Posts in Category "Creative Suite"

November 15, 2013

The Digital Photo Workshop with David Black: Yosemite

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A weekend in Yosemite with David Black… Sign me up! Last year at Photoshop World I had a very rare and random experience. I won a workshop pass from “The Digital Photo Workshops” team with David Black. It turned out to be a very Enlightening experience about the world of photography.

 IMG_1357I prepared for the conference by worrying that my gear was not up to the task. I have a Cannon 20D that is pretty old but I didn’t have a budget for a new one just then. I ended up borrowing a Cannon 60D from another high school and it was a good thing I did! We pushed the very limits of the 60D and I ended up wishing I had a little better model but it got the job done. Also I was very glad that I purchased a 256 GB Solid State Lacie Rugged Hard Drive with Thunderbolt 2 which made backing up go in seconds rather then minuets and when you have the opportunity to be with some of the best you need the time to ask questions not waiting on hardware. Also I bought a great bag from case logic that allowed me to pack my Wacom, MacBook Pro, and both the 20D and 60D. The only thin I regretted not having was a neutral density filter, a polarizing filter, and a shutter release for the 60D. I packed 3 batteries and ran out one day. I also had two 32GB SD cards and they were over kill but it was nice to have space. My wife bought me a nice microfiber cloth 12” X 24” which was very nice to have.

IMG_1237The travel to Yosemite took some planning and research. I stayed at the Cedar Lodge in a very nice room for $110 a night as opposed to $200+ to stay in the park. The drive was about 35-40 min to the main lodge on a pretty windy road. I rented a hybrid which was a great cost saver at 40 Miles to the Gallon. I flew into the San Jose Airport and drove out through Merced and In all the drive was about 4 hours.

The first night we had a meeting where we met our Instructors: David Black, Rob Sylvan, Jeff Leimbach, and Randy Van Duinen. I had met some of them at Photoshop World and I felt very welcome even though I cam in a little late. Randy did a quick lesson on how to set up a camera for HDR so we would be ready for the next day (Sunlight meets shadows…Valley). I had no idea what HDR was so it was very useful. Dave showed us some of his photos and told us his main goal was to make sure we were able to go home and do light painting. He also told use the keys to composition three across, three vertical, three deep, and then light the subject.

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The next day I ended up not being able to find the group so I was late. Ugh I hate being late but there I was late twice in a row. I found the group after about an hour and I jumped in. Rob stayed behind with me so I could get some one on one training and some good pictures.  The day was really great and I came away with some amazing shots for the first time I’d ever been out taking pictures.

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After we had some shots we came into the classroom and we had assisted editing time where we worked on our own images and were able to ask questions about how do I do… or what do you think… How could I… it was very informal and it worked out really great!

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While we were doing some editing Dave was in the other room setting us for light painting. He showed the entire group and then asked half of us to keep working on photos while he worked two stations with the other half. The whole setting was professional but casual all at the same time which was just great!

That night we went out and did some light painting in nature. Dave lined us all up on these dead bushes and was saying isn’t this going to be great! We were all wondering what Dave had for lunch but we did as he said and just as the sun was down he light up the bushes with the Brinkman spot light and a 30 second exposure later… complete magic! One of my favorite shots that I brought home from the trip. IMG_1226

The next day it was more of the same in a different location. We did some reflection shots and some moving water. We moved back to the classroom where we set up our own light paintings with our own cameras. Then later that night we went to an old chapel and did another light painting where we had the opportunity  to uses the Brinkman’s to light the scene ourself. Once we were done at the chapel there was a group of us who wanted to stay and do some star trails. So I setup in a field and took 50 Exposures of 30 Sec each. I had a nice shot as it was pointed at the North star. I was looking at others shots though and well… I was jealous! Rob had a great shot with the stars over half dome and I wanted one.

Star Trails

I drove back to my hotel that night feeling defeated because I didn’t get my star shot I wanted. I did the only logical thing I could think of and checked out of the hotel and drove back to Yosemite at 1AM. I parked in a field and spent the next three hours working on my star shot. The exposure was 61 min at 200 ISO and it came out great! I left the conference that day feeling as though I had slain the giant!

