Thursday
Nov
2008
06

Review: Apple’s New MacBook Pro (Somebody Get My Gun!)

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

macbookpro.jpg

There are things I absolutely love about my new 15″ Apple MacBook Pro (photo above courtesy of Apple), but at least 40 to 50 times a day, I want to have a friend fling it high into the air so I can use it for skeet shooting practice.

Now, before I dig into this review too far, part of the problem seems to be an Apple thing, but part of the problem may be something Adobe can fix in Photoshop CS4, because it’s there where the problem is most prevalent, and it’s there where I find myself stringing together somewhat colorful phrases I would not normally assemble.
My Worry
My main concern about the MacBook Pro was that the glossy glass screen would be too glossy for accurately editing photos in Photoshop.

My First Impression
I was pleasantly surprised at how great photos look on its crisp glossy screen. In fact, it’s so luscious, I think it makes the photos look better than they really look. Also, I was concerned about reflections, and while it is more reflective, and I keep thinking that’s going to be a problem; so far, it really hasn’t been. Surprisingly, the only time I really notice the reflections is when it dims the screen. Then, I’m much more aware of them.

The Reality
I’m still worried. Because it makes photos look so darn good, I only want people to see my photos on a glossy MacBook Pro glass screen, but of course, that’s not going to happen, as they’ll be viewed on the Web on whatever computer they have, and of course, they’ll be viewed in print. I’ve only had my MacBook Pro a few days, so I haven’t had a chance to do any serious printing in-house on my Epsons, and just last night I sent my first lab print to MPIX.com, so I have no idea how my on-screen color correction and edits will relate to my final images in print or on the Web. So, while I’m pleasantly surprised at how nice the screen looks, I’ll have to wait and see how the Photoshop editing process plays out. I will update you on this as soon as I know.

—-

My Worry
I know that one of the key features in Photoshop CS4 is the new hardware accelerated graphics and that now Photoshop hands off a lot of processing directly to the graphics card, and while I could see a difference in my old MacBook Pro, I was wondering if the new NVIDIA graphics card in the new MacBook Pros would really make that big a difference.

My First Impression
It’s way better than I expected. So much so, that it actually changes your Photoshop experience. I’ve never felt like Photoshop has moved faster than it does with the new NVIDIA cards. It’s crazy fast, and zooming, moving, rotating views, etc. is just amazingly, crazily, wonderfully fast.

The Reality
My first impression was correct. So much so, that I’m going to install an NVIDIA graphics card in my MacPro tower at home, which is the machine I do most of my serious photo work on.

—-

My Worry
Since the new MacBook Pros don’t come with a mouse button, I was afraid it would be weird not having something to click, and it would take me a long time to get used to it. Instead, the whole trackpad is a mouse button (well, most of it anyway), so wherever you are, you can just click.

My First Impression
Wow, you don’t really need a mouse button. I started working with it immediately, because your hand sits right where it always did, and when you want to click, you just click with your thumb like you always did. After five minutes, you don’t even think about it again.

The Reality
I was wrong. The trackpad is killing me, and is the main culprit behind all my MacBook Pro Pain. Apple will have to fix part of it (and if the reports I’m reading online are correct, they’ve already begun a fix), but Adobe will probably have to fix the other part.

The problem is a combination of the new trackpad finger gestures, which let you control navigation and rotation within Photoshop much in the way you work with photos on an iPhone (you can flick images around, you can pinch to zoom in, etc.. It’s actually a very cool intuitive idea). Here’s the problem; my thumb rests on the trackpad where it always rests—right where the click button used to be. But if it moves upward even 1/16 of a inch (which it often does), then the trackpad thinks I want to rotate the canvas view in Photoshop, and so it turns my canvas to a 45° angle. Sometimes, it just starts tilting my canvas back and forth while I’m trying to work. Sometimes it not only rotates my canvas, it zooms me out to less than a 1% view of my image. So, 40 to 50 times a day (maybe more), I have to go and reset my Canvas to normal, and then zoom back out to fit in view. It is driving me crazy to the point that I now find myself making finger gestures to my new Mac.

