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Creative Sepiatones — 161 Understanding Adobe Photoshop

Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to make creative use of sepiatones in Photoshop CS4 to achieve a precise look.

How Good is that Laptop Battery?

Do you ever wonder what’s going on with your laptop battery? Does it seem like it just doesn’t power your MacBook Pro as long as it used to?

Check out
coconutBattery which shows you the current maximum capacity of a battery in relation to the original capacity your battery had as it left the factory. You can also find out how many battery-loadcycles (how often did you fully load your battery). This information is useful because you can tell when a battery is going bad (and if you aren't being a good laptop owner). Plus it will tell you how old the computer is, which is useful for birthday parties and whining about needing a new machine. You can get coconutBattery for free by clicking here.

If all this talk about
battery maintenance has you confused, visit this page for some useful tips. While its an Apple page, the same advice holds true for Windows laptops with Lithium Ion batteries.

Vibrancy – 160 Understanding Adobe Photoshop

Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to use the vibrancy adjustment in Photoshop CS4 to adjust saturation with more precise control.


How to Keep Your Body Happy When Chained to a Computer

This article was originally written for inclusion in the first edition of Photoshop for Video. I present it here as I think the information is important (despite the publisher cutting it).

by Dave A. Anselmi
You all know the feeling—that annoying “nag” in your wrists, that stinging or “tingling” feeling down your forearms, perhaps that aching pain in your shoulders and neck. At first it was a minor annoyance… and now, sometimes you find yourself “rushing” your edits, or perhaps even not editing at all, because of the pain.

You’re not alone. As more and more people become “knowledge workers”, doctors and therapists are seeing more and more cases of Computer-Related Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), or colloquially, “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” (CTS). And Non-Linear Editors are especially susceptible, what with their long hours sitting in the dark, ‘hunched’ over a keyboard, moving the mouse back and forth.

The Case for Ergonomics

Here I’ve gone and given you all sorts of things to try with your computer. I would feel guilty if I didn’t bring up ergonomics. The goal behind ergonomics is to design the work to best fit the worker. Highly repetitive tasks are prone cause physical problems. The goal is to prevent back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other musculoskeletal disorders.

How serious is the problem? Very. According to the U.S. department of Labor, approximately one-third of all occupational injuries are directly tied to over-exertion and repetitive motion. These injuries
cost employers over $20 billion in worker compensation each year.


Using Levels | 159 Understanding Adobe Photoshop

Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to use the levels adjustment on a per-channel basis for color correction tool in Photoshop CS4.

Overlooked Photoshop Commands – Part Four (The Layer Menu)

Group and Ungroup – Similar to using a track matte. Apply a layer to its downstairs neighbor, but only in areas where there is opacity. This is often used to constrain a fill layer to a lower text layer for a Paste Into effect. It is also used internally by many layer styles to create proper clipping for bevel effects.
Group: Cmd+G (Ctrl+G)
Ungroup: Cmd+Shift+G (Ctrl+Shift+G)

Arrange Layers – You can move layers around from the keyboard.
Bring to Front Cmd + Shift + [ (Ctrl + Shift + [)
Bring Forward Cmd + [ (Ctrl + [)
Send Backward Cmd + ] (Ctrl + ])
Send to Back Cmd + Shift + ] (Ctrl + Shift + ])

Align Linked and Distribute Linked – Because your eyes aren’t that good. Link the layers together and access these controls from the menu (or use the Move tool and Options bar for a graphical interface). Want something centered on the screen? Link to the background layer and highlight it. The highlighted layer is the basis for all centering and distribution.


Macintosh Clippings made Useful

I often find when I am browsing the Net to select text and drag it to the Desktop. I often use these clippings as a way to gather a few notes. The only problem with this system is that you can’t modify the clipping. If you open the clipping in the Finder you can read it, copy the text to your clipboard, but that’s about it. But don’t worry, there’s a great piece of freeware to make tweaks.

Everyday Software has released ClipEdit so you can modify both text and image clippings. The program is free and very useful if you collect bits of knowledge/trivia. For best results try the following.

1. Right-click (Control-click) on a clipping file and choose Get Info.
2. Change the Open with: drop down menu to ClipEdit
3. Click Change All…

ClipEdit is now set as the default editor for all clippings… much more useful and all it’ll cost you is a visit to
Everyday Software.


