It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here once again with something from my photographic world. I’m currently in Iceland, but not for much longer! On Wednesday night, I leave to make progress towards Norway, where I’ll spend the next month, as well as crossing into Sweden and Finland. This week, I want to show you the opportunity Adobe gave me to get a different perspective of winter in Iceland.
I’ve been making a series of videos documenting my travels and I was asked if I’d like to go shoot in the sky. Russell Brown from Adobe recognised the work I was putting in to learn Premiere Pro and produce a reportage-style documentary of my adventures and, from a budget set aside to support and recognise creative talent, offered to get me into the air over this stunning country. For someone that loves Iceland and aviation that was an absolute dream, so I got everything ready to shoot and, with some assistance from the Iceland Adobe Gold reseller, I was put in touch with Haraldur.
The first time we met there was a reasonable weather forecast, but in Iceland, it’s more of a horoscope. There’s a saying here that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. It changes frequently, and with the sub-polar oceanic climate it has, it can turn very bad, very fast!
I had a small handful of shots from that first flight and a bit of footage so, naturally disappointed, I went back to Adobe Premiere Pro to see what it all looked like. In the video, the weather clearly comes out of nowhere so landing was definitely the right decision.
We reconvened a couple of days later and the weather was picture perfect. I was set to fly with Haraldur, but he had a surprise waiting for me. As we flew down the southwest coast, we ended up meeting with another plane flown by an equally skillful chap named Bergur, who had a plane in Icelandic colours. Here’s the result: –
Always follow your heart, and once in a lifetime as often as you can!
Tomorrow is the kickoff and opening keynote for Adobe’s annual Max Conference, and historically Adobe releases big updates to all their software tomorrow. Now, if that were to happen, and it was something really big, I would probably have a full length course, all ready to go for release tomorrow to get KelbyOne members up to speed fast, but of course, that’s only if Adobe releases something really earth shattering, and of course, who knows if that will happen, but if it did, well…I would be ready.
Also, if Lightroom were to get anything major, I’ll bet we would be covering it tomorrow over at LightroomKillerTIps.com with an in-depth article from Rob Sylvan, but again, this is all just speculation, but if history is any indicator, there should at least be some new stuff tomorrow, and there’s always that potential for really big game changing stuff, but really, who knows? Anything’s possible. That’s tomorrow folks, a day of possibilities, but really, who knows? :)
Here’s to a great “Day before tomorrow” (which would make a great name for a movie about Adobe Max’s opening keynote). ;-)
-Scott A guy who is just guessing about tomorrow, and he could be right, but it’s just a guess.
WeCould Possibly See Some New Photoshop & Lightroom Features Released Tomorrow
Hey, it’s possible, because tomorrow morning is the opening keynote for Adobe’s MAX conference, and historically they’ve announced new Lightroom and Photoshop updates during the keynote. So, since this is historically the case, Rob Sylvan will be doing a post on any new Lightroom features over on my other blog — LightroomKillerTips.com tomorrow just in case they do release any new Lightroom features (hey, it could happen, right?)
Catch My “Maybe There Will Be New Lightroom & Photoshop Features” Webcast tomorrow
At 11:00 am tomorrow ET, I’m doing a Webcast for KelbyOne members just in case Adobe does indeed announce new features. If they do, I’ll be showing them, if, ya know, they are announced. So, stop by tomorrow to see if history is on our side, and then if you’re a KelbyOne member, drop in and see what, if anything, is up.
Lots of Photoshop news today as Adobe just released a really nice update to Photoshop (more on that in a moment), and Lightroom (we’re covering that over at LightroomKillerTips.com), and today we are announcing an awesome two-day KelbyOne online live Photoshop Conference, sponsored by Adobe and Photoshop User magazine, which will include training all the latest new stuff in Photoshop released today, and so much more.
It’s two full days, all live online with with two simultaneous training tracks, and an incredible team of instructors. Best of all, it’s all online, so anybody anywhere can attend, and it’s so affordable anybody can be a part of it.
Check out the video below to see if it’s for you:
I want to catch every single class! (Well, maybe not the ones I’m doing, since I pretty much know that stuff). ;-) — but what a great class offering and roster — it’s going to be the Photoshop training event of the year — you don’t want to miss this, and we’d love for you join us for this remarkable training experience.
Thanks in advance to everyone for helping us spread the word. Whoo hoo — it’s a great day to be a Photoshop user! :)
Onto The New Photoshop Stuff
I love these feature updates from Adobe, and there are some very nice things in this update for photographers. There are three “biggies.”
