Photoshop Automator Actions Now Compatible with Photoshop CC

February 5, 2014 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: General 

The latest version of the Photoshop Automator Actions collection, version 5.0.7 is now compatible with Photoshop CC, in addition to CS4, CS5, CS5.5, and CS6. All users will want to upgrade, though, since the new version includes important bug fixes to file naming and the Edit IPTC Info action. Requires Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion or Mavericks. The update is available for free to current owners of the CS6, CS5, CS5.5, and CS4 packages. For new users, there’s still a free version, and a $20 pro option. Note that upgrades only work within Photoshop versions. So, if you have, say, the CS6 version and want the CC version, you’ll have to buy the CC version separately. (Yes, that’s a very messy sentence, but it’s late and I’m too tired to clean it up.) Check out the actions here, at our sister site.

Alien Skin Exposure 4

November 9, 2012 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

To me, one of the most unexpected byproducts of digital photography is that it has rekindled tremendous interest in film processes of one kind or another. Alien Skin’s Exposure 4 plug-in for Photoshop lets you explore all sorts of film processes without ever having to soak your hands in noxious chemicals. I recently spent some time with the latest version, and was pleased to find that it remains an excellent option for users who want either a specific traditional film look, or any kind of analog, or grunge process. You can read my entire review here.

Now Shipping: Complete Digital Photography, 7th Edition

July 16, 2012 by · 18 Comments
Filed under: General 

The seventh, and latest, edition of this site’s namesake book is now available. The newest version of Complete Digital Photography features full updating for Photoshop CS6, the latest version of Camera Raw, and new sections on composition, low light shooting, printing, and workflow. For the most part, the book maintains the organization of the last edition, with a few new sections and a few others eliminated. In addition to the included step-by-step post-production tutorials included in the book, many additional tutorials are included on the companion web pages. Order your copy now!

Experimenting With Less Contrast

February 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Features 

In most of your image editing endeavors, you probably find yourself striving to achieve more contrast in your images. This probably leads you to crank up black points, and make sure your whites are as white as possible. There are times, though, when less contrast will give you a better image. I first covered this idea in 2005, in this article. Recently, the subject came to my attention again, as I decided that the best way to handle an image was to dramatically reduce the contrast. This time, I took a different approach to solving the problem.

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Now Available: Foundations of Photography, HDR

November 1, 2011 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: General 

As amazing as current digital camera technology is, it can’t compare with those two squishy orbs in the front of your head. In addition to great autofocus, exceptional white balance, and amazing low light capabilities, your eyes also have tremendous dynamic range (that is, an ability to perceive an extremely wide range of dark to light). In fact, your eyes probably have almost twice the dynamic range as the digital camera you’re currently using.

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All Photos Are Manipulated

November 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Unlike film photographers, most of whom would never have considered carrying a darkroom with them, (though there are some that do) as digital shooters we expect to have a little post-production capability in the field, if for no other reason than to offload media. While I normally travel with a Macbook Air, or a netbook Hackintosh, for this trip, I decided to try to make due with only an iPad, for a few different reasons.

The whole story of what I did, and how it worked is detailed right here.

Is the 13″ Macbook Air A Good Laptop for the Digital Photographer?

November 11, 2010 by · 21 Comments
Filed under: Features 

I travel a lot, and when on the road I typically carry several cameras, a computer, my Kindle, all the associated chargers, cords, extra hard drives and other accoutrements necessary to move my digital world with me. If there’s any room left over, I also consider taking clothes and those other secondary items. Needless to say, my bag’s heavy, so I’m constantly looking for ways to lighten it. For the past couple of years I’ve been carrying a 13" Macbook, which has been a great computer, and fully capable of everything I need for months-long excursions. But it was very difficult not to note the new 13" Macbook Air upon its release. More specifically, to note that it weighs 1.5 pounds less than my 13" Macbook. What wasn’t obvious was whether it was enough computer to handle a digital photo workflow. So I bought one. Here’s how it stacks up.

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Photoshop CS5 Landscape Photography on DVD

August 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Features 

Learn the ins and outs of landscape photography with this 6.75-hour course from Lynda.com. In it, I cover gear, shooting, aesthetics and lots and lots of post-production using Photoshop CS5. You’ll learn about landscape-specific exposure issues, tone and color correction, manipulating light and shadow, HDR, panoramic shooting, thinking like a painter, and much more. This is the full content of the online course, and you can learn all about it, and even order a copy (believe it or not) right here.

Pixelmator 1.6 – Inexpensive Image Editing

August 10, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Photoshop’s a great image editor, and all, but you need a lot of money to get it. If you’re a Mac-based photographer who’s been looking for a more affordable alternative, and iPhoto is not for you, then you might want to consider Pixelmator, an incredibly speedy Photoshop alternative that offers a fair amount of power at a reasonable price. Read the full review here.

Alien Skin Exposure 3

August 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

A photographer friend recently sent me this extraordinary collection of color images shot during the Depression. One of the things that’s fascinating about looking at them is that we simply are not accustomed to this subject matter being in color. It’s a fine example of McCluhan’s “medium is the message” idea. Your choices of black and white or color, grungy or sharp, saturated or muted – all of these have a huge impact on the reaction the viewer will have. For film photographers, many of these decisions are determined by film choice, and the ability to choose specific films to achieve a particular look or feel is one of the great advantages of film shooting. Alien Skin Exposure, a sophisticated film-simulating Photoshop plug-in, gives this same power to digital photographers.

