Photoshop

Little Jerusalem Chalk Bad Lands

Every year I take an annual trip to Estes Park Colorado with my friends Tim and Bryan. Usually, it’s in May, but we have added a September trip to the mix as well. The point of this road trip is to do some hiking, take photo’s, relax and enjoy, weather permitting. I say that because sometimes Mother Nature decides overcast is all she is going to give us and it doesn’t make for very dramatic images. This year was one of those years. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t try, and actually Tim and Bryan got some pretty decent images in Rocky Mountain National Park. Uninspired by the overcast and not feeling the photo love, I busted out the Moment Macro lens for the iPhone and tried a completely different approach to things with mixed results. The good news is, Kansas showed us the love.

Driving to Estes involves taking I-70 for 9 to 10 hours across the great expanse of Kansas, and while most people think of Kansas as a “fly-over” state, it’s probably because they have never taken the time to venture off the freeway or see the Tallgrass Prairie lush from spring rains. For the last few years, we have broken up the drive by stopping in Oakley and the following morning making an excursion to a couple of landmarks about 30 minutes Southwest of the city and the freeway. Last year it was Monument Rocks. This year we hit the “Little Jerusalem Chalk Bad Lands” which is now a state park and will open to the public in June. I’m glad we did because Mother Nature smiled on us with a brilliant clear spring morning that gave us perfect golden light.

The photos below don’t do the size of this chalk formation justice. The columns rise at least 30 to 40 feet in some areas and Little Jerusalem spreads out over a couple of square miles. We only explored a small section, and I need to go back for some night photography and to get a better feel for how large this place really is. If you have time to make the detour and stop I highly recommend it.

A couple of things to point out. Currently (May 2017) this place is gated and there are No Trespassing signs up. Before June enter at your own risk. If you spend the night in Oakley or arrive at the wrong time of the day, be prepared for an olfactory overload. There are a feed lot and a hog farm right off the main drag and the stink can be pretty overpowering if there is no breeze. It was so bad when we arrived I almost lost my lunch when I got out of the car. The good news is, both Monument rocks and Little Jerusalem are far enough away, you won’t smell it there. You will also want to go in some sort of SUV. The roads to both are dirt and gravel and can be a bit rough. My GTI would have had a hard time negotiating some of them.

All photos were shot in RAW on my Olympus OMD EM-1 with the 12-40mm and processed with Lightroom, Photoshop, and NIK Color FX Pro.

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Adobe’s Software Development Teams Need To Get a Clue.

adobeYesterday I finally broke down and installed all of the software upgrades that Adobe’s Creative Cloud had been pushing on me since they were announced at Adobe Max. While the process of running the upgrades wasn’t painful (at first) it was time-consuming (and still is). So let’s get to this. If you haven’t upgraded yet, be prepared to spend a boat load of time being involved with this process. Not because the initial upgrade will eat your day, but because the aftermath will. Why? because the Adobe software engineering team failed to take into account that an upgrade involves more than just their base software. It involves all the third-party plugins, presets scripts, and additional add-ons that most of use to extend Adobe’s software and make it more functional.

The new upgrade installs completely new versions of the Creative Cloud suite. That’s right it doesn’t actually upgrade your existing software base, it installs a brand new version of each piece of software you use. Adobe, this is an engineering fail and let me explain why. By installing a new version of the software as opposed to overwriting the existing software you force me to spend hours downloading and reinstalling hundreds of third-party add-ons across 14 applications that were upgraded in a single move. Now I know I am probably an exception to the rule since I use more than the average Joe when it comes to your software suite, but even for people only using, let’s say Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, this sucks. For instance, I have to now download and reinstall just for Photoshop the Nik plugin pack, Topaz Denoise, Natural HDR, Luminosity mask scripts, all of the actions I had created for previous versions, and a handful of other plugins and scripts. For After Effects it’s even worse I have to download and reinstall the entire Red Giant suite, (Particular, Light Factory, Composite Wizard, Holomatrix, Warp, Text Anarchy, Plane Space, Lux, Shine, Starglow, 3D Stroke, Sound Keys, Mir, Tow, Form, Looks, Colorista, Primatte, and about 8 more), not to mention scripts like Ease and Wizz and about 10 others.

This is a giant time suck, and time is money.