Overlooked Photoshop Commands – Part Three (The Image Menu)

Adjustments > Black and White – A poweful new command in the Adjustments category that creates believable black and white conversions. With CS3 Extended, you can run it on footage too.

Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight – This powerful command makes fixing dark shadows and overblown highlights a snap. Be sure to check the More Options box for extra power.

Adjustments > Invert – Useful for swapping transparent areas on a mask or channel.

Calculations – This is truly a powerful way to create an alpha channel.

Variables – These allow you to define variables in a template, then quickly input new data to create additional graphics.


Overlooked Photoshop Commands – Part Two (The Edit Menu)

Step Forward and Step Backward – Multiple undos.

– Not happy with the results of a filter or an adjustment? Choose this immediately after running the filter. By the way, did I mention this adds blending modes to all filters? Your filter collection just grew 2100%. Try it now! Give your filters new life! Remember: you must choose this immediately after running a filter. This is quite possibly Photoshop’s most underused feature. (Shift+Cmd+F/Shift+Ctrl+F)

Copy Merged – Copy multiple layers into one layer on your clipboard. Why flatten unnecessarily? (Shift+Cmd+C/Shift+Ctrl+C)

Check Spelling & Find and Replace Text – Because spelling errors are generally nonbillable.

Free Transform – This tool does it all. Access every layer transformation by Ctrl+clicking (right-clicking) while in free transform mode. Cut downs on image degradation by applying all your sizing, warping, and perspective changes at once. Cmd+T (Ctrl+T)

Purge – Free up space by deleting undos, clipboards, history! This will enable you to save and close when you get the dreaded “Scratch Disks Are Full” message.

Overlooked Photoshop Commands – Part One (The File Menu)

Close All – Cmd+Option+W (Ctrl+Alt+W)

Save As... – Choose from 20+ formats (more through special plugins). Photoshop is the ultimate graphic converter. Shift+Cmd+S (Shift+Ctrl+S)

Save for Web & Devices – It doesn’t get any more intuitive. Choose the two-up window, resize and compress your image for the web or e-mail. Now you can safely send the client an approval copy without having to worry about messing up your original. Shift+Option+Cmd+S (Shift+Alt+Ctrl+S)

Place – Can’t open it? Try placing it. This is how you can bring in EPS, AI, or PDF files. It allows you to position and scale an image (via a bounding box). When you click OK, Photoshop will add it at the proper size, position, and resolution (plus newer versions of Photoshop will insert it as a useful Smart Object).

Automate Submenu – These are some of the most useful tools for preparing client comps. Whether for print, web, or e-mail, the Automate options take boring tasks and make them quick and easy. Think of this menu as Photoshop’s batch rendering option. (Think of batch rendering as the only chance you may get for caffeine, nicotine, or vending machine—the vices for a media pro.)

Photo Books Tip

So, making a book using iPhoto is still the best. I sat down and was going to use Aperture, but it didn't have the theme I wanted (although both use the same engine and printer service). If you've never made a book, the process is a snap.
1. Select the photos you want in the browser (pick more than you think you'll need)
2. Click the Book icon in the Toolbar
3. Flip from page to page (choosing layout options from the Toolbar)
4. Drag photos in and scale and position using intuitive controls.

Mini books start at $4 and larger books range between $20 -$30 depending on soft or hard covers. It really makes a nice keepsake for friends or even a new way to build a portfolio. But what about 'proofing?' Well you can share the book before you print it.

1. In iPhoto, choose File > Print.
2. In the Print Window, choose Save as PDF.
3. Pick a destination, then name the file and click OK.
4. Send the PDF to those who need to review it.

The mini books make great leave behinds for clients or potential employers.


Scarves for Geeks

Billed as "functional neckwear," XUBÁZ™ [pronounced SHOE:BÁZ] offers an alternative to a jacket. The scarf-like accessory with six pockets and two straps to keep it in place. This thing looks seriously great for field shoots and photography where I need a place to keep some gear on a warm day. While the company promises to "add style to my wardrobe" (do I need it?) I'd just be happy to have more pockets and less sweat.

• Two upper pockets secured with flaps and snaps.
• Two “nested” pockets within the upper pockets.
• Two lower pockets with a zipper.

