Monthly Archives September 2008


Even though Adobe hasn’t actually shipped Photoshop CS4 yet, you know (and I know) that there are a lot of you that are just dying to get up to speed even before you get your hands on the software, and that’s why we just released our first CS4 online class, “The Photoshop CS4 Power Session” from our own Matt Kloskowski.

Matt designed this online class for Photoshop CS3 users who are making the jump to CS4, and who want to learn exactly what’s new, what’s changed, what’s moved, and how to take advantage of the new features today. You can take Matt’s CS4 class right now over at (here’s the link).

NOTE: Now, when Photoshop CS4 actually ships, the very day it ships we are releasing an entire collection of CS4 online classes and you can see the list of what’s coming over at

Hi everybody. It’s Thursday, and you know what that means. It’s time for “News Stuff!”

  • First off; did Michael Tapes make some friends yesterday or what!!!! If you missed his post, he and the folks at Imagenomic, came up with a free utility that makes a JPEG from any Raw file, and it does it at lightning speed. I installed it yesterday myself, and I gotta tell you—it rocks (just read some of the comments from yesterday—Michael has a whole new fan club). So, my thanks to Michael for doing something so cool, and so useful, for the community, and secondly, for helping people out all day by answering their questions, troubleshooting the installs, and just being incredibly helpful to all who asked. What a great guest blogger!!!
  • Sadly, Michael’s incredibly popular post overshadowed a special day yesterday that just doesn’t get the love it should. That’s right, yesterday was officially “National Punctuation Day” (here’s the link for details), and in honor of NPD, I wanted to recognize Seven people who daily throw themselves over the punctuation grenades I toss liberally into the first drafts of all my books, magazine articles, and even here on the Web.

First, thanks my incredible in-house book editor Kim Doty, to whom my Lightroom 2 book is dedicated. I can’t imagine the punctuation indignities she has suffered on my behalf, yet she soldiers on as if I know an ellipse from a semicolon.

To Cindy Snyder, who works alongside Kim in this battle, which includes me often forgetting entire words, and it’s up to her to figure out what I meant to say. She does not have an easy job.

To Kim Gabriel, who is often the last look before something goes to press, and the gatekeeper who stops many a dangled participle from leaving the grounds.

To Larry Becker, who reads this blog each day, which is often written while I’m half asleep, who probably sits there, shakes his head, and wonders, “What in the world does he mean?”

To Photoshop User Editor Issac Stolzenbach, who while editing my articles, must look over at Kim and Cindy, then they all smile, and just giggle.

To our in-house Web Editor, Aaron Westgate, who reads everything else I write for the Web, which is a job I can only imagine is as rewarding as moving piles of dirt. I feel for him.

To the long suffering Chris Main, Layers Magazine Editor, who has been editing my work the longest of anyone, and knows how badly I can mangle a phrase, yet he rarely mentions it unless our teams are meeting that week in Fantasy Football.

My humble thanks to these people, who each day do their darnedest (sp?) to make me look much smarter and more eloquent than we all I know I really am. Thanks you guys—and I hope you had a great National Punctuation Day! (See, I italicized this for no apparent reason).

  • If you’re up in Chicago, make sure you mark your calendar to catch Dave Cross’s “Maximum Photoshop CS3 Tour” when it comes to town on October 20th (link). Also, tomorrow the aforementioned Ben Willmore will be bringing the “Photoshop for Photographers Tour” to Kansas City, Missouri tomorrow (Friday), and then onto St. Louis on the 29th (there’s the link). Lastly, our own Bert Monroy travels to Sacramento, Califorina with his Photoshop Creativity Tour on October 7. Here’s the link.
  • I have a special video that I’m shooting this morning for posting here on the blog tomorrow, so I hope you’ll check back here then to catch it.

Have a great Thursday everybody!


Photoshop Hall of Famer, and legend of Photoshop, Ben Willmore, had a couple of spots open up at the last minute for his upcoming Advanced Photoshop Workshop at the prestigious Lepp Institute for Digital Imaging in Los Osos, California. If you act really quickly, you can snag one of those last spots and spend an incredible week learning Photoshop at a whole new level, from one of the best trainers on the planet today.

The dates are October 6-10, 2008
You can read all the details at Ben’s site (click here), but the scoop about what he’ll be teaching is below.

In this class, you’ll learn to change the way you think about shooting so that you take full advantage of all the digital tools available. If you haven’t changed your shooting mindset (beyond shooting to the right, inspecting a histogram and using RAW), then you have a lot to learn. This class includes many procedures that Ben has never demonstrated in the past. Techniques will include:

⢠High Dynamic Range Imaging
⢠Extreme Panoramas
⢠Exposure Blending
⢠Slowing down water without reducing shutter speed
⢠Shooting with composites in mind
⢠Using White Balance Aids
⢠Understanding how exposure relates to Photoshop
⢠Using Lightroom for efficient sorting, tagging and initial processing
⢠Mastering Curves (the most powerful adjustment in all of Photoshop)
⢠Sneaky Contrast Adjustments
⢠Directing Viewers Attention by changing focus, brightness, contrast, color and more.
⢠Advanced Adjustment Layers (well beyond simple masks and blending modes)
⢠Digital Infrared Simulations
⢠Black & White Conversions
⢠Making Flash Look Natural
⢠Creative White Balance Techniques
⢠Correcting Lens Distortions

This really is amazing opportunity, so if you want to snag that opening, here’s the link to Ben’s site.

