Wednesday
Nov
2011
23

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Markus von Luecken!

by Brad Moore  |  21 Comments

First off I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for giving me the opportunity to write today’s Guest Blog. I’m really very proud to be the first German on here, after meeting Scott this year in Cologne in Germany on his ‘Shoot it, Light it, Retouch it’ tour. (Or has ‘Calvinizer’ Calvin Hollywood maybe also written a contribution!?!?)

Well, OK, just to be sure, I won’t talk about photography in today’s blog. Instead I’ll devote my attention to the topic of Computer Generated Imaging.

The first time I came across CGI was about 4 years ago. I was so fascinated that I immediately gave up my job as advertising director with a major company in order to be able to concentrate completely on my own creative work.  In 2009, along with my partner Thomas Bach, I set up a studio for photography, CGI and post production: we called it the ‘bildbotschaft’, which you could translate as ‘the message of the picture’ but also as an ‘an embassy for good pictures.’

For me CGI is just like painting. The only limitation is your own imagination. Practically it is possible to use any motif you want to work with. Any object can be built up as a 3D model; then decide on any material you want, set up your scene, position your camera where you want it and light everything exactly as you imagine it should be lit. So many possibilities are available that you don’t have in photography (when taking pictures of the real world). The scope is endless. The whole world is yours – to do with it what you wish. There are just no limitations.

I have just finished a motif which shows an ‘Italian leaf blower’.  I should mention that in Germany all the vehicles used to clean the streets of a town or city are orange in colour, but you won’t generally see a Lamborghini used to clean leaves off the streets ;-)

This motif is entirely realized using CGI, i.e. all the picture elements (vehicle, surroundings, leaves) are built up from polygons. In the pictures below you can see the respective polygon model, a lighting realisation without materials, and the materials selected.

For CGI  I work mostly with Cinema4d und VUE Infinite, which I find is a good combination for almost all the tasks. After rendering, of course it goes into Photoshop to give it the appropriate look… for CGI in particular, you can’t work without Photoshop.

To spark your interest in Computer Generated Imaging even further, here are another couple of motifs that we created last year:

 

I call this picture ‘highway exit amusement park’. It is a composite, made up of CGI elements and my own photographs. You can also find this beautiful and amusing picture in the book Graphis Photography Annual 2012, The Best of International Visual Communications. Winning this award is also something I’m particularly proud of this year.

Some of you, I’m sure, already know my light bulb motif.

About a year ago The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) chose this picture as ‘Image of the Week’.


Beauty and the Beast (Autounion Type D)

 

And another NAPP ‘Image of the Week’: ‘Aviatophobia’.  I remember there was some discussion on the web and in Corey Baker’s blog about how I had created this picture. The answer is: CGI.


FullCGI of my Riva BG Viper II

Just 3 images of my series entitled ‘Designer Drugs’, which I created as a free artistic work in order to offer a new visual interpretation of designer drugs.


Here is my Rollercoaster. And I am still looking for a couple more volunteers to take a ride on it.

If you enjoy my work and would like to see more of my pictures, then I’d like to invite you take a look at my NAPP Portfolio or to visit my website at bildbotschaft.com

I look forward to future contact.

P.S.  Just to finish, I’d really like to answer a question: Brad asked me in preparing for the blog whether I at the beginning of my work already know what the picture will look like in the end. Well, Brad, I’d so like to answer that question with a ‘yes’, but the truth is that all my pictures develop as I work on them. Which is also really good!

Monday
Nov
2011
21

An Open Letter To Adobe Systems

by Scott Kelby  |  730 Comments

Dear Adobe:

As president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) I represent more than 70,000 Photoshop users around the world. However as I’m writing this open letter to you today, I would say that most of our 70,000 members have no idea about the upgrade policy changes you just announced, or about how these changes will affect them.

From the information I’ve gathered, it appears to me that this new upgrade policy for the next version of Adobe Photoshop and the Creative Suite (presumably called CS6) will leave a significant number of your customers with no affordable upgrade path to Photoshop CS6 or the Creative Suite.

It’s my understanding that when the next version of Photoshop and the Creative Suite is released, if you do not already own Photoshop version CS5 or CS5.5 (or the 5 or 5.5 Creative Suite):

(a) You will not be eligible to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 (or the CS6 Creative Suite). Instead the only way to get Photoshop CS6 at that point will be to repurchase the entire product again at its full price (presumably $699 US). If you’re a CS4 Creative Suite User, you’ll have to buy the entire suite all over again to move to CS6.

(b) For Photoshop CS4, or CS3 users, their only real option is to pay to upgrade now to CS5.5 (though you are offering a 20% upgrade discount upgrade until the end of the year), and then to pay again to upgrade when Photoshop CS6 is released, or sign up for your new monthly subscription plan.

