Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Book Review: Photo Workshop - Portrait and Candid Photography by Erin Manning

Written by T. Michael Testi

Creating portraits is a combination of skill and technique. It is also about connecting with your subjects. By learning how to observe and understand those you are working with you will get a feel for who they are, and how best to present them in a personal light. Learning to find out what interests you about your subject will allow you to better capture their personality.

It also takes time to learn the creative techniques of composing your images by experimentation, and through the capturing a lot of images; by learning how to tell a story with your image. Portrait and Candid Photography is 272 pages divided into 10 chapters.

Chapter 1, "What You Must Know About Photographing People," begins by showing you how to observe and connect with people. Here you will learn how to compose your images, to see what your eyes see, and learn about working with light in general. Then you will explore the kinds of equipment cameras, lenses, and equipment you will need. Chapter 2, "Accessory Equipment," will now take you into more detail with equipment such as additional lenses, batteries, tripods, flashes, and other odds and ends.

Chapter 3, "Working with Light," will get into more detail about working with light by exploring the quality, direction, intensity, and color of light. Then you will see how to reflect light, defuse light, work with a flash, and work with a meter for exposure. Chapter 4, "Composing your Picture," examines the basics of composition. This includes working with colors, framing your image, using patterns, using perspective, focus, and point of view.

Chapter 5, "Taking Portraits," will have you creating the look that you want by choosing the correct background, adding props, and adjusting wardrobe. You will see how best to take advantage of light, see how best to work with your subject by experimenting with position, changing points of view, and even how to capture candid moments. Chapter 6, "Families, Groups, and Parties," begins by showing you how to prepare for the shoot. Again you need to know the location, the people, the lighting, but it is just as important to anticipate surprises.

Chapter 7, "Kids," provide a unique test because they can be unpredictable, but here you learn about the different ages and stages that come with them. You have to keep it real, but yet get them involved to get the best shots. Chapter 8, "Babies," require timing and being prepared. You have to create the right environment to get the best shots. Here you will see how to prepare the site so that you can capture the moment and make it meaningful.

Chapter 9, "Action Shots," takes you in a different direction in that this, many times is all about lens speed and timing. It is about freezing the action with techniques like using fast shutter with flash, and about blurring action by using slow shutter with a tripod. Chapter 10, "Enhancing and Sharing your Photos," examines how to manage your images by using various software products, how to enhance and repair your images, and finally how to share your images via slide shows, email, websites, and printing.

Aimed at the beginner user, Photo Workshop: Portrait and Candid Photography is very easy reading, and develops through a well defined, logical progression covering most aspects of shooting portraits on a casual basis. Not being aimed at the professional, it does not try to tackle too much like lighting layouts and other more complex discussions.

While I wish that it went a little further in explanations of the relationship of ISO, shutter speeds, and aperture, it does a very good job of presenting the fundamentals. Additional things I like about Portrait and Candid Photography and the series in general is that most of the photos have an "about this photo" caption where, when appropriate, the technical information is presented about the image.

The other thing is the lessons and exercises that give you an opportunity to interact with the book. Portrait and Candid Photography provides a great overview of portrait photography and the subject in general. If you are a beginner or getting back into it and want a good refresher course, then Portrait and Candid Photography will fit the bill.


Technorati Tags: ,,

Monday, September 29, 2008

Software Review: Adobe Photoshop Plug-In - Sharpener Pro 3.0 from Nik Software


Written by T. Michael Testi

Sharpener Pro 3.0 is the latest addition to Nik Software's collection of digital photographic filters and effects for Adobe Photoshop. This is an updated version of their award-winning software that is aimed at sharpening photographic images.

Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0 has not only been updated with a new interface, it also contains Nik's premier U Point technology that gives you pin-point control over what you want sharpen. No longer are you limited to working with global changes and masking to accomplish your goals. Rather, now you can precisely control specific areas of your image with a couple clicks of your mouse.

