Category Archives Guest Blogger


The Zen of Photowalking
When Scott first started the Guest Blog segment he told me that I was going to be on the hook for one in the future. I figured it was no big deal, I mean hey, I blog every day, right? What could be so hard?

Then he started rolling out the parade of superstar personalities that reads like a Who's Who of the Photography world. I wasn't really sure how I was going to contribute anything of value after the likes of Vincent Versace, Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, and so on.

Then the other day Scott and I were talking about the plans for his World Wide Photowalk and I knew I finally had my in. Having hosted several photowalks I can say with some confidence that I know my way around these events. With that being said, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on what makes a photowalk so special and how you can maximize your experience when participating in one.

Most photographers have walked, camera in hand, through unfamiliar spaces, shooting their way along their route. So what makes this any different from a photowalk? It's the social aspect of sharing the experience that makes photowalking so unique. Many of the photowalks that I have hosted were attended by complete strangers but they all had two things in common, a love of photography and a desire to share their passion with like-minded people. I was reminded of this fact during my last photowalk in Georgetown.



Digital Photographers and the iPhone/iPod touch

More and more photographers I know are now carrying around their portfolios in their pockets. The iPhone and iPod touch makes for a perfect portable pocket sized slideshow device. At a minimum you have 8GB’s of space, which is quite a bit for small JPEGs. Also, if you were only showing your best work, you would only need to show your best 20-24 shots anyway. So storage space is not really a concern. Also these devices have really nice large 4″ displays. The color is fantastic and the brightness is great.

I not only use my iPhone to show off my portfolio, but I also don”t hesitate to whip it out (the iPhone of course) when people ask me “how’s the family doing?” I have the latest shots of my two girls on it all times. I also have older photos too so that they can see how much they’ve grown. Although the iPhone integrates quite nicely with Apple’s software products such as iPhoto and Aperture, I’m a Photoshop Lightroom user. I also shoot in RAW almost exclusively. So I need a method to get those RAW files into manageable JPEG files and to get them over to the iPhone.

Luckily, whether you’re on a Mac or a Windows PC, you can use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to automate the entire process. It’s all in the Export presets. I have several Export presets setup in Lightroom for all the various ways I share photos. I also have one setup specifically to go to iPhoto. Now I realize iPhoto is a Mac only app. Don’t worry PC users, I’ve got you covered too. Hang in there with me. Since the iPhone can sync which ever photos and albums you specify in iTunes from iPhoto, it makes sense to take advantage of this app since it comes with every new Mac.

Let me be clear! I don’t use iPhoto to manage my photos. I use Lightroom. However, I do take my best/favorite shots from LR into iPhoto as JPEGs. Once those shots are in iPhoto I can then sync them to my iPhone, iPod or Apple TV.

Here’s how to set it up:


1) Open LR and select one or more photos

2) Either click the Export button or choose Export from the File menu to bring up the Export dialog box.


3) Next you’ll need to set up your settings. First you’ll need to choose a folder to export your images to. I’ve created one in my Pictures called “For iPhoto”. You can also setup if your File naming if you want it to be custom. Otherwise it will use your existing file names.

4) The next section is for File Settings. Here is where you set the format to JPEG. Color space to Adobe RGB and quality of 60 or higher. I like 80 personally.

5) In the next section we have Image Sizing. This is where you set the maximum size of the images that are going to be exported. If your images are going to only be shown on an iPhone or iPod touch, then you can set the dimensions to 480 x 480. If your images are going to be shown on an Apple TV or an iPhone/iPod connected to a TV, then make the width 1920 and the height 1024. This is 1080 HD resolution. There’s no need to go any higher than that as the TV won’t show them any bigger than that. I set mine to 1920×1080, which is the most I’ll ever need, and the iPhone and iPod touch will size them appropriately as they sync. As far as the resolution goes, 72 PPI works fine.


