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I know a lot of folks who are hesitant to upgrade.... I admit, I've been burned by installing updates as soon as they come out... but hey, that's why I'm an early adopter. The latest Mac update looks to include several important bug fixes and enhancements. Here's a few that tip the scale in favor of installing.
Addresses an issue with stuttering video and audio playback in certain USB devices.
Fixes an issue in which certain attached hard drives may not show up in the Finder.
Includes additional RAW image support for several cameras.
Improves 802.1X behavior and reliability.
Improves reliability when using Time Capsule.
Fixes reliability issues with authenticated RSS feeds.
Addresses compatibility issues with Aperture 2.
Addresses reliability issues when performing a full restore from a Time Machine backup.
You can access the update through your Apple Menu.... I’ve been running it for several days and all seems happy. Additionally, several new pro digital cameras were added for Raw support.
Adobe Soundbooth is a great tool to fix everyday audio problems and production workflows. It works well for video or Flash workflows and is built around a fairly intuitive set of task-based tools. Adobe is giving its customers a chance to play with Soundbooth CS4. If you are already a CS3 owner, the beta works until after CS4 is released. If you don't own CS3.... then it only works for 48 hours.
Here are some of the core features worth checking out:
Arranging audio files on multiple tracks
Making quick edits and applying fades
Matching volume levels with a single command
Removing unwanted noises and background sounds
Adjusting tempo and pitch
Recording and polishing voice-overs
Adding effects and filters
Previewing MP3 compression quality
Easily creating customized music — without musical expertise
With the new Adobe Sound Document file format you can take “snapshots” of your work-in-progress and undo changes made to your audio assets.
Sometimes third-party plug-ins fill obvious holes... this is truly the case here. Wouldn't it make sense to be able to quickly send photos from Apple Aperture to Final Cut Pro? You'd think that sort of thing would be built right in (its not). Fortunately the fine folks over at Connected Flow over an elegant (and free) solution. “The Aperture to Final Cut Pro plugin lets you take your images stored in Apple's professional photo management application and send them directly to a video sequence in Final Cut Pro. From within Aperture, you can select photos, set their order and duration and select transitions between frames.”
The Aperture to Final Cut Pro plugin is a free download and is provided on an as-is basis.
There's a great article over at Pro Video Coalition about using web tools to collaborate with other creative pros. The article is written by Steve Hullfish who truly knows his stuff... “A few weeks ago there was a short but interesting thread on CML-pro (The Cinematographer’s Mailing List) about how to collaborate with other creatives on a production team using web-based tools. The original poster wanted a solution – a “group scrapbook” - that would allow a small pre-production team to share images, photos and notes. Expanding on the idea a little further, it would be good to be able to communicate across the group, share schedules, comments and video. There were basically six good solutions presented by members of the list:
Google Sites – basically a free on-line website creator.
Celtx – free software that links to free shared web storage specifically for film and TV productions.
BackPackIt – subscription-based team collaboration website
BaseCamp – subscription-based team collaboration website
Picassa Web – on-line photo sharing
.mac account with iWeb – simple website creation with annual subscription for serving.
I examined each of these concepts for a project I’m beginning. There are pros and cons to each approach and I figure that you might benefit from all of my legwork.”
I've launched a new course over at Kelby Training called Photoshop and After Effects for Event Photographers. It's designed to help teach you new ways to show your images to clients? Learn how to quickly prepare images for use in video and on-screen. In this interactive lesson you'll learn how to prepare photos for PowerPoint, Keynote, and DVD slideshows as well as how to create attractive pans and zooms of your image.
You can watch the first three parts of the lesson for free and find out more on their site. The tutorial touches upon most of the Production Premium suite. You'll learn a bit about Photoshop, After Effects, Encore, Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, and the Adobe Media Encoder
The schedule for the new Photoshop World has been announced and I am very excited.. I'll be teaching four brand new classes that I hop you all will enjoy.
Building an Electronic Portfolio (Using DVD, Presentation Software, and Web Galleries) Looking to expand your photography or design portfolio? This in-depth class will teach you how to create dynamic electronic portfolios to showcase your work. Learn how to prepare your images for the screen, then take them to new places such as the Internet, DVD, and Presentation software. This session will help you show your portfolio to more people with less expense. If your looking for easy and innovative ways to showcase your work, don't miss this important pre-conference session.
Creative Animation with the Puppet Tool Looking to create animation from photos? Learn how to combine layered Photoshop files with After Effects Puppet Tool to quickly add natural motion. You can bend, warp, and animate both raster images and vector graphics, including still images, shapes, and text characters. In this session, you'll learn creative possibilities for creating animated elements for use in video and multimedia projects.
