My name is Julieanne Kost and I’m the Principal Evangelist for Lightroom and Photoshop at Adobe. Some of you may know me from the tips and tutorials that I’ve created or perhaps a few of you know me because of my photography and digital illustrations. If we’ve never met, well, hi.
I travel about 250 days a year, and, for better or worse, I’m required to fly to get to almost all of the places I visit. As a result, I spend a great deal of time on airplanes in those tiny, cramped seats with little to do but try to work or read.
Shooting photographs allows me to stay sane during those long flights, because what most people don’t know is that I have a bit of a handicap when it comes to flying; I am scared to death of it. I’ve always been afraid of flying, but during one particular 20-minute bout of turbulence in the middle of the Andes years ago, I found myself white-knuckled, fingers embedded in the hard plastic arm-rests. It was in that instant that the camera became a comforting buffer between the reality of that moment and my own thoughts.
As the Photoshop team heads in to 2015, we’ve got a lot to celebrate, but not without first reflecting on 2014. This past year we released fifty episodes of the Photoshop Playbook, our video tutorial series answering some of the most frequently asked questions on our social channels and in the forums.
This series was one of the highlights of my year. I loved showing you new ways of doing things in Photoshop, helping you to work faster or better than you were already. Some of you even learned completely new skills, and it was fun to show you new techniques to “add to your Playbook.”
In total, the fifty episodes of the Photoshop Playbook were viewed over 1.3 million times, with about 3.2 million minutes watched. If you string all of those minutes together, that adds up to six years time spent watching the Photoshop Playbook. Wow!
In case you missed some of the episodes, embedded below you’ll find five of the most popular videos in the series, followed by the full index of all fifty episodes of the Photoshop Playbook. Bookmark this page and come back to it to brush up on the basics and to learn entirely new skills.
Thanks to Julieanne Kost for guest hosting a few of the episodes and thanks again to you for watching. We hope you always keep learning.
Photoshop Playbook: Making Fine Hair Selections
Photoshop Playbook: Selective Focus
Just two months ago, we introduced the Libraries panel to Photoshop CC 2014. Libraries help you Store your favorite things, Use them over and over, and as of today, you can now Share your Libraries with your team.
Libraries can save all types of content—that specific color, the client’s logo or watermark, or your favorite style of text. Just grab any content from your design and drag it into the panel. Libraries can store one or more layers or groups, in addition to Smart Objects. Libraries can also extract colors, text styles, and even layer effects like drop shadows by simply clicking on one of the buttons in the Libraries panel.
You can create as many Libraries as you want: one for each project, type of project, or even just your favorites.
Once you store something in Libraries, you can access it anywhere. Everything is automatically (and securely) synced to Creative Cloud.
Today we release 35 exciting updates to Photoshop CC, Lightroom mobile, Lightroom web, Photoshop Sketch and Photoshop Mix that will change how you work with images, PSDs and drawings across your desktop and mobile devices. We can’t wait to hear what you think.
First, we are thrilled to announce a new update to Photoshop CC, our third feature release in just four months! This release introduces new features including a great new Creative Cloud service, major improvements to existing features, and on-going refinements to the entire application. Dan Mall, Founder at SuperFriendly, says, “I always look forward to the latest Photoshop updates, and this latest release is no exception. The new Creative Cloud Libraries feature is perfect for anyone looking for smart tools to create responsive design systems.” We on the Photoshop team are excited to get this into the hands of all our customers!
ONE: Creative Cloud Libraries
Get quick access to your most used content in a new panel. New Creative Cloud Libraries presents all your favorite graphics, colors, type styles, layer styles, brushes, and more in a panel, ready for use. Just drag in the design elements you want constant access to into the panel – for example, layers, Smart Objects, color, text or layer styles – and they are always there for you. Then click or drag the elements back out to use them. Plus, those items are synched with Creative Cloud via your Creative Profile, so you can access them any time in Photoshop CC or in Illustrator CC. Our new mobile apps also support saving to Libraries, so you can access the brush you created in Adobe Brush CC, the Color Theme from Adobe Color CC, or the drawing you created in Adobe Photoshop Sketch.
My first love was photography. My mom put an old Minolta rangefinder in my hands at a party when I was seven years old and from that moment I was hooked. Cars came next. My step-dad arrived in my life driving a 1972 Porsche; not only did I suddenly have a dad, but he was cool. Cars and photography became obsessions, and I gave myself entirely to both. For obvious reasons, it seemed like shooting motorsports would be my dream job. At 21, I realized this dream and quickly saw my shots published in magazines. Suddenly, I started to dislike both passions; it was as if each trip of the shutter taunted me for not being in the driver’s seat. It simply wasn’t meant to be. Luckily, the next year I found Photoshop, and the year after that my career at Adobe. Over time, my love for both came back.