I went to the Trackpad preferences, hoping there was a way to turn off the “rotate my screen wildly and zoom in and out at random” feature, but sadly, there was not (see the capture below).

trackpad.jpg

I’ve pretty much turned off whatever I can in the preferences above, and yet, still I rotate. Here’s a quick video of how this affects my day.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/qOFNCB_u_aY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Now, this problem happens to a lesser extent in my Web Browser and in my Mac Mail application, where suddenly my text zooms in, or gets really tiny. It doesn’t bother me as much there, but that’s probably because it doesn’t rotate my view, eh?

Continue reading

Wednesday
Nov
2008
05

It’s “Guest Blog Wednesday” featuring RC Concepcion

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

rcguest.jpg

HELLO FROM LAYERS MAGAZINE!

If there is one thing that I am enjoying the most out of the last few years, it’s the evolution of the Creative Professional. In the amount of time it takes us to say “Iomega Zip Disk” we’ve seen incredible strides in technology, expression and reach. There are few places in this planet that aren’t connected to the Internet, and with that – the playing field has gotten wider. Much much wider. My only job here is to hopefully inspire you to see Photoshop as a tool that is a part an entire toolbox you may -already- know how to use.

YOU MAY KNOW MORE THAN YOU KNOW
If you’re adept at Photoshop, you’d be surprised as to how much you may already know about other tools in the Creative Suite. Take Layers for example. In Photoshop, you can take layers and stack them on top of one another and create cool stuff. You can do the exact same thing in Illustrator — masks, filters, and all. Ditto for programs like InDesign and Flash, that allow you to stack stuff on top of one another. In the world of video and audio, these Layers are called Tracks, and their behavior is modified by Levels rather than Masks.

How about Styles? Photoshop uses Styles to be able to repeat a series of specific effects over and over with one click, centralizing these effects in one area (the Layers Styles palette) and giving them a name. InDesign allows you to make paragraph and textual changes using a Styles panel — keeping stuff centralized in one spot. That same technology is called Presets in Lightroom, and in the world of the web, these saved styles are placed in one sheet called a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).

These programs, while originally designed by competing companies, have technologies and techniques that are cross-transferable. The trick here is to find the commanilities, learn those first, then double back and figure out the rest of the tool to make the next leap – adding another program to your belt.

MONETIZE IS JUST A COOL WAY OF SAYING MORE MONEY
So, why is this all important? Well.. if you’ve spent any time taking a look at the papers, or the Internet, or the TV (it’s pretty much everywhere, actually) you’ll notice that the economy is not doing so well. I’d argue that you’re probably sitting in one of two camps: “How do I keep myself competitive to keep my job” or “How can I take what I know to make more money.”

Photographers, you could capitalize on the emotional high of an event by putting your shoots online – immediately. Get them while they’re cheering, I say. If you are a smaller photography studio, make yourself look bigger than you are by creating an effective website to showcase your work. Better yet, take your pictures and make a video presentation attached to music. Now you’re a “Visual Artist” — that can totally be sold.

If you’re a graphic designer, you can either make a logo, or you can take that logo, place it on a website, develop a couple of multi page layouts, make a mini flash movie with the company’s vision, and sell the entire package. At the minimum, you’d give your client a way to ‘visualize’ your idea in different arenas — helping you close the sale, and making you look more professional for it.

YOU DONT HAVE TO REINVENT THE WHEEL TO DO THIS
A lot of time, people argue that one of the reasons a large part of the Creative Suite is not opened past Photoshop is that it’s “Too hard to get into.” Take Flash for example. Many people want a Flash gallery, but would slam a head against a wall if they knew just how much coding you’d have to learn to make it happen.

