Tuesday
Aug
2013
20

90-Second Review: PNY’s Thinksafe Lock for an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

Above: The rear view, with the included combination lock attached to the PNY hinge-link. 

A few weeks back I reviewed MacLock’s “MacBook Pro Security Bracket” for securing your laptop from theft when unattended (here’s the link). When I posted that review, a few of the commenters pointed me to PNY’s new “ThinkSafe” lock for the MacBook Pro Retina display model, so I immediately ordered it to do a comparison (and here we go!).

How it works
Basically, this works by having you slide a hard, thin piece of metal between the hinge in your laptop’s lid so it sticks out of the back of your MacBook Pro (scroll way down to see a close up of it). There’s a small hole in the end (the part that sticks out) and the lock hooks right through it (and you wrap the lock around something that won’t move, like a chair leg, or table leg) and that’s it — the two become one.

Above: Here’s the little hinge lock from the keyboard view. You only see that little metal plate, but that plate doesn’t sit flush — it kinda slides around loose unless its locked down. 

PROS:
It has a combination lock, which I much prefer over a key lock (if you lose the key, you’re hosed — your MacBook isn’t leaving when you leave, and that freaks me out). Plus, you can register your four-digit code with PNY in case you ever forget it.

The price: it’s only $20 including the combination lock. That’s a third of the price of the MacLocks solution, at around $60.

It comes with a carrying pouch that keeps it all together nicely for travel.

It also supports the MacBook Air & MacBook Pros with the built-in lock hole

It can’t easily be defeated by someone with a small screwdriver.

CONS:
This really isn’t something you would leave attached to your MacBook Pro all the time. You really need to attach it when you need to lock it, and remove the whole thing when you don’t, because the way it sticks out of the back of your MacBook Pro, makes it tough to fit comfortably in a laptop bag. It also looks kind of awkward when not in use.

The potential for scratching everything from a desk, to your MacBook itself is pretty high. It’s a piece of metal hanging out from the back of your computer. As long as you just use it when you need to secure it, it’s probably OK, but if you left it on all the time, something’s gonna get scratched.

You can’t change the four-digit lock code. They give you a pre-programmed code when you buy the lock, so you have to memorize it, because you can’t change it. That’s surprising.

The instruction manual is really poorly designed. It looks very easy at first glance, but it’s confusing as anything for such a simple device. There are not quite enough visuals and not nearly enough text to describe some aspects. It took three of us to figure it out. Having six languages on the page didn’t help the matter either.

The clip that slides into your MacBook’s hinge just sits there kind of loose (not flat and tight), so when it’s not locked down, it slides around, clanks and giggles a bit, and generally is somewhat annoying, kinda like having a large paper clip sliding around between the hinge in the lid of your laptop. It’s not quite that bad, but close. This kinda surprised me as I figured it would be a snug fit.

Above: Here’s a close-up of how the lock attaches to the metal hinge-link that sticks out of the back of your MacBook Pro. There’s a hole in the metal plate, and the lock hooks into it. 

Bottomline
Both of these will do the job of keeping your MacBook Pro from getting swiped unless you come across a determined thief with both time and the right tools. In the end, I see the MacLocks solution as one I can leave on MacBook Pro all the time and only use it when I need it by just taking out my lock. The PNY is one I would need to install each time I want to use it. It’s a quick install (once you know how to do it), but still, you have to take it on/off each time, so it is a different beast.

If I had to choose between the PNY and the MacLock’s solution, I’d spend the extra $40 and go with the MacLocks, because I think it’s an easier-to-live-with solution for everyday use. If you only lock your MacBook on rare occasions, then just spend the $20 on the PNY — it’ll do the job.

Overall Rating
If I actually had a five-star rating-system, with 5 being best, I would give it 4 stars, knocking off a star for the clunkiness of the clip; the fact that you have to take it on/off for the most part, and for the really bad manual.