What do you need to run Sharpener Pro? System requirements are Windows 2000 Pro or better, Mac OS 10.4 or better, 512 MB of RAM (1 GB Recommended), and Photoshop CS2 or CS3 on Windows or Mac, Photoshop Elements 2.0 or better on Windows, 4.0 and 6.0 on Mac, or any image editing software program that accepts Adobe Photoshop Plug-ins.

Nik Sharpener Pro

Basically, the Sharpener Pro workflow works like this. First you launch Photoshop, open an image, and open Sharpener Pro from the filter menu. This will open the Sharpener Pro interface. At this point you can apply RAW Presharpening which will compensate for any loss due to image capture. You then return to Photoshop to make all of your edits as you normally would to prepare your image.

Once complete you then reload Sharpener Pro to prepare your image to use the output sharpener to make up the loss of detail and clarity that occurs when images are created for different output devices. On the right side are the sharpening controls. You can choose what kind of output your image will take on: display, inkjet, continuous tone, halftone, or hybrid device. If you choose, say, the inkjet, you then get additional options such as viewing distance, paper type, and printer resolution. These will set the output sharpening for the appropriate type of device.

From there you have options for creative sharpening where you can apply global sharpening. Next you can use the U Point Control Points to selectively control where the sharpening is applied to the images. This allows you to control the effect without having to use selections and/or masking. By placing Control Points on an image, you control the effects and are able to fine tune certain areas of your images independent of the rest of the photo. Finally you review the image in the Loupe, apply the filter and then you can to generate your output.

Other things that are new to Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0 is a reworked interface that is resizable and now sports a color neutral theme with a medium-gray background. This allows you to focus more on the image than on the interface. You have different modes to preview including sharpened image, sharpening soft proof (output sharpener only), Effect overlay (this shows where the effect is applied), and effect mask, which displays the mask created by the color ranges and control points.

If you have Dfine 2.0, Viveza, or Color Efex Pro 3.0, the installer will update the existing Selective tool which lets you access all of these plug-ins from the same pallet.

The RAW Presharpener filter is an optional step in your image editing workflow. It is designed to be the first stage of sharpening your images and should be done before anything else. You apply it after any noise reduction has been applied. It was designed to sharpen your image for any loss of detail through digital capture without creating any sharpening artifacts or enhancement of noise.

Nik Sharpener Pro

Creative Sharpening controls are used to control both the strength of the output-specific sharpening and apply any global creative sharpening to the image. Control points can be added later to selective adjust the amounts of each of these controls on any given object.

I think that Sharpener Pro is another great addition to the photographer's tool box. I love the ease of use and the flexibility that this plug-in gives me. What would take a lot of work traditionally in Photoshop is accomplished in a fraction of the time. Want to see more? Check out the series of lesson videos that Nik has put together. Better yet, get the 15-day free trial and play with it yourself.

At $199.95, Sharpener Pro will pay for itself many times over. If you want to sharpen your images and feel intimidated by all the work and effort it takes to accomplish the same tasks using Photoshop, then I highly recommend Sharpener Pro 3.0 from Nik Software.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

onOne Software Outlines Product Support for Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended

Press Release


Digital photography software developer outlines product specific support for Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended

Portland, OR– September 24, 2008 – onOne Software, Inc., a leading developer of innovative software tools for photographers, today announces that all of their currently shipping Photoshop software plug-ins are already compatible with the new Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended software announced yesterday by Adobe. Specifically, the following Photoshop plug-ins from onOne Software are compatible with Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended.

· Plug-In Suite 4

· Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro

· Genuine Fractals 5

· PhotoTools 1 Professional Edition

· PhotoTools 1 Standard Edition

· PhotoFrame 4 Professional Edition

· PhotoFrame 4 Standard Edition

· Mask Pro 4.1

· PhotoTune 2.2

· FocalPoint 1

"We're certain that users of our Photoshop plug-ins will find Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended software to be very compelling upgrades," said Craig Keudell, president of onOne Software. "We're delighted to announce that all of the current versions of our plug-ins are already compatible with both Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended so that our users can continue to maximize the power of Photoshop by simply running the installers they already have after installing Photoshop CS4."

