Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Lightroom: The gifts that give then give again

If you're giving Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop CS3 for the Holidays this year, or if you're lucky enough to receive them as a gift, read the EULA to double your gifting fun!

I've seen very little mention of the Adobe End User License Agreement, or EULA, for these products in the blogosphere, and I haven't spoken with anyone that already knew about this little gem either. Specifically, the EULA is the license that Adobe gives you as the purchaser or user of the software, and that license states the terms under which you are legally permitted to use them.

Both Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 EULA state, under section 2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use, that you're allowed to install the software on not just one, but two of your home computers! Yippee!!! There is a small caveat that technically you're not permitted to use the same product at the same time on the two computers, but unless you're a serious Type A Multi-tasker then I doubt you'll have to worry about that... The official Legalease from the EULA is as follows:

Adobe Lightroom EULA

2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use. The primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a portable Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided the Software on the portable or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer.


Adobe Photoshop CS3 EULA
2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use. The primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a portable Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided the Software on the portable or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer. You may be required to contact Adobe in order to make a second copy.


Further, when Lightroom was still in beta version back last January, the Lightroom Program Manager, Tom Hogarty, posted to a forum thread that you may choose a different operating system when installing the second copy, just in case, for example, that you have PC as your primary computer and a Mac Powerbook as your second, then you're good to go.

CDIA: Split Shot - Integrating Photoshop in the Creative Studio

Integrating Photoshop Into the Creative Studio -- That's the snazzy title of the 8th course in CDIA's Professional Digital Photography program. Not too long ago, photographers that shot film could spend hours setting up perfect lighting in a shot using snoots, grids, reflectors, gobos, and other light modifiers to capture the perfect image with one shutter click. With the advent of digital photography its possible to achieve that perfect shot in far less time by shooting several versions of the set then combine the images in Photoshop using layer masks and blending. In the digital photographer's studio, the final image is often a composite that makes best use of time between setting up the lighting and post production editing.

The first exercise in this course is known as a split shot, a technique to control reflections in a set. Imagine an art director sets up a product shot in the studio composed of a couple books and some CDs, carefully placing each element in his or her preferred configuration. Then its the photographer's job to capture the image just as the art director composed it, even though the set may have elements of differing reflective surfaces or different contrasts. The CDs have prismatic reflections of the books behind them, and the books may have shadows or glossy reflections of the other books or CDs in front of them.

To achieve a well lit, final image begin by capturing the original set, then use light modifers such as cards or gobos to capture subsequent shots where one element of the set is lit properly. Weight down the tripod to completely avoid nudging the camera since later several captures will be layered and combined.

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Pluggable Web Gallery Templates for Lightroom

Earlier this week, Photoshop Product Manager John Nack blogged about the interactive, Flash-based Web Gallery templates from Airtight Interactive which plug right into Lightroom. When viewing a photo collection in the Web module of Lightroom you can then select the template, customize it, then hit the upload button to magically produce a fun photo gallery on your website. Lightroom already comes with a large suite of HTML and Flash-based gallery templates, but you can't deny that those from Airtight Interactive are SWEET! My favorite is the PostCard Viewer.

I recently published two photo collections using the PostCard Viewer. Although I love the presentation, I still pine for the social interaction found on Flickr such as commenting, notes, and groups.

For my class on Photographic Seeing at BU's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, I was assigned to shoot some locations while keeping in mind several techniques of photographic composition, including:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Frame within a Frame
  • Decisive Moment
  • Leading Lines
  • Negative Space
  • Pattern
  • Long Depth of Field
  • Shallow Depth of Field
  • Panning
  • Blur
  • Creative Use of Whitespace
  • Dynamic Use of Color


You can decide which is which on the final selection from the Photograph Seeing project, displayed with the Postcard Viewer. Also, as recently blogged about you can also check out my Faces of India project, also in Postcard Viewer format.