Select Subject is Now Officially Awesome
Last year Adobe added an AI-powered helper that make simple selections for you. It was really great at selecting objects (like a banana, a bowling ball, a vase, etc., and it’s OK at selecting people, especially if they were bald or did tightly trimmed hair). In short, it wasn’t made for selecting people, but at least it got you started and then you’d go to Select & Mask and do the masking part. Well, check this out, because this AI feature has obviously been working overtime on the learning.
Above: Here’s our image and we open it in Photoshop 2020 (the new one just released today), and we only do one thing — click the Select Subject button up in the Options Bar (if you don’t see that button, just click on the Magic Wand tool or the Quick Select tool in the toolbar and it will become visible). That’s it. Let’s see the results.
If you’re thinking that’s a pretty cruddy mask it made, you’re right. That’s how the Select Subject featured worked literally just yesterday. That’s the results of clicking that button (I got the mask you see above by opening Select & Mask, just so you could see what Photoshop is creating selection wise). Now let’s look at how the new version handles this exact same image:
What???!!!! That is incredible! It’s selecting the hair (instead of chopping it off). What a massive improvement. Just crazy!!! Yes, you’d still probably have to go to Select & Mask and fine tune it a bit, but now it’s 15-seconds there instead of five minutes. This is a game changer when it comes to selections. Literally leaps and bounds! (High-five Adobe). So, that’s the biggest biggie, and it’s big!
Camera Raw goes all “Lightroomy”
There is also big major overhaul to Adobe’s Camera Raw interface as it now looks and feels much more like Lightroom’s Develop module. Now it won’t feel like two different worlds when you go back and forth from Lightroom to Photoshop, and you won’t have to remember where everything is, and why you can’t find certain things. Now it will feel very familiar. Check it out:
Film strip along the bottom — right side panels one on top of another (instead of in a horizontal tab) — it’s just so…Lightroom like! (photos here by Terry White). You also now have some options for how the filmstrip itself looks, and the ability to save images and do other workflow stuff right from the filmstrip itself.
However, unlike Lightroom you do have the option to have your filmstrip horizontally across the bottom (like you see here), or vertically along the left side.
There are three modes for the right side panels you can choose from. Single Panel mode is like Lightroom’s Solo Mode (you only see one panel — the one you’re working on). Then there’s Responsive panel mode, which has Camera Raw automatically opening or closing panels based on the size of your monitor (well, based on how large you have Camera Raw within your monitor. Multi Panel mode all the panels stay open (they don’t close unless you close them manually.
There’s also a new Local Hue feature
This new feature lets you use the Adjustment Brush (or any of the local adjustments like the Radial Filter, or the Graduated Filter) to change the color of something in your image, like her shirt (seen below) which was originally red. and using one of the local tools you can select that area (in this case, the part of her shirt on the right), then go the Local Hue controls (seen below) where you can change the color of that area you selected (to purple in this case), and change the saturation amount as it. Very intuitive to use (and this feature is also found in Lightroom, and even Lightroom mobile, too).
Plus, there are other nice little tweaks, like a new interface for the Curves panel that’s pretty cool, and new crop overlays, plus they moved the toolbar over to the far right side so it’s not across the top left anymore saving you from traveling 10 miles across your screen to get a tool. Lots of nice little enhancements that just make working in Camera Raw easier and faster. That’s a quick look at some of the new stuff for photographers in Photoshop.
Catch Terry White’s “What new in Photoshop & Lightroom” Webcast today
Here’s where to learn about all the new Lightroom stuff
Lightroom didn’t get left out of this upgrade cycle, and there’s all sorts of new things for all the different Lightrooms (Classic, Mobile, Cloud) and it’s all covered by our own Rob Sylvan over at my other blog, LightroomKillerTips.com — here’s the link.
Hope you found that helpful (thanks for the cool new stuff Adobe), and here’s wishing you and your loved ones health, safety and sanity. :)
-Scott and the crew (great name for a band by the way)
…and if I ever thought twice about it or second-guessed it, tonight something happened to me that totally solidified why subscriptions plans like Adobe’s are such a good idea.
I’m going to give you the short version of this story, but it’s not real short, but stick with me; keep an open mind, and you might wind up seeing things differently (even if you’re “furrowing your brow” going into it). I put some photos in here just to keep things for being “too texty” but the one that most ties into this story is the one below (taken with my iPhone, no less).