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It was a great experience full of great instructors. If you get a chance to go do not pass it up for anything.

6:05 PM Permalink
June 27, 2013

Create Now!

Adobe has been holding a series of online creativity events over at http://createnow.adobe.com/ and I cannot help but think that these would be great events for students to participate in – and can also serve as a foundation for various assignments and projects after the fact. The previous event was an assignment to remix an Eames chair however you like and post it to Behance. There are also a good number of other resources at the website aside from these activities.

Create Now

Create Now

The latest of these events was “Claim your Frame” in which Adobe requests individuals to reserve a frame for which they will use a template to draw out a sort of self-portrait for submission. The idea is that after all of the user-generated frames are submitted, that they are they re-purposed into a full video artifact.

The first step in this case was to go through and register a frame after a specific date and time. You then receive an email which includes a Photoshop document with a specific name (ID) to it along with instructions, an assigned primary color, and a guide layer which indicates where the eyes and mouth should be drawn. The template needed to be downloaded within 3 hours else the frame would go to someone else! I’m including an image of the template I received, below.

Pretty simple, no?

Pretty simple, no?

After getting the template – the fun part starts. Now you just open it up in Photoshop and draw out your frame. I used a lot of layers, blend modes, and brushes for my submission. One thing that consistently amazes me about Photoshop is how closely it can come to “real” painting when you have the mixer brush and a nice, big Intuos tablet at your side. Such fun.

Painting with Photoshop CC!

Painting with Photoshop CC!

This project reminds me of a painting class I took for my undergraduate degree. We took a painting, School of Athens, and divided up into a grid. Each student was then given a set of coordinates along the grid with which to create a replica of that portion of the painting. At the end of the class, everyone brought their individual portion back together to form a complete whole. It was very interesting and not unlike this particular exercise.

This particular Create Now event is all over – but there are more coming up, including Kulest City in July. See the final result of this creative experiment playing live in Times Square below!

2:02 PM Permalink
May 7, 2013

Opening keynote Adobe MAX 2013

Thé Creativity Conference: Adobe MAX 2013

Finally Adobe Max 2013 has started. The previous edition of MAX was in October 2011. A loing time ago. And so far it was worth waiting for. As we all know Adobe has changed their marketing strategy ever since they introduced the Creative Cloud in 2011. And much of this conference is all about the improvement over the CC.

But what did they show during the opening keynote?

Creative Cloud: a strong update

Coming to you in June is the much improved/

updated edition of the Creative Cloud. The Creative Cloud will have it’s place in the desktop applications and will be valuable for cross-device collaboration.They even integrated the worlds leading online creative community Behance in the Creative Cloud.

Creative Cloud brings togehter everything you need to create your best work. With these new versions of our desktop tools, services that take publishing content to the next level and now make it easier to collaborate and share your work wold wide.” – David Wadhwani
 

With the Creative Cloud rolled out in your whole creative system it’s so easy to synchronise, store, share and collaborate. All files will be synced automatically between your devices. Yes… devices!

 

Perpetual? What?

Perpetual was the way you could buy your Adobe software untill Cs6. Perpetual is history now with the new marketing strategy. That’s why an era of 10 years Creative Suite has come to an end as well. From now on Photoshop Cs will be called Photoshop CC. And so goes for all the other apps. And they have done some major updates and are ‘giving’ us more than 30 tools and services for professional content creation in print, web, apps, mobile, video and photography processess.

Photoshop CC has got improved sharpening and designer workflow. Deblurring camera shakes? It can be done! And it’s the first app that will make it possible to post your files directly to Bahance to showcase your work.

In Illustrator CC you will find new ways to work with typography. The Touch Type Tool will let you move, scale and rotate text and will still allow you to edit your text. Art, Pattern and Scatter brushes can contain raster images now for more complex designs.

I can finally let the word out that it will be possible for Adobe Muse users to edit their sites in the browser! A huge update for Muse!!

