September 6, 2007

Photoshop World or My Brain is FULL

Posted in Commentary, OSX Software, OSX Technical at 4:02 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

It’s only day two of my trip to Photoshop world and my brain is completely full at this point. It’s really not fair to expect the common man (or woman) to absorb everything thrown at them over the period of three days. And even with the cool book of all the notes and slides, alot is said that never makes it into the book. I did two outstanding classes this morning. But before I go into that, I should mention that after my third round trip from the Luxor to the 2nd floor in the Mandalay Bay conference center, I’m beat. It is a long walk and the casinos are designed not to make it easier to get in and out. I have included a picture of the Luxor which is where I am staying since the next option was the MGM which is even further away. And remember, it’s 95 degrees at 10:30 pm so it’s not a real pleasant walk outside which means cutting through several casinos.

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This is the registration desk for the Luxor and it gives the flavor of the place. The Bay is much nicer but also twice the price. Something to remember when you book your own visit next year.

Registration went quickly this AM given that there were so many of us. The lines opened at 7:00am and I got there at 8:30 and was out of the lines by 9. Buying the upgraded “Pro” package helped since I just had to get my nifty shoulder bag filled with goodies and leave.

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The line for us “Pros” was much shorter than the common folk 🙂

Anyways.. back to the classes. I did two classes as I mentioned, the first being taught by George Lepp and called “Pre Photoshop or Get it right from the start” What an amazing class chocked full of information. This was geared to the photographer who uses Photoshop as a tool just like the camera or a lens. George is a firm believer as I am, in getting as much right as possible in the camera and then using the best tool for the final tasks even if it’s not Photoshop. We went over shooting LARGE prints, like over 20 FEET long, panoramic, HDR and depth of field in large prints. We hit on using Photoshop Photomerge, Photomatix, Panaroma maker, different types of sensors and more. He gave a short but very lucid description on why megapixels are not created even since the sensor size is not the same across the board and why we should care. He covered how to clean a sensor without destroying it in the process and his pet peeve of people not using tripods. He demo’ed using a technique by a friend of mine, Jack Davis, which uses layers to make a cool HDR image which Jack calls “Blend If”. easy technique that took less than five minutes to make the HDR but I have to admit that Photomatix was very, very slick for making the HDR.

My second class was with Dave Cross, the crazy Canadian from Photoshop TV. He did a class called “Photoshop Finishing Touches” and was the poster child of stuff not making it into the notes since he is such a shy introvert, NOT!! He has a wicked sense of humor and is very entertaining to listen to and to watch. He can present a complicated subject in simple pieces and do without seeming to try. We covered enhancing your image with some “colour” punch (he claims the Canadians always put in a U in the word“ using LAB and not the typical RGB. Fast and effective is the best way to describe it. His quote on the idea of flattening your image is that ”flatting an image is the same as building legos with superglue“ so something close to that. And even then, it might not be his quote but he repeated in todays class. We went over how to darken edges of a print, how to make a gallery type of border with text and lines and more.

After that, I needed fuel and tried a burger and fries at the food court for 17 bucks.. I tossed the fries but the burger was not bad at all considering. Then it was off to the show. The shows are always fun and you can learn some cool stuff if you dig around. Now, these shows are NOT COMDEX or CES but small shows. Dont expect much more than a pen but you can get someone to talk your ear off about the newest Epson printer or a cool new RAID like device. I did get some great demos on the Epson R1400 which is the direct replacement for my trusty but tired 1280 and I’m seriously thinking about the R1800 which is a pigment based printer with glosser. Both are under 600, the R1400 is something like 350ish depending on where and when. Odd thing was Epson did not have much of their scanners there.

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I did find a cool widget that looked like a RAID drive but could use any type of SATA drive in any combo. They had mixed 100 gig, 160, 250 gig drives at the same time and then ran a movie while they pulled drives, mixed in new drives and generally impressed the crowd. USB only which kinda of bites since I prefer firewire but it’s very interesting stuff. This thing or ”storage robot” is called “DROBO” and is from Data robotics, Inc in Mountain View CA. The price was about 450 minus drives but since you can buy SATA drives very cheap now days, it would be very easy to get a TB of data without the risk of spanning.

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Another very interesting show was called “Sitegrinder” which is a plugin for Photoshop that will let you build a website from within PS and have standards compliant code output. It looked to be very easy to use and I plan on grabbing the demo and trying it.

OnOneSoftware has some new way cool tools for Photoshop called “PhotoTools” and “PhotoTune 2” The tuning software was amazing to watch for anyone who has restored faded or color shifted images. Very fast and flexible. They also have a set of frames, 4,000 frames to be exact called “PhotoFrame 3.1” which was nice if you need frames and nowdays, frames are hot so you DO need them. Even if you dont think so yet 🙂

My friends at Lulu Press were there talking up their new site and photobook tools. They admitted to me that Blurb is driving them to expand their offerings which made sense since for the past year I personally have preferred Blurb for photobooks over Lulu even though I published my first complete book on Lulu.

And if I had the extra cash, I would run up to the Lepp Institute for some fine art printing instruction or some digital black and white. yes, the same Lepp who taught my first class today runs this school. Super teachers, very personal instruction and high quality expectations leads to building up your skills very quickly.

Anyways..; gotta run back for my 6pm class on “Printing Large” by George Lepp. Should be good a time.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] really knows printing and had some way cool examples of large prints. You can see pictures I took here […]


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