#CreativeFriday – Levels in Curves (Photoshop CC)

Most image editors will work with Levels and Curves on an image to :-

  • Levels – Set the white and black point
  • Curves – Decrease the values of black and increase the value of white

Both of these in combination will help create contrast in the image, and ultimalty more interesting to look at.

These operations are typcially performed using an adjustment layer for Levels and independently a curves layer.

Actually Photoshop can perform both of these operations just on the curves adjustment.

Let’s take this image. It’s a bit flat, so by working on both Levels and Curves on a Curves layer, we can make it more interesting, just in a single step.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 00.53.24First thing is to create a new Curves layer, using the menu item, Layer, New Adjustment Layer and Curves.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 00.53.24When working with Levels, it’s beneficial to show the clipping points, this will make it really easy to see where the black / white points start to clip to black or white. The clipping indicators are available on the curves panel, by turning it on in the fly out menu. Once the curves dialog box is open, click on the fly out menu (marked in red), and select ‘Show Clipping for Black/White points’.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 00.53.24 v2Now the clipping points have been turned on, when the left hand slider is moved towards the right (marked in red below), at some point the black points will show (as below) when they clip to pure black. The outcome of this, is that the details in the shadow will evetually be erroded away and detail will be lost (can be used creatively, but this type of precision will help control the black point).

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 00.54.44v3

The same can be applied to the highlights area, by moving the right slider to the left (be carefull with the white clipping point, as it will clip to white and can be offputting for the viewer when shown on a backlit screen).

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 00.55.01v4

Once the white and black points have been set, then the curve can be applied, in this case an ‘S’ curve.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 00.55.40 v6

That’s it. Photoshop levels and curves, just saved me an extra step. This can also help when used on a mask, or a clipping mask , as all operations are on a single layer, which in turn will make the document simpler with less layers to adjust and think about.



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#CreativeFriday – Using Adobe Stock and Smart Objects

Sometimes when working on composites, either for creative ideas during the creative process or for including in the final version, getting the right image can be challenging and also time consuming. Adobe Stock could be the answer, and I wanted to show how to use Adobe stock when inside Photoshop CC, or the other Desktop apps to save you lots of time and open up more creative ideas.

Access to Adobe Stock is available within the Libraries panel of the Desktop applications; however, i’ve just used Photoshop CC as an example here. Just to be clear, Adobe Stock is an additional subscription, which allows you to use watermarked assets for free or to buy the same high-resolution imagery, vectors and illustrations (watermarked images can be used ‘FPO’ Free for Placement Only). This can be beneficial, as it might help you visualise an idea for a shoot or composite.

Adobe Stock has been embedded into the applications within the Libraries panel, and it’s content can be searched using the Search box (marked in red). The search results are shown in purple within the same panel. Stock items have metadata associated with them, which is used for the search, this data also comes across once the image is downloaded (into a designated library), therefore the search can be used not only against the  Stock library, but also for the assets that have been downloaded (either licensed or watermarked) within the library or across any instance (Library and Stock).

Hovering over an image from the Stock search, will show the download watermarked image (marked in yellow), or license/buy option (the basket item (covered later within this blog)). Assets are downloaded into the library that has been selected (red), new libraries can be created on the fly (possibly due to a project or other focused content), and be shared/collaborated on with other Creative Cloud users. Clicking the icon within the yellow marked area, will download the low resolution version of the asset into the selected Library.

Once the asset has been downloaded, it will be available within your environment under the selected library, as well as within the other desktop apps, and available too any one else sharing/collaborating on the library with you. Once the assets have been downloaded into the library, they can be dragged into the canvas and added to the composite. Notice that when the content is brought into the layer panel, it’s set up as a Smart Object, which means you will be working with a copy, not the original, therefore if anyone else if using the content, then they will get a clean watermarked image. As an aside, the original image can be modified, by right clicking on it and choosing ‘edit’.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 05.51.52 copyOnce the asset has been loaded into the layer as a Smart object, this means that non-destructive adjustments can be applied without altering the original image and can be modified at any point into the future. Notice that in the example below, the Image Adjustments (as opposed to Layer Adjustments) have been used. Within Photoshop CC, these adjustments are now available for use on Smart Objects, and will be applied as non-destructive edits. Once the adjustment has been applied, you will see the adjustment below the layer to which it was applied (marked in yellow).