"It’s great to see plug-in developers like onOne rally around this latest release of Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended," said Kevin Connor, vice president of product management for professional digital imaging at Adobe. "onOne added Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended support to their products quickly, so photographers and designers can easily make the move to one of the most highly anticipated releases of the Photoshop family line. Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended are designed to be open applications, so our partners can easily extend the value of the software and provide more creative and innovative options to the customers we serve."

Installing onOne Software plug-ins with Photoshop CS4

To enable the Photoshop plug-ins listed above to work with Photoshop CS4 or Photoshop CS4 Extended, owners of the products listed above can simply run the installer they already have for the respective plug-in after successfully installing Photoshop CS4 or Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Upgrade Information

Registered owners of previous versions of the onOne Software plug-ins for Photoshop listed above can upgrade to the current version of each plug-in for only $99.95 plus shipping if applicable. Alternately, these users may also upgrade directly to the Plug-In Suite 4 for $399.95, plus shipping if applicable (electronic versions are available for download as well). The Plug-In Suite 4 includes the most recent versions of all onOne Software plug-ins. Upgrades from Plug-In Suite 1, 2 or 3 to the Plug-In Suite 4 are available for $199.95 plus shipping if applicable. More information about onOne Software's upgrade program can be found at http://www.ononesoftware.com/upgrade.

About onOne Software

onOne Software, Inc. a leading developer of innovative software tools for photographers, develops time-saving software solutions for professional and advanced amateur photographers. onOne Software solutions have been created to help photographers spend more of their time behind the camera taking pictures instead of the computer workstation. Such solutions include a wide range of easy-to-use plug-in enhancements for Adobe® Photoshop®, Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom.

onOne Software delivers the highest quality software products to users by working with industry leaders and continuing to develop core technologies for professional photo solutions on both Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Founded in 2005, onOne Software is a privately held company located in Portland, Oregon. For additional information, visit www.ononesoftware.com or call 1-888-968-1468.

Company Contact: Mike Wong, onOne Software, mwong@ononesoftware.com, 503-968-1468 x 121

Press Contact: Steve Rosenbaum or Leigh Nofi, sir@sironline.com, S.I.R. Marketing Communications, Inc., 631-757-5665

General press inquiries: press@ononesoftware.com
Online press center: http://www.ononesoftware.com/press/
onOne Software blog: http://www.ononesoftware.com/blog
onOne Software Exchange:

# # # #

© 2008 onOne Software. All rights reserved. onOne Software and the onOne Software logo are registered trademarks in the United States, and all are the property of onOne Software. Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adobe Introduces Creative Suite 4 Product Family

For immediate release

Radical Workflow Breakthroughs, New Levels of Flash Expressiveness and Integration Anchor Adobe’s Biggest Software Release

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sept. 23, 2008 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 product family, a milestone release of the industry-leading design and development software for virtually every creative workflow. Delivering radical workflow breakthroughs that bring down the walls between designers and developers — and packed with hundreds of feature innovations—the new Creative Suite 4 product line advances the creative process across print, Web, mobile, interactive, film and video production. With new levels of integration and expressiveness for Flash technology across the entire product line, Adobe’s biggest software release to date includes Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design editions, Creative Suite 4 Web editions, Creative Suite 4 Production Premium, Creative Suite 4 Master Collection, as well as 13 point products, 14 integrated technologies and seven services.

Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection CS4 combines virtually all of Adobe's new design and development applications, technologies and services in a single box — the most comprehensive creative environment ever delivered.

“Designers and developers are shaping the way that people consume information, share ideas, sell products, tell stories and create memorable experiences — in print, online and via mobile handsets,” said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer at Adobe. “Whether you’re creating a rich Internet application, a video or a best-selling magazine, Adobe Creative Suite 4 delivers powerful cross-media technologies that have the ability to elevate products, brands and ideas above the clutter.”

Adobe Creative Suite 4 offers unprecedented choice among editions and stand-alone products, with comprehensive support for the most cutting-edge workflows for virtually any design discipline. Customers can choose from six suites or full version upgrades of 13 stand-alone applications, including Photoshop® CS4, Photoshop CS4 Extended, InDesign® CS4 (see separate releases), Illustrator® CS4, Flash® CS4 Professional, Dreamweaver® CS4, After Effects® CS4, and Adobe Premiere® Pro CS4.

