I recently did a location shoot at a recording studio for a project being developed by the Korg Keyboard company, for a very cool new accessory for keyboard players that lets you apply a “skin” to your keyboards. (You can see the blue image “skin” on the Korg M3 Music Workstation/Sampler above—the keyboard is normally just solid white–click on it for a larger view. The model is musician Justin Finley).

This is bigger than it might first sound. Although guitar players and bass players have always had a wide choice of finishes and patterns for their guitar bodies, and drummers have had everything from sparkle finishes to wood grains to even clear shells; keyboard players have pretty much had one look; solid black. More recently, white. That’s about it.

The idea of skinning keyboards is the brainchild of John Chase over at Korg, and John contacted me to work on the original mock-ups, and slide presentations for the initial concepts, but once we started actually “skinning” full size keyboards for the final prototypes, we had to get some serious help. We brought in the immensely talented RC Concepcion who literally busted his $#%& to get the final full-size mock-ups developed using some of my photography, and some illustrator vector images, like the one shown at the top (he really did an amazing job—RC rocks, and we couldn’t have done it without him).

Once RC got a full sized image designed to the exact specs, and output at full size, I got the chance to be the first keyboard player to play a “Skinned” Korg M3 Workstation live during my Big Electric Cat gig at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Orlando, Florida, (with John Chase on hand). The keyboard was skinned with one of my images of the Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles.


The photo above was taken by RC Concepcion during the shoot at the studio, inside the control room, and from it you can see I was using just one single Nikon SB-800 flash, mounted on a lightstand to my left, and firing through a 42″ shoot-through umbrella. I was shooting tethered to my Laptop so I could see the images coming straight into Lightroom.

SPECS: The photo was taken with a Nikon D3, at 200 ISO, with a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, at f/5.6. I used a 14-24mm Nikon f/2.8 lens at 14mm for that really wide look. I triggered the flash using a Nikon SU-800 Commander unit sitting on the hotshoe of my D3.

Below are three more location shoots (the top two behind-the-scene shots are by RC, taken hand held at 3200 ISO with a Nikon D3), in a different part of the studio. The third shot below is what I was shooting, but I lit with with two SB-800 flashes; the one in front you see here, behind the shoot through umbrellas, and a bare SB-800 kicker on a lightstand, diagonally behind Justin, with a HonlPhoto Speed Snoot (link) to keep the beam from spreading out. (NOTE: In the top photo, that’s Dave Cross looking at my tethered laptop with a concerned look on his face. In the 2nd photo, you can make out John Chase, on the floor next time, not looking nearly as concerned as Dave).




One last thing: I use two Korg keyboards for my own rig; the M3 Music Workstation/Sampler and a TR Music Workstation, and they’re just amazing! As a keyboard player, you can image how honored I am to be developing a special “Scott Kelby Signature Line” of photography-based skins with Korg, and as soon as these skins are available I’ll be sure you give you all the details (by the way; these skins are called “SkinTronix”).

Thanks to RC for all his help, and thanks John Chase and the folks at Korg for getting me involved in this very cool project!


Yesterday was Jeff Revell’s (of fame) GeorgeTown Photo Walk and over 50 photographers showed up to spend a couple of hours shooting the tony streets, shops, and cafes of this DC suburb.

The photo above (by Jeff) shows some of the “walkers” during the day, reflected in a round overhead mirror. Make sure you check out PhotoWalkPro for more photos from the day.

Congratulations to Jeff for another great “walk,” and “Good on ya” to everybody who showed up on a beautiful day in DC to share some fun and photography for a few hours (and of course, some yummy Philly cheesesteaks right after the walk).


So, Terry White and I on the phone talking about yesterday’s post, and more specifically about how software is really developed today—all software, whether it comes from Apple or Microsoft or whomever. Terry had the perfect analogy to describe how it is from our, the end users, perspective:

So you’ve been waiting for this new restaurant to open for 12 to 18 months, and when it finally opens you head right down there. They seat you and hand you a menu with all these great dishes on it, but after a few minutes, they come and take the menu out of your hands and set down your food.

You ask the waiter, “What’s this?” He says, “This is your dinner.” And you say, “But I didn’t order this,” and he says “We decided this is what you want.” So, you go ahead and taste the dinner, and some things taste pretty good, and others you don’t care for, but you eat it anyway.

