Photoshop painting she's getting away from the more photo-realistic things she used to do in Painter. The particular scene seemed to lend itself to the more free-form style of traditional painting. What do you think? Comment of our Facebook wall or send us an e-mail message.
Friday, May 28, 2010 - 6:54p EDT - We are speechless with all the kind thank yous from ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) and PPA (Professional Photographers of America) members who have e-mailed us, this week, about our Online Learning PDFs. These wonderful men and women are our colleagues in professional image-making.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 9:14a EDT - We have been getting a great response for this week's Online Learning. There were around 1,100 page views in one day alone (a record for us and quite a feat for a new website). THANKS!
Monday, May 24, 2010 - 4:47p EDT - Our 3 new PDFs went live and have been fully tested. We'll start sending out passwords, ASAP.
Monday, May 24, 2010 - 5:10a EDT - We posted to our Facebook page Janet's latest effort in painting with Photoshop. The photo reference is in our "Stoppees' Guide to Photography & Light" book. Toward the end we were getting frustrated with some of the details, especially with the area of her face where hair is over one of Heather's eyes. John Derry's Restoring Brush came to the rescue. The photo was a real team effort. Tracey Lee a photographer/stylist painted the background and found and styled the model. (Her photos are in our next book). Mike Pocklington (who is in our first and next books) popped in with the exact lighting solution. It's ironic that the making of the painting required a team, too. Thanks to John Derry, Tim Shelbourne, and all who have been contributing to our ever-developing mastery of painting in Photoshop. Janet needs to get onto painting in Illustrator, if we want to be ready to show these things at our Atlanta seminar.
Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 1:05p EDT - We have 3 new PDFs for you, tomorrow. They just need some outside technical editing. One's a primer on monolights, an excellent place to get started with AC flash. The samples of what we've posted to Facebook on painting in Photoshop come to fruition with a look at how we do it. And, we start a series of inside looks at how we organize our production phases to insure high-yield photo sessions.
Friday, May 21, 2010 - 6:31p EDT - Check our Facebook page for Janet's latest Photoshop CS5 painting. We're featuring this one in our seminar tour along with another that's she's doing this weekend. The photo was from the late, great Mike Pocklington's trip to Italy. It appears in our next book, "The Photographers Lighting Toolbox."
Friday, May 21, 2010 - 7:27a EDT - amazon.com has "Stoppees' Guide..." for 46% off! We've never seen it that low. Usually, these things only last for a few days.
Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 12:40p EDT - We just post another of Janet's terrific Photoshop CS5 paintings to our Facebook page. We have a bit of a secret set of tools for these which we want to share with you on the Expressive Pixels website. These are the creations of John Derry. John began working on what was Fractal Design Painter 1.2. So if anyone knows something about painting brushes it's John. He's one of our favorite painters in digital media, too. Part of the package are textures and cloning actions which sets up Photoshop for you to clone from a photo, much like Painter. In short, John is giving you all the tools you need to get started in turning a photo into a painting.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 1:12p EDT - Janet's been totally jazzed by the new paint engine and features of Photoshop CS5. On our Facebook page is the first painting that she's ready to share. Janet finds her productivity way up compared to her 19 years in Painter. She can knock these things down faster than ever. Janet's also seeing more energy in the illustrations she's producing in Photoshop. We'll post more, soon.
Monday, May 17, 2010 - 9:06p EDT - Our 3 new PDFs went live.
Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 8:22a EDT - We're working on 3 new educational PDFs for tomorrow evening. You've seen those panels which Hollywood film crews erect to get that beautifully diffused light on a sunny day; we'll show you how you can do the same. There's a cool pop-up grey card you need to know about; it dramatically improves your exposure and color. How do we dramatically light those very close-up macro shots? You'll love the little tools that we have.
Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 2:10p EDT - It's been a little over a month since we opened the doors to m2media.com. We tried to contain the web traffic until we got a sense for the stability of the site. We have had over 12,000 page views. (We've been told that passing the 10,000 per month mark is some sort of litmus test). So, today, we're telling the world. We just posted a press release and we're ready to welcome the rest of the world!
Friday, May 14, 2010 - 12:57p EDT - Yesterday Adobe ran full-page ads in many newspapers with "We [heart] Apple" in the headline. Like Adobe, we too love our Macs. We go back to the little beige ones with the black and white screens. There's a growing discussion about Apple's not supporting Flash on their iPhone, iPad, etc. You may have heard Steve Jobs making negative comments about Flash. Adobe created a special section on their website to politely and respectful respond to this.
Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 9:30a EDT - We've been pleased to get e-mail feedback from our Online Learning readers. To date, this week's PDF e-mailbag is more chuck full than ever. The response to the stories on Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 has been 100% positive. Thank you so much for this. It helps us in determining the content of our new features.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 4:58p EDT - Many of our seminar pre-registrants in the Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia region have Memorial Day Weekend plans. They're asked us to reschedule those days. It seems like the patriotic thing to do. We'll be announcing new dates for those cities in a few weeks. If you are in that region, please e-mail us and get on the advanced reservation list.
Monday, May 10, 2010 - 7:10a EDT - We're working on 3 new PDFs, today: 2 more on CS5 (Photoshop and Illustrator) and one on using a Nikon Speedlight in a Chimera Lightbank.
Friday, May 7, 2010 - 7:07p EDT - After some in-depth work in Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 over secure registration site went live a few minutes ago. So, come in and register for our seminar tour.
Friday, May 7, 2010 - 8:26a EDT - We think our secure site for registration goes live, this morning. We must have written or edited 300 lines of XHTML code, yesterday. Coding is not our thing. We've been working on websites since 1995. This has been the toughest.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 6:23a EDT - We're working like crazy with our credit processing company to get a secure site seminar registration page to work optimally for you. It's a tooth puller. Hopefully today.