You don’t have to learn it though.. Plug-ins and Components are here to help.

I use a lot of Components from Digicrafts Components to do heavy lifting in Flash. Your clients don’t have to know that though… all they have to know is the sweat and tears it took to slave over that SWF file. Well.. not really..

A SMALL VIDEO
So, I made a video and posted it for you guys to check out. I set my computer to record, and just started doodling around the applications. Took about 20 minutes, but in that time, I set a logo, made a business card, made a three page InDesign layout, built a website, added a Flash gallery based on XML to it. In the tutorial, I cover Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, Dreamweaver — editing it in Premiere, with a little Soundbooth for music. It’s long because I didn’t want it to be edited — I just wanted to work in the applications, as fast as I could.

You can click on the maximize video, and it will go to a full screen:

There is a more important thing that I wanted to do here with this video, and this is what I want to leave you with:

All of what I did through these applications, you can do with just an introductory class in the Creative Suite applications. If you spent 2 hours an application — you could do the exact same thing.

This is what I do, day in and day out at the office, and what you’ll see when you come to KelbyTraining.com in the coming months. At the core, I’m still a Photographer, and I’m still a Photoshop guy. I’m just more of the background guy – not really working on the sexy portions of the program, but working on the parts that will give me the maximum amount of reach. And I encourage all of you to do the same.

–RC Concepcion

Tuesday
Nov
2008
04

Tuesday News Quickies

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

doodles.jpg

Hi Gang. It’s Tuesday–here’s what’s up:

  • Even though I provide a detailed step-by-step workbook for people who come to my Lightroom 2 Tour, a lot of folks still take their own notes, on in the case of Amanda Kern (A professor of Graphics Technology, at Valencia Community College), they create SketchNotes (like the one seen above, which Amanda created during the day). She posted a number of these SketchNotes from the day on her blog, and they’re just so clever I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing them (here’s the link). Thanks Amanda, for letting me share these über-doodles with my readers.
  • Yesterday my Photoshop User TV co-host Dave Cross posted a link to a downloads page within Adobe where you can download some of the filters and things Adobe quietly removed in Photoshop CS4 (things like Extract, Pattern Maker, and Picture Package [contact sheet II] among others). Here’s the link to Dave’s article.
  • Last night we announced the winners of our ‘iPhone Photo Contest,” and you can check out the category winners (chosen by your votes), and the Grand Prize Winning Shot (which is pretty darn amazing), by clicking right here.
  • One of my readers, Jim Geduldick, turned me onto this video of a Photoshop retouch by Aaron Nace of ARFotography, and it’s just pretty cool to check out. It doesn’t really show you how he did it; it’s more of a time-lapse thing, but it’s very short and worth checking out to see how it unfolds. Very well done. Here’s that link.
  • If you’re a photographer with either an iPhone or an iPod touch, check out this cool downloadable application for photographer’s called PhotoBuddy, which is basically a utility that, in the words of tech guru Terry White, “…aims to be your photo assistant.” Terry has a full review of it on his tech blog, and it’s looks pretty darn sweet. Here’s the link.

It’s kind of a quiet day, so that’s it for me today. Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Tuesday
Nov
2008
04

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

..an incredibly talented individual, co-host of Layers TV, Photoshop World instructor, one of the most creative guys you’d ever want to meet, as well as one of the most genuine, my good friend and general boy wonder, “RC Concepcion.”

RC is so good at so many things (from photography to Photoshop, from Dreamweaver to Flash, from Web Design to Illustrator), that I have no idea what he’ll show up with tomorrow, but I can tell you this—I can’t wait to read it. Make sure you check back tomorrow to see what RC has up his sleeve.

