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Free Chapter on Layout and Design

I've just gotten permission from my publisher to release a chapter for free from my new book How to Wow with PowerPoint. This is the intro to the book and focusses on best practices for designing graphics for the screen (so even if you aren't a PowerPoint fan, you'll find some wholesome goodness on here).

I hope you all enjoy it, you can download direct or visit the resources page. If you'd like to order the book (it ships in a few weeks) click
here.

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29 UAP - Blending Modes

Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to use blending modes in Photoshop to blend layers together in various ways for a wide range of results.



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For Geeks with Bad Caffeine Habits

So what was in my stocking this morning? The perfect gift for someone who is frequently stuck next to a computer for long hours. A USB beverage cooler (no really.. I swear). Plug it in to a USB port and it dips to 45 degrees within seconds. Its perfect for chilling several cans of Coke Zero (I'm on a writing deadline you see).

The device works, doesn't seem to draw much power, and it runs silently. I know you're jealous, so if you're significant other didn't get you one, than stop over to
www.thinkgeek.com and pick one up.



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28 UAP - Layer Comps, Part 2 of 2

Layer comps allow you to create alternate images and store them in one Photoshop document. Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to get the most out of this important tool. Part 2 of 2.



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New Photoshop Podcast Soars

Well, it appears timing is everything. Our new podcast on Adobe Photoshop CS3 is rocking the charts. Literally overnight it took number 1 in the software training category. That's very motivational to a guy with zero advertising budget and very little public presence. I genuinely hope you are enjoying the show (I am trying to produce one a day for the next two weeks). Up next (its literally compressing right now) a 15 minute tutorial on creating panoramic photos.

Thanks to those who are watching (a few comments)
1. Please click the
subscribe button (it is free)
2. Please
tell your friends
3. Please
leave feedback.
4. Please post a comment here with requests for specific tutorials.

I want this podcast to be truly useful to the community. Your
support and feedback really do help.

Photoshop CS3 Sneak Peek On the Web On iTunes



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New Photoshop CS3 Online Learning Center

The great folks over at Photoshop User Magazine have launched an online learning center for the new Photoshop CS3 beta. You'll find great articles, interviews, and video tutorials on the latest technology development. I particularly liked Scott Kelby's Top 10 list and interview with John Nack, the Photoshop product manager.

These guys have good stuff and can be commended for making the bulk of it free to new users. Be sure to
check it out and explore new options. You may also want to Join NAPP for access to a wealth of other online materials and training.


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Photoshop CS3 Public Beta Available on Friday – New Podcast Today

Long-rumored, but finally true. Adobe has announced a public beta program for Photoshop CS3. While the finished program is not yet ready for release until the Spring, it is almost ready for 'prime-time.' You can read more about the release on Adobe's website for the full details.

If you are looking for some training, here's two places to start:
Photoshop CS3 Sneak Peek On the Web On iTunes
Photoshop CS3 Learning Center On the Web


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Great Deal on Shareware for a Good Cause



Some of my favorite tools are on sale this week as part of a great shareware bundle (deal ends this Sunday). Over at MacHeist (an online game) they have a shareware developer bundle. For $49 you can get the following programs.

1. Delicious Library (allows you to catalog music and DVDs)
2. Foto Magico (a cool slideshow application)
3. ShapeShifter (for changing the Mac UI)
4. Devon Think (a database application)
5. Disco (a disc burning application)
6. RapidWeaver (the blogging tool I use for this site)
7. iClip (a clipboard organizer that is very useful)
8. A game from Pangea software (several to choose from... I like Bugdom)
9. Newsfire (a RSS reader)
10. TextMate (a great text editor - unlocked if they raise 100K for charity)

Plus... 25% of the purchase price goes to a charity (of your choice). This is just a great example of geeks doing good... I am ordering mine today and suggest that other mac users
take this great deal up before it is gone.
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How to Wow for PowerPoint is On the Presses

The book is DONE! I have just finished a new book on PowerPoint 2007. It’s called How to Wow with PowerPoint and I am writing it with my friend Scott Rekdal. I am quite proud of it... It's full color, to-the-point, and teaches you how to do all the important stuff with PowerPoint 2007. It's great for all levels of users, especially those who feel their skills have leveled-off.

I'm trying to get a sample chapter up this week. If you want to order it, put a pre-order into
Amazon or directly at Peachpit. This way you'll get it first (heck we might even get the book out before Microsoft gets the software out).

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Aperture Update – Lot's of Tweaks

If you use Aperture, Apple's photo management application (I do), you'll be glad that they've released a new update. Here's the highlights (and my interpretation).