6) There’s not much of a need to do anything in Metadata here as these images are just for show and not being seen on a computer. So you can skip down to the Post-Processing section. If you’re a PC user. You’re done. That’s right, your export will go to the folder we setup in step 3 and you can use iTunes to point to that folder to sync your images to your iPhone, iPod or Apple TV. Simply click the Add button to add this as a custom preset and give it a name. Have a nice day. However, if you’re on a Mac, you can take it to the next level by having LR send the photos directly to iPhoto after they’ve been exported. There is an “After Export” popup menu in the Post Processing area. Click it and choose “Go to Export Actions Folder Now”. This will take you back to the Finder and show you your Export Actions Folder.


7) Find the iPhoto application icon in your Applications folder. You’re going to make an alias of iPhoto into your Export Actions Folder. The easiest fastest way to do this is to hold down the Command and Option keys and drag the iPhoto icon into your Export Actions Folder. You should see an alias of iPhoto (an icon with a little curved arrow on it) in your Export Actions Folder. Also your iPhoto application should still be in your Applications folder. You can now close these folders and go back to LR.


8) Now from the After Export popup, you should be able to choose iPhoto. Once you do, click the Add button on the left to add this custom export preset to your menu. You can click Cancel and give it a spin. Choose Export from the File menu and choose your new “For iPhoto” preset. This will export the JPEGs to a folder that are the right size and resolution and then if you’re on a Mac, it will import them automatically into iPhoto. From there you can arrange them into albums.

Hey, if you want to see me do this whole thing from start to finish, check out this video:


A few weeks ago Scott invited me to start thinking about a topic for an appearance as guest blogger. I had come up with an idea that I'd been fleshing out when I read Stephen Johnson's column last week. I'm telling you this to make it clear that my column is not in response to Stephen's, nor it is intended as a rebuttal - if anything, it's just interesting timing that my column follows Stephen's.

I think it's also important to note that after reading Stephen's column I chose not to read any of the comments since I wanted my thoughts to be mine alone, not influenced by the comments of others (although I certainly plan to go and read those comments once this column is published). So with that bit of background information (disclaimer?), here's what I have in mind.

In my travels as an instructor (I always wanted to start a sentence with "In my travelsâ¦") I get the wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with lots of very interesting people. Often our discussion revolves around two schools of thought: "get it right in the camera" versus "fix it in Photoshop". When asked which approach I take I usually answer with either "it depends" or, "there's a third possibility" (more on that later).

Generally speaking my goal is to get it right in-camera - or at least to get it really really close to what I want, so that I can tweak it a little in Photoshop. When I was in Maine last Fall I had the time to set up my tripod and experiment with settings and I'm pleased to say that the majority of my photos needed very little adjusting. I came very close to getting the result I wanted, right out of the camera. I didn't rely on Photoshop, but it did provide some valuable assistance here and there.


Last August I had the pleasure of visiting Alaska and ran into a slightly different situation. We had taken a boat from our ship and had been wandering around a small town for a few hours when I came across a really interesting location I wanted to shoot. Just as I started to get set up I heard the call that the boat was leaving, so I figured I had two choices: miss the boat to get the perfect shot, or grab a quick shot knowing that I might be able to get what I wanted by creating two exposures from Camera Raw (which I did and I was very happy with the resulting photo). In this case I did rely on Photoshop to "come to my rescue" because of the circumstances.


So this is where the "it depends" comes into play: I strive to get the look I want in-camera but when the circumstances call for it, I take advantage of the tools available to me in Photoshop and Camera Raw to tweak my photos. I don't think of that as "fixing it" as much as fine-tuning to get the result that I want. So, I change my approach slightly, depending on the situation.

But I think there's a third option, and this one excites me the most, and that is to shoot with Photoshop in mind: take advantage of digital technology to create things you never could (or would be much harder to do) traditionally. To create images that combine great photography with the power of Photoshop. There are plenty of examples of what I mean, for instance photographers such as Joey Lawrence and Dave Hill who have "signature" looks that combine great lighting/photography with post-processing. [links: Joey Lawrence and Dave Hill]

Or photographers who capture separate images with the intention of combining them in Photoshop. Here's an example from the work of NAPP member James Quantz Jr. He creates wonderful images from photos that he takes with the express purpose of compositing them later in Photoshop. []


I love taking multiple photos while I picture in my mind how I will combine them in Photoshop. Does that make the end result less of a photograph? Maybe in the traditional sense it does, but I don't think we can discount this as a photographic art form: rather than attempting to capture the scene as my eyes saw it, I'm creating the illusion of something that never was.


