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July 24, 2008

Noisy, noisy night...

Ah well, sometimes I just stumble upon techniques that change the way I take pictures. I call these my "impossible pictures". But, before I begin, I'd like to thank Marianna Santoni, an Adobe Guru from Italy, for pointing this out.
Okay, so what's the problem with pictures you shoot at night with a digital camera anyway? It's all the noise, of course! The pictures used in this tutorial were taken with a Canon EOS 400D (ISO 1600, f/3.5, 1/15)

Noise_1.jpg

When you take pictures using high ISO and long exposure times, there is an easy way to get rid of those unwanted color speckles!

All you need to do is shoot several images of the same subject (all of which will have some degree noise):

Noise_2.jpg

Paste them all into a single Photoshop file and Auto-align them (I had to, because I was not using a tripod, so there was some movement); Edit > Auto-Align Layers...
Convert them to a Smart Object; Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.
An now... Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode > Median (or Mean, depending on the result you want to achieve). Hold your breath... Adobecadabra! Noise gone! Or at least dramatically reduced.

Noise_3.jpg

Subsequently, I fooled around with Levels and Hue/Saturation (using Adjustment Layers) and then, after converting the image for Smart Filter, I applied Smart Sharpen. Please use Adjustment Layers and Smart Filters... the last thing we want to do in our lifetime is to permanently hurt pixels. Let's all work non-destructively, for a better world in which not a single pixel ever gets harmed.

My final result is something like this:

Noise_4.jpg

Not bad for an amateur such as yours truly. No? I love Hong Kong!

July 11, 2008

Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, an ending at the top

kuala_lumpur.jpg

The events in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were the last two scheduled stops in the Asian leg of our Masters Tour. Both were very successful with hundreds of professional users cheering and laughing, and of course learning about the Adobe creative workflow. The sheer amount of blogs that talk about our presentations is incredible.
The event in Kuala Lumpur was hosted on the Observation Deck of the KL Tower. What a way to end this trip. Truly at the top.
Again, I thank all the people involved in making this tour a such a success, and all of our friends who chose to attend a 6 hour presentation, thus giving up a whole working day. Thank you all! And remember, being creative is all about having fun and experimenting!
After a three week trip, I am so ready to return home to my family. Tired, but incredibly motivated to go on.

Here another shot from the KL Tower observation deck; truly amazing perspective on the Petronas Twin Towers.

kuala_lumpur_2.jpg

July 2, 2008

Masters Tour in Taiwan and Hong Kong

This Asia trip that I am doing together with Greg and Jason is truly inspiring. Yesterday we did our Masters show in Taipei, flew to Hong Kong in the evening and performed again today.
It is truly amazing that hundreds, thousands, of people chose to take a day off work and come watch us for five hours as we go through a truly integrated workflow, using all of the applications in the Adobe Master Collection CS3. The live feedback we get from our audiences is what gives us the strength to move on. The attention, the heads nodding, the cheers and the laughter are our blessing. Thank you Taiwan and Hong Kong.

感谢台湾和香港

Next stops Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Caffè Fibonacci - Behind the scenes

This is totally Adobecadabra material! Kush Amerasinghe has a new episode on Adobe TV that shows you how the virtual set in Caffè Fibonacci works [link to show]. Awesome stuff! I am glad that he chose to investigate that matter at "Ask the Adobe Ones". Thanks Kush, I love your show and that was pretty good Italian you spoke there ;-)