Aperture 1.5.2 addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance in a number of areas, including:
• Contact sheet printing (useful for sending to clients)
• Smart Albums
• Watermarks (useful for clients you don't trust)
• Lift and stamp
• Image export (Cuts down on artifacting when converting)

This part is essential
If you haven’t already done so, it is strongly recommended that you also download the Digital Camera RAW Support Update 1.0.1, which is available on the Apple Downloads support page at http://www.apple.com/support/downloads.

The Digital Camera RAW Support Update addresses the following issues:
• Handling of large Canon RAW files (.CRW)
• DNG compatibility on Intel-based Macintosh computers
(Important for Adobe users)
• Lines sometimes appearing in images exported from Aperture (sometimes? try all the time)



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Adobe Reader 8 is Released


Looking for greater options and compatibility when browsing PDF files? Then its time to download Adobe Reader 8 (formerly Acrobat Reader). The new version features a streamlined interface that can be customized by the end user. An important change is that Acrobat Professional users can enable the ability for Reader users to fill and submit forms as well as add comments. The program is also GPU aware so a powerful graphics card will speed things up.



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27 UAP - Layer Comps, Part 1 of 2

Layer comps allow you to create alternate images and store them in one Photoshop document. Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to get the most out of this important tool. Part 1 of 2.



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Books.
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After Effects 7.0.1 is Released

While its 'just' a minor update, its still nice when our power tools get tweaked. Adobe just released a minor bug update to After Effects. Here are some details from the release notes about the most significant fixes in the 7.0.1 release (Mac or Win):

• An issue has been fixed where After Effects' application window could not be revealed after being hidden.

• After Effects can now read IFF image files rendered out of mental ray for Maya.

• Shift-clicking to draw vertices with the Pen tool now constrains to 45 degree angles.

• Copy and paste of semitransparent text from Illustrator into After Effects has been fixed.

• Choosing Composition > Preview > Audio Preview (Work Area) will now play the whole work area.

• Users can now import Blackmagic Design 8-bit YUV AVI compressed files.

• An issue that caused incorrect pixel aspect ratio and dimensions when importing DVCProHD files captured in FCP5 has been fixed.
(I begged for this one)

• Audio waveform no longer disappears when the window is resized.

A big thanks to After Effects Product Manager
Steve Kilisky for letting me know.



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New Presentation Posted on Video Podcasting


I've edited together the highlights from a recent class on video podcasting. If you attended my class at Digital Media DC, then this is the advanced notes. If you couldn't attend, then this is the next best thing. If you open this file in iTunes you can see the slides change in sync with the audio. If the slides are not visible, click the Show Artwork button in the lower left corner then click the slide thumbnail to go full-screen. You can also see the slides if you put the file on an iPod with a screen. I hope you enjoy and find the presentation useful.

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Take Our Monthly Survey – December 2006

It's that time again... we've launched our survey for the month of December. It's time for you to cast your vote and have your voice/click heard.

This time we want to know
which new tutorials to produce. Which Motion Graphics design skill do you want to see more training available? I'll produce both a for sale product and an exclusive sample for those who vote and comment. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address and I'll contact you next month with a free training module.

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GV Expo Class Notes Are Live

To those who attended, sorry for the short delay in getting my final notes up. Friday turned into a day of recovery, but you'll now find all of the notes posted. While you are in the handout section, feel free to poke around and look at other resources. You'll find lots of ideas that will help you out with projects.

If you wanted to take advantage of our DVD discount (10% off at
VASST.com) be sure to enter the code GVEXPO at check out.



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Great New Digital Camera

I have now made the leap to a new digital camera. I have been very happy with my Nikon D70 (albeit its a few years old), but I have desired a smaller camera that I could keep in my laptop bag for the many trips I take. The thought being that carrying a full bag of lenses and camera parts isn't always going to be practical.

I was about ready to give up my shopping quest (don't even get me started on the in store people who tried to convince me that I didn't need to shoot Camera Raw). But some research and photography buddies turned me onto Leica camera. I have purchased (but not yet received) what I think to be the perfect camera for my needs.

The
Leica D-LUX 3 offers a superb amount of pro features in a small package:
  • 10-megapixel CCD (18 x 24-inch prints)
  • Shoot both RAW and JPEG
  • Manual setting options (focus, aperture, ISA, bracketing)
  • High-quality lens takes (equivalent to 28 mm - 112 mm)
  • Ability to shoot three aspect ratios (4:3 - 3:2 - 16:9)
  • Optical stabilization and fast processing (burst 1 fps)
  • High-quality aluminum housing
  • Video Record HD 720P @ 15 fps & SD @ 30 fps in QuickTime
  • Choice between automatic or manual ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 or ISO 1600.
  • Includes full copy of Photoshop Elements

The cameras are back ordered due to popularity, so you'll need to allow a few weeks to
get yours (I'm still anxiously waiting).
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iMix #5 – Music from 2006


Here's my latest iMix, a collection of songs posted to the iTunes music store for others to enjoy. Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life. Music from 2006 is a collection songs that I discovered in 2006. I've limited it to one song per artist (but I recommend checking entire albums). Visit iTunes to listen to the tracks, pick up the ones you want, and vote for the iMix in the rankings.