While I understand that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on how it sees market conditions, I feel the timing of this new pricing structure is patently unfair to your customers (and our members). Here’s why: You didn’t tell us up front. You didn’t tell us until nearly the end of the product’s life cycle, and now you’re making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it’s released. Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all.

Those users who didn’t upgrade to CS5 or 5.5, either couldn’t afford the upgrade, or couldn’t justify the upgrade, or they would already be on CS5 or 5.5. But now you’re kind of holding us hostage—–you’re making us buy something we don’t need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You’re playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you’re out. That’s not the Adobe we know.

I have always felt that Adobe was very customer centric, and that their decisions were based on what’s best for their customers, but in this particular instance I can’t see how cutting off CS4 and CS3 users, and making them either pay two upgrades in a row, or pay the full retail price to get CS6, benefits anybody but Adobe.

With that said, here’s my plea to Adobe:
If you really want to be fair to your customers, at the very least don’t start this policy yet. Start it with Photoshop CS7. Make CS6 your new upgrade pricing transition version, and tell everybody now, up front—–at the start of the product’s life cycle, that everybody will need to upgrade to CS6 at some point because the next version (CS7) won’t support older users. That way, we’re not spending money just to spend more money again. Adobe, you can still have what you want—-you can still get everybody on the current version, but it gives us time to save, time to plan, and anybody still left behind at that point will have had more than fair warning.

Another option I feel would be very fair to Adobe customers would be to offer a tiered upgrade which rewards your best customers (customers who upgraded to CS5 or 5.5) by giving them the best upgrade deal, but then offer CS4 users a reasonable upgrade path (they would pay more for their upgrade, but they’re getting all the features added in CS5.5 as well, so that’s fair) and then why not even offer an upgrade path to CS6 for your CS3 users? They would certainly wind up paying the most in upgrade fees, but at least it wouldn’t be the full $699 (or even more if they’re on the CS3 suite). This tiered approach gives everybody an opportunity to stay on as an Adobe customer, but still gives your best customers preferential upgrade pricing.

I know, Business is business…
I understand that Adobe is not in business to be our friend or our buddy. Adobe is a public corporation with a responsibility to its employees, partners and shareholders to continually generate and grow profits. We don’t buy Adobe products because we think they’re our friend—we buy Adobe products because you make amazing products and tools for creative people like us. You have the right to charge $5,000 for the Creative Suite if you want, and likewise we have to make decisions based on what’s right for us and our business.

I also know that the clearest message you can send any company is not to buy their product and I am not suggesting in any way that we intentionally don’t buy Adobe products, but I am afraid for many people, including many of the Photoshop users I represent, that will be the case. Photoshop CS4 will wind up being their last version of Photoshop ever, and I for one would hate to see that happen. I think that would be a lose/lose for everybody.

Adobe, it’s not too late
You can still fix this. You can stand by your customers and make CS6 the “Transition upgrade”—-the one where going into it from the start ,everybody will know that after CS6 there will be a new upgrade policy. That way you don’t leave anybody behind that wants to stay with you. Nobody can say you pulled a fast one on them at the last minute, or didn’t give them reasonable notice about the next upgrade. You never go wrong by doing the right thing.

Thanks for listening, Adobe.

All my best,

-Scott Kelby
President, The National Association of Photoshop Professionals

Friday
Nov
2011
18

My Sidelines Shoot at the 49ers/Giants Game Last Sunday

by Scott Kelby  |  64 Comments

I finally got a chance to process some of my images from last week’s game between the San Francisco, 49ers and the New York Giants. Anyway, I thought I share a few of my favorites from the shoot below (click on them for much larger views):

Above: I dig the sweat flying and the fact that the defender’s helmet is up so high his chin guard looks like it’s covering his eyes. 

I had dinner a few days before the game with sports photography legend Dave Black and his lovely wife Susan. During dinner I mentioned to Dave that I’d be shooting the game this weekend, and Dave said:

“Here’s what you need to do: put a 1.4 tele-extender on your 400mm f/2.8 and get a super tight shot of Eli Manning—so tight that you cut off the top of his helmet and part of the ball. I want to see his face and the reflection in his helmet. Start the game shooting this and don’t stop until you get it.”

Well, I took his advice and shot in tight on Manning (like the shot you see at the very top of this post) for the entire first quarter. I have a lot of tries that didn’t hit the mark, but I did catch this one. Thanks Dave! (I did the same thing with 49ers QB Alex Smith, as seen as the end of this post). :)

Camera Specs:
Pretty much the same as usual, but besides the 1.4 tele-extender, I did try a different lens on my second body; my 28-300mm f/2.5 to f/5.6. So why this one? Well, I wasn’t happy with the 24-70mm, because 70mm isn’t close enough most of the time, and 24mm is a little too wide, so I thought I’d try something different since this was a day game. I wouldn’t have tried this at night). My main lens was a 400mm f/2.8, and I shot at f/2.8 the whole time (of course, when I put the tele-extender on, it dropped the f/stop to f/4.