Then you ask the waiter, “Why is my fork way over there?” He says, “We decided to move it because we thought it would be easier for you to use over there.” So you say, “Why didn’t you just ask me where I wanted the fork?” [Blank stare].

When the waiter comes back by again, you ask, “Can I order some of the things I want off the menu?” and he says, “Maybe when you come back next year.”

It doesn’t have to be like this, because the software industry has the power to change the way software is designed. They just have to want to change.


Here’s a few nuggets to take us into the weekend:

  • Don’t forget: This Sunday (June 1st) is Jeff Revell’s Georgetown Photo Walk (held in the Georgetown area of Washington DC), and everyone’s invited to join Jeff and company for this social shooting event. The walk lasts two hours (starting at 10:00 am), and afterward (in a fine PhotoWalk tradition), everyone meets up a local restaurant to hang out, do some chimping, and catch a yummy lunch. Check out for all the details (don’t be one of those folks who on Monday say, “Aw man—I shudda gone!”)
  • My buddy, and Photoshop User TV co-host Matt Kloskowski is teaching a free class in Philly next Tuesday, June 3rd at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, as part of the Creative Suite Symposium, (Sponsored by CDW and Adobe Systems). There are morning, lunch, and afternoon sessions (Matt’s teaching in the Morning session), and all the sessions are free—you just have to register in advance by clicking here.
  • Michael Clark Photography has just released their Spring, 2008 PDF Newsletter, which always has great info (and great photos), so if you’ve got a sec, you can download the FREE PDF right here.
  • This is why I use a Drobo: Terry White did a post at his popular TechBlog on the heels of my backup story earlier this week, where he tells how his backup drive went bad, and didn’t know it for 10 days, when he learned that his backup had crashed. He if had a Drobo, it would have not only told him there was a problem, but it would have protected his data using the other drives inside the Drobo automatically. Here’s the link to Terry’s story.
  • has posted a detailed article on color management, called Why your photos look lousy…or Simple Truths about Color Management . Click here to jump there.
  • Lastly, Joe McNally’s assistant (the indelibly cool Brad Moore), has launched his own blog recently (which just means that Brad will get less sleep than ever, if that’s possible), so stop by and give the Bradmeister some love. Here’s the link. Don’t worry, you can go by anytime—he’ll be up late. ;-)

Here’s hoping you have a really great weekend, and make sure you get out there and shoot something this weekend will ya? (You know I’m talking about photos, right? Just checking).


Every time a new version of Photoshop or Lightroom comes out, we (the community of users) get a number of features that make our lives more fun, or make us more productive, or sometimes both.

But, of course, every time a new version of either one comes out, there are always those cries of “Why didn’t Adobe add [fill in the blank]” or, “I can’t believe we still don’t have [fill in the blank].” Unfortunately (for me anyway), I’m usually one of the ones whining the loudest about a feature that didn’t make it, or a feature that was changed (which is why Adobe often cringes when I call).

But my buddy Terry White and I were talking recently, and Terry floated an idea that I honestly believe would change all this, and finally give us exactly what we want in the next versions of Photoshop and Lightroom, and InDesign, and so on.

There’s only one major hurdle; Adobe would have to agree to it.

The only reason I’m even posting this idea, is because if there’s a company out there today that might consider it; it would be today’s Adobe, (which is a very different company than it was just a few years ago).

This is such a major departure from how things have always been done, that it has the power to change the way software is developed from this point on, and if Adobe pulled it off, the rewards for Adobe (and their stockholders) would be off the charts. Everybody would always upgrade to the new version because we’d all finally be get exactly what we want.

Here’s the plan:

Adobe sends an email to their registered user base asking them to tell Adobe exactly what features they want to see in the next version of Photoshop (or Lightroom, etc.), and then:

Adobe’s engineers have to agree to include ALL of the Top 10 most popular features in the next release. Period.

Only after they’ve added the top 10 most-requested features, can they then look at adding any of the 11 through 20 most popular features, or any pet projects (new ideas, new concepts, etc.) that they’ve been brewing up on their own.

Now, you might be thinking, “That’s impossible,” or “It can’t be done” but everybody was saying stuff like that before Thomas Knoll wrote the first version of Photoshop (he wrote it in one weekend, by the way). It’s only impossible until somebody does it.

