Beautiful Catchlights with the NEW Westcott Eyelighter

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Anyone that knows me knows that I love beautiful light when it comes to photography. Therefore I use quite a few light modifiers. When it comes to interesting catchlights I had been using a Triflector. While the Triflector does create an interesting light pattern as well as providing good reflection backup up to a subject’s chin, neck and chest, it’s a broken pattern. This is due to the fact that it uses 3 reflectors, hence the name Triflector. Westcott has started shipping the long awaited Eyelighter. As you can see from the photo above the Eyelighter is one big continuous reflector that has a nice crescent shape. This creates not only a nice reflection of light under the chin, but it also creates great crescent shaped catchlights under the eyes.

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This is why Westcott called it the “Eyelighter” and I LOVE IT. When I first saw it in person at Photoshop World it didn’t seem that large. Even when I received the box the box appeared to be pretty compact. However, once I got it setup I was quite pleased by the size. It provides a very nice soft reflection under the subject. In the photo above I used the one light, a Westcott Skylux continuous LED light with a large Rapidbox Octa XXL softbox.

 

The Bottom Line

No single light modifier works for every situation. However, since I do a lot of portraits and beauty work, I’ll be using the Eyelighter more than most of my other modifiers. The results exceeded my expectations. You can order the Eyelighter here.






Why do I have 2 copies of my CC Apps?

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With the release of the new Creative Cloud 2014 versions of your favorite Adobe applications, some have been asking the question as to why for example do they now have a Photoshop CC 2014 AND a Photoshop CC in their Applications folder? Do I really need both? These are good questions and hopefully with this post I can help shed some light on this mystery for you.

First off with the release of the CC Applications last year, you potentially had both your CS6 and your CC applications installed. That was until YOU decided to uninstall the CS6 applications that you were no longer going to be using. From that point on, each new feature update or bug fix merely updated the application (binary) that you already had installed. For example, in the January update of 2014 you got new features in Photoshop CC and after the update you launched the same Photoshop CC that you had always been launching. This is the way Creative Cloud is supposed to work. However, there are times during the course of development that new features require a file format change. Those that use InDesign are used to this. Since day one each new major version of InDesign meant a new .INDD file format. There are also times during the development process that the engineers start with a clean slate. This was the case with each Adobe application that made the move to be 64bit (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Bridge, etc.). This required a brand new rewrite and therefore a brand new binary. This is also the case this time around with Adobe Muse CC 2014. It’s a brand new native 64bit application for both Mac and Windows. It would have been impossible to update your existing Muse binary.

There’s another factor…

In the past educators and authors wrote their courseware and books based on the “NEW” version. With the Creative Cloud model of applications being updated with new features as soon as those new features are ready wreaks havoc on authors. At what point do you write your new book? How well will the “Adobe Muse November 2013 update” book sell? While Adobe hasn’t announced an “annual” plan to update all the binaries of each application, Adobe has chosen to do it for 2014. This means that each of your CC 2014 versions are new binaries and therefore a clean slate for the next round of regular feature updates and bug fixes for each of the applications. It means that an author can write the “Adobe Illustrator CC 2014″ book.

Do I need to keep both versions?

Nope! Just like when you went from CS5 to CS6 to CC, you are free to UNINSTALL the previous versions of any applications that you no longer use. The CC 2014 versions are NOT dependent on the previous versions. However, you may want to do the Uninstall of your CC versions AFTER you have the CC 2014 versions installed, tested and you’re happy as many of the applications will automatically transfer your settings over from the previous version. For example, InDesign CC 2014 now has a “Seamless Update” feature that copies your settings and presets over from your previous version upon first launch. If you had uninstalled the previous version AND removed the preferences from it there would be nothing for the new version to update from.

What about my plug-ins?

Adobe recommends that you reinstall your plug-ins from their original installers. This is the cleanest way to do it and will likely result in less problems as each plug-in is different and may be dependent on being installed properly from the installer. However, my buddy Glyn Dewis has a blog post here on simply copying the plug-ins folder from the previous version to the new version.