Advanced Motion Control 3D Clients, Producers, and After Effects Artists alike have fallen in love with bringing pictures to life. Want to learn how to create movement "within" a photo? This popular class has been fully updated to show you even more techniques for using Photoshop files for creative story telling. Learn how to use 3D cameras, lights, particles, and the Vanishing Point feature to create exciting animations that capture the imagine and engage your audience.
Creative Chromakeying The use of green-screen and blue-screen is a popular technique for both video and film special effects. In this informative session you'll learn how to create virtual environments from photos, then key your video using Photoshop or After Effects. A special emphasis will be placed upon using After Effects' powerful keying technology like Keylight as well as strategies to help with the production of the chromakey shoot.
Steve Holmes has a great tutorial over at Layers Magazine on using the Vanishing Point features in Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. The tutorial is totally free and Steve does a great job. “Without a doubt, the best new feature in After Effects CS3 is the Vanishing Point Exchange with Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended. Creating very believable 3D movements from quite simple 2D digital photographs has to be seen to be believed, and the best thing is it’s a pretty easy process. However, there are a few caveats to keep an eye out for, so let’s take a trip into the world of two-dee three-dee!”
As both a photographer and author, his challenge in writing books like this one is to remember that the purpose of the software is not to bring something out that wasn’t there, but rather to enhance something that (for whatever reason) you couldn’t capture. We’ve all been in those situations where time is so short that you don’t get the lighting quite ideal, etc.
Right now, use of an Aperture plug-in works much like a round-trip to Photoshop. A new version of the image is created, edited via the plug-in, and “returned” to Aperture’s control. Granted, you never alter your original image, so you never lose the ability to go back and start again on a process that utilized a plug-in. Ultimately, true non-destructive plug-ins might happen, but there’s no absolute way to know with Apple being so tight-lipped about their development process.- The book covers a wide range of output targets including prints, books, web use, iPhone, AppleTV, etc.
AMAZINGLY CAPABLE VIDEO SOFTWARE FOR WINDOWS “You might be thinking, “What’s consumer software doing in a pro magazine?” The short answer is that if you aren’t using the Adobe Master Collection or the Production Premium suite, you probably need Adobe Premiere Elements 4. Whether you work as an advertiser, designer, developer, or photographer, you most likely have an interest in making videos or DVDs.
Sure, Adobe offers the very capable video applications found in the Creative Suite product line but for many users, it’s hard to spring for the “whole enchilada.” When I sat down with Premiere Elements, I was immediately impressed. The product offers an easy-to-use toolset that addresses the needs of many users.
Here’s the lowdown: Premiere Elements only runs on Windows machines. If you’re a Mac user, you should be looking to iMovie and iDVD ’08 to fill the same needs. On the PC side, the market has been woefully underserved by offerings from Adaptec and Microsoft. With version 4 of Premiere Elements, Adobe clearly steps up to offer a dramatic redesign, combining power with ease of use (an Adobe trademark).” You can read the rest of the review here...
One of the first bands I fell in love with during college was Nine Inch Nails (actually back then, it wasn't a band). The seminal record, Pretty Hate Machine was a mash-up of Prince Samples and Orchestral Scores from Stephen King and Clive Barker films (along with many other sounds). Since then Trent Reznor has continued to evolve/ Yesreday they‘ve releases The Slip—a new 10-track album—for free on http://theslip.nin.com/. The record is available in virtually every flavor of DRM-free digital format, all you need to do is give them your email address. The album will eventually be available in traditional formats as well. This move mirrors those of both Radiohead and Prince.
I came home tonight and found a copy of Apple Pro Training Series: Aperture 2 sitting on my door step. I'm quite happy with how the book came out (especially since we were able to work in all of the new features in the 2.1 release). The book should start shipping within days... you can order it here. In the mean time (here are some features you won't want to miss). Customize the Default Adjustment Set Specify exactly which adjustments you want to appear by default in the Adjustments Inspector/HUD. Two new commands — Add to Default Set and Remove from Default Set — are accessible in the Action pop-up menu for each adjustment in order to configure these settings.
Keyboard support in Adjustment Panels Make precise image adjustments using the arrow keys on your keyboard to drive the various sliders in the Adjustments Inspector/HUD. To activate keyboard control, click once in the numeric field of an adjustment control (such as Exposure). You can then use the arrow keys to increase or decrease values. Hold down the Option key when using the arrow keys for even more precise adjustment. You can use Tab to move to the next adjustment control (and Shift-Tab to move to a previous control).