PNY ThinkSafe Portable MacBook Locking System
Price:
 $20
Works on: Apple MacBook Pros, MacBook Pro with Retina Display, MacBook Air
Available from: Amazon.com

Monday
Aug
2013
19

Want a New Feature Added to Photoshop? Now’s Your Chance!

by Scott Kelby  |  26 Comments

Imagine being able to talk directly to Adobe’s own Photoshop engineers, and you get to tell them about your feature idea, or an addition to an existing feature, or some little fix or tweak that would make using Photoshop even better for you, and they turn around and try to apply the fix to the code to add your feature to Photoshop right there! The fixes will ship with a future version of Photoshop.

Well, it’s happening in two weeks at Adobe’s ‘Codeathon’ — held at the Photoshop World Conference in Vegas next month.

So, if you’re like me and you’ve got some ideas — one’s where you think “Hey, I wish they’d add a checkbox for this….” or “If they would just add a button that did that…” ….well, your dream may just come true right in front of your eye, while you wait! :)

If you can’t make it to Vegas in two weeks (there’s still time if you want to go), I’d still to love to hear your ideas here for new Photoshop features, tweaks, fixes, add-ons, and enhancements, and I’ll make sure they get delivered directly to Adobe’s Photoshop team for you. :)

Cheers everybody and having a great Monday!

Friday
Aug
2013
16

Quick Worldwide Photo Walk Update

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

Hi Gang and greetings from sunny (hot) San Antonio, Texas where I’m doing my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour here today for around 400 photographers. Here’s what up since our official announce on Monday:

(1) We have nearly 490 cities with Photo Walks organized

(2) We have other 4,000 photographers signed up for these walks

(3) We just added some cool new cities: Like Arroyo Grande, California, Bremen HD Deutschland, and Princeton, New Jersey with more being added every day

(4) If you applied to lead a walk and you’re still waiting to hear your approval status, it’s just because it takes a while to individually approve each request from cities literally all over the world. Don’t worry — we’re chipping away at the mountain of requests.

(5) I was hoping to do a post today about all the prizes, but new ones keep coming in, so it’ll have to be next week, but the prize list is getting pretty amazing. More to come on that soon.

(6) We’ve created a special flickr group just for walkers to add another level of interaction between walkers around the world. Our own RC Concepcion did a short video that shows how you join the group and stay connected. The video is below:

http://youtu.be/115NcT52A-c

(7) You can follow the official Worldwide Photo Walk Facebook page here (link). Or our Google+ page here (link), or find us on Twitter here (link), but honestly our Twitter presence is a little….well…it’s…let’s say we could use some followers (ahem). It’s probably better if you just search on Twitter under the hashtag #WWPW.

For more info, or to find a city to join a walk near you, or to apply to lead a walk yourself, or if you’re just bored and have some time on your hands, visit the official Worldwide Photo Walk site (link).

Cheers everybody, and have a safe, happy, fun weekend.

-Scott

P.S. Hope to see a whole bunch of you in Indianapolis next Wednesday (link

 

Thursday
Aug
2013
15

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  149 Comments

Photoshop World Vegas
We’re just a few weeks away from Photoshop World Vegas! We’ve put together a series of videos to help people who’ve never been to Photoshop World get an idea of all the things that happen at this one-of-a-kind conference, and you can watch them above. Our very own Larry Becker takes you through everything including the in-depth workshops, the opening keynote, Midnight Madness, the After Hours Party, and much much more.

If you want a chance to win a free ticket to Photoshop World, just leave a comment!

The $5K Challenge with Zack Arias
What could you do photographically with five thousand dollars? Join Zack Arias in The $5K Challenge: Professional Photography On A Budget, as he sets out a challenge to show what can be done on a budget of $5,000. Zack does everything from buying the camera gear to covering his expenses for a weekend of travel in New York City, and even hiring a photo editor to sit down and help him edit his photos down to a tight new body of work. At the end of the project he’ll have new gear, an interesting experience, a new portfolio, and money left over to do it again.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free rental of this class!