How do I uninstall the older versions that I don’t need?

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Each CC Application has its own uninstaller. It’s usually located in the same folder as the application itself (Muse CC may be in your Utilities folder on the Mac). Launch the Uninstaller and it will walk through the process and remove the older version.

What if I need to reinstall an older version later?

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One of the benefits of Creative Cloud is that we’re archiving the older versions for you all the way back to CS6. You can install and older version any time you you need and now you can even do it from the Creative Cloud Desktop App. This works even if you never owned CS6 or you came into Creative Cloud after the CC 2014 versions and never had the CC versions before.

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The Bottom Line

While this may seem like an inconvenience or maybe even a hassle it’s designed to prevent breaking people’s workflows. If we automatically uninstalled your previous versions before you had tested the new versions in your critical workflows you wouldn’t be very happy. This way you remain in control over what you install, when and more importantly what YOU no longer need and uninstall when YOU’RE ready. Also note that not only can you have these apps installed on up to two computers, but you can install older versions on an older computer (of your two computers).  Lastly, you definitely want to take a look at the NEW product pages on Adobe.com which feature brand new (by date) “What’s New” feature pages. In case you missed it, check out my Creative Cloud Learning Center to see the new features for the CC 2014 Design and Photography apps.






See What’s NEW in Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Muse CC and more for 2014!

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Today Adobe is taking the wraps off updates to 14 Adobe Creative Cloud applications in the 2014 release of Creative Cloud. Also Adobe is introducing its first hardware product ever and new iPad and iPhone apps. There is so much innovation and cool stuff going on today and I’ll be on stage LIVE at 1PM ET to show it. However, since I figured you probably just can’t wait that long to see it all, that I share some of my favorites below in video form.

What’s New in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

What’s New in Adobe Illustrator CC 2014

What’s New in Adobe InDesign CC 2014

What’s New in Adobe Muse CC 2014

Introducing Lightroom Mobile for iPhone

Get Lightroom Mobile for iPhone here: iTunes.

Get Lightroom Mobile for iPad here: iTunes.

Introducing Adobe Ink and Slide as well as two NEW iPad Apps: Line and Sketch

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Get Adobe Line for iPad here: iTunes.

Get Adobe Sketch for iPad here: iTunes.

Introducing Adobe Photoshop Mix for iPad

Get Adobe Photoshop Mix for iPad here: iTunes.

Exclusive Two Day Deal! Save $50 on Adobe Creative Cloud !

Adobe Creative Cloud 1-Year Subscription

$50 off ::  Final price $549.95

Adobe Creative Cloud 1-Year Subscription Student & Teacher Edition

Price drop from $346.95 to $246.95

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See the current flow as you Charge your iPhone or iPad

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The last time I was in Atlanta for Photoshop World  I took an Uber car from the airport to the hotel. I couldn’t help but notice the cable the driver was using to charge his iPhone. The reason it stood out is because it had a stream of pulsating LEDs that animated from the USB power supply to the iPhone. This obviously doesn’t charge the device any faster, it’s just cool to look at. I had forgotten about it for a while and then I remembered the cable and found out who made it. Joltz makes a Lightning cable version of this. On the USB side the connector is longer than usual and I’m guessing it houses a chip to control the animation of the LEDs along the cable.

Here’s how it looks in action:

When the cable is not connected to the iDevice the LED light pattern just sits still and eventually turns off/goes to sleep. I like the cable a lot and my only wish is that Joltz would make a longer version. This one is only 3 feet long.  Charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch in style.

You can get the Joltz Pulsating Lightning cable here.