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 05.51.52 copy 4To finish this composite off, I’ll add a Santa hat. Searching Adobe Stock once more, I can easily find some ‘Christmas Decorations’ and add what I feel is needed to finish this image.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 06.54.14Then using masks and selections, the new addition can be cut out and placed into the original comp. The selection can be quickly converted into a mask, by clicking the create mask icon marked in red.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 06.56.32 copy

Once a mask has been created (marked in green), it can be refined using the Mask edge (marked in yellow). Once the edge has been refined (in this case, just the hat and white edges), the Mask can then be updated (marked in red).

N.B. Only the hat has been refined using this method because there is some good contrast to pull all of the fur out from the background. The bracket holding the hat as limited contrast so a refined mask edge won’t work very well. To cut this element out, the mask can be edited using a standard black and white brush directly on the mask.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 06.59.09 copyPressing Shift +Alt +click on the mask with show the mask overlaying on the image, this can make it easier to mask in/out these areas.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 07.03.24 copyOnce finished, the object fits in quite nicely.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 07.08.30Of course, adjustments can be made to this layer, so that it fits in with the background size and colours.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 07.13.02Once the composite has been completed, it can either be created in the real world, or the Stock images can be purchased from your Stock plan.

To buy/license the images, it’s as simple as heading over to the Library panel, and then right clicking on the image and choose buy.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 08.06.45 copyBecause the images can be purchased inline of the composite and it’s adjustments, adding the high-resolution image does not need to be downloaded, re-imported or have the adjustments re-applied manually. This unique approach to using watermarked images, and buying from within the application can save vast amounts of time. Of course you are also able to contribute to Adobe Stock and get rewarded for your efforts.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 08.07.30


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Photoshop Max release 2015.1 – New Features and enhancements

Hi everyone, I just wanted to make sure that you are all upto date with the new feaures in Photoshop CC from the Adobe Max update, so you can explore over the Christmas break.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.57.25

Major features

  • New Start Experience (includes recent file thumbnails, document presets, Libraries access, and personalized tutorial content. Can be disabled in the preferences)

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.59.11 Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.59.42 Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 07.59.47I quite like the recent files list, as it helps me open documents that i opened a few hours or a few days ago, but of course you can turn this off in the preferences (below)

To turn off the start workspace (files, presets and libraries) then uncheck the Show “Start” workspaces (marked in red). To turn off the “Recent files” panel, then uncheck the box within the area marked in yellow.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.05.14 copy

  • Design Space (Preview) enhancements (I won’t be discussing this here, but as an action to all desginers, we would love to hear your thoughts on Design Space).
    • new 2-column User Interface
    • search across application and across-document
    • integration of Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud Libraries;
    • sampling unification and workflow simplification for all layer types + Sample All
    • swap layers,
    • Groups and Artboards support
    • create artboard or document specific guides
    • export single and batch with ability to add multiple settings and presets
    • other improvements to Select and Properties panels

Before “Design space”, can be used, you need to make sure that it’s turned on in the Technology Preview preferences setting (marked in Yellow) and the check box is checked (marked in Purple below). Design Space is turned on by default, but maybe turned off in your environment. Once turned on, Design Space can be accessed from the window menu, and selecting Design Space (marked in red below).