A simplified workflow in Adobe Creative Suite 4 enables users to design across media more efficiently by making it easier to complete common tasks and switch between mediums without leaving a project. InDesign CS4 includes a new Live Preflight tool that allows designers to catch production errors and a newly customizable Links panel to place files more efficiently. The revolutionary new Content-Aware Scaling tool in Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended automatically recomposes an image as it is resized, preserving vital areas as it adapts to new dimensions. An expanded version of Dynamic Link in CS4 Production Premium enables users to move content between After Effects CS4, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, Soundbooth® CS4, and Encore® CS4, so updates can be seen instantly without rendering.

Designers using the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product family will be able to gain unprecedented creative control using the new expressive features and visual performance improvements in Adobe Flash Player 10 to deliver breakthrough Web experiences across multiple browsers and operating systems.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 brings 3D center-stage providing the ability to paint, composite, and animate 3D models using familiar tools. Flash CS4 Professional now offers the ability to apply tweens to objects instead of keyframes, providing greater control over animation attributes. Also in Flash, the new Bones tool helps create more realistic animations between linked objects. With a searchable library of more than 450 dynamically updated device profiles from leading manufacturers, Adobe Device Central CS4 (see separate release) enables users to easily test mobile content designed using many of the Creative Suite 4 products.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 significantly expands access to services* available to creative professionals and developers who want to collaborate online. Adobe ConnectNow, a service of Acrobat.com, can be accessed from InDesign CS4, Illustrator CS4, Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop Extended CS4, Flash CS4 Professional, Dreamweaver CS4, Fireworks® CS4, and Acrobat® 9 Pro, allowing real-time collaboration with two colleagues or clients. Designers can also share color harmonies with Adobe Kuler™, which is now accessible from within InDesign CS4, Illustrator CS4, Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop Extended CS4, Flash CS4 and Fireworks CS4. Other online resources include: Adobe Community Help for technical questions; Resource Central for accessing video and audio product-related news and tutorials, as well as Soundbooth scores, sound effects, and other stock media; and Adobe Bridge Home, a customizable resource for tips, tutorials, news and inspirational content.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 and its associated point products are scheduled to ship in October 2008 with availability through Adobe Authorized Resellers and the Adobe Store at www.adobe.com/go/gn_store . Estimated street price for the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium will be US$1799, US$1699 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, US$1699 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium, and US$2499 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection. Adobe plans to offer tiered upgrade pricing from previous versions. For a limited time, validly licensed customers of eligible versions of Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Production Studio and Macromedia Studio will be able to upgrade to Creative Suite 4 for the CS3 upgrade price. For more detailed information about features, upgrade policies, pricing, and international versions please visit: www.adobe.com/creativesuite .

Adobe Flash Player 10 is currently available in beta as a free download from Adobe Labs at www.adobe.com/go/astro with general availability expected by the end of the year. Adoption of the previous update to Adobe Flash Player 9 set all-time records by achieving over 80 percent reach on Internet enabled desktops in less than six months and Flash Player 10 is expected to achieve a similar adoption rate.

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information - anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com .

Monday, September 22, 2008

Video Training Review: Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color With Deke McClelland From Lynda.com.

Written by T. Michael Testi

Based on the device-independent CIE specification from 1976, Lab color is often thought of as a high tech, labor-intensive color space. In many cases, Lab color performs certain types of color modifications more quickly and with better, more effective results than RGB. In Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color, Deke McClelland explores how to use Lab color "to make bad photographs great and great photographs even better." He demonstrates image manipulations that are best suited to Lab, and walks through a typical, non-destructive Lab correction. Deke also shows how to correct lighting, apply selective color modifications, and reverse the effects of color cast.

Your trainer for this library is Deke McClelland. In 1985, Deke McClelland oversaw the implementation of the first personal computer-based production department in Boulder, Colorado. Deke McClelland is a well-known expert and lecturer on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and the broader realm of computer graphics and design. To date, he has written 85 books that have been translated into 24 languages, with more than four million copies in print. This library is divided into five lessons and runs six and a half hours.