Nineteen years later I’ve just had lunch with my old friend Michael Troutman (the track photographer for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca) and his colleague Bobby Nichols. They’re both passionate Lightroom and Photoshop users, and it was interesting to hear how both played into their work. I began to imagine myself visiting my old stomping grounds, trackside, to tell their story. I floated this idea by Michael, who came back almost immediately with word from the track: “You can’t shadow me. That isn’t allowed. But I don’t see why you couldn’t shoot alongside us!” That’s how I came to wear an orange vest once again, spending the day as a motorsports photographer.
While I literally grew up at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (that same cool step-dad is also the track engineer), I wasn’t about to wander in there as if all of these years hadn’t changed anything. I needed a quick lesson from Michael and Bobby on the kind of gear I’d need to get started.
With back-to-school season in full swing and the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s the perfect time to do fun things with your photos and videos. On behalf of the Elements team, I’m pleased to announce the release of Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 13. While you’ve been enjoying summer, the Elements team has been working hard behind the scenes to bring you a slew of new features that simplify complex editing tasks and bring to life new tools that are as simple as the click of a button or swipe of a brush. Now it’s easier then ever to make your photos and videos stand out with your family and friends.
Elements Live Educates and Inspires
One of our primary goals on the Elements team is to help inspire and educate our customers on a daily basis, and I often hear from them about their desire to keep learning every day. In response we have developed Elements Live, a new in-app experience that serves up tips, tricks and inspiration right at your fingertips. From how to get started, to inspiration and tutorials on more complicated techniques, Elements Live provides a convenient source of fresh creative inspiration.
Discover what you can do with Photoshop Elements 13:
If you’re like me, you take a lot of photos of family and friends and love having access to them wherever you are. In Elements you can transform them, create with them, share them, and access them on the go. Photoshop Elements 13 offers new ways to add artistic touches to your snapshots so you can share them wherever you are.
Create new scenes: I’m usually the one taking the photo, so I never end up in the photo. Photomerge Compose solves that problem by making it easy to copy an object or person from one photo to another where it then blends the color and lighting for a natural look.
Having been afflicted with a chronic case of wanderlust for as long as I can remember, I was instantly hooked when one particularly interesting story ran across my desk a few months back: the story of Landon Curt Noll and his trips to Antarctica, where he searches for and studies meteorites. Though he’s a Cryptographer and Number Theorist by day, Landon travelled as the Expedition Scientist on TravelQuest International’s Expedition to Antarctica in January 2014. Landon and his team were the first people to tweet (@astronomytravel) while standing at the South Pole, which required the use of an Iridium satellite phone because of their remote location. They were also able to take some stunning images, capturing a small percentage of the South Pole’s many wonders. Since this chilly tundra is not your typical photo destination, I reached out to Landon and his photo-processing partner in crime, JC Dill, to share more of their story.
Tell us a little about yourself, including why you’re interested in photography.
Landon: The first complete sentence I spoke as a child of age 2 was, “How far is the Sun?” I remain an Astronomer to this day, focused on the inner solar system. I have made astronomical observations during total solar eclipses in the US, Turkey, Zambia, Australia, Antarctica, Libya, China, Eniwetok, French Polynesia, Australia and Antarctica – my first when I was just 10. While the totality lasts for only a few minutes, the journey is about visiting, learning about, and photographing the people and places along the way.
So what exactly are you doing at the South Pole?
Landon: Our research involves testing methods to search for meteorites resting just below the surface of the Antarctic ice. In the pure ice conditions of the interior, these Antarctic meteorites provide a rare uncontaminated view of material from outer space: uncontaminated by human contact or weathering from earth elements. Not only do we test methods for detecting meteorites below the surface of the ice, we actually find them! (15 in total from the 2011, 2013 and 2014 expeditions.)
What are some difficulties about photographing in Antarctica?
Landon: A lot of things, actually. The cold makes battery management problematic. Complex mechanical zoom lenses can fail. Point and shoot pocket cameras have a surprisingly high failure rate as their electro-mechanical functions jam, like when you turn on and extend a telephoto lens. Large body SLRs with large internal batteries seem to work best. With the nearest camera store on the next continent, taking a spare camera is a must.
Special care must be taken to avoid condensation and freezing of your camera gear. When moving from the cold outside into a vehicle, tent, or commissary, you have to place the camera into a breathable bag, leaving it inside until the camera is warm to the touch.
Ice dust is a constant problem. At those very low temperatures, fine ice particles act like dust. Unlike normal dust, ice dust can convert to water vapor, work its way through seals and deposit itself inside the camera. Ice dust on a sensor is particularly problematic.
Antarctica is under the ozone hole. Together with high altitude, UV radiation is a problem for eyes, skin and cameras. High quality UV filters are important. Without a UV filter, the bright UV will impact the quality of the image. To protect the eyes, one needs to use strong polarized goggles over dark sunglasses, and since most camera back displays are also polarized, unless you rotate the camera just the right way, you won’t see the image displayed very well. Due to problems with viewing camera back displays with polarized goggles and dark glasses, we opted for SLR cameras with optical viewfinders.