I think there's a place for all these different approaches: get it right in the camera, tweak it in Photoshop and shooting to take advantage of Photoshop. I also believe that there are different breeds of photographers, and that some of us really enjoy the Photoshop process and see it as part of making a great image. And I don't think there's anything wrong with taking advantage of Photoshop - just as I applaud the goal of getting it right in-camera or making minor adjustments. Just as there's many different ways to achieve something in Photoshop, there's various ways to take advantage of our cameras and the technology that's available to us. What a great possibility that offers us.

The Intrigue of Complexity

Art seems rarely achieved through complex techniques, hidden features or secret workflows. This is particularly true in the digital era where the distraction of the software itself can make the creative process become stymied in menus and self-doubt regarding using the program to its fullest potential. Add to this a steep learning curve inherent in the current transition to digital photography and you have a situation where “tricks” can effect results more than vision.

Any state of technology in flux, and in demand, also produces many willing to share their expertise. The seduction of photography as a career, combined with the vast reach of the internet, has produced a unique opportunity for those interested in a platform from which to pontificate, some well informed, some anxious to be noticed. It could be said that my words here are such a platform.

My concern is the level of distraction I am seeing in people struggling to understand this new medium of digital photography. I’ve seen people expend hours and hundreds of dollars pursuing complex solutions to problems that really didn’t exist. They were sure though, that they had to follow some special path because they read it on the internet, usually from someone with little or no reputation as a photographer or educator. These “special techniques” are often employed before an understanding of Photoshop’s built-in capabilities are understood, adding inexperience to sometimes questionable information, wasting aspiring photographers’ money, time, and more importantly, their emotional commitment which can be heavily impacted from great effort and less than remarkable results.

Contributing to this seems to be a conspiracy of unrealistic expectations. Manufacturers often contribute to this by promising print sizes well beyond their camera’s resolution capability. The seduction of big prints from moderate files leads many to lower their image quality expectations, rather than raise image quality, which is what I think can happen with digital imagery. There is a reason large-format cameras have traditionally been used, to achieve large prints with great detail. That really hasn’t changed. Also contributing is the “Tips and Tricks” mentality that has permeated the Photoshop experience since the early 1990s. Solid image editing is far less about secrets, trickery, hidden features and shortcuts, than it is about starting with a strong photograph, knowing your goals, and methodically working toward them. Craft is not tricky; it is most often plain hard work and care.

In the same sense that many software packages have promised to transform photographs into “art” (without even realizing the insult that statement carries), many workflows, plug-ins and Photoshop Actions now promise truly innovative and professional results if only you will use their stuff instead of the mere pre-packaged Photoshop capabilities. While there is real innovation and sophisticated interaction with digital images made easier by many of these offerings, far more seem to be distracting users from the real issues at hand--making better photographs, heartfelt and strongly seen. There is a presumption that one can process a photograph into significance. Editing rarely creates beauty and saturation controls are not beauty sliders.

More energy seems to be expended on editing the photograph in Photoshop than spending time making the photograph. If a day ends with hundreds of images having been made, you are either in the midst of exploding events, in a place beautiful and complex almost beyond belief, or possibly you are being haphazard in your making of photographs, hoping for one or two to be successful. Casually seen photographs are usually casually appreciated at best. Intensity and strength far more often comes from time spent and care expended.

I would strongly urge people to see simply, and edit simply. Your photographs are your asset, much more so than your Photoshop skills. Those image-editing skills may well be critical to your craft, but they are secondary to your photographic vision. “Fix it in Photoshop” is a prescriptive attitude that often leads to making images not worth investing time trying to salvage through image editing.