SPOILER ALERT:I left a special bonus pic for you at the end of this post, but you’re not allowed to just scroll down there for medical reasons.
Besides being a photographer, (and fake Olympic athlete), I’m also a musician and I have a small recording studio in my home (part of which is seen above). I got into all this to record my own original songs, but I got somehow sucked into what has now become my hobby, which is to faithfully recreate my favorite songs from scratch. They wind up being mostly “big hair” rock songs from the 80s, but also some newer songs from Bruno Mars, or dance songs from Earth, Wind, and Fire. I’ve done Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” (from the movie “A Star is Born”) and the orchestral theme to Game of Thrones, playing all the instruments myself, and recording it all into Logic Pro X on my iMac.
I Need “Real” Bon Jovi and “Real” Bee Gees
Anyway, the key to all this is that you can go online and find the original isolated vocals tracks for tons of songs, and these tracks are the original vocals — just the vocals — no instruments whatsoever. So, I download an isolated original vocal track, and then I learn how to play the parts for all the different instruments that make up that song (that takes a while usually), then I record me playing each one of them. I play all the lead and rhythm electric guitars, the acoustic 6 and 12-string guitar parts; the bass parts (on a real bass), drums (on my electronic drum kit), all the piano and synth parts, horn parts, strings, percussion, cowbell (it needs more), and so on.
My whole goal is to make it NOT sound like a Karaoke track — I want it to sound as close to the original as possible, which I can tell you is a total pain in the butt. I want to get it to where if I played it for you in my car, you would swear it was the original. It takes me a LONG time to get a song to that level — about two weeks for one song on average. Sometimes more, like when I did Bohemian Rhapsody (that one kicked my butt). I’m really kind of anal about getting all the exact right sounds; getting every drum lick exactly like the ones on the record; using the right amps; cymbals, synths, mics, the right piano sound, and so on. I know. It’s a sickness.
My struggle is you can’t always find the real original vocals for the song you want to do, and in few instances, I’ve gone ahead and recorded an entire song knowing I didn’t have the real original vocal track. I those cases I use an isolated vocal Karaoke track instead. Each time I use a Karaoke vocal track, instead of the original vocals, a little piece of me dies inside because no matter what I do musically and/or mixing wise, it just never sounds right without the real original vocals.
I got lucky a few times recently
Within the last months, I actually found two isolated vocal tracks to songs I recorded over a year ago using the Karaoke vocals — Saturday in the Park by Chicago, and Separate Ways by Journey (which I literally ran across this weekend). When this happens, I go back to those songs I recorded and replace the Karaoke vocals with the real ones and I just cannot tell you how happy it makes me. Seriously, just through the roof, crazy happy. It’s me at “full happy.”
I still have three songs that are dead to me
They are fully done; I put in all the time, learned all the solos note for note, sweated every guitar sound and keyboard pad, but they have the Karaoke vocal tracks, and I cringe when I hear them, so I just don’t listen to them anymore. They are: Shakin’ (by Eddie Money); Home Sweet Home (by Motley Crue), and I Need to Know (By Mark Anthony). I search the Web for the original isolated vocals tracks for these about every week for who knows how long now. No luck, yet. The struggle is real.
So since I can’t seem to find these tracks out there, last night I start doing more online research (not my first time) about how to isolate vocals from a an existing music track. I eventually run across this kid on youtube (thanks Alex Rome) who is raving about this isolation software he found that totally blew his mind, and it’s what all the pros now use, etc., and he was just going on and on about it, so I went and downloaded a trial copy of it. It’s a fully functional trial copy, but you can’t save the file it creates, but you do get to try it all out which is cool.
So, I gave it a try on both Shakin’ and Home Sweet Home
The software is called “iZotope RX 7.” I have to tell you — it blew my mind! It was so much better than any other software like it I had tried. It was pretty remarkable and so darn easy to use. It was almost like magic. Granted, the extractions are not absolutely perfect, but they’re close enough that I can clean a vocal track easily enough to where it would sound just about spot-on in my mix (and lightyears better than the Karaoke vocals I have in place now).
After 15 minutes into the trial, I knew I had to buy it!
So, I go to their site, and I hit the “buy” button. That’s when I saw the price. The full version is $1,200. $1,200!!!! My jaw just dropped. My heart sank, too, because I knew, great as it is, there was no way in h*** I was going to spend $1,200 for it. I get it — it’s pro-level software, and I want to just use it for my hobby, but I also know if you want to buy what the actual pro’s use, it’s gonna cost ya. The problem is — I just can’t justify spending $1,200 for what I would be doing with it (I don’t sell these songs — I don’t even post ’em anywhere. I just do it for friends and family).