One of the most interesting things about photographing in Antarctica is deciding when to sleep and how to make sure you capture certain features when the light is coming from the direction you desire. Because the sun is up 24 hours a day, it traverses 360 degrees every day. You have the special opportunity to get light from any compass direction.
So Landon takes the photos, then JC processes them. Is that right?
JC: When Landon travels, he’s on the road for weeks at a time and comes home with thousands of images. I couldn’t begin to handle the workload without Lightroom.
This first pass is quick, I may have one to three thousand photos to evaluate and I need to quickly whittle down to the ones that will get edited. During the second pass, I concentrate on photos with three or more stars, and then I start to edit the images themselves – adjust exposure, batch process with similar photos in the same light, then crop and up-star the ones that stand out. Landon will make a pass through and indicate the two-star photos that help tell the story, but may not necessarily be exceptional photographs.
Lastly, we go to work with the detailed editing, which mostly includes using the tool available in Lightroom to show/enhance dust. Somehow the cameras manage to accumulate dust inside even when they are not opened during a trip. Taking cleaning tools and cleaning the sensor is problematic for a number of reasons, so it is not done on ice. This means that I have substantial dust spot editing to do to get those spots out of the snow and sky.
Big thanks to Landon and JC for answering our questions. We hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into what it’s like to photograph in one of the most challenging environments on Earth. More of the team’s images can be seen below.
And what’s on-deck next for Landon? Well, later this year he’ll be on an astronomical and photographic expedition to Botswana, after which he’ll photograph the total solar eclipse above the Arctic Circle, near the North Pole, and then he’ll finish out 2015 with a return to Antarctica for another meteorite search. Best of luck and Godspeed, Landon…I, for one, wish I was riding shotgun on all these epic adventures.
About a year ago, a few members of the Photoshop team and some really talented folks in our Beijing office embarked on a mission to turn a prototype into a shipping project. The team quickly grew and together we raced to deliver Photoshop Mix 1.0 alongside all of the new desktop applications at our June launch event in New York. Photoshop Mix – a free iPad application focused on selective edits, basic compositing and a little bit of Photoshop magic – has since enjoyed a tremendous number of downloads…thank you! In the race to launch, we left a few things undone, but with a tremendous effort from our team and a LOT of input from our users (again, thank you!) today we’re proud to announce Photoshop Mix 1.1.
1.1 might sound like a minor update, but it satisfies the majority of feedback we’ve heard from in-app feedback, research and reviews. Of course, the Mix team couldn’t help but sprinkle in a few things above and beyond.
One of the reasons I love working for Adobe is that it’s a company with a heart. On a daily basis, I work to perfect a program that helps photographers all over the world create their own brand of magic, but once in awhile we get to help those in need directly through the power of imagery.
It was in this spirit that the Lightroom team recently embarked on our own philanthropic adventure. We heard about the Grand Opening of the Minneapolis chapter of Gilda’s Club, a non-profit organization helping those dealing with the effects of cancer, and instantly knew we wanted to get involved. After brainstorming, we decided to volunteer our photography knowledge and expertise to create memorable photographs for cancer patients and their families. Collaborating with Gilda’s club, we came up with two photo setups:
- A photo booth equipped with props to celebrate the festive nature of the Grand Opening party
- A photo studio setup with backdrops and lights for formal family portraits
For the photo booth, we built a tethered capture station that fed photos directly into Lightroom. We applied a black & white develop preset to images from the photo booth, simulating traditional photo booth snapshots. These were displayed 4-up in Survey mode on a nearby monitor for everybody at the party to see and enjoy. After the event, the photo booth images were shared on the GCTC Facebook page.
For the photo studio, 2 tethered capture stations were set up, and we alternated between stations for each session. Images were fed into Lightroom and members from the Lightroom and Premiere Pro teams prepped the images, applied color corrections, and exported to individual thumb drives for the families. We shot 21 different groups in 4 hours!
We had such an amazing time with everybody and are so thankful for the stories that they shared with us. We shot a couple celebrating their 34th anniversary, a 4-generation quartet of beautiful women, and one family of 14, where both Grandma and one grandson are cancer survivors.
Both the photobooth and the studio setup were huge hits, reminding us that photography is a special way to capture moments in time. The team at Gilda’s Club Twin Cities is already asking about ‘next time’ and we can’t wait to do it all over again.
We’d love to hear other stories of you using Lightroom and photography to help the local community…post a comment telling your story!
About Gilda’s Club
Gilda’s Club, founded by Gene Wilder and Joanna Bull in honor of Gilda Radner, is an organization that provides support and resources to people dealing with cancer. Membership is free, and Gilda’s Club supports anybody affected with cancer, including cancer patients and survivors and their friends and family. It’s a great organization that lives up to its mission; “No one should face cancer alone”.