Yet Another “Raw Is Best” Rant - NOT!

[ed note; Michael included a video demo with this post, and you’ll find it on the 2nd page—click the “More” button].

As a long time advocate (fanatic!) of shooting Raw format only, my most frequent response to the inevitable question of "why shoot raw all of the time?", is because you never know when the shot of a lifetime will jump into your viewfinder. And given that truth (if you accept it), one would surely want to capture that shot of a lifetime in the best quality format that their DSLR is capable of. And that, of course is raw. The reasons why have been well stated time and time again by Scott, me, and countless others. In fact, while many were still debating the efficacy of shooting raw at all, I created an entire DVD about how to shoot raw faster, better, and easier than shooting JPEG. In that DVD I touched on a subject that kept haunting me to the point where I needed to do something about it. That is why I created the free utility called Instant JPEG from Raw.

First Some Raw History
As many did, I resurrected my passion for photography back when convergence of technology brought together 3MP digital point-and-shoot cameras (in my case the Canon Powershot S20), along with the IBM MicroDisk (340MB), and the Epson 1270 printer. Finally one could go out and shoot several hundred photographs, work on them in the amazing digital darkroom called Photoshop, and print them such that people would think they were looking at a real photograph. It was a grand time of creative resurgence and discovery. This was followed by the biggest moment in the recent history of the digital SLR, the introduction of the Canon D30. It also was only 3 megapixels. But for the first time ever, those pixels were silken and magical, and at worst rivaled the quality of film, and according to many beat it when printed to 8×10 or smaller. It was also smaller, higher quality, and quite more affordable than the then reigning king of DSLRs, the Nikon D1.

Thankfully my wife was insightful enough to convince me to buy the D30 instead of the Canon G1 P&S which had also just been released She said to me that we could not afford the G1 ($1,000) and that I must buy the D30 ($3,200)! She knew in her ultimate wisdom, that a G1 purchase would only have satisfied my gear lust mentality for a week or 2, and would be followed by the inevitable D30 purchase for a total cost of $4,200. Hence we could not afford the G1 <g>. Thankfully it still applies today. D300 vs. D90 - 85 f1.8 vs.85 f1.4. "We cannot afford the cheaper one!" Have I mentioned how much I love my wife?

We only got to know the D30 by trial and error, as there was no authoritative documentation. The early adopters, along with Michael Reichmann and others, banded together to discover the mysteries that lay within this magical camera. Raw mode was one of those mysteries, but the only way to convert raw files (in fact the only way to even view raw files), was to develop/process/convert them in the then immature Canon raw software. One could view very small thumbs in the slow software, but to see the full size 3MP file, it would take about 2 minutes per file. Yup! Two+ minutes per file. No wonder people did not adopt raw early on. No way to even view your files, until after a several hour "conversion" session that completely tied up and/or crashed your computer. And that was just to view the files, before you edited or adjusted them. I went on record at DPReview saying that Raw was not ready for prime time (link). And it was not. But then the magic was discoveredâ¦

The Embedded JPEG.

The holy grail turned out to be that Canon thankfully had embedded a JPEG (more…)


You knew it was coming, and sure enough—it’s here. Photoshop CS4 is right around the corner (read Adobe’s Press Release here), and to give you the first look at the new features, we’ve launched two new online Learning Centers:

(1) NAPP’s Free Photoshop CS4 Learning Center
This public learning center, hosted by “The Photoshop Guys” (Matt Kloskowski, Dave Cross, and yours truly, along with RC and Corey from NAPP HQ), gives you a first-look at the new features of Photoshop CS4 with videos from the three of us, including an overview video, an exclusive video interview with Photoshop Principal Product Manager John Nack, a “Top-10” New CS4 Features article from RC “New Daddy” Concepcion, and a look at the new interface from Corey Barker. Here’s the link to this brand new learning center.

(2) NAPP’s “Members Only” In-Depth Learning Center
NAPP members can dive deeper into the new CS4 features with special in-depth videos on the NAPP members Website, from (you guessed it), “The Photoshop Guys.” Here we go more into actual training, and help to get your head around all the new features. So, if you’re a NAPP member, check out the public learning center (above) first, then head over to the NAPP member home page to go more in-depth.

You guys know how impressed I’ve been with how Adobe has been listening to its customers lately, and once you get to work with CS4, and see how many things they’ve fixed, streamlined, and just made better, you’ll know they are really moving in the right direction in a big way. My hat’s off to Adobe for taking things up a big notch once again.


If you’re a NAPP member—-good news!!!! Along with your next issue of Photoshop User magazine, you’ll be also receiving a special free bonus “All CS4” issue of the magazine, with the whole issue—cover-to-cover, dedicated to teaching you all the amazing new features of Photoshop CS4.

Each time Adobe comes out with a new version, we at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) produce a special bonus issue for our members, and I have to tell you, it’s one of those things we really put a lot of sweat into, and maybe that’s why it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.

That fact that our in-house magazine team can put together two simultaneous issues of our magazine is still amazing to me, and I can’t thank them enough for all the extra hours they’ve worked to make this happen for our members.

Also, a congrats to our own Corey Barker who created the cover art for this issue, using some of the new features of Photoshop CS4.