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Asking for Your Help - American Diabetes Association


I will be walking this weekend to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. If you are able to, would you consider making a small donation to the cause? Every dollar raised goes to help in the fight against diabetes. Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 21 seconds, this is quickly becoming the leading cause of death in America. America's Walk for Diabetes is my chance to give back (and yours as well). If you find this blog helpful or entertaining, please consider making a $5 donation. Thanks!

-Rich Harrington



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21 UAP - Spot Color Channels

Instructor Rich Harrington explains how to create spot color channels and use them to accurately reproduce your client's corporate colors.



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Check Out our New Final Cut Help Podcast

Well, if you're looking for a new resource to learn Apple’s Final Cut Studio, then check out the Final Cut Help podcast over at iTunes. Each week we'll have a new tutorial on all aspects of Final Cut Studio including Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Motion, and Compressor. The high-quality video training features Apple Certified instructors including Abba Shapiro, Gary Adcock, Chris Phrommayon, Mason Dixon, and Richard Harrington.

The podcast is a great way to sample our new
DVD training titles which are available from VASST.

Here’s the iTunes URL
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=202902941

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New Training DVDs Released


In need of someone training this Fall? We've released five new titles. Three are brand new for Final Cut Pro users: Color Correction, Advanced Trimming, and Media Management. These are three areas that even the most experienced user can gain speed and confidence.

We've also significantly updated two of our best sellers: An
Inside Look at the HVX-200 and a guide to working with HD Media. There are these and several more available at VASST.com. We hope you enjoy them!

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New Audio Tool from Adobe for AE and Flash Users


Continuing their new Labs idea, Adobe has a preview release of yet another new product. This time its Adobe Soundbooth which is an audio editing tool for those who don't need the power of Adobe Audition (or who find all the features just a little confusing.) The program is well suited for:
• Editing audio quickly.
• Cleaning up noisy audio.
• Visually identifying and removing unwanted sounds.
• Recording and polishing voiceovers.
• Adding effects and filters.

Download now before the current Soundbooth beta expires on February 28, 2007.

A great review of Soundbooth can be found on
Creative Cow.


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Check Out our New Final Cut Help Podcast

Well, if you're looking for a new resource to learn Apple’s Final Cut Studio, then check out the Final Cut Help podcast over at iTunes. Each week we'll have a new tutorial on all aspect of Final Cut Studio including Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Motion, and Compressor. The high-quality video training features Apple Certified instructors including Abba Shapiro, Gary Adcock, Chris Phrommayon, Mason Dixon, and Richard Harrington.

The podcast is a great way to sample our new
DVD training titles which are available from VASST.

Here’s the iTunes URL
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=202902941

Here’s the Show Page
http://www.podango.com/podcast/1204/Final_Cut_Help__Absolute_Training_for_Final_Cut_Studio


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New Freebies for Video Pros

I've posted some new items online to help spice up your projects and make your digital life a little easier.

Background Textures from Digital Anarchy
NTSC Test Image (For use with Photoshop's Video Actions)
Power Window/Vignette to enhance Film Look
Over The Shoulder Data Sets Template

I hope you enjoy. If you spot any problems, please let me know.


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New Training DVDs Released

In need of someone training this Fall? We've released five new titles. Three are brand new for Final Cut Pro users: Color Correction, Advanced Trimming, and Media Management. These are three areas that even the most experienced user can gain speed and confidence.

We've also significantly updated two of our best sellers: An
Inside Look at the HVX-200 and a guide to working with HD Media. There are these and several more available at VASST.com. We hope you enjoy them!



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Conference Notes from NAB New York



I've posted conference notes from my sessions at NAB New York. If you attended any of my classes, be sure to have a look. Even if you didn't attend, you might find the resources useful. The two most popular classes were Color Correction for Final Cut Pro and Motion Control 3D. If you couldn't attend (or want to go deeper) both of these have DVDs available from VASST.com.



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New Film/Video Group in NYC


While at NAB New York, I had the chance to catch up with some industry pros. I just found at that the New York Final Cut Pro User Group has evolved into a broader focus. The group is now called The Motion Pictures Collective.