Lesson 1, "What Lab Color Is" begins with defining what Lab color is. Designed decades ago, Lab color has been available in Adobe Photoshop for over 10 years. Unlike the RGB and CMYK color spaces, Lab color is an optional color space but is often overlooked or considered too difficult to use but can save time and can make your images look better.

Here you will learn not to fear the Lab mode, you will learn why color is 3D, how to mix Lab colors, as well as other explanations of what Lab Color is. You will learn about the hue/saturation color wheel, the Lab color wheel, the different channels between the three color spaces, and how channels blend in Lab mode.

Lesson 2, "What Lab Color Can Do", at least according to McClelland, is "blow your mind." It will have a profound effect on your images, it will surprise you with its power, and it will just simply amaze you. This is where you will see how bad becomes great, and great becomes better. You will see how to favor yellow to balance skin tones, drop out the blues, correct a very bad image in Lab, sharpen luminance independent of color, and sharpen for effect and blur away noise.

Lesson 3, "A Typical, Nondestructive Lab Correction" now focuses on more realistic problems — not making the bad great or the great better, but rather how to make the okay or average image much better. You know those images where the colors are drab, the contrast is lackluster, or other problems where the image does not live up to what you saw when you pressed the shutter release. Here you will see a more typical scenario in which you convert an image to Lab and apply adjustment layers, turn the image into a smart object and sharpen it and turn that into an RGB image to resolve the chromatic aberrations — all without harming a pixel.

Lesson 4, "Correcting Color Cast and Lighting" examines images with bigger issues; color casts, blown highlights, and other lighting problems. Here you will learn how to identify a color cast, how to adjust for it, how to brighten shadows, how to dim highlights, and how to bring out all the details that your image has to offer.

Lesson 5, "Selective Color Modifications" is more selective than corrective. This is helpful when you want to use an image and selectively change the color of, say, a shirt and produce different color versions. You begin by changing the color of a car without any masking and then move on to changing a shirt and tie color using a mask created by a Lab/RGB cross-pollination technique.

Once again Deke McCelland's conversational style and wit makes this a very easy to understand topic for such a complex one, and it is extremely entertaining as well. While there are a lot of camps on whether one should use the Lab color space or not, I think that if you are serious about bringing out the best in color in your images, then you owe yourself this opportunity to learn and really understand it. It is for that reason that I very highly recommend this video.

You can get Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color two ways. One is as a DVD training package Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color and the other is part of the online training experience at Lynda.com. The DVD Training Package is $99.95 USD and contains everything you need.

The online training Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color comes in three flavors. A monthly subscription at $25 USD gets you all of the videos that are available online (approximately 30,768 videos on 458 topics at this time) or you can save a little with an annual subscription at $250 USD. A premium subscription at $375 USD per year gets all the videos as well as all of the exercise files. Take note that the exercise files are not included with the monthly or annual subscriptions. They are included only on the DVD and premium subscriptions.

You can use Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color as a training program for the individual student, and it's also good for the college or vocational teacher looking to supplement their educational materials. It is of benefit to anyone who needs help understanding the Lab color space. You can also try out some lessons for free at Lynda.com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Software Review: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2

Written by T. Michael Testi

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is the much anticipated second version of Adobe's highly praised photo management and editing system. Photoshop Lightroom 2 adds new editing tools as well as enhances the existing environment, while at the same time reduces the dependence on Adobe's Photoshop.

On the outside, Photoshop Lightroom 2 retains much of the look and feel of its predecessor, while providing many workflow improvements that will have current users singing its praises. As well as the expected improvements to existing functionality that one would anticipate in a version two product, there are also a lot more features to improve your importing, processing, managing, and the showcasing of your images.

Lightroom 2

Before we look at the improvements and enhancements, what do you need to run Lightroom 2? You will need Windows XP SP2 or Vista on an Intel Pentium 4 - 1.4 GHz or higher, or Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 on PowerPC G4 or G5, or Intel Based Processor, 1GB RAM 1 GB hard drive space, 1024x768 display, and CD-ROM Drive.