Adobe Premiere CC has an even smoother way of working which will bring you more efficientcy. And with the Lumetri Deep Colour Engine added to the tool it will be adding lots more power in your colour workflow.

You are going to be happy to hear that there is a new Live 3D Pipeline between After Effects CC and Cinema4D to make it a powerful tool for motion graphics and visual effects. And there are new versions of the awesome tools Speedgrade CC, Prelude CC, Audition CC and Story CC Plus!

Webdesigners will consider themselves lucky to have the new Adobe Edge family of tools and services in their workflow. Animations in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript are easely done in Adobe Edge Animate CC. Working from Photoshop CC to Edge Reflow CC is also a new way of working to make responsive websites. Flash CC is build up from scratsh again to be ready for 64-bit machines. It’s going to be faster and steady.

Type kit is available on your desktop computer now! More than 175 font families within reach.

Adobe has brought Kuler to the iPhone to make colour schemes from pictures you will take. A colour scheme made with the iPhone will be uploaded into the Creative Cloud and be available on your desktop computer!

In the creative cloud you will be able to view older versions of your work. That’s damn handy when discussing your design with clients or coworkers by sharing your work.

Awesome news from the future! :)

Adobe is going to do hardware! There are two projects which have been revealed. Project Mighty is Adobe’s first an impressive Stylus for your tablet. It’s brilliant because of it’s connection with the Creative Cloud and it’s pressure sensitivity. The thing that blowed me aways was that one designer can create a drawing on his tabled, select it and copy it to the internal memory of the pen and paste it on another tablet.

And then there’s Project Napoleon… a ruler for drawing straight lines on your tablet, or circles. The ruler itself is very short, that’s why it’s called Napoleon.

It was worth waiting more than one year and a half for a new MAX edition. And this was only the first keynote!

9:30 AM Permalink
March 9, 2013

Our First DPS App

My friend at the Arizona Republic newspaper, who I worked with years ago when I was on the photo desk, called and said she had an immediate need for students well versed in the production of DPS apps.  I said , no problem, hung up the phone and announced we had to figure this out.

2 months ago 6 Seniors, myself and my colleague, Dr. Laurie Ralston, embarked on the path to create our first DPS app.  We quickly learned that the how to’s are scattered about and the DPS App itself is found after what feels like a treasure hunt. We began studying apps (magazines) on the iPad and jumped head first into the world of e-publishing.

These are graphic technology students, creative “techies” and design types, that have had no journalism experience. But, as I had been a  photojournalist early in my career , and used to photograph for numerous magazines, we began our approach conventionally- developing the mast-head assignments and mapping out the stories we would do. Some were in charge of photo, others in charge of video, writing and of course, we chose our managing editor, the glue to hold us together.

We are still building it ( shooting, writing, refining page design) and I am documenting our progress so as to be able to simplify the process and produce  “An Educators Best Practices Guide for DPS ”.  Hopefully this is of interest to others and I plan to return to this blog soon for our next update.

Penny Ann Dolin

Director, Technical Imaging

Polytechnic campus,Arizona State University

8:27 PM Permalink
January 16, 2013

Building a 30-second Adobe MAX Session Ad with Creative Suite

I announced a few days back on my personal blog that I am speaking on Edge Animate at Adobe MAX this year. Also included in that post is a quick, 30-second video ad for the session. For those who are unaware, Adobe actually solicits these videos from speakers as part of the speaker tasks and have done so for at least three years now. It is an optional task and I’ve never bothered to build one out in previous years but thought it might be fun to actually do it this time.

I prepared for a lengthy process of planning, recording, editing, compositing, and all the turmoil that normally comes with a project like this. I figured that I might be able to get it done in 3 or 4 days. Using Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Audition, and After Effects… I was able to do it all in less than 2 hours.

BTW: Happy 20th, After Effects!

So… what did I need to do to get all of this together?