Now, these Top 10 Features have to be somewhat reasonable; in other words, a feature couldn’t be, “Lower the price to $49,” or “Make it only use 20 MB of drive space” but it could be something like “Make it load 25% faster.” If that wound up being the #1 thing on the list, then Adobe would have to throw enough engineering muscle behind it so it did just that, because after all, “That’s the #1 thing our customers told us they want!”

How could they go wrong? How could they not sell a record-breaking number of upgrades, because the top 10 features would ALL be included in the next version.

Also, it’s entirely possible that the #1 thing Photoshop users want is something that would incredibly simple to add. But if you don’t ask—you’ll never know.

Now, just for fun, I’m going to do my own totally un-scientific “Photoshop Feature Wishlist Survey” and I need your input. Go ahead and post the features you’d like to see in the next Photoshop, and I’ll compile them into an online survey that we’ll post here next week. Then, you can come back by, click on the feature from the list you want the most, and we’ll see what “We” wind up choosing as our Top 10 Most-Wanted features.

I’ll make sure Adobe sees it (and will take the accompanying heat that opening up a can of worms like this usually causes me), and although this is totally just for fun, at least Adobe will get an idea of what at least some of us really want. If the #1 thing isn’t on their list, maybe now it will be.

The Power of 10

I’ll get the ball rolling with a few things I’d love to see in the next Photoshop:

  • I want to see all filters get a User Interface makeover, so they’re more like the Smart Sharpen filter, with a very large preview, the ability to save your favorite settings to a pop-up menu, and basic and advanced modes to hide features most folks won’t ever use.
  • I want a “Do the last step again” keyboard shortcut, that will do whatever I just did again. If I add the Shift key, I want it to do my two last steps again. If I add the Option (Alt) key, it does my last three steps again. It’s like an instant, temporary action, built on the fly as I work.
  • I want a better color picker; one where I can click on it, and a list pops down of my favorite colors and I can choose a new color with just one click and hold; and not have to bring up a separate dialog, or keep a palette open.
  • I want to be able to build my own toolbar, with only the tools I want visible, and I want to configure the size and shape the way I want it.
  • I want a set of real painting tools like those found in Corel Painter.
  • I want some of the best “Kai’s PowerTools” filters updated and integrated into Photoshop using Photoshop’s user interface (rather than Kai’s).
  • I want the Info palette readout built right into both Curve and Levels, so I don’t have to have two palettes open to do one job.
  • I want InDesign CS2’s pop-out panel design for managing my palettes.
  • I want Before/After’s like Lightroom built into Photoshop
  • I want Adobe to buy or license a really good noise reduction plug-in from a third-party developer (like Noise Ninja, or Noiseware Professional, etc.) and replace the one in Photoshop with it.
  • I want Adobe to hire an absolute kick-butt high-end designer to go and replace every default Layer Style Preset, every default Action, every default shape, and every default brush with brand new, kick-butt, really usable ones.
  • I want Adobe to make ALL of Photoshop work like Camera Raw and Lightroom, where you never have to wait for a progress bar, and all your edits are applied at one time; when you’re done with all your edits, so you work at full speed all the time.
  • I want the last setting you used in Layer Styles to still be in place when you go back (in other words; I want them to be “Sticky.”)
  • I want better filters. I want a Clouds filter that actually looks like clouds. I want a Glass filter that makes things really look like glass. I want a Dust & Scratches filter that really removes Dust & Scratches, and I want a Fibers filter that looks like real Fibers.
  • I want a better looking startup splash screen. I know that sounds silly, but I do.

I could go on and on, but know that I would gladly and wholeheartedly give up getting any or all of these, if it’s not what the Photoshop community chose as their “Top 10 Most-Wanted” features.

So, that’s the plan: post your own ideas here; I’ll add the most popular ones to an online survey to go live next week, and then you can vote on your favorite ones, and if nothing else, at least we’ll see what we here all want. So let’s get to it! :)

Remember a few weeks ago when Matt, RC, and I got a permit to shoot with tripods (gasp!) inside Grand Central Station in New York City? Well, RC had a video camera, and we did a short video clip during the shoot about “the permit” and how getting one affected our shoot. Click on the video below to see what happened (Thanks to my buddy RC Concepcion for shooting and editing the video).

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