Monthly Archives February 2008


We just posted a brand new online class at from color legend Dan Margulis, and it’s called “The Picture Postcard Workflow, Part One.” Personally, I’ve been dying to take this class, ever since Dan was down here recording the class, and he gave me a folder full of before and after images, and said “Take these home and see if you can take the “before” images and make them look like the “after” images. I spent that night throwing every trick I had at them, and wasn’t able to come close. I tried Lab channel moves, Curves, Selective Color, High Pass Sharpening—you name it—it didn’t come close. Of course, Dan knew I wouldn’t figure out his new technique , so I’m sure he slept pretty well that night. If you want to see a sneak peek—click here to watch a sample of his brand new course.

Hi everybody. Here’s what’s happening today:

itunesbestsm.jpgOne of my friends sent me this; Apple sent out an email last month, and it featured their Editor’s picks for Best Podcasts of 2007, and Photoshop User TV was one of their picks (seen here—we’re in the bottom left corner). We were totally psyched! Also, I finally got to see Photoshop User TV on “real TV” this morning (no, I didn’t stay up until 1:30 am Wed morning. That’s why God invented Tivo), and I realized that our corny jokes are just as lame on the TV screen as they are on the Web. Anyway, it was fun getting to see it finally up there.

  • Nikon released another couple of free updates; this time to Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 (for shooting tethered to your computer), and an update to Nikon’s Capture NX. Here’s the link where you can download both.
  • Our buddy Dave Cross did a quick little video about Matt’s new book on mastering Photoshop Layers, and if you didn’t get a chance to see it yesterday on Dave’s blog, here’s the link (Congrats to Matt; the book has just been out two days, and they’re already going back to press for the 2nd printing. If you want to get yours anytime soon, I’d go order your copy now).
  • Corey Barker “The Photoshop Lad” and co-host of “Layers TV” has a pretty cool little video tutorial over at on how to create folds and creases on an image (it kind of makes your image look like it was folded up like a map, and then unfolded—you have to see it to see what I mean). Anyway, it’s pretty clever, and definitely worth checking out. Here’s the link.
  • I did a brief interview over at with my book publisher Nancy-Aldrich Reunzel, and we covered everything from what kind of gear I’m shooting with now, to my personal workflow, to what are some of my most memorable shooting experiences. If you’ve got a sec—pop over and read the short interview right here.
  • This guy, I like: (click here). When you see the photo, you’ll know why. ;-)

Have a wonderful weekend everybody. Try to get there and do a little shooting, then come back inside and do a little rearranging of pixels, and then have a yummy slice of pie. Doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend a day now, does it? See you Monday!

If you want to get kind of a feel for what the Photoshop World Conference & Expo is like, check out this video clip from Tech TV’s “Screen Savers,” which aired back in 2004. They had our man Bert Monroy do an on location report from the San Francisco conference, and although you’ll see some of the “old stuff” that was new then (like the Epson Stylus Pro 2200), it still gives a great feel for what the conference is all about (and of course, Bert did a great job as host). Just click the Play button below.

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This is totally un-Photoshop or photography related, so you might want to skip this, but my wife and I were having a discussion over breakfast last month that sparked this post, and I just felt I had to write about it, even though it’s well outside my usual area of reporting.

I usually like to start my day by checking the news, and I usually start by taking a quick look at both and Fox (that’s my attempt at trying to get both sides of the story), but I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t want to read the morning news anymore, because they include so much tragic news of children being horribly abused, or women being killed or raped, and children being killed, that I don’t start my day informed—I start my day depressed.

I want to read about politics, world news, finance, what’s happening in the Middle East, sports, entertainment news, weather, our government, science, health, and technology. I do want to know about suffering and tragedy around the world that we can do something about, but I hate reading every day about the husband that bludgeoned his pregnant wife, and then killed his four year old daughter. I hate hearing about kids being tortured, and women being beaten, and a mother putting her child in a microwave. As a parent myself, it not only sends chills down my spine, but it chips away at my soul wondering how anyone, anywhere could do these horrible things to people, much less to their own family members and children.

We’re a country of 300 million people, and within a group of that many people, lie some incredibly tragic stories, but when they’re served up to you every day in your own home, it feels like it’s happening all around you. As my wife said, “Do I have to hear about every bad mother that does something horrible to her kids in every state, every day?” Even when it happens 3,000 miles away, they make it sound like it happened in the house next door.