Above: This is one of my favorite shots from the game. The fact that later in the game part of the field went into shadows did make things a little tricky, but I switched my White Balance to Cloudy and that pretty much took care of the color shift.

Above: I know you can’t see the ball in this shot, but I loved Manning’s face in this shot.

Above: In the frame before this shot, the defensive tackle had his hands firmly on the running back’s face mask, but the shot just wasn’t as interesting. 

Above: This one’s taken with a 10.5mm fisheye, from down on one knee.

Above: That’s me posing with my 400mm f/2.8. Of course, it’s closer to the lens than my head, so it looks larger than life (photo by Vinny).

It truly was a blast to shoot the game—-absolutely perfect weather, two teams at the top of their game, and San Francisco enjoying their best season in years, and a stadium full of fans enjoying every minute of it. It doesn’t get much better. Thanks to 49ers Team Photographer Terrell Lloyd (A really great guy, who was really helpful and fun), and my personal thanks to Anne Cahill who is just too cool for everything she did.

One Last Thing…
Dave Black told me that once I shot with that 1.4 tele on the 400mm, that it would feel so tight, that when I removed it, the regular 400mm would actually feel loose. He was absolutely right. When I took it off, I felt like I was using a 200mm, and actually, that was a good thing. Thanks Dave—-once again, you were right.

 

Thursday
Nov
2011
17

It’s Pimpy Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments

Hey gang, Brad Moore here with lots of news and updates!

Help-Portrait on The Grid TODAY at 2:00pm
Tune in live today at 2:00pm for a special episode of The Grid with Jeremy Cowart! Jeremy’s dropping by to talk about Help-Portait, the movement that encourages photographers to give back to their community by helping people in need. You can find out more at Help-Portrait.com and by tuning in today at 2:00p!

Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers Available for Pre-Order
Photoshop Guy Corey Barker’s first solo book is at the printer and will be in-stock soon. Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers is jam-packed with amazing design tips in CS5 and it’s really one of the first books of its kind because it’s all about design. Whether you want to create eye-popping commercial effects for client projects or take your own photos and turn them into something mind blowing, it’s covered in Corey’s new book. Reserve your copy here and we’ll ship it to you as soon as it arrives (early December, well in time for the holidays).

11-28-11 is Cyber Monday. Mark Your Calendar Now. It’s Gonna Be Big.
You’ve heard of Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, right? Well meet the online equivalent: Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend). We’re pretty much going to be giving away the farm with kick butt deals on books, DVDs, online classes, NAPP memberships and Photoshop World. Get a sneak peek here and then come back on Cyber Monday and get a killer deal or two on the world’s best Photoshop training.

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live!
Scott will be bringing his tour to Seattle this coming Monday, November 21 and Washington DC on Dec 2. There are only two more dates left for the tour this year, so make sure you sign up now!

KelbyTraining.com
The latest addition to the KelbyTraining.com library is Scott Kelby’s Crushing The Composition class. We’ve already gotten a ton of great feedback from viewers saying it’s changed the way they approach photography! Check out this video about the class:

Manfrotto School of Xcellence with Drew Gardner
When The Grid is finished today, make sure you check out Drew Gardner’s webinar, Traveling Light, at 3:00p Eastern, for hints and tips for photographers traveling by air.

Topaz 5 Webinars
Topaz Adjust™ just got better! The just-released Adjust™ 5 features an intuitive selective brush, 5 preset collections with over 100 new presets, preset stacking,  transparency control, a new finishing touches tab and lots more! These new productivity-increasing tools offer you a more professional workflow experience with unlimited flexibility and customization. Head over to TopazLabs.com for the webinar schedule, and join Nichole Pascal as she introduces you to the new tools, improved interface and all that Adjust™ 5 has to offer!

That’s it for today. See you at 2:00pm on The Grid!

 

Wednesday
Nov
2011
16

Today’s In-Studio Guests for “The Grid”: Trey Ratcliff and Joe McNally join Matt & Me

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

Our topic: Busting Camera and Photography Myths (based on something that happened at my San Francisco seminar on Monday). This is going to be a really fascinating show, with both +Trey Ratcliff and +Joe McNally joining +Matt Kloskowski and me, and we’ve cool giveaways, and our special “Ask us really personal questions” segments, and well, ya just gotta be there.

Here’s the link to watch live, ask questions, and join right in: http://kelbytv.com/thegrid/

 

 

 

Wednesday
Nov
2011
16

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Ibarionex Perello!

by Brad Moore  |  17 Comments

Am I good enough? It’s a question that I have often asked myself.

When I am entertaining the idea of a new venture or project, a leap into unfamiliar territory, the question pops into my head accompanied with an all too familiar physical sensation of tightness in my chest and the palpable quickening of my heart.