"The Moving Pictures Collective fosters our professional filmmaking community to enhance their abilities and broaden their overall knowledge and skills to reach their career goals. With post-production as our core competency, we will share techniques, tools, and best practices in all competencies including editing, directing, writing, producing, and shooting. We will also promote member collaboration by sharing our work in a supportive environment and create opportunities for our members to flourish.”

If you live near New York City, be sure to check out one of their
great events.



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New Rotoscoping Solution Previewed - Motor from Imagineer Systems


At NAB New York, I had a chance to take a look at a new rotoscoping product that is truly unique and fast! Imageneer Systems showed off motor, which looks to speed up the tedious process of rotoscoping by 3 times. The tools is designed for both video and film work. It is a standalone product, but it can export matted clips or mask data to other programs. The product works using 2.5D planar tracking technology where the user defines basic objects or planes (like body parts). The system then supports variable edge width and the ability to refine edges with far fewer keyframes. The product is currently in beta testing (but release looks to be soon).



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20 UAP - Calculations Command, Part 2 of 2

Instructor Rich Harrington shows you how to mathematically separate image information and manipulate individual color channels to create the perfect alpha channel using Photoshop's Calculations tool. Part 2 of 2.



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I'm Hitting New York City (for NAB)

If you'll be in New York City this week, be sure to say hi. I'll be speaking at the NAB New York conference this week on a variety of topics. Classes aren't free (but the tradeshow is for advanced registration). You can also get a one-session free pass by stopping by the Future Media Concepts booth.

Here's my class schedule if you're coming to the conference.


Monday - October 23rd
10:00 - 1:00 Fast Start with Adobe Photoshop CS2
2:00 - 5:00 Fast Start with Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Video

Tuesday - October 24th
9:00 - 10:15 Automating Photoshop CS2 for a Video Workflow
12:30 - 1:30 When Multicam Shoots Go Right (and Wrong)

Wednesday - October 25th
1:45 - 3:00 HD Loops: Creative Looping Backgrounds
4:45 - 6:00 Interfaces in Motion – Bringing Web Pages to Life

Thursday - October 26th
9:00 - 10:15 Essential Color Correction Concepts
12:45 - 2:00 Motion Control 3D: How to Create Movement within a Photo
2:15 - 3:30 Word Play: Title Design Workshop



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The Real Reason for Windows Vista Delay

While clearing off my cell phone camera, I came across this gem from Photoshop World. I had intended to sit down and watch a demo on Windows Vista (writing a book on PowerPoint makes you do strange things).

So I went to hear (and see the latest). But it seems that the Microsoft rep couldn't get the system to boot up using Windows Vista. The audience was good natured, but still after multiple reboots and attempts, it just wouldn't work). So, the unaltered photos you see here are what the audience got (at least the demo guy had a sense of humor).

So, has Vegas started taking odds on Apple vs. Windows as to who will get their operating system out the door first? What are your plans about Windows Vista?




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Technology for the Masses – K-mart Goes Broadband


Tonight, I ended up in a K-mart (I was looking for a bin of Tinker Toys for my son Michael). My eye was caught by the promise of 'free high-speed internet access' (or acceso gratuito de alta velocidad a internet for K-mart's Spanish speaking customers). Naturally, my curiosity got the best of me.

1. Who exactly goes to K-mart with a laptop?

2. While they do have a snack-bar, could you really see yourself sitting down with a big tall ICEE (blue please) and telecommute?

3. Where did they dig up the dinosaur 'Application Center' terminal. This thing totally looks like a TRS (Trash) 80... If you know what I mean... please validate this inane post by leaving a comment.

Well, as a podcaster, I guess I should be glad that you can now get my latest episodes at K-mart. Be sure to stop into your “all-new” K-mart (now owned by Sears) and see what joys lie in-store for you.

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Video Preview out of Photoshop CS2

This one came up today when a client asked me about previewing Photoshop graphics on a TV monitor. There's a great product called EchoFire, which lets you preview out of Photoshop using virtually any video hardware. But if DV is good enough for you, then Photoshop CS2 has you covered.