Of course, you might say, “Well Scott, just don’t read those stories” but you don’t even have to — as I showed my wife, the news headlines are tragic and depressing all by themselves—you don’t even need to read the story. So, as a totally unscientific experiment, I thought for one week, I’d write down every personal tragedy headline from both and and see if I’m being as bombarded with it as I feel like I am.

I started on Saturday, January 12th 2008 and for one week I just copied and pasted those headlines right off their home page, and into a text document. So, how bad were these headlines really? You tell me:

  • Cops Dig to Recover Pregnant Marine’s Remains
  • Stabbed Woman, 4 Kids Found Dead in Burning Home
  • Police: Dad Who Wanted Son Killed Baby Girl
  • HIV-Positive Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Acts With Teens
  • Baby tossed from SUV
  • Mother Charged With Murder: Kids Were ‘Possessed by Demons
  • Cops: Mom Put Son, 7, in Oven as Punishment
  • Body of 1 of 4 Kids Thrown From Bridge Found
  • Cops: Dad Sodomized Teen Stepson to Avenge Rape
  • Unconscious Ohio Man Charged With Killing Wife, 4 Kids
  • 2nd Body Found in Search For Kids Thrown Off Bridge
  • Manhunt After 2 Women, 2 Kids Shot Dead in Indianapolis
  • Woman tried to save four girls, no one listened
  • Stray Bullet Changes 10-Year-Old Boy’s Life Forever
  • Iraqi Official’s Convoy Runs Over, Kills 5 Children
  • Ex-Scout Leader Caught in World Child Porn Sting
  • Americans Eyed in Brazil Nudist Colony Abuse of Kids
  • Man Charged in Missing NYC Woman Case
  • Schoolgirl Rape Victim Burned With Acid
  • Kenyan Gangs Using Genital Mutilation as Weapon
  • Tiger Attack 911 Tape: ‘My Brother’s About to Die!’
  • Dead Girl’s Hell Revisited at Stepfather’s Murder Trial
  • ‘Baby Grace’ Laid to Rest After Washing Ashore in Texas
  • Dramatic 911 call in hiker’s murder
  • Gruesome Pics Show Slain Coed’s Home Night of Murder
  • Student Shot in North Carolina Drive-By
  • Ohio Man Accused of Killing Family in Fire
  • Texas Teen in 911 Call: ‘I’m Dying’
  • Student shot in school parking lot
  • Mom says boy was bullied to death
  • Teens accused of pimping girls, gang-rape
  • Slain hiker remembered as ‘angel,’ ‘firecracker’
  • Hiker’s alleged killer named in 3 more deaths
  • Mayor: D.C. failed 4 slain children
  • Baby Dies After Sitter Swings Him in Sleeping Bag
  • Missouri Mayor Charged in Internet Child Sex Sting
  • House party teen charged with child porn
  • 2 tiny corpses found; search on for 2 more
  • Sleeping bag prank kills toddler
  • Letters show misery of jungle hostages
  • 5 Found Dead in Submerged Car
  • Baby Thrown Off Freeway Bridge, Hit by Cars
  • Mom Backing Out of Driveway Kills Daughter, 2
  • Lawmaker Gets 44 Years for Raping Foster Daughters
  • 4 kids under age 5 trapped in burning car
  • Letter from dead sister haunts brothers
  • Woman Kills Self, 2 Children by Walking Onto Interstate
  • College Wrestler Killed in Crash on Way to Meet
  • Police Find Body in Search for Florida Mom
  • 15-Year-Old Fatally Stabbed in Schoolyard
  • 4 Arrested in Indianapolis Murders of Moms, Kids
  • Baby Put Up for Sale on Craigslist
  • Alaskan Group Wants to Kill Wolf Pups in Dens
  • College Wrestler Killed in Crash on Way to Meet

That’s how much personal human tragedy is served up to me every week, 52 weeks a year. Now, here’s the thing: These aren’t all the headlines like this they ran; these are just the ones I found at the time that I checked the news from my home, so it’s really just a sampling from the few times a day I check the news. As I said, this wasn’t scientific (by any means), and was just a “chance” sampling taken at whenever I got around to checking the news that day.