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.16.36 copy

  • Do more with Artboards
    • show only active Artboard layers
    • per-Artboard guides – Each Artboard, once selected, can have it’s own set of GuidesScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.29.34 copy
    • on-canvas “+” to add ArtboardsScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.27.28
    • new Artboard preferences, marked in red below.Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.53.21 copy


  • Modern user interface and new touch capabilities on the Windows operating system
    • dark dialogs (except Camera RAW)
    • support for larger tabsScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 08.58.09 copy
    • new gestures,
    • Modifier Keys panel on the Windows operating system


  • Customise your toolbarScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.05.17 copy
  • A new level of flexibility for your design work (3D character workflow from Fuse)


  • Do more with Creative Cloud Libraries
    • create Library from document
    • drag and drop between Layers panel and CC libraries panel (shown below)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.16.12 copy
    • brush support
    • keyword search across Libraries and Adobe Stock
      • Area marked in red is for the keyword(s)
      • Area marked in yellow is where to search
      • Area marked in Orange shows an already licensed Stock imageScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.20.24 copy
  • Find fonts faster
    • starring fonts as favorites (Stars now appear next to the fonts, click it to set as a favorite (shown in blue below)
    • filter by classification and similarity (Areas marked in light blue, orange and green are the filters to refine the font list)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.31.56 copy
    • most recently used fonts (shown in red below)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.41.02 copy
  • Faster Export with more control
    • improved performance especially JPG
    • applying settings to multiple assets in the Export dialog
    • convert to sRGB
    • export of multi-sized assets and metadata optionsScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.44.25
    • Individual layers can also be selected and exported using the Export As dialog. Selecting the layers in the layers panel, then right clicking to bring up the fly out menu. The Export As will process the selected layes and give options for each (including the re-sizing for different screens)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 09.47.15 copy
  • Use more vector content with SVG import
    • Open and place native SVG files—which can rescale for any size device or any resolution—in your Photoshop designs. Just double-click the object to edit it in Adobe Illustrator.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.23.08 copyAlso export SVG image assets using the new export experience.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.23.08 copy v2

  • Find the right glyph faster
    • most recently used
    • sort by glyph ID or unicode value


  • Dehaze with local adjustment brush/radial/graduated filters in Adobe Camera RAWScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.04.20 copy
  • Re-introduced the Oil Paint filterScreen Shot 2015-10-01 at 22.49.30
  • Support sRGB export with new Export As options
  • Option to skip transform when placing Smart Objects on canvas (one of my favorite time saving aditions)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.10.13 copy
  • Added an option to save to Libraries when pasting a Smart Object from Illustrator
  • Better default shape stroke value (1 px instead of 3 pt)Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.11.59 copy

Other feature improvements and JDI’s

  • New “Graphic and Web” workspace
  • Ability to resize the Export As dialog
  • Improved PNG interface in the Export As dialog (for exporting to PNG-32 or PNG-8)
  • Saved file type and quality settings between Exports
  • Improved stability of Device Preview connection, and added more troubleshooting options
  • Set type layer position on canvas (X/Y) in the Properties panel
  • Improvements to Copy/Paste/Drag between documents, clipboard and CC Libraries
  • Improve the display of artboard names, allow them to be turned off
  • Artboard and marquee snapping improvements
  • Added artboard preference for matte color and border type
  • Align command now works with single selected layer within artboard (artboard is implicitly selected)
  • Artboard custom presets now show up in the Artboard tool bar/property presets menu
  • Prevent Locked Layers from being auto-nested in artboards
  • Allow artboards to lock position
  • Added keyboard modifier (shift) to determine if layers get added to bottom of groups
  • Added 16pt as one of the preset values in the font size drop-down
  • Hyphenation now defaults to Off
  • Added several items to Designer Favorites in Glyph panel
  • Maintain selected glyph when switching fonts
  • Selecting a single glyph on canvas selects the glyph in Glyph panel
  • Added option for “diffusion” to Healing Brush, to reduce artifacts in some situations
  • Improved baseline alignment of many dialogs and widgets
  • Improved document presets with new iPad Pro, updated presets with DCI 4k, 8K, and moved HDTV up the list
  • Disabled the “no layers selected” error when clicking with Move tool outside the canvas
  • Dramatically reduced file sizes for 16- and 32-bit PSDs when “Max compatibility” is unchecked