Can I do it? Do I have what it takes to make it happen?

I was examining the answer to those questions while doing an exercise in which I needed to create a timeline beginning from the completing of high school to today. In it, I needed to document my professional life as well as my personal life and note the high points and low points of both.

Admittedly, I didn’t look forward to this exercise, because the thought that immediately came to mind were the myriad of disappointments and the many “what if only” moments that have frequently peppered my thoughts. The thought of putting pen to paper and documenting such times and sharing them with a class wasn’t appealing to me. I had always kept such thoughts to myself, fearing that the discovery of them would reveal me as a fraud, a failure.

After several weeks of procrastination, I pulled out some poster board, markers and a ruler and begin creating a timeline, breaking each board into increments of 7 years, marking significant dates such as graduating college, getting my first job, my first publications, beginning a podcast and leaving a good job to begin life as a freelancer. Accompanying those events, were moments in my personal life including my parents divorce, my own marriage and the purchase of my first home.

I placed green dots on the moments that provided me the most joy and yellow dots for those times of deepest frustration and despair. I linked these with a drawn red line, which created a visual graph of the ups and downs of my emotional life.

I was surprised by what I saw in front of me. On the page, I saw what I had managed to accomplish in my life, especially in the last few years, which included writing two books and managing to remain self-employed after five years. Despite the fact that I had been rife with self-doubt and insecurity, I had nevertheless managed to accomplish some wonderful things. I had created opportunities for myself that were challenging and exhilarating.

Yet, I hadn’t been seeing it. I realized that I had been fixated on those things I hadn’t done. I was lamenting where I thought I should have been rather than appreciating where I was. I was so busy comparing my insides to other people’s outsides that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

When I looked at the moments that brought my greatest levels of happiness and satisfaction, they were always moments when I felt challenged. During such times, life wasn’t about the dull, predictable routine. It was about facing the unknown and unpredictable and discovering what I was truly able to achieve and accomplish. More often than not, I surprised myself by what I could achieve with the experience and skills that I already had.

Luck and good timing inspired some of these accomplishments. Others happened from thoughtful planning and dutiful footwork. Then there were those choices that were made when the thought of continuing to say no to myself was both unacceptable and unbearable.

The times when I felt most depressed where during times when I was overextending a welcome, with a relationship or a job. Though each job had proven challenging and satisfying, there eventually came a time when I wanted something more and the reality was it wasn’t likely to happen if I stayed put. Yet, I would delay making a change, seduced by the perceived security of a bi-weekly paycheck and benefits. I could just continue to fantasize about an imagined life.  That wouldn’t cost me anything. So, I thought.

But the longer I stayed in that comfortable setting, the more uncomfortable I became, the more dissatisfied I felt.

Yet, when I would think of making a change, the question of whether I was good enough, prepared enough to make such a decision would arise. And the more I said no to myself, the more miserable I became.

When I looked at my life on paper, I saw that during those moments when I felt most fulfilled and happy, I was never completely ready to make a change. I hadn’t done some kind of personal inventory and declared myself complete vetted and certified. I just decided it was time to do it and I just did it. I leapt into a world where the only certainty was uncertainty.

And when I faced the inevitable problems or crisis, I would figure them out and keep moving. Even when failure seemed imminent, I kept moving. Even when I felt like everything was ready to fall apart, I put one foot in front of another and did the next thing that needed doing: putting the next word on the page, picking up the phone and making that call, saying yes when everything inside me was telling me to say no and crawl back under a rock.

Those terrible feelings didn’t disappear. They were still there, feeling as real as anything, but they were no longer standing in my way.

I wish I could say that every day, I have this clarity of thinking. I don’t. There are days when the feelings get the better of me and I’m a worthless mess. Then there are the other days, when I quiet those voices enough to get the next thing done and I make progress and good things begin to happen as a result. They might not happen on my timetable, but they eventually do happen.

The answer to the questions of whether I’m good enough or whether I’m ready enough have never gotten answered when relegated to the confines of my own mind. The answer only comes when I have made the choice to do something different, to take the risk and face the possibility of personal and sometimes, public failure. The answer manifests itself not in words, but in the work or project or challenge I make the choice to take on.

Some of these things turned out better than others. I achieved tremendous successes and have experienced some embarrassing failures. There were times when I received warming praise and other moments when I was subject to withering criticism.

But in the end of each effort, I have always felt the satisfaction of knowing that I made a choice that affirmed what is good about me and the talents that I have been blessed with.

Today, I’m good enough to get the things done that need to get done. What happens after that is often out of my hands, but if the past is any indication, there are good thing ahead for me, whether I feel I’m ready for them or not.

Ibarionex Perello is a photographer, writer, educator and host of the popular interview show, The Candid Frame. He is the author of Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography Using Available Light.

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