Initial Assets on hand:

  1. Static session info panel built in Photoshop
  2. Soundtrack already created in Sonar X2 Producer for another project
  3. The Edge Animate logo

 

What I need to build:

  1. Build up the assets into a nice, 30 second motion video composition
  2. Record and master the voiceover track
  3. Integrate the After Effects composition, VO and BG tracks, and add company branding

 

The first thing I needed to do was build the core of the ad, which is based upon the Edge Animate logo. I basically plopped the logo in the center of the screen and then had it scale smoothly from far away up until the frame was entirely filled. Upon filling the frame, I employed a glow and burn effect to remove the logo and reveal the session information. Finally, I added some fractal background animation upon a solid fill behind everything whose colors were sampled from the Edge Animate logo. This composition is dynamically linked to Premiere Pro so I didn’t even have to render it!
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In Audition, I set about recording the voiceover track and performing some mastering upon it so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with it at all in Premiere Pro. I’ve never had a good time playing with audio in Premiere Pro directly. Incidentally, Jason Levine has an excellent video tutorial on using Audition to generate broadcast-safe audio tracks.
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The final step is to glue it all together in Premiere Pro. The After Effects comp was already present via the excellent dynamic link functionality present in the Creative Suite video production apps but I wanted to add the logo for my company, Fractured Vision Media, LLC, to the tail. It’s also simple to throw in some dissolves so that it all flows nicely. All I needed to do then was drop in the two audio tracks and trim the background to the length of the sequence. Done.
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The result is included below. It took barely two hours to create and get up on YouTube and I think it gets the message across quite well. Cannot imagine doing this in any other toolset so quickly!

4:45 PM Permalink
November 6, 2012

Go Trojans!

I was invited to teach a class in Premiere Pro recently at USC! To say I was thrilled was an understatement! The facilities there are second to none. And even better were the inquisitive and talented students!

The class was an advanced editing class and they wanted to see how it would be to edit a project in Premiere Pro. From my discussions they really enjoyed the ease of bringing in clips, scanning them in the icon mode, the new trim window, and the dynamic link. The ability to use their Avid shortcuts was a hit as well as exporting their own shortcuts to use on different machines. Key framing effects, motion and more was well received.

The Dynamic Link to After Effects was really a hit as I showed them how simple it was and no rendering! We looked at adding simple effects and compositing. They loved having this tool at their disposal.

We worked off an outline from An Editors Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro and it was great! I highly recommend it as a go to text.

All in all it was a great experience for the students and myself. I look forward to being invited back again! (Hint)

 

8:03 PM Permalink
June 22, 2012

A Student’s Perspective on Adobe Tools

The following is a guest post by Bedros Kharmandarian, a junior at New Milford High School. Throughout his high school career he has been exposed to many elective courses in the areas of graphics and technology that have allowed him to unleash his creative talents. In this piece he discusses his use of Adobe tools to create our recent Holocaust Study Tour book.  You can view last year’s book created using Adobe Creative Design Suite HERE.

As a student, the use of Adobe programs has been a privilege, as well as, a tool to benefit myself and New Milford High School.  A large amount  of my efforts yearly go into our school yearbook, which is done through a collaboration between our Graphic Arts teacher, Mr. Pevny, and a few students such as myself.  I am proud to say that the yearbook has consistently received many awards over the years.  This, in my opinion, can be attributed to an amazing teacher in Mr. Pevny as well as the schools’ investment in the latest educational technology (iMacs, Adobe tools, digital cameras, etc.).

This year, a project that took a grand amount of effort on my part, as well as, the use of programs such as Photoshop and InDesign, was a booklet on the Holocaust Study Tour.  Every year our school holds an educational trip to Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, in which a select group of students are taken to get a first hand education on the Holocaust.   When the trip reaches its end, they are left with multitudes of pictures, as well as, an essay, which is to be written by each student.   A single student is bestowed the task of using the resources at hand, coupled with Adobe programs, to create a 60 page booklet.  This year, I was the student chosen.

So, essentially, Adobe software such as InDesign and Photoshop have been a staple in my artistic student life. They have enriched my experience as a student at New Milford High by providing me the ability to make things ranging from yearbook content, Holocaust booklets, playbills for the school musical, projects for numerous classes, and many more learning artifacts.   I am afforded countless opportunities to learn on my terms with the tools that I am comfortable with at times that are convenient.  This is how school should be and I am thankful for everything that NMHS has done to meet my needs and provided me with unparalleled learning opportunities.