Major bug fixes

  • Fixed issue GPU corruption issue where the corruption gets saved with the file and is irreversible, undoable
  • Fixed +/- keyboard shortcut issues for toggling shape addition/subtraction

Other changes

  • Removed Sync Settings capabilities from Photoshop CC 2015.1

More details for this release can be found by following this link

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Max2015 – Animating Characters with Fuse (preview) and Photoshop CC

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.11.29

The announcement at Max 2015 revealed the new integration pipeline between Fuse (preview) CC and Photoshop, powered by the Creative Cloud Sync. The objective of this integration is to simplify the creation of a custom and unique character in Fuse, then use Photoshop CC to apply smooth animations to your character.

To make a new character, start out in Fuse and select a head.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.11.39

Wizard process will walk you through adding other components like arms, worse and legs.


Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.12.41

Each step enables customisation of that part, i.e. local definition of each part, in the case below, waist, stomach etc.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.14.25

Textile wizard allows adding other elements to the character, like hats, facial hair and other clothes.


Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.15.38

With an ability to custom the colour and texture of each element.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.17.38

Once the character is ready, it can be saved as a .muse file, as well as sent to Creative Cloud for processing. Whilst the character is on it’s way to CC it will be automatically rigged for animation. As you can see below, the character will seamlessly be inserted into the Photoshop libraries panel, for each access within Photoshop.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.17.43

There will be a notification from the Creative Cloud desktop application when the character has been rigged and ready in the library panel.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.22.03

It can then be dragged across into any active canvas, ready for applying the animations or blending into a 2D scene.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.28.58

Below show the new character in the scene, ready for placement. It can be moved around the ground plane, as a regular object. Also notice the black skeletal framework overlaid onto the character.



Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.30.06

Any available animation can be applied by just selecting it from the properties combo box, each selection will result in the application to the model on the screen. You can see below, that the character  is now sat on the floor. This animation sequence will take the model from a sitting position to a standing position.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.31.00

It’s also possible to apply facial expressions, by selecting the face icon and the correct expression required.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.35.15

To finish up, a back ground can be added (from below i’ve pulled it in from Adobe Stock and licensed it), then move the lights around to mimic the shadows which would be created by the sun.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.41.41

The whole process took less that 5 minutes from creation of a custom character, to rigg it and then apply animations and blend into the background.

We hope you have lots of fun with the Integration of Fuse and Photoshop for placement of characters in your 2D scenes.

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#CreativeFriday – Making your images supersized with Photoshop CC

I’ve been asked a few times over the past few weeks about how to make images really big. Luckily Photoshop CC had a feature enhancement a while ago now which is perfect for this job.

Let us take this example, below is a picture that i shot at the White Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.

One request this week from a UK based Photographer was to upsize to 600cm on the long edge. Let’s have a look and see how this is possible in Photoshop CC.

The Image upsize feature is available under the Image / Image Size menu option (marked in Red below). Once the dialog is open, there is an option to choose Bicubic Smoother or Sharper. These can be used depending on if the image was being made smaller or larger. The Automatic option could however, be used and it would select the correct option for you.

The new feature that makes such a great job of upsampling is the ‘Preserver Details’ option. This option has been designed to do a much better job at preserving the edge details of an image, that the other options.


Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 21.32.21 copyTo upsample this image to 600cm using this feature, it’s as simple as choosing Centimeters and setting this value to 600cm. Photoshop CC, will then run the process, and the result will be the correct size with amazing detail still preserved.


The draw back, however, can be the resulting file size. Below, the dialog is reporting an output file size over over 26GB. This will be based on the resolution specified in the image size dialog box. To reduce the final output side, the resolution can be decreased, and the resulting file size will be decreased. You should tune this to be what your system can manage (as it is RAM and disk space dependent).