My Favorite Smartphone Car Mount Now in White – Kenu Airframe

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I use the Kenu Airframe everyday in my car. It’s attached to one of my center vents and I’ve been very happy with it since day one. It’s very small, pocket sized and spring loaded to make it easy to place my iPhone 5s or remove it with one hand. I have a second one in my suitcase for travel and use in rental cars. I’ve been able to use it every car I’ve tried to date. When I did my original review  last year, some questioned the negative effects of heat coming from the vents. First off I never have heat coming from the top vents. When I use the heat it’s set to blow from the floor vents. In the summer the top vents blow cold air from the air conditioner and I’ve had no problems thus far. Also some were concerned that it would block the vent and that is possible on cars with smaller vents. However, in most cars you can turn off individual vents if you’re concerned with the cold/hot air hitting the back of your phone. As far as blocking the vent there isn’t much you can do about that other than perhaps keeping it in the the vertical position.

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As you can see above I have the Kenu Airframe mounted with my iPhone 5s in the vertical position. You can simply rotate the phone as the mount is design to turn 90 degrees to allow for a horizontal display.

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The Kenu Airframe opens wide enough to accommodate both my iPhone 5s and its case. This is a must as I would not want to have to take the case off each time I got in the car. The new white model shares the exact same design as the original black one.

You can get the White Kenu Airframe here

You can get the Black Kenu Airframe here.

You’re also going to want one of these.



Traveling by plane with your camera gear

Recently a fellow photographer asked me about flying with her camera gear and what was allowed and what wasn’t? Since I fly for a living and I usually have at least one camera with me I’m pretty familiar with the rules and thought I’d share some tips here. First I have to give you a disclaimer in that TSA can decide to search any of your baggage at anytime and ask you  to take out every single item one-by-one for inspection. I’ve had it happen! Now with that out of the way luckily this is not the norm. Let’s go over some quick tips on carry-on vs. checked luggage. I absolutely HATE checking my luggage and only do so if I have no choice. This means that I want to carry both a camera bag AND a computer bag on board and therefore I will check the 3rd piece of luggage containing my clothes. Under no circumstances am I ever ever ever going to check my camera or computer gear. It’s like waving good-bye to it as I feel like I’d never see it again. If I have to check my camera gear, then I’m not going! Most airlines allow you one piece of carry-on luggage such as a roller-board suitcase and a personal item such as a backpack, briefcase or purse. For me that means a backpack.

A Quick FAQ

Q. Do I have to take my cameras out of the bag when going through TSA security?

A. Typically NO, but TSA at any time can ask you to take ANYTHING and EVERYTHING out of your bag. With that said I can’t remember the last time they asked to take my cameras out. It’s been years. This of course goes out the window outside the US. Foreign airport security is a lot less forgiving. Give yourself time as you will likely need to take out each piece of gear and put it in a bin.

Q. Should I just check my camera gear under the plane to save the time and hassle.

A. NO! You may never see it again if you do and the airline will NOT replace it.

Q. What about tripods/monopods?

A. I have been known to travel with a tripod from time to time and I put it in my larger roller-board suitcase with my clothes. This however, is a grey area. Some TSA checkpoints will let it go and others will require that you check it as a tripod could be used as a club/weapon. So be prepared with extra time if you’re traveling with a tripod and have it in a bag that you don’t mind checking (not with the rest of your camera gear).

The backpack pictured above is my BIG ThinkTank “Street Walker Hard Drive”  Backpack. This is the one I carry when I’m going on a trip specifically to shoot and I’m going to carry a LOT of camera gear. This one backpack also holds my MacBook Pro 15″ Retina notebook and iPad Air. It weighs a freaking ton once I have I have it loaded, but it still fits under the seat in front of me on a plane and therefore allows me to carry a rollerboard on with my clothes (and tripod) in it.

On trips where I’m carrying less photographic gear but still more than two lenses then I carry my smaller “Kata” backpack:

kata

This one will still hold one camera body and 2-3 lenses plus my MacBook Pro. Also since it’s smaller you’ll be less likely to load a ton of gear in it and therefore it will be lighter to carry and manage.

Although both backpacks above  are great for those photo specific trips I go on, neither of them are my “regular” backpacks. Since most of my trips are not photo specific I’m usually carrying only one camera body (my Nikon D600) and one lens (my Nikon 28-300mm) or my even smaller Sony Alpha NEX-3N. My daily/weekly travel backpack is actually my Tumi Alpha T-Pass Laptop Backpack.