For those who are new to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, I find that there is still some confusion between Lightroom and Photoshop. The basic difference it that Photoshop is an image editing program. It has the big guns to do just about anything you want to an image. What it doesn't have is true image management, organization, and workflow processing that a photographer might want and need. Sure, it has Adobe Bridge, and that works great to a point, but for someone who is a photographer; whether professional or hobbyist, it really is not enough.

That is where Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 comes in. It has all of the things that Adobe Bridge was missing; these include things like advanced file management, enhanced printing capabilities, and easy web output. Lightroom then adds much of those image processing capabilities that Photoshop contains and are used by photographers. It puts it all into a single package.

Does that mean that you no longer need Photoshop? For some that answer would be yes. In fact Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is the better choice, especially for those who do not do a lot of advanced processing. For others, Lightroom is a better way to get to that point where they send their file to Photoshop for additional enhancements.

So what is new with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2?

• Local Adjustment Brush - gives you a more flexible method to apply more accurate enhancements by targeting a specific area of a photo for dodging, burning, as well as other local adjustments. Make exposure, brightness, clarity, or other enhancements exactly where you want them.

• Multiple monitor support - now can take advantage of a second monitor attached to your system. You can configure your workspace to manage image workflow and presentation more effectively. You can open a view of say your Library module in a second monitor while working on printing in your first monitor.

• Extensible architecture - gives you the accessibility of the wide range of plug-ins to help you quickly and easily transfer your images to your favorite sharing sites and photo labs.

Lightroom 2

• Volume management - allows you to manage and organize your images across multiple drives and continue to work with the high-resolution previews; even when your originals are off line. A Volume Browser lets you check the status of local and networked volumes at a glance.

• Smart collections - can be created based on metadata rules that you specify. Smart collections automatically stay up-to-date with the photos that meet the criteria that you specify.

• 64-bit processing support - lets you utilize the advanced memory handling capabilities of the latest Mac OS and Windows based systems.

• Improved organizational tools - now lets you sort and filter large volumes of photos using powerful metadata filters that let you quickly find the photo that you want.

• Better nondestructive photo editing - lets you adjust and enhance color, exposure, and tonal curves nondestructively on more than 190 camera raw file formats, as well as JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files.

• Enhanced Photoshop CS3 integration - now works with Smart Objects, panorama stitching, High Dynamic Range (HDR) functionality, multiple layer workflow and more. Your work in Photoshop is automatically updated in Photoshop.

• Improved Batch Processing - lets you quickly import large volumes of photos from cameras or camera cards, and automatically renaming files, organizing them into folders, and making nondestructive adjustments.

• Enhanced Output Sharpening - will help you improve the appearance of your photos with enhanced algorithms that can automatically sharpen photos when you export files or output print and web creations.

• Better printing - now gives you more ways to quickly arrange a photo for printing multiple sizes on one or many pages, with more flexible and customizable templates to better use your paper and ink resources. You can create picture packages that contain one photo in a variety of sizes on a page.

There are a lot of improvements in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2. To begin with, the better disk-based management and volume monitor. Now there is a more disk-based browser to the folders where your images are so you can more easily see where everything is. It will even let you know when your disk is getting full.

Then there is the smarter keywording. Key word suggestions are now much more intelligent. When you use a lot of words in combination, Lightroom remembers and by using one, the other common ones are moved to the top of the list.

Lightroom 2

I love the localized adjustments in the Develop module. You can paint an area in which you want to make your adjustment. Once you have your area brushed in, you adjust it further to intensify or reduce the effect. The fact that you can open your files in Photoshop as Smart Objects to tweak your Lightroom adjustments is wonderful. You can merge multiple exposures to a single Photoshop HDR. Select multiple images to merge as a panorama. The list goes on.

While I was disappointed that third party filters were not included in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, there is a little crack in the dike, in that there is an export module plug-in framework that will let you export your photos to a website, assuming there is a plug-in available. Adobe has even created an exchange site for those who want to list their plug-ins so perhaps this will be a feature in the future.