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Photoshop/Automator Tutorial Movies

July 27, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Automator Tutorial Movies 

While the Photoshop Automator Actions ship with a lengthy, detailed, can’t-put-it-down user manual, there are times when an old-fashioned screencast is still an easier way to learn a new piece of software. Assuming that this is one of those times, I have put together the first in a series of movies that detail how to use Automator to drive Photoshop.

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Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.1

July 27, 2010 by · 69 Comments
Filed under: Automator Actions 

If you routinely find yourself slogging through tedious, repetitve chores in Photoshop, then you should try using Automator to streamline your batch processing chores. Built-in to Mac OS X 10.4 and later, Automator makes it simple to create sophisticated, complex automations. Out-of-the-box, Automator can’t control Adobe Photoshop, but with the addition of this Photoshop Automator Actions collection, you get everything necessary to drive Photoshop using Automator.

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Editing and Printing iPhone Images

July 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Features 

Only a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have spent any time talking about shooting with a cell phone camera. It’s not that I have anything against lo-fi imagery, it’s just that for years, cell phone cameras were more akin to no-fi photography. The iPhone offers a very good camera (for a cell phone) as well as the ability to edit images on the device, and print. (If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth a look to see an extremely serious application of the iPhone camera.) If you’ve been wondering about editing your iPhone images, this article will help you get started, while this will walk you through printing – both from the phone, and from your computer.

CS5 Optional Plug-ins now available from Adobe

May 24, 2010 by · 17 Comments
Filed under: Features 

As mentioned earlier, CS5 doesn’t ship with the optional plug-ins that were bundled with CS4. But now, Adobe has posted CS5-compatible versions for free download. Picture Package (formerly ContactSheet II), PatternMaker, PhotomergeUI, Web Photo Gallery, Script for Layer Comps to Web Photo Gallery, Texture presets for Texturizer, TWAIN, a few additional formats and some other odds and ends. You can download the whole package here.

Photoshop CS5 Full Review

May 12, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Photoshop CS5 has been shipping for a couple of weeks now, and if you follow such things, you’ve probably already heard about its new features. Photoshop serves many markets, from photography to graphic design to movie and web site production, so determining an overall assessment of the program can be tricky, as different markets have different needs. For photographers, though, Content-Aware Fill and the new Camera Raw are reason enough to upgrade. Many other features abound, and you can read about them in my comprehensive review.

Wacom Cintiq 21ux

May 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

As I’ve said before, anyone who performs a lot of image editing needs a pressure-sensitive tablet, and no one makes better tablets than Wacom. A lot of people, though, don’t like the coordination of drawing in one place while looking at another. For these people, Wacom has long sold the Cintiq line of screen/tablet combos. These are LCD screens that have a built in pressure sensitive tablet.

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Topaz Labs Photoshop Bundle

March 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Topaz Labs has been producing Photoshop filters aimed at photographers (as opposed to design-oriented plug-ins) for a while now, and – for good reason – their collection has developed a good reputation. For adding "punch" to an image, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a simpler solution than Topaz Adjust. But one of the most impressive features of the Topaz Labs plug-ins are their very low price. For only $179 you can get a bundle of five plug-in packages that provide everything from color and tone manipulation to sharpening and stylizing. However, the trick to getting good results from these plug-ins is knowing their weaknesses, and learning when enough Topaz is enough. To learn more, and to see some examples, check out my detailed review.

Why You Need a Pressure-Sensitive Tablet

March 17, 2010 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Over the years, I’ve found that photographers tend to fall into two categories: those that edit heavily, and those that rarely edit at all. Of course, this is a generalization, and most users do some kind of editing. But in general, it seems like photographers either edit heavily, or they simply try to work with what comes out of the camera. If you’re the type who edits heavily, then you should seriously consider getting a pressure-sensitive tablet. For re-touching, cutting masks, or performing any painting-based edits, a tablet can make your editing process much easier, and even enable some edits that are impossible, or extremely difficult, with a mouse. If you’re not clear why you might want a tablet, here’s a detailed discussion of the advantages, and a look (with video) at the new Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless tablet..

The Gallery of Forgotten Images

February 16, 2010 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Galleries 

Everyone has their quirks, and while I’d rather not go into a list of mine, (since they all seem perfectly reasonable to me) it’s worth mentioning one photo-related quirk. While not always true, for the most part, when I return from a shoot, I usually don’t look at any of my images. Sometimes, in fact, I wait months before reviewing my shots. I understand that I’m in the minority in this regard, and that there are a number of arguments for why you should review your images right away. And while I’m not going to try to convince anyone that letting images “cure” for a while is the best practice, I am going to show some examples here of how returning for another look at projects you thought were finished can lead to some nice discoveries.

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Alien Skin Bokeh

October 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Shallow depth of field is one of the most important tools in any photographer’s arsenal. Depth of field is the measure of how much of your image is in focus, and shooting with shallow depth of field provides you with another way to bring focus to your subject. The ability to shoot with shallow depth of field is especially useful for portrait and sports shooters. However, achieving shallow depth of field requires a fast lens (that is, a lens that can open to a wide aperture) and you may not always have such a lens with your. Or, you might simply not realize at the time you’re shooting that a shallow depth of field is what the image needs. For those times when you need to remove depth of field from an image, Alien Skin has a Photoshop plug-in that can help.

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