Once OK is pressed, Photoshop CC will work it’s magic and upsize the image.

You can see below, the file is now showing a zoom level of 3%, as the image size is quite large.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 21.54.57If I zoom in to 50%, you will see the amount detail in the face of the camels owner.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 21.55.18

You can see in a comparison image of the original file,  I need to zoom into 500%, to get the same results.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 21.59.44For comparisions and where this can go. I have succesfully upsized a 16mp file to be 72 inches on the long edge (Fuji x-PRO 1), as well as a 50mp file from the new Canon 5DSR to 65feet on the long edge.

Having printed these two outputs, i’m pretty sure that a 30cm minimum viewing distance is acheivable once the upsample has be done.


Of course, going too large wil increase the file size dramatically. This file in the exercise went to 12GB, the 65feet upscale went to 65GB and would take over 200 sheets of A2 to fully print it.

If you are looking to upsize an image, it’s definatly worth giving Photoshop CC a run for a it’s money, as the results are quite spectacular.


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#CreativeFriday – Photoshop – Place Linked vs Place Embed

One operation that is used a lot in Photoshop, especially for photo compositors or matt painters is the Place command. A while ago in an update to Photoshop CC, this command was split into two. Splitting the Place command into two, now enables Photoshop to either Embed an asset (the old way), or to Link to an asset (new way). This post will show the difference of these two features, so you can adopt into your workflow if needed.


Let us take this Photoshop canvas. It’s a standard 10inch by 8inch canvas, totalling at 41.2mb:

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.42.08

For the exercise,  i’m going to first embed a 144mb file into it,  then link to the output PSD file and see what the file sizes are for each.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 17.21.29 copy

To embed the document into this canvas, just choose File / Place Embed and select the file.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.42.08 copy

Once the file is embedded, the layer will look like the one marked in red below, note the symbol on the thumbnail (showing that it’s embedded). To be clear, the embedded document is now part of the document and will increase the file size by the size of the embedded document.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.43.20 copy

If, on the other hand, within the same empty canvas as above, we choose Place Linked and choose the same file.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.42.08 copy v2

The symbol on the layer (marked in red) becomes a chain, which is denoting the link to the file (not embedded). The file size in this case will only contain the resulting pixels, not the original file.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.43.20 copy v4

Below shows the difference in file sizes of the two new PSD’s.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.46.24

The benefit of the Linked file approach, is that it will create a vastly reduced final PSD file. Therefore, Photoshop should perform more efficiently  as it’s using much less memory.

Of course the only issue is when you would like to distribute the files to someone else. The embedded file will contain the referenced file, where the Linked file will not. For the Linked file, Photoshop will show the rasterised version of it, but it won’t be available for edit. If you would like the other person to edit the linked file, then you can choose to ‘Package’ the file from within Photoshop CC.

If ‘Package’ is not available on your system, it’s most likely because this new composite is not saved, so complete a save on this document, then choose Package.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 17.31.55 copy

Choosing Package will ask for a location. Photoshop will then create a folder structure and package the links, as well as the Photoshop document (as shown below).

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 17.31.08

Linked files are defiantly a great improvement in many ways, benefits include, reducing the number of files within a PSD document, improving performance of Photoshop, sending a file to another Creative (both for editing and a non editable approach).

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SWPP Convention – Adobe Seminar Room Schedule

We are pleased to announce that Adobe will be attending the Societies (SWPP) convention with a Seminar room and free talks. The talks are on a first come first served basis and will be 25 minutes long with 5 minutes of question and answer at the end.  We hope that the schedule we have planned will suite all tastes and photographic needs, and are very much looking forward to showing you lots of techniques and creative ideas, as well as meeting everyone at the show. You will be able to find the Adobe seminar room on the ground floor at the entrance to the trade show.