Overall, I think that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is a significant upgrade or new purchase. The upgrade is $99, and as a new purchase it sells for $299. If your focus is photography, this upgrade really expands on the base functionality of version 1 and makes it a must-have, in my opinion. While I will continue to use Adobe Photoshop for my heavy duty work, when dealing with photos, my first stop is always Lightroom.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Review - Real World Color Management: Second Edition by Bruce Fraser, Chris Murphy, and Fred Bunting

Written by T. Michael Testi

No matter how much thought and preparation a photographer, artist, or designer puts into the color scheme for a project, unless that color is transposed to the correct output, all of the work is for naught. If your results do not meet the expectation, you may as well not waste your time, money, and energy.

The goal of Real World Color Management, the revised second edition, is to ensure that you know everything that you need to know about color management so that whether your final output is print, web, or film, your expectations will be met and you will achieve the color fidelity that you need to get your job done. Real World Color Management Second Edition is 608 pages in length, contains 18 chapters and divided into four parts. I will highlight the breakdown of the four parts

Part I, "Introduction to Color Management," encompasses the first four chapters and it lays the groundwork for the remainder of the book. Here you will explore topics such as what is color? Computers and color, color management, and examine what profiles are. While you don't have to be a color expert to use color management, you do have to have understanding of the fundamentals to understand the problems that color management addresses.

You also must understand the fact that computers know nothing about color except what people tell them. Because computers understand numbers, to get devices to understand what you mean when you say "red" you must learn to communicate to these different electronic devices with kind of numbers that they understand. To do this you will learn about color management and how they relate to device profiles; a file that correlates device color values with corresponding device-independent color values that represent the actual color that people see.

Part II, "Building and Tuning Profiles," explains the fact that color management succeeds or fails based on the accuracy of the profiles that we use to describe the way our color reproduction devices behave. In these next five chapters you will look at real world techniques for creating, evaluating, tuning and maintaining device profiles. You start by learning about measurement, calibration, and process control. Then you learn about building display profiles so that you can see the correct color on your display.

Next you will see how to build input profiles; a profile for an input device such as a digital camera, or scanner, because until you are sure that what is coming in is correct there is no way to really measure what is going out. Then you move on to the output profile which is what is used to calibrate devices like printers, or profiling devices. Next you learn how to evaluate and edit your profiles. By learning to evaluate, you see how far off you really are from the desired output. Getting good profiles requires attention to detail and persistence. Getting a great profile takes even more work.

Part III, "Applications and Workflow," now gets into the fact that color management is only useful if it can be integrated into a working production system. Here the final nine chapters look at color management workflow both from an analytic standpoint and the then from a practical standpoint. You begin with the major principles that govern how you configure your applications from capture through editing to final output. Next you see how the flow works through your operating system and how things are handled there.

Then you will spend several chapters looking at how products like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, CorelDRAW, and QuarkXPress handle the color technology. Next you will learn how to automate process' using scripting to speed up your work, and finally you will pull it all together by building a working color management workflow

Part IV, "Appendices," contains supplementary material that gets to more detail than would be possible if trying to contain them within some a chapter. One item is getting into the down and dirty details of an ICC profile structure. Here you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about building a profile. Then you are provided with workflow template that you can use to model you own workflow around. Finally there is a twenty page glossary of terms that give better understanding to the terms used throughout the book.

Real World Color Management is not for the timid who wants to get better prints without any work or thought. In fact it is subtitled "Industrial Strength Production Techniques." But, if you are willing to spend some time and effort on learning these techniques, it is probably the most thorough, and easy to understand book on color management on the today.

Granted the Real World Color Management is a couple years old, but it still retains the fundamental knowledge that you need to produce high quality profiles. The other thing is that you do not have to read every word and learn every theoretical discussion to get a lot from this book. Getting the basics from part I, learning to calibrate and do print profiles from part II and discovering a workable workflow from part III will fill many needs. The nice thing is that when you want to learn more, it's here. I very highly recommend Real World Color Management.