 

5:14 PM Permalink
December 6, 2011

Students shine with Adobe

Thought I’d throw a link to the HSC Visual Art submissions of our Yr12 students (aged 17-18) here at Wyndham College, Australia. Sixty four students submitted works for assessment with the Board of Studies along with over 9,000 other Visual Art students across the state. Four were subsequently selected for the states prestigious ArtExpress exhibition. Over 80% of our students submit works that are developed and refined using either Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Premiere or a combination of these. Other media areas in this years group include painting, drawing, print and mixed media.

This image (part of a series of seven) created using Adobe Illustrator.

View the slideshow here

10:48 PM Permalink
January 24, 2011

Designing a WordPress Child Theme Using Adobe CS5

I’ve been wanting to take control of my personal blog theme for some time in order to both simplify how everything was being displayed, and to obtain a greater degree of flexibility over time. There are a lot of great themes out there for WordPress, and I’ve been fairly happy with many of those I’ve tried – but they still were not exactly what I wanted.

I decided to come up up with something of my own by creating a child theme of the default WordPress “TwentyTen”. Seeing as how I don’t need many features on here, and that “TwentyTen” is a modern design that supports all the new 3.0 features, a child theme sounded perfect. I also tend to shift these around over time, and this would allow that as well.

Adobe Fireworks

Adobe Fireworks

The first thing I did is sketch out on paper a sample of the sort of layout I was looking to create. I then created a basic measured layout in Fireworks, followed by a number of textured image segments for the navigation menu, page background, and content area. Fireworks is great for stuff like this, due to the robust texturing system available.

Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver CS5 has extended support for PHP-based CMS and blogging systems like WordPress. During prerelease, I was playing around with these features quite a bit but had actually never done any work with the final release. It’s actually very convenient to be able to view and interact with the live website files (on my testing server, of course) while designing and tweaking elements of the theme. Dreamweaver can also be enabled to provide code-completion for core WordPress functionality, although I didn’t need it in this case.

Most of what I did was remove a lot of the header stuff I didn’t need, and create a custom navigation menu along the top of the page. The rest of the work was just a lot of CSS hack and slash to get things looking right, setting up new elements, and skinning everything with my exported images. It actually went a lot more smoothly than anticipated.

Adobe BrowserLab

Adobe BrowserLab

Most of the cross browser rendering checks were done on my local machine using Chrome 8, FireFox 4 beta, and Internet Explorer 8. I have other machines I could log into and check browsers like Opera or the IE9 beta, but don’t have a way to test on OSX from my home. Anyone familiar with DropFolders knows the snails-pace I take when it comes to doing any Apple stuff… So I fired up BrowserLab and was able to check my basic design rendered on what must have been nearly 20 different browsers across Windows and OSX.

It is interesting to see how relatively similar the design rendered across browsers. The most trouble that I noticed was lack of support for my embedded fonts in older browsers. You can also see in the above image that we definitely have some shifting going on in regard to the positioning of elements on the page, but nothing so terrible to render the design unusable.

I’m very pleased with both the resulting design, and the simple, unified workflow involved in getting to this point. There are lots of little things that will probably come up which I’ll modify in the future… but it’s great to know now how very simple it will be to do so.

Check it out over at http://inflagrantedelicto.memoryspiral.com/!

8:39 PM Permalink
December 11, 2009

The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know.

