Photoshop Automator Actions 5.0.3 Update

The Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.3 Updater is now available. This package updates delivers numerous bug fixes and tweaks, and adds Lion compatibility. Available for CS4 and CS5, the update is free to all users of both the free and Pro versions of the Photoshop Automator Actions Collection version 5. Updates are available here.

For this updater to work, you must have a copy of the version 5 package installed. (Obviously, you’ll need to install the updater package that matches the version that you have installed, either CS4 or CS5, free or Pro.)

 

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

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. Read more »

The Mac Netbook Revisited

With Apple’s announcement of the iPad, there’s a lot of talk lately about the “death of the netbook.” But for the photographer, a netbook is still a much better alternative to any other portable option. Smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a typical laptop, a netbook provides plenty of storage for offloading images, but can run the same software that you use on your everyday computer. In addition to replacing your digital wallet-type device, having a real keyboard and connectivity options make netbooks capable terminals for the traveling photographer. If you’re a Mac user, though, you won’t find any netbook options from Apple. However, it’s now easier than ever to hack certain netbooks to run the latest version of Snow Leopard.

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Epson, Snow Leopard, Printer Sharing, and You

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been leading a workshop built around a lab of twenty 20″ iMacs. Apple generously loaned the computers, and when I unboxed them, I found that they were all running the latest version of Snow Leopard (10.6.1). I didn’t think much of this as I set up the computers, figuring it was nice to have an OS more stable than Leopard. However, once I tried to get the two Epson R2400’s working, things got far more complicated. It turns out that, despite Epson’s release of a Snow Leopard-compatible R2400 driver, you may have trouble getting the printers to work with your Snow Leopard-based Macs. And if you want to use Printer Sharing, you’ll need to jump through a few additional hoops.
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The Netbook as Photo Accessory – Mac Version

I love my aluminum MacBook. While I used a MacBook Pro for years, the smaller MacBook is a little easier to carry, and it never feels like it flexes or bends under its own weight, as the MacBook Pro sometimes did. However, it’s still just big enough that packing it in a bicycle or motorcycle bag is problematic, and it’s heavy enough that for backcountry or extended travel, it’s a bit of a load. What’s more, a lot of times it’s overkill. Usually all I need in the field is a place to dump images, and perhaps some email access. Over the last year or so a new class of tiny, ultralight laptop computers – netbooks – have appeared on the market at extremely reasonable prices. These machines turn out to be ideal photo accessories. Of course, Apple doesn’t make such a product, but there are now quite a few netbooks that can be hacked to run the Macintosh OS, allowing you to make something that Apple doesn’t: a tiny, very portable Macintosh.

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Build Yourself a Faster Mac

I have a few Macs that I use for my various jobs, but the main machines that I use are a MacBook Pro, and a Dual 2.7 GHz G5 tower. Since the tower is connected to a large monitor, it’s what I use as my primary image editing workstation. After a few recent jobs, including a computationally-intensive video gig, I started to wonder if it wasn’t time to think about upgrading to a faster machine. A friend mentioned that he was going to build a Hackintosh. As his machine came together, and he sent me some benchmarks, I decided that this was the upgrade path that I would choose. The result? A machine with Mac-Pro like performance that crushes all the other Macs in my house, and cost only about $1000.

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Convert Raw to DNG Automator Action

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2017: This action no longer works and the links to it have been removed. You can batch-convert raw files to DNG with Adobe’s DNG Converter (currently at version 9.12.1), or when importing images into Lightroom, if that is your primary image editor.

We still publish a set of Photoshop Automator Actions, which has been updated for Photoshop CC 2017. You can find out more at our sister site, RobotPhotoshop.com.


Adobe’s Digital Negative Specification, or DNG format, provides an open standard for the storage of raw camera data. However, since few cameras can store directly into Digital Negative format, if you want to take advantage of DNG, you first need to convert your existing raw files to DNG format using the Adobe DNG Converter. Mac users running OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) or later can ease their conversion tasks using this Automator action, which lets you batch process your DNG conversions, as well as include DNG conversion in a more complex image processing pipeline. This updated version adds Leopard support as well as the ability to convert Sony SR2 files.

For photographers who shoot raw, DNG offers several important advantages over proprietary formats: it’s open source, so any software or hardware vendor can support it; it won’t vanish if any particular company goes out of business; and it includes support for all raw conversion metadata, making for a more efficient, all-in-one, raw format/metadata file.

Automator, meanwhile, is an excellent workflow automation tool which allows you to create applets that automatically manage your post-production pipeline. Read more »