Professional Digital Photography at CDIA

This year I've taken a big step towards turning a long time personal interest into a professional skill. In May I enrolled in the Professional Digital Photography program at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, or BU CDIA for short. The curriculum spans 24 classes over nearly 18 months, and requires the commitment of 2 nights per week and every other Saturday.



First Class at CDIA
First class at CDIA
Over the years I've been able to study at various local universities to build web technology skills, including Bentley College, Brandeis University, Harvard Extension School, and BUTrain (Boston University's corporate education). Compared to CDIA, I would be hard pressed to describe a curriculum or facility that was more current and state of the art, or better staffed with highly qualified instructors. CDIA's facility, conveniently located on Moody Street in Waltham, can hardly be called a campus, although it occupies three floors of a huge building converted into classrooms and studios, and will soon expand into an adjacent building that formerly housed a Jordan's Furniture store. In retrospect, only Harvard's Extension School rivals CDIA in quality of equipment and facilities as well as teaching ability of instructors.

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Total Training is Going Online

As a very satisfied owner of Total Training DVD video tutorials on Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, and Flex, I literally recommend their training to everyone I speak with that might have an interest... really, and half the time I chew their ear off because I won't shut up about how great their tutorials are.

Now they're launching online training as well, in HD and available 24/7. Here's some quotes from their website:

Premium Training Goes Online
Total Training is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for creative design, digital video, and office productivity software programs. Our mission is to deliver premium training to our users enabling them to quickly learn new software applications. Now, for the first time, our award-winning videos are available online.

  • Access award-winning training 24/7
  • High-quality content produced in HD
  • Explore the customized interface


  • Customized Controls
  • Search Content Within Lessons
  • Lesson Progression Tracking
  • Ability to Bookmark Lessons




Get the Entire Total Training Online: Adobe Library for FREE!
In celebration of our upcoming Total Training Online release, we're offering this once in a lifetime opportunity. For every purchase of $150* or more, you will receive the Total Training Online Adobe Library absolutely free for 1 year that's over $1,000 worth of DVDs accessible online! View our Adobe Library below.

Hurry! Offer expires June 15, 2007.



P.S.

Dear Total Training:

Please add ColdFusion 8 training as a part of your web technology stable of training products.

Thanks!

Fake Miniature Photography with the Tilt-Shift Technique

I've recently discovered Tilt-shift photography. The original technique involves actual camera and lens manipulation. By tilting a lens attached to a camera by a bellow an effect is achieved where a narrow slice of the image is in focus, producing an artificially shallow depth of field which makes the image appear to be a miniature or scale model of the real thing. Tilt-shift photos are said to be "faked".

Its recently become popular to produce the same effect digitally using tools such as Photoshop, and Flickr has some excellent examples as well as tilt-shift pools for both "real" tilt-shift and digital tilt-shift. I'm just getting started with this technique by following some tutorials.

My own tip... When buildings in the scene rise above the surroundings, the default gradient selection will cause the lens blur effect to blur some parts of the building while other parts are in focus. A better result can be achieved by manually "painting" the selection when in Quick Mask mode so that all parts of a buildings or structures in the same plane are selected, then when the lens blur effect is applied the building will appear to pop out of the background better.

This is definitely a lot of fun, and its a great creative outlet in the winter if you haven't had the chance to get out do actual photography. Here's my tilt-shift set on Flickr.

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How to create HDR images with Photoshop's Merge to HDR

A couple weeks ago, I visited Zion National Park where I made some shots that I intended to merge into HDR images, and inspired by a discussion at my local photography club I thought I'd settle down to get it done. While I was at it I created a tutorial to share with everyone.

Here's a quick shot that demonstrates the input and output of an HDR shot to help you get the general idea:

Merge to HDR

The final HDR image represents what my eye saw at that moment even though the camera wasn't able to capture it in one exposure alone.