learning.jpgI remember the first time I saw Photoshop. I think it must have been about 1993 or so, when I got a free copy that came with a scanner purchased by my school. It must have been a “lite” version of Photoshop because I seem to recall that it didn’t support layers. Even so, I really enjoyed playing with it, and I ended up installing it on all the computers in the school computer lab (license? what license?) and I started teaching the kids how to create stuff with it. They just blew me away with what they could do with it, even without layers!
It was around the same time that I stumbled across an unused copy of Aldus Pagemaker in an out-of-the-way cupboard, and I convinced the school principal that we should use it to do the school yearbook; his agreement to my suggestion saw me suddenly escalated to head of the yearbook committee, a job that rolled on for many years and many issues beyond that. Of course, once you start working in Pagemaker (and now InDesign) there is a fairly fundamental expectation that Photoshop is a key part of that workflow.
From these accidental beginnings, I developed a long standing relationship with Photoshop. In the late 90s I was working with students to build collaborative websites, and of course all the graphics were done with Photoshop. We discovered all sorts of interesting features like batch processing, we learned to do decent colour corrections, to crop and manipulate images so that they fitted our needs. We discovered, often the hard way, about important concepts like pixel depth, image resolution, colour gamut, and of course the one that catches every self-taught Photoshop user out at some stage, RGB vs CMYK. We made images for the web and for print, we built graphics from scratch and we did weird things to existing photos. I’m just a teacher, not a graphic designer, but I’ve lost track of the hours and hours and hours I’ve spent inside Photoshop over the last 15+ years.
And here’s the thing about Photoshop. Heck, here’s the thing about pretty much all of Adobe’s products… the more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. Every time I learn some new technique or skill, the self-satisfied smug feeling of cleverness lasts about five seconds before I realise that there is just so much more I could know about it, that I could do with it. Whenever I taught kids a unit of work on Photoshop I used to conclude it with an in-class practical test, where I’d give them some images and a problem to solve – it might be to produce some CD cover artwork or a magazine cover, usually with a few constraints or requirements to make them have to think about it a little – and they’d just astound me at what they’d come up with. “Creative Suite” is a good name for these products, because they really do force you into creativity mode. Most of the time after one of these class tests, I’d spend the next few lessons getting the kids to deconstruct what they’d done, to teach me how they got certain effects. In my Photoshop classes I may have been the teacher, but we were all learners.
When I was offered a place in the Adobe Education Leaders program, I was thrilled to be part of it, and felt relatively well qualified to be part of it given that I’d spent over 15 years teaching Photoshop, Indesign, Dreamweaver and Flash to students. Of course, mixing with other AELs and seeing the fantastic things they do is a great way to reinforce just how little I do actually know, but it’s still been an incredibly valuable association for me.
I got thinking about this lately because I’ve been checking out the tutorials on the newly redesigned Adobe TV. It’s an awesome resource, with every application now having a Learn series, a set of basic tutorials that teach the essential skills required to get up to speed quickly… I wish this had been around when i started playing with Photoshop! As well as the Learn tutorials, there are a bunch of more advanced tutorials that delve into some of the trickier and more esoteric concepts.
And Adobe TV is not the only resource I turn to when I want to know more. There seems to be plenty of other places to learn the how-to stuff for Adobe’s products. Some of my favourites are the Layers TV podcast with Corey Barker and RC, the Creative Suite Podcast with Terry White, Creative Sweet TV with Mike McHugh, Instant Indesign with Gabriel Powell, The Russell Brown Show… the list goes on. I subscribe to all of these through iTunes and they just drop onto my iPhone for later watching. It’s a great way to learn. I’m sure there are many other fantastic resources for learning this stuff… perhaps you could leave a note in the comments about some of the resources you have found useful for learning.
Finally, I just wanted to mention a book I bought recently about Photoshop that is quite simply one of the most amazing Photoshop guides I’ve ever seen. It’s simply called Creative Photoshop CS4 by Derek Lea, and I’m just stunned at how incredible this guy is when it comes to Photoshop. I’ve been working my way through some of his exercises and have been discovering something new on almost every page. When you can use a product for over 15 years, and still constantly discover new things, it says a lot about the depth of the product and the open-ended nature of what it lets you do with it.
I realise more than ever that there is so much I don’t know about Photoshop (and most of the other Adobe products!) But I love that feeling of learning, of discovering, of digging deeper and just discovering that there really is no “bottom” to hit.
Image Attribution: ’04.28.09 [#118] Feet Week – On the+Backs+of+Others’

04.28.09 [#118] Feet Week - On the Backs of Others

5:56 PM Permalink