Dark Side of the Lens

Photoshop Elements 11 Available
October 4th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

Photoshop Elements 11

In case you missed the announcement, Photoshop Elements 11 is now available from Adobe.

Check out the official page from Adobe for all the details, they have a great video on the new features.  I've not had a chance to play with it yet, and am not sure when I will, but it looks like there are some neat new features in there.


New features include aan overhaul of the user interface,  apparently making it easier to use, better photo organisation using people/places/events, new guided edits for semi-automatic image adjustments, new filters, new intelligent extraction tools, and built in sharing to social networks such as Facebook.




The new iPhone 5 – and a new camera
September 13th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

iPhone 5The new iPhone 5 – best phone camera around?

When cameras were first introduced into phones, 10 years ago or so, they were fun but they couldn't be used for anything but the odd fun snap as, quite frankly, the quality just wasn't there.

Now there are some truly fantastic cameras built into phones. The iPhone 4Gs, the Samsung Galaxy III (though many find the Galaxy II produces more faithful images), the Nokia Lumia 800, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, and the HTC Incredible S usually appear on the lists you'll find of the best ones around.
There are even some phones with insane resolutions …. the Nokia 808 PureView has a staggering 41 megapixels! That's twice that of most professional dSLR cameras!!! However, it does not take things such as lens quality and sensor image size into account … megapixels are probably most important to the marketing department in this instance.
In the majority of, objective, comparison reviews we found (as unfortunately we are not able to test all the top models ourselves) the iPhone 4GS or Galaxy III come out on top more times than not.  We found that to be the iPhone 4Gs came out on top the most, but we admit to having an iPhone bias here.
Take the beautiful photos the cameras take natively, add an arsenal of awesome apps, and you have a serious piece of camera hardware in your pocket.
Let's concentrate on what are generally considered the top rivals for the smart phone, and thus camera, market … the iPhone and the Galaxy.
The difference, in real world terms, between the iPhone 4Gs and the Galaxy II isn't substantial, and it is unlikely that if you put two images side by side you'll favour the results from one phone over the other, in most lighting conditions at least. The technical specs of both cameras are pretty much identical (main camera at least, the Galaxy does seem to have a better secondary camera, the one you tend to film yourself with).
However …. then along comes the iPhone 5, and a camera upgrade. Is it a major upgrade or just a tweak?
Well, firstly, as everyone gets so hung up on megapixels, it is still an 8 megapixel camera, so no change there.
Of far more excitement is that the lens is now f/2.4!!! If you don't understand aperture, just accept our word that f/2.4 is excellent! It means a large aperture (the hole that lets the light in to reach the sensor) and that in turn means 2 main things: it will work better in low light conditions and it will work better with fast moving objects. All very cool and a very limiting factor with most camera phones
There is also a new "dynamic low light mode", presumably to make use of the new lens. The main processor is now an "A6 processor".  Although Apple has so far been guarded on the actual power here, it is more powerful than it's predecessor and Apple as saying it will result in more accurate colour matching. More importantly it means faster image capture (40% faster is being quoted), and better noise cancellation. You can also now capture still during video capture. 
There is also the new panorama mode. This allows for in-camera photo stitching (several shots into one large shot, resulting in up to a massive 28 megapixel photo).
Some of this, such as the panorama mode, is via iOS 6, the operating system, so we may see that appear for the 4G and 4Gs models.
Other features, or buzz words, flying around include a sapphire crystal lens cover (this apparently will result in clearer pictures), a hybrid infrared filter, and five-element lens construction.
The iPhone 5 has yet to reach the public, we won't get hold of one until next week *fingers crossed* The impressions from the lucky few that have their hands on one already do seem very favourable though.
So, is this going to mean the iPhone 5 will leave the Galaxy iii in the dust in terms of it's camera? Well, although these changes are all really good, they are not game changing … just very welcomed.
However, given that the iPhone 4Gs and Galaxy iii are generally neck and neck in the camera stakes, it does seem likely that the iPhone 5 is going to have the edge over the Galaxy III …… for the short term at least.
We'll post more once we've had a chance to play for ourselves *grin*
(This article was written for the Phone Photo Fun page on Facebook – go check it out!)

The Colour Pallet
February 20th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

The Colour Pallet

This next tutorial is again from the EasyPSE iTunes App from the Apple iTunes Store (there’s a shock for you!).  

We’ll have an in-depth look at the Photoshop Elements Colour Pallet. Much of this is identical to that found in Photoshop CS, but with a couple of things, such as the CMYK workspace, absent.

You’ll find yourself using the pallet constantly in some projects, so it is vital that you understand what is going on there and how to get the most out of it, as it has the potential to save you heaps of time. It’s actually very easy to learn the basics, but this video will take you one step deeper, whilst still keeping it all blissfully simple.

Read more…


Create a collage
February 12th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

Create a Collage

About time we had a project from the EasyPSE iTunes App from the Apple iTunes Store.  

This is a simple project in which several images are blended into one to form a collage. In this example I’ve used some photos from a holiday to Thailand, but you could use this for just about anything where you wanted to combine images, be they for printing, sending to family or using on the web.