Stephen Johnson is a photographer, designer and teacher. His photographic work has concentrated on landscape projects – exploring wild, endangered spaces, and human altered lands, while focusing on soft color and abstract design. He has also worked on refining the new tools of digital photography with the hope of empowering individual artists to use these tools to express their ideas. He has been teaching photography workshops since 1978, digital imaging since 1989, and served as a consultant and advisor to many of the companies involved in the development of digital imaging including Adobe Systems, Agfa, Apple Computer, Eastman Kodak, Epson, Foveon, Gretag-Macbeth, Hewlett Packard, Leaf Systems, Microsoft and X-rite. He is the author of five books, including his seminal “Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography” in 2006. He was named into the Photoshop Hall of Fame in 2003 and by Canon as an Explorer of Light in 2006. For more info, click here.

A couple of weeks ago Scott proposed a simple, seductive idea: Why doesn’t Adobe simply let users tell us what they want, then pick the top X features from their list & agree to implement them? Seems like the most obvious thing in the world, doesn’t it?


“The customer is always right”–right? And yet I’m reminded of a pair of quotations:


  • “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” — Wayne Gretzky
  • “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” — Henry Ford


Democracy, in product development, is not a recipe for innovation. (Think the original iMac & its missing floppy drive were the product of democracy?) Groupthink produces evolution, not revolution. It may well be a recipe for customer satisfaction, at least to some degree, and we don’t discount it. But it’s not enough.


If you’re using Photoshop every day for work, you’re likely concerned with getting the next job done & putting bread on the table. You know the handful of changes you’d like to see made & why they’d make a difference. That’s cool, and we care–a lot. But you’re probably much less concerned with pondering the program in the abstract, thinking about how all the pieces connect & how it could be made holistically better.


That’s where we come in. My job is to talk to people from across the insanely diverse range of those who use Photoshop–and some who don’t, but who we think should–and to figure out the “next next” thing.


Let me give you an example from Photoshop’s history. It’s hard to imagine now, but for many years Photoshop supported only a single level of undo. Customers rightly clamored for multiple undos. They didn’t ask, however, for the History palette, much less the History Brush, snapshots, and related other features. It’s possible that the PS team (of which I wasn’t a part until later) could have delivered a simple, straightforward multiple undo system sooner than they did. By looking beyond the immediate requests however–by really thinking about what we needed, not just requested–they were able to deliver real breakthroughs that remain unmatched more than 10 years later.


Simply doing what your customers say carries significant risks. For one thing, it tends to paint you into a corner: you add ever-tweakier refinements for the same vocal group, neglecting the customers you don’t have (but whom you need in order to grow). For another, what customers say they want and what they actually need often differ. James Surowiecki nails it: “The strange truth about feature creep is that even when you give consumers what they want they can still end up hating you for it.”


Our job is to strike a balance, offering a mix of sizzle (“Oh my God,” only-in-Photoshop breakthroughs) and steak (sigh-of-relief, block-and-tackle stuff) while working like hell to enable the “next next” things.


It’s frustrating that laying plumbing for the future often takes a number of years during which progress isn’t visible. In the meantime we’re vulnerable to the perception that “Adobe just doesn’t get it; see, they haven’t touched filter X in ages…” It’s of course not obvious that we’re toiling away behind the scenes, working on, say, a fast-as-hell filter mechanism, or on changes that will make Photoshop massively more configurable and task-based over time. These things take a while. (I’m reminded of the line, “It might look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level, I’m really quite busy.”)


If we didn’t invest for the future, however–if we just did what people request–we’d shortchange customers in the long run. It’s worth withholding short-term fixes in order to deliver what we know people really want and need, albeit sometimes a little later.


Now, turning to the Top 10 list of requested features that Scott posted on Monday, I’ll toss out a few thoughts:


  • Points 2 & 4 (both requesting filters as adjustment layers) are seductive, but very tricky. When the CS3 public beta launched, I wrote up a detailed piece called The Secret Life of Smart Filters, in which I explain why we specifically didn’t implement what people say they want–namely, filters as adjustment layers. Short story: We try not to put big “Hurt Me” buttons into Photoshop. Read my post for more background.