What is HDR? High Dynamic Range... Think of a scene that has bright sunlight and dark shadows. A single image can't capture all parts of the scene in a proper exposure, but if you take a series of photos of exactly the same scene while altering the exposure between each shot, then later you can blend the images together in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Wikipedia describes HDR imaging (HDRI) as:

In computer graphics and cinematography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures (i.e a large difference between light and dark areas) than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of HDRI is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows.


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Long weekend in Zion National Park

This past October my wife and I had the opportunity to vacation in Zion National Park in southern Utah, following the Adobe MAX conference in Las Vegas that month. This was my first time in the Southwest USA, and while I'm not inclined to return to the Las Vegas Strip, I would love the opportunity to spend at least a couple weeks visiting Bryce, Arches, and the Grand Canyon. I've been very satisified with the photos I've taken in Zion over the brief three day immersion, so I anticipate photographing much more from that region.

The Wikipedia article on Zion National Park begins with the following:

Zion National Park is a United States National Park located in the Southwestern United States, near Springdale, Utah. A prominent feature in the 229-square-mile (593 km≤) park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River... A total of 289 bird species, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), 32 reptiles and numerous plant species inhabit the park...

Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups of Native Americans; the semi-nomadic Basketmaker Anasazi (300 CE) stem from one of these groups... The Kolob section was proclaimed a separate Zion National Monument in 1937, but was incorporated into the park in 1956.

The geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes nine formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation. At various periods in that time, warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts and dry near-shore environments covered the area.


We rented a Chrysler Sebring convertible at the Las Vegas airport, and made the trip to Springdale, Utah in just 3 hours. The highway from Vegas to St. George is largely desolate and uninteresting, but as soon as you get past Hurricane the scenery begins a dramatic change. I won't be renting the Sebring again because my eye level was the same height as the visor and the top of the windshield, forcing me to turn my neck and slouch down in the seat in order to get a good view, and even with the top up I couldn't get past the visor's annoyance factor.

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Adding Authorship, Description, and Copyright to images with Adobe XMP in Bridge

I've been asked many times how I embed information in a photograph (i.e. a jpg file) such as my name, my contact info, a description, a location, and even a copyright (such as a Creative Commons License). This metadata becomes part of the image file, and remains part of the image even if renamed or resized by me or anyone else. If you ever find that someone has used your photo without permission and even perhaps claimed ownership of the photo while denying the theft, then IPTC metadata is a good way to prove ownership. The metadata can be deliberately changed or removed by editing the IPTC metadata, but I think most unauthorized usage of images is done without tampering with the metadata since its hidden in the image file, and you can't see that its there by looking at the picture.

To embed this type of metadata in an image I use Adobe Bridge, a product that ships with Adobe Photoshop CS2. Here's a screenshot that show's the IPTC panel in Bridge. You can select one or more images and edit the IPTC metadata simultaneously.

From the web page about Adobe eXtensible Metadata Platform (XMP):

Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is a labeling technology that allows you to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself. With XMP, desktop applications and back-end publishing systems gain a common method for capturing, sharing, and leveraging this valuable metadata opening the door for more efficient job processing, workflow automation, and rights management, among many other possibilities. With XMP, Adobe has taken the heavy lifting out of metadata integration, offering content creators an easy way to embed meaningful information about their projects and providing industry partners with standards-based building blocks to develop optimized workflow solutions.




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Photographs of the Maine Coast, and My First HDR Image

www.flickr.com


My wife and I spent this past Memorial Day weekend driving through mid-coast Maine, stopping in Camden, Rockland, Pemaquid Point, Damriscotta, and South Freeport. The Maine coast incredibly beautiful, and we loved the not only the winding tidal channels that spill out into the rocky shore but the many rolling, green meadows that blanket the horizon with lush grass and wildflowers. We took some time to photograph Camden, which seemed very cozy and friendly, and not much different than Rockport, Massachusetts. The next day we had a photo session at Pemaquid Point, best known for its lighthouse and bell house with its Stephens Striking Machine to sound the bell in foggy conditions.

My Photo Gallery of Coastal Maine

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