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I Have a Present for You... UPDATE

For most of you, it's holiday time... a time for giving of gifts and catching up with friends. Well I'm brining that same joy into the blogosphere. Exactly what am I giving away? It's a secret and I can't reveal it to December 15th... but check back then.

I promise some really cool free downloads that you'll want to get. A certain legal document prevents me from leaking any details, but you will NOT want to miss what I have in store. Trust me...
GRIN.


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Just What are Scratch Disks?

While teaching this week, we got on the topic of how to make Photoshop run faster. Most in the audience thought the answer was to add more RAM (yes that will help), but its not the only way. Adobe Photoshop can recognize up to 3GB of physical RAM, but you can also use virtual memory in the form of a scratch disk.

By targeting hard drive, Photoshop can temporarily use disk space to help in opening large files, ruing complex filters, or performing a resize command. But how do you set this up?

1. Launch your preferences by pressing Cmd + K (Ctrl + K).
2. Find the Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks Category in the drop down menu at the top of the window.
3. Set your first Scratch Disk to a hard drive and click OK.

Internal hard drives are best (as opposed to networked drives). You should also avoid using the Startup (system) drive as this will bog performance down. If you are a video editor, you can target your fast video editing drives. Don't worry, Photoshop will trash any temp files when you quit or on relaunch after a crash.

Be sure to set your Scratch Disk preferences right for a great bump in performance when working with larger files or with several files open.


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New Final Cut Pro Podcasts Posted

Looking for some great new FCP tutorials? Well true experts know that "the power is in the trim." Chris has two great short tips on trimming, the first is on asymmetrical trimming (easier that its sounds) and the second is on using markers for sync reference. If you are an Avid editor, these two tutorials will really help unlock FCP's trimming tools. Be sure to subscribe today (it’s totally free). You can get it at iTunes (the preferred method) or manually visit our web feed. If you'd like to get full-length DVDs with practice media, then visit www.VASST.com.
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New Final Cut Pro Podcasts Posted

Looking for some great new FCP tutorials? Well true experts know that "the power is in the trim." Chris has two great short tips on trimming, the first is on asymmetrical trimming (easier that its sounds) and the second is on using markers for sync reference. If you are an Avid editor, these two tutorials will really help unlock FCP's trimming tools. Be sure to subscribe today (it’s totally free). You can get it at iTunes (the preferred method) or manually visit our web feed. If you'd like to get full-length DVDs with practice media, then visit www.VASST.com.
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Super Cool Audio Recorder for Podcasting and Field Production

While I was traveling for DV Expo, we decided to pick up a new digital audio recorder. After an exhaustive search, we decided upon the Microtrack 24/96 from M-Audio. This recorder has proven very flexible as we can use it several ways.

  • It can be patched into a soundboard easily with three different connection types
  • It can be connected to a video camera's headphone port to record audio
  • It has an attachable mike for quick voice records of meetings or creative sessions

The feature list is pretty impressive as it offers pro options at a reasonable price. It's important that you download the latest software updates (which are free) but the whole package is great. I love being able to both charge and transfer data via a USB 2 cable. Don't let some of the inexperienced Amazon reviewers throw you off, I trust the recommendation of Douglas Spotted Eagle any day.
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Adobe Releases New Articles on Digital Photography


If you are in need of some new ideas or inspiration, be sure to check out the new articles from Adobe experts. There's a full list posted over at PhotoshopNews.com and there's some truly great stuff in there. While the articles skew towards digital photographers (like most of Adobe these days), I found these two very useful.


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Adobe Releases New Articles on Digital Photography

If you are in need of some new ideas or inspiration, be sure to check out the new articles from Adobe experts. There's a full list posted over at PhotoshopNews.com and there's some truly great stuff in there. While the articles skew towards digital photographers (like most of Adobe these days), I found these two very useful.

Digital Image Integrity by George Reis Photographs have been altered or “faked” ever since the very beginning of chemical photography. Learn how Photoshop CS is providing forensics experts and law enforcement specialists better tools for evaluating the authenticity of a photograph.

Black and White Conversion Tutorial by John Paul Caponigro Are you looking for more detail in your digital B&W conversions? Or perhaps better contrast and tonal separation? Here’s an opportunity to learn how to get maximum flexibility out of your B&W conversions. Follow along step-by-step, as John Paul Caponigro shows you how the pros do it in this dynamic PDF tutorial.
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26 UAP - Layer Organization

Maximize your Photoshop workflow with these essential tips on layer organization. Instructor Rich Harrington explains how to align, distribute and group layers and how to lock different aspects of a layer.



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© 2010 Richard Harrington LLC