Monday, May 3, 2010 - 6:50p EDT - We just posted 3 new PDFs to our Online Learning page. Subscribers will get new passwords in the morning. If you're not a subscriber, please e-mail us. If you have to see them ASAP, e-mail us, too.
Monday, May 3, 2010 - 4:40p EDT - Now amazon.com has our book at 41% off! It's going nuts on their sales chart. We think this is the most brisk we have ever seen sales on it.
Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 7:45p EDT - Funny one: If you open InDesign CS5 and choose the "About InDesign..." screen, wait for all the credits to scroll, under the "Special thanks go to" section you'll see (among others): Brian Stoppee!!!
Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 12:50p EDT - We're thrilled to see that Adobe Creative Suite 5 is now shipping. Most online retailers are not showing it as available, yet. It's at adobe.com. We got our copy of the Master Collection, yesterday. This is so much the most awesome thing Adobe has ever released that there isn't a second place.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 6:00a EDT - We just saw that amazon.com has 40% off our "Stoppees' Guide to Photography & Light." There's no telling how long that will last.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 10:50a EDT - Yesterday was very frustrating for us. The company which processes our credit cards was having all sorts of issues. Fortunately, we have gone to this PDF registration form rather than online registration or we would have been clueless as to why people's registrations were not being processed. The downside is that it took our entire day to do everything manually. We're glad to be back working of three cool new PDFs for you, next week, plus diving into refining the seminar for you.
Monday, April 26, 2010 - 3:00p EDT - We just finished not only posting the 3 new PDFs but redoing the entire website. For those of you who have requested more information on us, please see the Let's Talk page. There are extensive biographies, there.
Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 9:55p EDT - We finished the 3 new PDFs. We're going to make some dinner, get some sleep, and post them in the morning. Thank you for all your interest.
Saturday, April 24, 2010 - 1:50p EDT - We are working on 3 new PDFs for Online Learning. We usually post them Monday. Maybe we'll get them out a day early. One's the other half of the PDF on flash heads: power packs (they're like a married couple). There's so much talk about the Photoshop CS5 paint engine (which we are 100% in awe of) that we want to share with you something on Painter's Photo Auto-Painting. We also have the much-promised story of changing color with Adobe Camera Raw's hue slider. As usual, we'll e-mail all of our subscribers when they've posted to this site.
Friday, April 23, 2010 - 7:25a EDT - It's a leap of faith to post to this blog. Wednesday, when updating our wildly popular Online Learning page that page then showed site visitors an "Access Forbidden" message. Our web hosting service, the mammoth Network Solutions, was having problems with their Unix servers. After plenty of time on the phone, the Network Solutions guys fixed the problem but warned us not to try to post changes or new pages. We wanted to post 3 new PDFs, yesterday. Supposedly, Network Solutions has fixed things. Let's see! (gulp)!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 8:00a EDT - We were floored, yesterday, to learn that in this website's first 7 days of operation we had 3,099 page views. To paraphrase an actress receiving a big award, "You like us. You really, really like us!" (We love you, too)!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 6:05a EDT - We were overwhelmed, yesterday, by the flood of requests for PDF passwords and advanced seminar registrations. We've been working on websites since 1995. This thing has taken on a life of its own, after just 7 days. "M2 Media" and "Light of Image-Makers" appear to have risen to the top of the Google stack. Many thanks for all of your support. We're touched.
Monday, April 19, 2010 - 8:00a EDT - We just posted 3 more PDFs to our Online Learning page: Off-Camera Flash, Tilting Column Tripod, and Adobe CS5-InDesign.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 6:05a EDT - Every decent dSLR camera has an HD movie feature. Nikon has it on their D3s, D300s, and D5000. A new D5000 body is just $600. Every other decent photographer we know is shooting motion. Adobe Premier Pro CS5 has answered that market with dSLR compatibility and a fabulous Rotoscope Brush which feels like it's right out of the pages of a Photoshop playbook. The marketplace is changing. We're working on a few new PDFs (and... yes... videos) about this in the weeks ahead to keep you well informed about industry trends.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 2:50p EDT - There are a variety of speculations on when Adobe's CS5 products will be available. adobe.com says that English, French, and Spanish versions will be available mid-May.
Friday, April 16, 2010 - 9:03a EDT - One of the most fascinating things about a basket full of new Adobe releases are the concepts behind the splash screens and icon graphics for the items in your dock. Check out these insights from Adobe design lead, Shawn Cheris, on how the fresh new look of CS5 was developed: http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/the_new_cs5_branding/
Thursday, April 15, 2010 - 7:35a EDT - I just read that Adobe has given us permission to show you some of the cool features in CS5 that they are demonstrating. I guess we'll have two waves of PDFs this coming week.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 8:20a EDT - For those of you who downloaded our PDF on flash heads, we're working on a follow-up about flash lighting power packs for next week.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 1:15p EDT - We are encouraged by the huge response we have had to the online training materials. Every hour brings more people wanting a password to the PDFs. We thank everyone who have sent us feedback on what they think of them (so far 100% positive)!
Monday, April 12, 2010 - 7:00p EDT - It's an even bigger thrill to final be able to launch this web site. Our Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) with Adobe do not allow us to post any CS5 tutorials until the products begin to ship. A shipping date has not been announced yet. We can release the PDFs that we have been creating with InDesign CS5. We'll put more of them out there in our online learning page weekly. For now we are going to concentrate on getting PDFs to you. After CS5 starts shipping we'll get into the videos.
Monday, April 12, 2010 - Noon EDT - It was a thrill to watch the Adobe CS5 announcement today. If you missed it, live, checking it out here: http://cs5launch.adobe.com/