Until then we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and we hope that you are taking lots of pictures and maybe receive a few Christmas photographic gifts (even if you have to buy them yourself (i know that i have a few items that i’ll be buying!).


Schedule for Adobe Seminar room at the SWPP


Friday & Saturday

10:30 – 11:00 – Using Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC in your retouching workflow

11:15 -11:45 – Retouching with Lightroom

12:00 – 12:30 – Video Editing with Photoshop CC

12:45 – 13:15 – Photoshop CC for Photographers

13:30 – 14:00 – Colour Management with Datacolor- Perfecting your workflow 14:15 -14:45 – 3D Printing for Photographers

15:00 – 15:30 – Retouching with Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile

15:45 – 16:15- Using Adobe Slate to publish your work

16:30 -17:00 – Using Lightroom and Photoshop in your retouching workflow



10:30 – 11:00 – Using Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC in your retouching workflow

11:15 -11:45 – Retouching with Lightroom

12:00 – 12:30 – Video Editing with Photoshop CC

12:45 – 13:15 – Photoshop CC for Photographers

13:30 – 14:00 – Colour Management with Datacolor – Perfecting your workflow

14:15 -14:45 – 3D Printing for Photographers

15:00 – 15:30 – Retouching with Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile

15:45 – 16:15- Using Adobe Slate to publish your work


Talk Descriptions 

Using Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC in your retouching workflow  

This session will look at the essence of the Creative Cloud Photography plan and show where both Lightroom and Photoshop can be used to edit your photographs. The take away for this session is to be able to use both applications seamlessly in your workflow for making even more beautiful pictures.

Retouching with Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile

We will be exploring how to edit your photographs using the combination of Lightroom Desktop and Lightroom Mobile/Web. This talk will walk you through how to set up and configure Lightroom Mobile, as well as how it can be used as part of your editing workflow, the presented will provide some hints, tips and tricks along the way.

Retouching with Lightroom

 We will focus on using just Lightroom for editing your photographs, offering ideas, tips and tricks for working with your photographs.

3D Printing in Photoshop for Photographers

3D Printing is taking the world by storm, and this technology is opening up new creative ideas for Photographers. In early 2014 Photoshop CC gained the ability to create/print 3D objects using a variety of printers, materials and services. This talk will walk you through 3D printing in Photoshop CC with examples of how Photographers can embrace it in their work.

Video Editing in Photoshop CC

We all have cameras that are able to create stunning photographs, and many can now record stunning HD /4K quality video too. This session will show how you can import your video clips into Photoshop / Lightroom and use your existing Photoshop skills to edit and create a compelling short film.

Colour Management with Datacolor- Perfecting your workflow

This session is brought to you in conjunction with Adobe and Datacolor and will provide an end-to-end solution for colour management. We will explain how colour management can easily be incorporated into your workflow from ‘in the camera’, to the screen and finishing at the printer and transform your workflow forever. This session will ensure that you are able to make perfect looking prints every time.

Photoshop CC for Photographers

This session will focus on Photoshop for editing your Photographs. Due to only 25 minutes for this session and the vast amount of tools and techniques that Photoshop has to offer, each session will be different and a good place to learn more editing techniques.

Using Adobe Slate to publish your work

Adobe Slate is a new way to create a wonderful online content. Adobe Slate will allow you to turn your ideas and photos into engaging visual stories. This session will walk you though creating an Adobe Slate project. To get an idea of what can be created, here is one that I prepared earlier (http://bit.ly/EagleHunters)

(Link to the Societies page)


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#CreativeFriday – Configuring Lightroom’s Auto Import feature

I was presenting this week to some photographers and a question was raised about Lightroom’s Auto Import function. The question was, how to set it up to watch a folder and auto import the content.

There are many ways to use the Auto Import feature, and will depend on your workflow scenario. Some examples are, auto import from an application like Photo mechanic, from a 3rd party tether app, from dropbox or even from the Creative Cloud. I wanted to show and explain how to set up a practical example, based on a scenario that I have recently had.