In my un-official sampling, I did note which ones were from and which ones where from, and the majority of the tragic headlines turned out to be from, so at least that told me maybe I don’t need as much “Balanced” news as I thought. So I’m on the lookout for an online source that tells me what’s going on in the world, in politics, finance, sports, etc., without making me depressed, disgusted, frustrated, and just plain bummed each morning on my way to work

I’m not trying to pretend these things don’t happen—I know they do (I’ve been served a steady diet of it for years now), I just need a break from it. I need a breather from daily piles of personal tragedy and I just need the “other” news. I need a different daily world news source, and if you know of one that I should be reading instead, just post it here in my comments section, and I’ll gladly give give it a read. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and maybe if enough people find they need a “new news source,” these sites will start to change. That would actually cheer me up.


I wanted to extend my congratulations to the 2007 winners of the Photoshop User Awards, the worldwide Photoshop competition (produced by the National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals).

We’re sending this year’s Best of Show winner (and a companion) to Maui, Hawaii (including roundtrip airfare, hotel, transfers, and daily expenses) for inspiration in creating the cover image for an upcoming issue of Photoshop User magazine. And this year’s Grand Prize winner is…

Gregory Carter, of Santa Ana, California for his winning entry, “Take the Field”

The winner in each category receives a prize package, valued at over $2,500 from competition sponsors: B&H Photo, Imagenomics, Peachpit Press, Kelby Training, Layers magazine, and of course NAPP. And, the winning image in each category will appear in a special issue of Photoshop User magazine.

Here’s a list of this year’s category Winners (you can see the Best of Show, and the category winner’s artwork here):

  • Artistic Category
    Stian Johansen
    of Norway
  • General Photography
    Christopher Sellers of Los Angeles, California
  • General Photoshop Category
    Den Cops of London, England
  • Illustration Cateogry
    Eugene Ash of Richmond, California
  • Wedding/Portrait Category
    Susi Lawson of Wytheville, Virginia
  • Landscape/Travel Category
    Jared Martin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Composites/Collaging Category
    Adam Daniels of Tampa, Florida
  • Advertising Design Category
    Jose Luis and Claudia Turueno/Sotelo
  • Photo Restoration Category
    Karen Metrin of Lake Mary, Florida
  • Student Work
    Deeneshen Sabapathee of Mauritius
  • Photo Retouching
    Mike Tompkins of Palmetto, Florida

My congratulations to all this year’s winner. I wonder where we’ll send the 2008 winners? Hmmmmm. So far we’ve sent them to Paris, Rome, and Maui, Hawaii. Hey, it’s a big world out there, right? :-)


Here’s some Thursday-type news:

  • The wonderful Laurie Excell (One of the gifted trainers at DLWS [the Digital Landscape Workshop Series], the expert behind NAPP’s Gear Desk, and the woman behind “The Equipment Lady” site you’ve heard me talk about here on the blog), is hosting a series of on-location “Nature Safari’s” this year, and her first one is coming up here in Florida, on March 3rd – 7th at Ft. Desoto Park. Laurie is a kick-butt photographer (that’s her image above) and trainer, and if you get a chance to learn from Laurie—-jump on it! (I’ll be there for a day or two myself). Here’s where to get all the details (hope I’ll see you there!).
  • Just a heads up: Matt’s brand new “Layers” book is now in stock at, and B&N, and people are already talking about it. Get ’em while the gettin’s good (I have no idea what that means).
  • Remember that amazing Jay Maisel workshop that I mentioned a month or so ago where you spent a week with Jay learning in his New York Studio? Ya know, the one that cost $5,000? Well, it sold out in advance (Ben Willmore was there as one of Jay’s students, and just raved about it). It created such a stir, that Jay is holding another of these incredible workshops this April (14th – 18th) for just nine photographers. Will you be one of those nine, whose lives and careers are changed forever? To request an application, email Jay’s studio at
  • Photoshop World Instructor Chris Orwig did a presentation at Macworld Expo back in January called “The Art and Craft of Digital Photography,” and the fact that it was a big hit with attendees is cool, but the fact that you can watch his entire session for free online, is even cooler. Check out his video, then make sure you put him on your class list when you come to Photoshop World this April.
  • PDN Online has an in-depth article on Wacom’s affordable new Cintiq 12WX, and if you’ve ever thought about making the jump to a Cintiq, make sure you give this a quick read (their reviews give you both the pros and cons). Here’s the link.
  • Lastly, want to see some beautiful photography? Check out the nautical images of photographer Onne van der Wal. This guys does very nice work (click here).

Well my friends, that’s it for this Thursday. See you tomorrow for our “week wrap up” (or it could be a “week rap-up” if someone accidentally starts a drum machine).