  • Point 8 says, “Make everything ‘Smart’ by default.” Ah–another one where many devils are in the details. Kill a few brain cells reading my discussion of Simplicity vs. Power to learn about the challenges of non-destructiveness in Photoshop. In any case, though, point taken: it’s important to make “best practices” the norm, and for that we have to grind away the remaining rough edges. This is far from an overnight change, but we are working on it.


  • It’s interesting that faster performance didn’t rate higher on the list. On the one hand, I’d like to take this as a good sign that our work in CS3 to speed up Photoshop’s launch time, take advantage of multi-core systems, etc. has paid off & that people are happy. On the other, there’s no such thing as “too fast,” and quicker performance is the best possible feature: there’s nothing to learn. Therefore I think all the muscle we’re pouring into R&D to leverage graphics hardware acceleration & 64-bit computing will make folks happy.


  • Much to my eternal frustration (and probably yours), we’ll never have enough time to implement even 10% of the good ideas that come our way. That’s why I’ve championed extensibility: let’s make it radically easier to customize & build upon Photoshop. I got an earful when I talked about using Flash to extend the Photoshop UI, but that’s because people haven’t seen what it’ll enable. (I can at least tell you that Scott likes what’s planned–a lot.) I have a lot of faith that if we make it ridiculously easy to tune the application and share one’s work, we’ll unleash a new wave of innovators. Let the Photoshop Nation rock out.


  • Matt Kloskowski made a number of good suggestions, but I have to push back on two things. One, I think translucent interface elements generally suck: they make it harder to see both what you’re adjusting and the controls for adjusting it. (Remember the hard-to-read menus in early OS X, the maligned translucent menu bar in Leopard, or the pointlessly blurry window borders in Vista?) Note that this is different from offering in-context, on-canvas adjustment tools. Two, the answer to old & suckful dialog boxes isn’t “make the dialogs better.” Rather, it’s “kill the dialogs.” Photoshop should do more things non-modally, previewing right on the canvas, more as they’re done in Camera Raw, Lightroom, and After Effects.


I’ve rambled on long enough, I think, but I hope I’ve provided at least a little useful perspective. Thanks for all the suggestions, and to Scott & co. for organizing the survey and giving me a chance to post here. It’s an honor, a battle, and a pleasure to wrestle with the challenges of trying to make Photoshop into just what you want and need.


Thanks for listening,



PS–Oh, and by the way, lest I forget: yes, we’re changing the default stroke color to black. Just thought you’d want to know. :-)


If I could design/redesign Photoshop’s dialogs and palettes

Hi everyone. I’d like to first thank Scott for having me as a guest today and I’d like to thank you for giving some of the most valuable asset you have – time. To that end, let’s get right to it. There’s two aspects to this post. The first is very passive – you sit and read and look at my ideas. But the second part is very much active. See, I’ve created a PSD file with all the makings of a skeleton dialog box in Photoshop. You can try your hand at making your own and share them with everyone. More on that later though.

If you’ve ever read Scott’s Photoshop Channels Book you’d have seen that he totally redesigned the Calculations adjustment dialog to one that is a little easier to understand. I remember seeing it and thinking what a neat idea it was. Since then, every once in a while we’ll kick around ideas at the office about how we’d design or layout a dialog or palette or even ideas for new dialogs we have. Well, I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and actually design them as well as share them with thousands of people. It could be a smashing success or a huge failure but I have to say I had a total blast doing it. Let’s take a look:

1. Layer Style Dialog – Set as Default button

I’m kicking it off with an oldie but a goodie. One simple button added to one dialog would make such a huge difference. Yep, the Layer Style dialog. Lots of people poke fun at it – especially the default red color for the Stroke setting. But there’s lots of other little things in there that don’t look right either. Like the Drop Shadow. It’s default settings are too fake for most applications and if you don’t change them then you can spot your fake Photoshop drop shadow a mile away. But here’s the thing. I don’t think it’s Adobe’s responsibility to predict the settings we like best. They’ve got enough on their plate. We all like something different and there is absolutely no way that they’ll please everyone. You can bet that as soon as they change the default red stroke, the community of “Red Stroke Lovers” will cry out like you wouldn’t believe. So I propose this. Add one simple button to the dialog that always stays in the same place – Set As Default. That way, when I’m messing around and I come up with a combination I like I just click “Set As Default”. Next time I go in there, those are the settings that I see first. If I need to change ’em I can, or I can set new defaults if I prefer. Either way, we all win. Adobe doesn’t have to worry about pleasing everyone with their choices and we are freed of the dreaded red stroke and fake drop shadows.{guestmattk} Layer Style

2. File > Automate > The Watermarker

This is one of my favorites. Seriously, think of the hoops you have to jump through right now to watermark a folder of images. First you need to create an action. One that watermarks regardless of width and height. Oh yeah, throw resolution into there as well and good luck coming up with ONE action that does it all. Then, you need to know how to use the Batch dialog which really isn’t that hard but when you couple it with the fact that you need to make an action it’s just too much for a task that photographers and designers on the web absolutely need these days. So my dialog is affectionately known as The Watermarker (you have to say it in a deep radio announcer voice though – with reverb preferably). I know, the name is kind of lame but it makes sense. It’s very similar to the Image Processor. You choose which images you want to watermark and then where you want to save them. Next you pick what formats you want to save in and whether or not you need to resize (which for web you would). Finally, you choose your watermark style. The default is just a big copyright symbol. However, you can choose text or even select your own logo. Then you can control the size of the watermark as well as where you want it placed. It even has a nice big preview.the-watermarker2.jpg

3. Camera Raw Palette

This one is simple in nature but very likely extremely difficult in implementation. Doesn’t mean I can’t dream though. See, if I work on a raw photo, I’d like to not go back out to another dialog to adjust something in the raw settings. I’d love to have a little palette or dialog right there in Photoshop that I can adjust and have my image update. I realize this is totally crazy and defies the laws of everything raw but you never know what those Adobe engineers can pull off. They’re some of the best in the world and if anyone can do it I bet they can. Think about this… 5 years ago, did you ever think you’d be able to do non-destructive retouching and selective edits on a raw file? Probably not, but if you take a look at Lightroom 2 beta you’ll see it’s happening today. {guestmattk} Camera Raw

4. Blend Mode Dialog/Palette

This is probably one of the oddest dialogs I’ve designed. Mainly because I can’t exactly tell why I want it but I really think i do. I’ve always thought it was a pain to have to cycle through all the blend modes in the Layers palette. Then, what happens if you find 2 that you like and want to compare them. You really have no way of seeing them next to each other. So I thought up a little icon that you could click on the layer in the layers palette. This would pop open the Blend Mode Viewer window or dialog. Then you could see all of them in one place. I’ve also reordered them to put the most useful at the top and even left a few out. And you’d be able to see a larger view of the current selection at the top of the dialog. It’s a big dialog I know but I’d love some type of blend mode helper. blendmode.jpg

5. Grunge Filter

Let’s face it. Grunge has been around since the 90’s (made popular by rock bands that didn’t shower and wore flannel shirts that could practically walk around themselves they hadn’t been washed in so long), and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Especially when it comes to Photoshop. For years we’ve had to come up with these convoluted ways to create this effect so I’ve decided to create my own Grunge Filter. Complete with a Basic option which lets you set your Amount of grunge and an Advanced option that let’s you really drill down into the texture and settings. But it goes beyond Grunge. I think the concept of adding some trendy filters could really be cool here. If there’s a new, hip, stylish trend out there then go ahead and add it as a filter (or whatever). It’s a way to keep Photoshop a little edgier and remove the need for folks to apply 7 filters at a time to achieve a popular effect. {guestmattk} Grunge Basic{guestmattk} Grunge Advanced