In my home studio (shown below). You can see Lightroom on the main computer (iMac in the middle), then a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 on the right side, with a film scanner on the left. My process was to scan from the scanner to the Wacom Cintiq, then once each film has been scanned (36 exposures), they are transferred by memory card to the iMac and into Lightroom.




The question, raised a good point, can I improve this workflow and get the import into Lightroom the films in a much better way.

The Auto Import feature in Lightroom can be configured to watch any folder, even a Creative Cloud folder. On the Cintiq I have Vuescan running, scanning the negatives, then outputting to a folder. Let’s see how to have the output folder be a Creative Cloud folder and the inbound one being the same on a different computer.

The series of steps will walk through how to configure this up and get the Auto Import running.

  1. On the Cintiq side, i’ve created a folder structure on the Creative Cloud called Scans / Current Scan. This folder, once created, will be synced to the iMac  (as long as the Creative Cloud Desktop and Folder Syncing is turned on, on both machines).


2. Vuescan is configured to save the TIFF file to the ‘CurrentScan’ folder above.

N.B. The file should be set to Date and Time (YYYMMDD_HHMMSS.xxx), this will allow each file to have a unique file name.

3. Once the negative has been scanned, the output TIF file will be placed into the Current Scan folder. (N.B Vuescan will write the initial file and streams the content to it, the Creative Cloud sync will start when the initial file is created, but will report errors because it’s not closed until Vuescan has finished creating the file. Once Vuescan has completed it’s processing, the Creative Cloud Sync will transfer the file).


4. The iMac has the same file configuration, because the Creative Cloud has synced everything across (I am logged in with the same User ID, so it’s not a share with anyone else).

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 07.57.40 copy

5. Within Lightroom, the Auto Import Settings can be found under the menu option ‘File / Auto Import / Auto Import Settings’, select this option and the following dialog will be shown.


We know that the file will be created on the Creative Cloud Current Scan folder, this should be specified as the watched folder.

We know where the file should be placed once Lightroom has completed the import. This folder will be the Scan folder that relates to the physical index of the negative set (in this case, the series 29102015_5 (the 5th film in the series from the 29th October 2015, a recent trip to india)). (The subfolder name index (_5) should be manually increased by 1 for the next film, or a new index reference, that relates back to your film archive strategy).

I also would like to make the series look like the HP5 film type, luckily, I have the VSCO HP5 treatment, so i’ve selected this from the Develop Settings list. I’ve also added my metadata template (this contains my copyright and contact details), as well as the global keyword for the film set.

The Enable Auto Import has been turned on, once the OK button is pressed this watched folder will start. After the images have been imported, the file will removed automatically from the Current Scan Folder.

(N.B. The watched folder must be empty when the background job starts)

6. Within Lightroom, the destination folder will appear on the left hand side within the folders section. The image will appear on the film strip and within the grid view.

This is ideal for a local set up, but it could also be extended to someone scanning in a remote location or multiple people scanning from many locations.

Hopefully this will give you creative ideas on using the Auto Import watched folder feature for a scenario that you may have.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 21.11.48

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Among Eagle Hunters and Nadaams – An Adobe Slate Creation.

A recent trip to Mongolia sent time with the Eagle Hunters and Nadaams, here is my short portfolio of the trip (All made with Adobe Slate). Why not make your own and see how easy Adobe Slate is to use.

Among Eagle Hunters and Nadaams


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#CreativeFriday – Webinar with Datacolor – Creative Cloud Photography Plan features from Max

Earlier this week Datacolor and I held a webinar on Colour Management as well as the Creative Cloud Photography plan. The main topics of this session were updates from Lightroom CC/6 as well as some of the new Photographic iPhone and iPad apps, including Photoshop Fix, Lightroom. You can watch the webinar on-demand below.


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