Adobe is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to creative software. If you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, filmmaker, typographer, sound designer, videographer, or artist you probably use at least one Adobe product if not components from the entire suite, and you are probably using Adobe’s Creative Cloud to stay current. Like many of you, I have a love-hate relationship with the Creative Cloud. I love that it keeps me up to date. I hate that every time there is a major upgrade I have to go through this bullshit. I get that Adobe moved to the Creative Cloud set up to combat software piracy, and control versioning across a large distribution base. What I don’t get is why after 3 or 4 years of pushing everyone to use the Creative Cloud, no one at Adobe has figured out that their upgrade process truly sucks. It’s broken. The user experience after making the upgrade is pure crap. It’s a gigantic time suck, and it could be avoided. The thing is, when you are the only game in town, you don’t have to make things right for your customer base

The thing is, when you are the only game in town, you don’t have to make things right for your customer base. You just keep doing what you are doing, because the chances of being dethroned after 30 years is pretty small. Adobe if you are listening, and I doubt you are, I am going to spend the better part of a day completing the upgrade to CC 2017, because your software engineering team didn’t feel that it was important enough to create an actual “Upgrade” as opposed to a complete new install. A new install that left legacy versions of 10 applications sitting on my hard drive wasting space, and is forcing me to track down essential tools I need to complete my workflow and reinstall them.

I know there are alternative tool sets available, but like so many I have bought into the Adobe workflow, and have spent decades learning to use these tools to master my craft. For lack of a better term, Adobe has me by the balls, and they know I am too invested to give them up. Consequently, it feels as though they have stopped giving a damn about the total user experience which involves maintenance like upgrades, but hey they added some new features to Photoshop I’ll probably never use.

I wonder if I can send them a bill for the time I’ll spend installing everything else I need to make the current updates fully functional with my workflow?

 

UPDATE: Like pouring salt in an open wound, if you are a Mac user, all of the applications in your Dock no longer work so you get to spend additional time removing all of them and adding the new application updates back in.

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Software That Changed Everything.

I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple of days now but work, remodeling, and life just keep getting in the way. I’m going to date myself. I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop since version 1. That’s right 25 years of Photoshop use under my belt. After all this time I feel pretty confident in my skills but I am by no means a master. I learn new stuff about this software every single day.

The 25th anniversary of Photoshop happened back on the 18th of February, and it got me to thinking about how much this program has grown and changed over the years. How much Photoshop has changed photography, graphic design, art, film, video, typography and so much more. The video below was published by Adobe to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Photoshop. It’s a fun little animated piece that highlights just how powerful this tool can be.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Photoshop work I need to dive back into.

Space Awaits.

So much photography today is a composite of multiple images, 3D assets, and painted components blended together with Photoshop. It always blows me away when I see a video like the one below that shows what goes into making a composite image.

Sapce-Awaits

The video is a behind the scenes look at  photoshoot for the image Space Awaits. It shows all the stages from her initial digital sketch to shooting, to editing, retouching and using a 3D model, to the final post production.

The video itself is short, just two and a half minutes long and not deep on detail, but it does give a solid insight into the process behind the finished shot.

Carboni Studio Mind Boggling Animation for Cruisr’s “All Over”.

OK this animated music video for Cruisr’s “All Over” by Carboni Studio is insane. First off it was animated in Photoshop and finished in After Effects to keep the hand crafted feel running through out. That’s right animated in Photoshop, Comped in After Effects. Now you watch it you’ll notice that each scene has to blend into the next as it ends. Not an easy task, and something that requires a lot of pre visualization and very talented animators to pull off.

Now, how many movies can you name here? The entire video is a montage of movie characters and scenes. I stopped counting after 20.

StackSocial is Offering Adobe KnowHow: Learn Photography for 35 Bucks.

Well today Apple officially stopped development for Aperture it’s professional editing and organization software. I have to admit, I never used it. I have the Adobe creative Suite which includes Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop, so Aperture was never really on my radar. With Adobe’s workflow engrained in me, there was never really a need to use it. I have to say I’m sad to see Aperture go away though. Competition is good, and Adobe has gone from the 800 pound gorilla to King Kong, which makes me a little uncomfortable.

class

If you haven’t been an Adobe user, and are now feeling the need to learn their tool set, you are in luck. Stack Social is offering Adobe KnowHow:Learn Photography for just $34.99, and the online education suite will train you up. If you are already an Adobe CC user, you still might want to look into this. I’m thinking with more than 200 lectures and 27 hours of content you are definitely going to learn a thing or two no matter what skill level you are at.

“The Verge” from Lightfarm Studios Make Your Photoshop Skills Look Weak.

So you think you have bad ass Photoshop skills, the guys at Lightfarm have you beat. The video below is a behind the scenes look at the compositing, modeling and construction of “The Verge”. this image was constructed from 100 plus arial photographs over a five week period. Inspired by Arthur C Clarke’s book “Rendezvous with Rama”, Lightfarm has created a pretty spectacular image. The attention to detail from the modeling of the astronaut to the warping and blending of images is hands down amazing. The collaborative effort truely pays off in the final image these guys have created.