Color Correction: Levels | 158 Understanding Adobe Photoshop

Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to adjust brightness, contrast and exposure with levels in Photoshop CS4.

Cool Free Fonts

Looking to expand your typographical toolbox? Then be sure to visit Dinc Type at the unique URL The site is sassy and filled with great fonts. The unique thing is that while fonts are free, the selection frequently changes and fonts appear then disappear. Its like an incredible import shop where everything’s free, but the inventory keeps changing. Bookmark and keep checking back as their fonts are absolutely fantastic.


Two New HDR Photos with Photomatix

I’ve been playing with the very cool
Photomatix application for creating HDR images. Here are two (I am on vacation this week). The details:
  • Shot 5 Exposures
  • Handheld (less desirable for HDR, but out with kids and wife)
  • Shot +/- 1 stop each
  • Merged together in Photomatix standalone application


Online Morphing with the Face Transformer

Got to love the Internet. The fine folks over at St. Andrew’s University have released the Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer. It allows you to change the age, race or sex of a facial image. You first have to upload an image, and then you can experiment.
Give it a try.

Free Textures from the Texture King

I saw this mentioned over at Scott Kelby's blog. If you need hi-res textures, for free, then be sure to check out the Texture King website. There's more than 250 images to choose from including glass, fabric, rust, metal, and wood. The images are totally free to use in any project and its a great site to check out.

New Book is Off to the Printer

This is a book that I’ve wanted to write for a LONG time.

Video Made on a Mac: Production and Postproduction Using Apple Final Cut Studio and Adobe Creative Suite

Richard Harrington I have just returned my final comments for the new book Video Made on a Mac. We are now compressing the 5.5 hours of HD video lessons that come with this book. This book is SO awesome... (I am not objective, but its the best book I've ever written). If you work with Final Cut Studio and/or Adobe Creative Suite... You need this book. We have filled it to the brim with time saving workflow and practical advice.

Here’s the official blurb – You can order it here on Amazon (it’ll ship in a few weeks).

On a Mac, the sky's the limit for creating professional video. With all the tools available though, it can be a daunting task to decide which ones offer the best solutions for combined efficiency and high-level results. How can you effectively communicate your vision to clients and crew? How should you calibrate your camera for multi-camera and green screen shoots? Is it better to do your keying in After Effects, Motion, or Final Cut? How should you set up your edit suite for efficiency and accuracy? How do you manage large amounts of media and a multitude of formats for multiple software applications?

In Video Made on a Mac, you'll learn the answers and much more. Chock-full of practical advice and step-by-step instructions, each chapter provides insight on the critical components of production and postproduction that can make all the difference when you're up against a tight budget and schedule. The accompanying DVD supplies you with project files and high-definition footage so you can follow along with the examples, as well as 50 training videos. Whether you're an advanced Mac user or just beginning to incorporate Adobe Creative Suite into your Final Cut Studio workflow, you'll learn to apply best-practice techniques to all your video projects.


I am Officially on Twitter

I am officially on Twitter...
you can follow if you'd like: 1. Random thoughts. 2. Cool links from Smart Friends 3. Breaking News. If my babbling doesn't bore you...

Conference Schedule

Just wanted to let you all know what shows I am expected to speak at over the next few months. There are a handful pending, so I may update the list.

Photoshop WorldOctober 1 - 3, 2009 – LAS VEGAS, NV
New York Post|Production ConferenceOctober 5 - 8, 2009 – NEW YORK, NY
PowerPoint LiveOctober 11 - 14, 2009 – ATLANTA, GA
DIgital Media DCDecember 1- 3, 2009 – WASHINGTON, DC
Editors RetreatJANUARY 13-16, 2010 – MIAMI BEACH, FL
Macworld ExpoFEBRUARY 9-13, 2010 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
National Association of Broadcasters APRIL 10-15, 2010 – LAS VEGAS, NV


Two Funniest Videos Ever Made (About Type)


Join the Facebook Fan Page

Many of you will notice that I am far better at posting to my Facebook fan page and to Twitter than I am to my blogs. This is due in large part to the fact that I can’t blog via my iPhone (but can easily post to Twitter and Facebook). So if you can’t beat em... join em.

Richard Harrington on Facebook
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