Kelby Training Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby or Joe McNally? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 16 – San Antonio, TX
Aug 21 – Indianapolis, IN
Aug 27 – San Jose, CA
Sep 13 – Miami Beach, FL

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
Sep 10 – St. Louis, MO
Sep 12 – Kansas City, MO

Lots more dates have been added for the rest of the year, so head over to the Kelby Training Live site to get the full schedule! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Win An Ice Light from FJ Westcott
Our friends at FJ Westcott are giving away a free Ice Light to one lucky person! All you have to do is go to FJWestcott.com and enter your email address in the box when it pops up. And be sure to check out the video above if you want to see the Ice Light (and its creator Jerry Ghionis) in action!

Olloclip Up for Entrepreneur of 2013
It’s no secret that we’re HUGE fans of the olloclip here at the Kelby offices. That’s why we’re pumped to hear that they’re up for Entrepreneur of 2013 from Entrepreneur Magazine! If you’re also a fan, head on over and watch the video of how Patrick O’Neill came up with the idea for this fantastic iPhone camera accessory and submit your vote!

Leave a comment for your chance to win your very own olloclip!

Winners
Photoshop World Ticket
- Pam Singleton

Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers
- Daniel Buckenmyer
- Jim Kirk
- John Williamson
- Reena Smurf
- Paul P

Tim Wallace Class Rental
- Holger

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- John Price

The Digital Photography Book, Part 1
- Claire Skinner
- James

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon! Have a great Thursday, and come say hi if you’re at the San Antonio or Indianapolis seminars in the next few days!

Wednesday
Aug
2013
14

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Colin Smith!

by Brad Moore  |  8 Comments


Photo by Greg Mellang

To do, or not to do, that is the “new” question. A Photoshop Journey, for the non purist.

First of all, thanks to Scott and Brad for having me here, it’s an honor.

I have been writing a regular column for Photoshop User Magazine for over a decade, but this is my first time as guest blogger. I hope you enjoy what I have to share.

Now that we have Photoshop and great resources to learn how to master the tool, is it still necessary to do “trick photography” or create surreal looks in camera? Should we be using all the tools at our disposal, or should we try and be purists?

What is purism anyway? It’s funny how as artists we can so quickly go from pioneers to museum keepers. Painters scoffed at photographers, film photographers scoffed at digital photographers, digital photographers are now scoffing at iPhone shooters. Where will it all end I wonder?

My opinion? Why cripple your artistic vision with prejudice or elitism? It’s not the tools that you use, it’s the art that you make that matters. Personally, I like to use every tool that’s available. Because of this, I like to do as much in camera as possible and also do as much in Photoshop as needed. To top it off, I also like to throw in some 3D as well, and if needed, I’m not opposed to mixing illustration.

Ever since I started to create digital art, I have been influenced by movies and often have a cinematic leaning to my images.

There is nothing more thrilling than creating art using lighting, photographic techniques and Photoshop together. It’s easy to get lost in the moment and stay up all night making images. There have been many times when I see the sun come up before I leave my computer for some sleep. I believe if you really want to get good, you have to put in the time. I heard a great quote once: “Work while others are loafing, study while others are sleeping, and then dream while others are wishing.”

Let’s go through a few of my images and see if you can tell which ones have been processed more than others. I’ll also tell you the techniques used.

First of all, what do you think of this pelican shot? Unusual perspective to say the least. Surely, I composited this in Photoshop, right?


I felt very lucky to get this shot

Wrong! The only post work on this was a slight vignette and a contrast boost. This was shot with a GoPro Hero 3 on my DJI Phantom quadcopter. I was hovering when this bird swooped underneath it, I knew I had a killer shot. Ok, I did also remove the small shadow of the phantom using Lightroom.