1. Hook up a FireWire device that uses the DV protocol like a deck or Analog/Digital converter (I like ones from Canopus).
2. Make sure the hardwire is powered up and connected to a monitor, then launch Photoshop.
3. Work with your current document and design as needed.
4. Choose File > Export Video Preview...
5. Specify your Output Mode and Aspect Ratio and click OK.

Preview away



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The History of Photoshop

I was recently asked how I could teach Photoshop and not be a professional photographer. It seems that most people forget that Photoshop has a diverse history and origin. In fact, I often point out its strong roots in the world of film and special effects (one half of the development team worked at Industrial Light and Magic). Photoshop serves all and this great article by Jeff Schewe gives you insight into its rich history.


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Great Tee-Shirts for the Mac Oriented

I own a few geeky Mac shirts already. I've got my Mac Genius shirt with the logo from Apple‘s Genius Bar that is discontinued (this is close). My son has two shirts that say mini with an apple logo (back from the days of the iPod mini). My wife also found my favorite tech shirt that simply states RTFM (if you aren't sure what those letters mean...). Fortunately there's a new company in town. and the geeks can go even longer without doing their laundry. Insanely Great Tees has a preview site up and they look to have some good shirts when they launch.



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19 UAP - Calculations Command, Part 1 of 2

Instructor Rich Harrington shows you how to mathematically separate image information and manipulate individual color channels to create the perfect alpha channel using Photoshop's Calculations tool. Part 1 of 2.



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Want more training? Check out our
Books.
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Greatest Technological Impact - Take Our Monthly Survey – October 2006


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

This time we want to know which technology has had the greatest impact on your career/hobby. To clarify, we're talking hardware, software, or both. If you had to pick one (and only one) which would it be? Additionally, you have the option to vote for the ubiquitous ‘other’ but please be sure to identify it in the Comments section. Feel free to offer other opinions in the Comments feed as well.





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The Photoshop User Awards

Looking for a cool contest with prizes better than a shiny statue? Then don't miss the Photoshop User Awards sponsored by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. They've got great prizes including passes to Photoshop World and a prize package of design tools. The Best of Show winner gets to go ‘on assignment’ in Rome, Italy.
The deadline for entry is December 31, 2006 and you can find the full rules here. There are eleven categories to enter:

1. General Photography (digital or traditional scanned images manipulated or collaged in Photoshop)
2. Illustration (original creations drawn or created in Photoshop)
3. Artistic (artistic creations)
4. Photo Restoration (Restoring or repairing damaged images - die: rips, scratches, tears, faded photos, etc.)
5. Wedding and Portrait Photography (Wedding or Portrait images enhanced using Photoshop.)
6. Landscape & Travel Photography (Outdoor photography enhanced or corrected, or processed in Photoshop)
7. Photo Retouching (Retouching people, landscapes, architectural images, commercial retouching, etc.)
8. Advertising Design (Images used in brochures, annual report collages, advertising, logos, etc.)
9. Composites and Collaging (Collage of images).
10. Student Work (Images created or manipulated by students. NOTE: A valid student ID is required to enter work in this category).
11. General Photoshop Design (Images that don't fit into one of the categories listed above: cartoons, Photoshop graffiti art, tattoo art, medical imagery, astronomy, etc.).

It's a great contest and open to all Photoshop users.


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Insert Flash or YouTube into PowerPoint

I'm hard at work on a new book on PowerPoint 2007. It’s called How to Wow with PowerPoint and I am writing it with my friend Scott Rekdal. We're focussing on all of the coolest features and the essential skills you need to make great-looking presentations.

Here’s a preview of a useful tip on how to insert a Flash file or YouTube video into a PowerPoint slide.

Put Flash in a Presentation
Inserting Flash animations into a slideshow can significantly extend the animation abilities of PowerPoint. However, the task is NOT easy. In order to unlock this feature, you literally need to unlock the software. This feature is tricky, and if you are of the faint of heart.