Monday
Nov
2008
03

Nikon Releases D300 Firmware Update With Lots of Nice Little Enhancements

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

d300cut.jpg

…and a couple of bug fixes, too! Here’s a list (from Nikon’s support site) of what’s included in this free downloadable update, which was released on Friday:

  1. The Highlights playback option has been moved from Display Mode > Basic photo info > Highlights in tthe playback menu to Display mode > Detailed photo info > Highlights.
  2. The size and color of “Demo” displayed in the monitor with playback when No memory card? in the Custom Settings has been set to Enable Release have been modified.
  3. The range of settings available for ISO sensitivity settings > ISO sensitivity auto control > Minimum shutter speed in the shooting menu has been increased from 1/250 – 1s to 1/4000 – 1s.
  4. When shooting in hand-held live view mode and the frame is magnified prior to autofocusing, operation has been modified so that display returns to the magnified display rather then the full frame display.
  5. Images captured with Rotate tall, in the playback menu, set to On, are not automatically rotated for display immediately after capture (image review).
  6. A Copyright information has been added to the setup menu. When Copyright information is enabled, the copyright symbol ( © ) is shown on the LCD display, Shooting info menu.
  7. Recent settings can now be displayed in the place of My Menu.
  8. Custom Setting e3 Flash cntrl for built in flash ( e3 Optional flash when an optional Speedlight is mounted on the camera) can now be added to My Menu using the Add items > Custom setting menu > Bracketing/ flash.
  9. The degree of the High ISO NR setting can now be confirmed in the shooting info display while the High ISO NR setting item, in the shooting menu, is being applied.
  10. Ankara, Riyadh, Kuwait, and Manama have been added to the Time zone options for the World time item in the setup menu.
  11. When a GPS device is used and no heading information is available, –.–° is now displayed for the Position / Heading option in the GPS item in the setup menu.
  12. When shooting in live view mode using Camera Control Pro 2 (ver. 2.2.0 or later) with a PC-E lens, the aperture setting can now be adjusted from the computer.
  13. Focus acquisition performance in dynamic-area AF mode has been improved.
  14. Focus acquisition performance with contrast-detect AF has been improved.
  15. Auto white balance performance has been improved.
  16. The fourth digit in seconds display for GPS latitude and longitude information is now rounded off rather than omitted.
  17. The current MB-D10 battery type setting can now be confirmed in the shooting menu display when R6/AA- size batteries are used with the Multi-Power Battery pack MB-D10.
  18. An issue that caused an increase in noise when shooting in [M] exposure mode at a shutter speed setting of bulb with the shutter held open for less than 8 seconds and Long exp. NR enabled has been resolved.
  19. An issue that prevented shutter release at the specified shutter speed when no operations were performed for 30 seconds in mirror up mode has been resolved.
  20. An issue that caused abnormal image display when Image review was set to On and the playback zoom in button was pressed immediately after shooting at the following settings has been resolved.
  21. Image quality: NEF (RAW) + JPEG
  22. NEF (RAW) recording: Lossless compressed or Compressed
  23. Image size: S or M
  24. When the Speedlight SB-800 was mounted on the camera with flash mode set to distance-priority manual (GN) mode, and the camera recovered from standby mode triggered by the auto meter off function, the distance information in the SB-800 changed. This issue has been resolved.

You can download the free update directly from Nikon:

Mac (Nikon USA) click here.
Windows (Nikon USA) click here

Mac (Nikon Canada) click here.
Windows (Nikon Canada) click here

Mac (Nikon Europe) click here.
Windows (Nikon Europe) click here

Friday
Oct
2008
31

Just Released: Joe McNally’s Online Class at Kelby Training, “Light Shaping Tools, Part 2″

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

Here’s Joe like you’ve never seen him before, ‘runnin’ and gunnin,’ with on-location small flash, in this very cute teaser for his new “Light Shaping Tools, part 2″ online class at KelbyTraining.com. In his class, he shares his thought process for lighting and shooting in a mix of indoor and outdoor locations with small off-camera flash (after you watch the short video—and you gotta watch the video–here’s the link to his class, and the full course outline).

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