Come to Photoshop World and attend the in-depth workshop that I will be teaching with Russell BrownTop Gun Flight Training from Photographers.

In this workshop you will have the opportunity to fly a Phantom for yourself. Russell will be teaching still photography and I’ll be teaching the video side of things.

The next image is one that I shot recently in Maui Hawaii. The mist look was created by attaching a Neutral Density filter to my Canon 5D MkIII. By reducing the amount of light coming into the lens, I was able to slow my exposure time down to 30 seconds and allow the waves to become like mist. I also shot 3 exposures and turned it into an HDR image to preserve the details in the sunset while opening up the shadows in the rocks.


There is nothing like a beautiful sunset in paradise!

I have actually used HDR in most of the images that I’m sharing here. Maybe you aren’t used to seeing HDR used in these ways. I like to use HDR more for the advantages of an extended dynamic range than to create an “effect.” Don’t get me wrong, I like the effect, too, it’s just not the only use for HDR.

This next image, has to be totally done in Photoshop right? Or did I shoot a scale model? Nope, this is the real Times Square, New York. I used a Lensbaby Edge 80 lens to create the “tilt shift” effect that creates the miniaturized look and some HDR to make the details and color pop. No other Photoshop work involved.


Little New York

This next Photo involved HDR, so that I could capture the lens flare from the car headlights without totally blowing them out. The model was illuminated with a single Canon EX580 speedlight modified by a Chimera Octo-beauty dish. I then did some Photoshop work to create a mysterious cinematic feel.


Going for a cinematic look and feel

This is another from the same shoot, using the same setup. I wanted to create a nice rim light using the car’s headlights. Sometimes you can use what is known as “practical light” when an object in the scene is used to create part of the lighting effect.


The same scene from more a fashion perspective

Finally, you know it. This image was heavily Photoshopped. I shot the model in my studio and used some blue colored gels to simulate the moonlight on her rim. The moon and the rock were both shot as HDR images and composited into the scene. I created the tail in Maya (a 3D program) and composited and textured it in Photoshop. I was very honored to have Adobe show this image during their keynote address when they unveiled Photoshop CS6. This was the featured image on photoshop.com for almost 2 years.


A few different parts used to make up this scene

Some of you may have seen this image before. I created this image for a cover story in Photoshop User Magazine and walked the readers step by step through the creation of this piece. All the asset files were also available to NAPP members. This began life as a portrait in my studio. It was lit by Kino-flo video lights. Everything else was composited in Photoshop. The text was created with Photoshop’s 3D tools.


I’m glad I didn’t have to actually expose my guitar to water

This image is a mixture of everything. I modeled these wasps in Maya. The background, I photographed as HDR at the Television Center in Hollywood, which I thought was a perfect setting for my killer wasps. I then took all the elements together and composited them in Photoshop and added some illustration to finish it off.


These wasps wear gas masks because they are mutants and their stingers emit lethal gas

I was going to stick with all photographic imagery in this post. But I decided a good way to finish off is with a piece that I won a Guru award at Photoshop World,  1st place for Illustration. This guitar was created 100% in Photoshop. I didn’t use Illustrator, 3D or any photography at all. It’s all illustrated from scratch in Photoshop 6 (not CS6) out of the box with no 3rd party plugins. This one took me a while, but it was so much fun!


100% Photoshop

Thanks for reading this post and going on a little Photoshop Journey with me. I really hope that you can make it to see me at Photoshop World in Vegas in a few weeks!

You can see more of Colin’s work and tutorials at PhotoshopCafe.com, and follow him on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday
Aug
2013
13

RC’s Photoshop World Story

by Scott Kelby  |  16 Comments

I remember when RC Concepcion first told me this story, and it’s just as powerful hearing it today as it was then. If you’ve got a minute, I promise it’ll be worth it. If you want to join RC, me and the entire crew here at NAPP as we make learning Photoshop easier, faster and more fun, come join us in Vegas next month — there’s still time. 

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