1. Enable Flash Technology
There are several preferences you must modify to enable Flash files. You may need to adjust your security settings to allow ActiveX to run (this is the portal for Flash). To activate ActiveX, it is best to view the PowerPoint help file, enter the text “Enable ActiveX.”

Next, make sure that the Shockwave Flash plug-in has been loaded on your system. For maximum compatibility you should download the latest version from www.adobe.com. You should also install the latest version of Flash Player on your system.

2. Enable the Developer’s tab
The Developer’s tab contains several advanced elements that let you customize a presentation. Most of these are for developers, that is those individuals who are actually using PowerPoint as a programming environment to create interactive programs.


To enable these tools, click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click PowerPoint Options button. Next, click Popular, and then under Top options for working with PowerPoint, select the Show Developer tab in the Ribbon check box B. To apply the change, click OK.


3. Add the Flash Control

On the Developer tab, go to the Controls group, and click More Controls. In the new dialog box, select Shockwave Flash Object from the list of controls B and click OK. Draw on the slide to insert the control. Drag from the top corner to the bottom corner (covering the entire slide). A white box with an X should now cover the entire slide.


4. Locate the Movie
Unfortunately, the Flash control does not have a browse function to locate the movie. You have to know the actual file path (this is a long string of text such as C:\Documents and Settings\RHED Pixel\Desktop\Chapter 4\Sources\Video\Flash_Title.swf). Be sure to figure out the location of your file.


5. Modify the Control Container
Now that you know the location of the file, right-click the Shockwave Flash Object on the slide and choose Properties A. On the Alphabetic tab, click the Movie property (this specified the file). In the value column (the blank cell next to Movie), type or paste the full drive path B, including the file name or URL to the Flash file that you want to play.
You can also set options such as looping by modifying settings in the Properties dialog box.

6. Test it Out
Lets see if it works? Press Shift+F5 to Preview the current slide. Did it work? Flash animations are a quickly evolving feature inside of PowerPoint, so keep an eye on the built-in help menu to see if future updates streamline embedding a Flash file. If the above steps seem too in-depth, then be sure to check out PFCMedia, which makes this process a few clicks.


7. Want YouTube?
If you’re clever, you can get a YouTube video to work in PowerPoint. It’s not easy (but its pretty cool!) The trick is to harness the power of Flash (see Put Flash in a Presentation). The only difference is you’ll insert a web URL for the movie you want. For example if you found a movie like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RysNrUP5MqA you would view it on the page. What you need to do is modify the web link. Instead, use http://www.youtube.com/v/RysNrUP5MqA to create a direct link to just the media file and none of the web page navigation. When you launch your presentation, click once to start the clip. If you click the screen again it takes you to the YouTube website. Instead, click the space bar to advance the slide.

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New iMac is Breath-taking


We found ourselves 'hardware-crunched' due to recent project deadlines. To get by, we picked up one of the new iMacs. For the money, these machines are very impressive. Here's the features that matter to pro designers.

Set-up
• Plugged in the power cord and network cable, it was up an running
• In less than 5 minutes the computer was un-boxed and running (sure.. installing the Apple and Adobe collections took longer.... )


System Specs
• 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (very fast at encoding DVDs!)
• Comes with 1GB memory (more is nice... but this was enough to 'just go')
• A robust and fast 250GB Serial ATA 7200-rpm hard drive
• 8x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) (yes... does just about everything)
• High-speed 802.11g, Bluetooth, and Ethernet built-in

The Display
• A HUGE 24-inch widescreen LCD (everyone from staff to clients stares and comments on how nice the screen looks... everyone)
• Very bright and crisp with a wide viewing angle
• a reasonably powered NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics processor with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM using PCI Express (fast enough for Motion and After Effects).
• Support for external display in extended desktop

Other Nice Things that come in handy
• Built-in iSight camera
• One FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port
• Three USB 2.0 ports
• Internal 24-watt speakers (not bad sounding.... but use monitors for real audio work)

What's really cool is the system is actually approved for running Final Cut Studio. I highly recommend if you are in a system crunch or need an extra machine to check the iMac out.