6. Resize Handle for Filters

Here’s a really quick one. While I’m on the topic of Filters, I had another thought – adding a resize handle to the filter dialog box that resizes the whole thing. That way, if you want a large preview and you have the screen real estate for it then go for it. If not, then you can keep it sized down. Again, it’s one of those things that puts the control in our hands so some one else doesn’t have to decide what screen size we have or how large we like our dialogs. {guestmattk} Resize

7. Semi-transparent and get-out-of-the-way dialogs

This one applies to everything. I’d really like for my dialogs to be semi-transparent like iPhoto’s are. That way I can see what I’m working on if one gets in the way. I’d also like them to scoot, or disappear or just plain get out of the way as my selection tool or brush comes close to it so I can continue working without having to stop and move the dialog. That’s more of a functional thing then it is a redesign thing and it’s really hard to show in a static graphic but I thought I’d see if I could sneak one past ya :) {guestmattk} See-Thru

7b. A Dark Interface and Dialogs

Keeping with the same theme of making the interface look cooler, I’d love to see a gray or black Lightroom-like interface. I know that’s really pushing it but think of how cool Photoshop would look if it were black!dark-interface.jpg8. White Balance adjustment layerI’d also like to see a White Balance adjustment layer. Personally, I use Camera Raw and Lightroom but so many folks out there don’t. I think the White Balance selector tool as well as the presets and sliders in Camera Raw work really well for color correction. Plus, the addition of having this as an adjustment layer would give us a mask which means we can selectively edit parts of the photo instead of everything. And I really like Lightroom’s implementation of the White Balance selector. When you hover over a part of the photo, the preview shows you what it would look like if you selected that point as the neutral gray point. It takes a lot of the trial and error away from color correction. We could simply use the image preview in the dialog for just that purpose. It would constantly update as I dragged the eyedropper around the photo. whitebalance3.jpg

9. Black and White Dialog (Like variations but with an Advanced tab)

I really like the way the Smart Sharpen filter is laid out and I especially like the Basic/Advanced tabs. I think it would be great to see this concept carried over to other dialogs. Not necessarily to dumb them down though. I like the fact that those who don’t know or need all of the advanced settings can just move a slider or click a thumbnail (knowing full well, they won’t have control over the effects). But then those that really know the details can drill into the Advanced tab. I also like the idea behind the Variations adjustment a lot. Basically you just click the one that looks better. So I propose marrying the two in the Black and White adjustment dialog and maybe even in some other dialogs as well. In the Basic tab, you just click the one you like. In the Advanced tab (which looks like the B&W adjustment does now), you have full access to all the sliders to mix the B&W any way you want. {guestmattk} Black and White Basic{guestmattk} Black and White Advanced

10. Before/After View

This one is a bit more of an interface change then a palette or dialog. However, I think we’re in dire need of it so I wanted to include a quick design on how to get it in there. Right now, there’s really no easy way to see a before/after view of your image. I’d like to see the Before view be the image as it was when I first opened it in Photoshop and the After be the point where I’m at now. You could toggle between seeing the before/after view side by side, side by side split, or top to bottom. Even if it were just a button I could press to momentarily show me the before image that would be great. Anything is better then having to go to the History palette to see it now. beforeafter2.jpg


Yep, you’re not getting away that easy. You have a little homework here and you get to pick on what level you want to contribute. 1) Just leave a comment here on the site as to which one(s) are your favorites (if any). 2) I’ve included a PSD file for you to download. It has all the makings of a skeleton dialog box. Download it and make your own. I’ve even got instructions on what font to use in it to make yours look like Adobe’s do. Then a) Upload it to the flickr site I created for these dialogs (or your own website if you’d like) and. b) Leave a comment here telling us about the dialog you created and a link to the flickr/web page where it’s at. I know it involves some work but I (and I’m sure everyone else out there) would love to see some of the things you guys come up with.

– Here’s the PSD file.

Here’s a link to the Flickr website group for these dialogs (

Well folks, that ends my guest blogger day here on Scott’s blog. Thanks again to Scott and everyone who reads and comments here at the blog. Take care! – Matt Kloskowski