There is no particular tool that is the focus of this tutorial, but it uses many of the techniques covered in the other videos, as well as introducing some new concepts.

Read more…


Spot Healing Brush
February 6th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

Spot Healing Brush

Another video from the EasyPSE iPhone/iPad video tutorial app, available on the Apple iTunes Store.  

I don’t like the style of over air brushed images you typically find on magazine covers. I believe that a photo of a person, unless for some other specific reason, should truly reflect what that person actually looks like … warts and all, as it were.

But what happens if on the day of the photo shoot your model happens to have a zit/pimple, something temporary they may not want shown on the photo (and you probably don’t want it there as a photographer either)? What do you do if you have a speck of dust on your sensor you need to remove in post-processing?

Well, that’s where the Spot Healing Brush comes into play. Use this tool correctly and you have a fantastic tool for removing these minor blemishes … just don’t get too carried away.

Read more…


Levels – A new level of power
January 30th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »


Here we go, another video from the EasyPSE iPhone/iPad video tutorial app, available on the Apple iTunes Store.  

I recall when I first came across "Levels", many moons ago, I was blown away but how easily, and quickly, I could make this one simple change and have my photos immediately jump in quality.  Unless you are lucky, or very good, and get your lighting perfect, then "Levels" is a great way to adjust your photo so you end up with crisp blacks and sharp whites.

One very common problem this will fix, for instance, is when you photos just look a bit grey and dull, rather that the brighter colours and contrast you were hoping for.

Don't be put off if this looks a little complicated initially. Follow the tutorial and you will quickly see it is not nearly as hard as it looks, and you will be truly amazed by some of the results you can achieve in the matter of a few seconds.

Read more…


Understanding Colour (RGB)
January 22nd, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

Understanding Colour

Yet another video from the EasyPSE iPhone/iPad video tutorial app, available on the Apple iTunes Store.  I've produced a video in the past on understanding RGB but revisited it for the EasyPse app.

Understanding how colour works, in the digital world, is essential when it comes to tweaking the colour in your images.  This concept seems initially confusing to many but it need not be, and hopefully this video will clarify the subject for you.

Once mastered, rather than stuff around at random trying to get the colour on your photos looking natural you will be in a far better position to make educated "guesses" at what corrections are required.

Read more…


A modern frame for your photo
January 16th, 2012 by Natator | No Comments »

Creating a digital photo frame

Another video from the EasyPSE iPhone/iPad video tutorial app, available on the Apple iTunes Store

Giving your photo a frame can often make it come to life, really popping off the screen.  Rather than using the more traditional frames, in this tutorial I crete a simple, modern, frame but also tweak the photo, and make a few simple changes, that alter the entire feel of the photo.

You'll be amazed how huge a difference you can make, and hopefully this tutorial will help open your eyes to how easy it can be to make really exciting improvements to a basic photo, to really impress your friends with your creativity.

Read more…


Mac users be aware …
October 4th, 2011 by Natator | No Comments »

Mac WarningI am a huge fan of both Apple and Adobe, but have just come across something concerning an overlap between the companies that I felt I should make other Mac users aware of.

Apple recently introduced their online app store for Mac OSX (think of the iTunes app store but for laptop software).  This is a fantastic system they have created here, in my opinion, as rather than have boxes all over the place with licences you need to keep track of, you cab buy through this store, get your software automatically, and then later updates the same way.  I love it and am disappointed that I can’t transition some of the apps I have previously purchased physical copies of over to this system.

However, I have just spotted a problem with the version of Photoshop Elements 9 that is on the app store, which may well still be the case when they get around to putting Elements 10 up to replace it.

The actual product is called “Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Editor” … note the addition of the word “editor” there.

Despite the price being not much less than the actual Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 this version is only the editor parts of the product and does not include the Organizer.  I really think that this should be made clear in the product description but it is not, people are expected to realise from the subtle name change.  It seems to be catching a lot of, rather unhappy, people out.

If you are looking at purchasing Photoshop Elements I would now obviously suggest getting version 10 anyway.  If for any reason you specifically want version 9 then I would suggest that it is better to spend a few more $ and get the full version, as the Organizer is a great product.  See this post for a video on the Organizer.


Photoshop Elements 10 now shipping
September 30th, 2011 by Natator | No Comments »

Elements 10Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, along with Premiere Elements 10 are now available for trial or purchase as of today. There is an upgrade option if you own a previous version of the product(s). Here’s a link to the Adobe site where they list some of the cool new features.

Be aware that, regardless of if you are buying a new version or upgrading, if you want a physical copy of the software (i.e. the DVD/box rather than electronically download) Adobe are offering free shipping if you order before November 20th.  I’m not sure if this applies to all countries but it certainly does within the US, Australia, and I suspect Europe at least.

One thing Adobe have done, that I admit really annoys me with software companies ….. With an electronic download why can you buy this product for US$79 (upgrade) in the USA but here in Australia it costs me AU$123 (upgrade). Ok, some of that is GST (a local sales tax) but even without that it is still AU$112. Given that currently the Aussie $ is stronger than the US this is very wrong. Cost to produce a digital download is exactly the same, especially when my digital download comes from the US Adobe server anyway. Ok, that’s my rant over.