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New iMac is Breath-taking

We found ourselves 'hardware-crunched' due to recent project deadlines. To get by, we picked up one of the new iMacs. For the money, these machines are very impressive. Here's the features that matter to pro designers.

Set-up
• Plugged in the power cord and network cable, it was up an running
• In less than 5 minutes the computer was un-boxed and running (sure.. installing the Apple and Adobe collections took longer.... )


System Specs
  • 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (very fast at encoding DVDs!)
  • Comes with 1GB memory (more is nice... but this was enough to 'just go')
  • A robust and fast 250GB Serial ATA 7200-rpm hard drive
  • 8x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) (yes... does just about everything)
  • High-speed 802.11g, Bluetooth, and Ethernet built-in
  • A HUGE 24-inch widescreen LCD (everyone from staff to clients stares and comments on how nice the screen looks... everyone)
  • Very bright and crisp with a wide viewing angle
  • a reasonably powered NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics processor with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM using PCI Express (fast enough for Motion and After Effects).
  • Support for external display in extended desktop
  • Built-in iSight camera
  • One FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • Internal 24-watt speakers (not bad sounding.... but use monitors for real audio work)
What's really cool is the system is actually approved for running Final Cut Studio. I highly recommend if you are in a system crunch or need an extra machine to check the iMac out.


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18 UAP - Using a Path

Connect the dots and create scalable vector graphics with Photoshop's pen tool. Instructor Rich Harrington explores how paths can be used to make accurate selections and create customized effects.



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New Radio Interview – Photoshop and the Classroom


Richard Harrington was recently interviewed by Mac Edition Radio about Photoshop and education.

"
An interview with Peachpit Press Author Richard Harrington on writing a book to help teach Photoshop. Rich brings years of teaching experience, expertise with motion graphics, and a longing for the perfect book to teach Photoshop with, and wrote Understanding Adobe Photoshop: Digital Image Concepts and Techniques.” Recorded at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals Photoshop World Conference, Las Vegas, in September 2006 by Harris Fogel."

Have
a listen if you'd like.



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iPod Vending Machine – For Real

While at the Ottawa Convention Center for the Podcasting and Portable Media Expo, I was quite surprised to see a large vending machine filled with electronics. Everything from iPods to PlayStation Portables stocked this machine. It was really pretty amazing. Swipe your credit card and you could be basic things like an iPod cable or laptop cable, to a 60GB video iPod. Prices were the same as retail in a store... so there was really no disadvantage to buying (although I imagine returns or exchanges would be tricky). And unlike that bag of M&Ms, they product does not fall to the ground (a robotic arm/magic elf gently moves the package from shelf to pickup bin).I am sure there are more of these out there... anyone ever buy from one?

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17 UAP - Quick Mask Mode, Part 2 of 2

Instructor Richard Harrington explains how you can use the quick mask command to make a complex selection in Photoshop. Part 2 of 2.



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5GB of Free Online Storage for PC Users (and Very Patient Mac Users)

AOL has launched a free utility for online storage called Xdrive. They'll give you a whopping 5 GB (which is pretty good). The service is free (for now it appears) as it doesn't charge you or ask for any payment info. But the login screen does allude that they may ask to charge in the future (you won't be billed automatically).

“With your 5GB of secure online storage there's plenty of room to keep backup copies of digital photos, all your important documents, e-mail attachments, and other files — and still have space leftover for your music collection. It's the best way to keep computer crashes from becoming disasters. Think of it as hard drive insurance.”

In that vein, it gets even better. When I logged in, they upped it to 50 GB for free. They offer free software for Windows users that lets you mount the Xdrive as a volume on your desktop. But Mac users can still access the service through a slightly more clunky web interface.






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iDisk Tip

Have an iDisk? They are a useful part of a .mac account that allow you to store and backup files to an Internet hard drive. If you use an iDisk with clients, it can get a little tricky for clients to figure out how to access your iDisk using Apple's iDisk utility. An easier way is through a web browser. Just have your client type http://idisk.mac.com/your iDisk name and they'll be connected.





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© 2010 Richard Harrington LLC