It’s different in my photography life, where I do use pro-level software, like Photoshop. Back when you could buy Photoshop, it cost $799 for it alone. Lightroom, when it came out, was $300 to buy it. So to buy both Photoshop and Lightroom was (you guessed it), around $1,200. You literally either wrote a check for $1,200, or you didn’t use Photoshop and Lightroom — it was that simple. So, where does this all lead?
What I need…is a subscription plan
If I could subscribe to iZotope’s full version for $10 a month, it would be the fastest $10 I spent all year, but unfortunately they don’t offer a subscription plan at this point, so the reality is — I’m not going to get to use iZotope RX 7, and that makes me sad. Recording these dumb covers means a lot to me, but I don’t have a legit business case to use it. Yes, I know, I’m being a baby — I want pro-level software, but I’m not willing to pay the pro price. And while iZotope does offer a standard edition for $400, I don’t want the standard edition — I want the full version (not iZotope RX 7 “lite”), but this whole situation just brought Adobe’s move to subscription-based back to the top of my mind, and how lucky we are that we can have access to pro-level tools for our photography, even if we’re not working pros. We can use the best photo editing software on earth for our hobbies, or for whatever, for less than the cost of the chicken wing appetizer at Applebees. That’s sayin’ something, but we take it for granted (and we dang well shouldn’t).
So, I’m back to hoping that one day…
…I get lucky, and somebody posts the vocals-only track for one of those three songs. Now, if the folks at iZotope would offer a subscription plan, then I’d be all set, and I could do the isolating for those songs myself. The only problem is — if they did, I doubt it would be just $10 a month. Probably more like $40 or $50. I tell ya this; I’d probably do it for a year, just to have access to it, and to get all the songs done that I’d want to do for 2021, and then unsubscribe for year until I needed it again. Hey, ya never know, right?
I hope that gave you some perspective on why subscription plans make so much sense today, and why I’m glad Adobe went in the direction they did. Subscription plans provide us with way to use to software that we couldn’t make a reasonable financial case for using, and I’m all for that. Also, a high-five to Adobe for making their photographer’s bundle only $10 a month. That’s insanely cheap. Note to the folks at Izatope — Adobe’s got the pricing thing down. Do that! ;-)
Have a great week everybody. I have a feeling it’s about to get a whole lot better for us all really soon. See ya tomorrow right here. :)
P.S. If you’re at all into guitars (and if you stuck it out this long, you probably are), I’m the guest this week on the new BigScotty Guitar Podcast, and we talk about guitars, guitars, and more guitars (it was so much fun). Here’s the link if you want to give it a listen in the background while you’re retouching.
Last week I did a tutorial over at my Lightroom blog (LightroomKillerTips.com) and it was on how to create a 6-up layout in the print module (six tall images on one page). In that tutorial I showed how to use the Identify Plate so you can add text below your image. Even as I was writing the tutorial, I couldn’t help but think, “This is just a mess.”
It was Adobe that first brought professional type to computing — it’s in their DNA — heck a ton of our fonts have Adobe in the title, but when it came to Lightroom, it’s like Adobe got amnesia. Lightroom has the most limited type features of any program you have today on your computer. Any of them. Even Apple’s free TextEdit app runs rings about Lightroom’s type features…with one exception and that’s what this post is about.
Take a look at the Type panel from Lightroom Classic’s Book module (below):
Tracking, Leading, Kerning, Baseline Shift…actual real type controls and even text style presets. Real type controls, and this is already in Lightroom Classic inside the Book module.
Dear Adobe: Please copy this panel over to the Print Module and the Slideshow module.
You’ve already created it. It’s got a UI. It’s already a panel inside of Lightroom. It’s already there, just one module over. Please make type in Lightroom at least decent.
I know this might not be on the top of your Lightroom wish list, but this is already there. It’s not like we’re asking for a new feature — just take one that’s already there and copy it to where it will do more good. It’s low-hanging fruit. Pick it!
Thanks for listening. :)
P.S.I’m off to San Diego tomorrow for my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” seminar on Wed, and then in Phoenix on Thursday. Nearly 500 photographers are coming out – if you’re not signed up, it’s not too late. Here’s the link for tickets and more info.