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I really like this backpack A LOT! The T-Pass stands for “TSA Friendly” in that the back containing your laptop can unzip so that you can lay the bag flat (open) without having to remove your laptop saving you time. Tumi bags are expensive, but they come with a 5 year warranty and are very very very well constructed. I use this bag daily and it shows no signs of wear after one year so far. There is plenty of room in it for my laptop, iPad, camera stuff and just a ton of other little items that I carry. It weighs a ton once I load it up, but it handles the load very well.

 

The Bottom Line

For the most part you should be fine traveling by plane with your camera gear and carrying it on as long as your carry-on bag meets the size restrictions for the overhead bin or under the seat. TSA sees cameras everyday and while they still require you to take your laptop out and put it in a separate bin (unless you are TSA Pre-Check or you have a bag like my Tumi above), they tend to not ask you to take your camera gear out. The only other thing they can be uptight about is carrying a lot of batteries. So keep your extra batteries to a minimum and spread them across multiple carry-on bags as best you can.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Photoshop Layers

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In this episode of Adobe Creative Cloud TV, I’ll show 5 things you need to know about Photoshop Layers that will speed up your workflow and make it possible to be more creative and organized.

Are you missing out on my Bonus Content?

See more of my Adobe Creative Cloud Videos on my Adobe Creative Cloud TV and get the App below. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App! My iOS App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I also have an Android version on the Amazon App Store:

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When it comes to tutorial videos, which to you prefer?…

Yesterday on my Facebook fan page I posed the question about my tutorial videos: “When a new feature update comes out to an Adobe application such as Photoshop CC, which do you prefer from me: 1. A single video that covers the new features (could be long 20-40 minutes) OR 2. multiple smaller videos that cover each feature individually (example, “New Camera Shake Reduction in PS CC”, “New Live Corners in Illustrator CC”, etc.)?” and I got a ton of great responses. This prompted me to want to ask my broader readership here. As you might expect, the feedback I got on Facebook was mostly do “shorter” feature specific videos. Some said, they wanted BOTH, the longer overview video and the shorter videos. There were a good number of folks that said they actually prefer the longer videos. However, if I went by just the feedback I got on Facebook it would be just do the shorter videos.

Here’s the irony of it. While everyone says they want shorter videos, when I look at my actual YouTube stats that show my Top 10 Most Viewed Videos over the last 30 days, they are all the longer ones. None of my shorter videos ever make the top 10 list:

Video Views Minutes Watched
85,391 (20%)
794,692 (23%)
41,463 (9.7%)
455,321 (13%)
22,234 (5.2%)
221,416 (6.5%)
19,031 (4.5%)
247,635 (7.3%)
18,205 (4.3%)
158,675 (4.7%)
14,244 (3.3%)
135,710 (4.0%)
13,762 (3.2%)
146,995 (4.3%)
9,941 (2.3%)
102,132 (3.0%)
9,906 (2.3%)
58,687 (1.7%)
8,998 (2.1%)
75,116 (2.2%)

I know when someone sends me a video link, if it’s only  a minute or two I’m liable to watch it right then and there. If it’s several minutes long then I’ll probably say “I don’t have time for this now, I’ll watch it later and later may never happen. However, I’d still like to hear from you. Which do you prefer? (yes both is great and I could do the longer one and chop it up to make the shorter ones, but is that worth it?)



Adobe Camera RAW 8.5 for CC and CS6 Release Candidate is Now Available

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The Camera Raw team would like the community to help verify the quality of the plug-in through normal usage as this will ensure that the plug-in is tested on a diversity of hardware and software configurations not available internally at Adobe. If you do experience an issue with this release candidate please report it within the Camera Raw discussion forum.

Download from here.

Adobe Camera RAW 8.5 Features for CC Users

  • Modify Graduated and Radial Filter masks with a brush:
    • After adding or selecting a Graduated or Radial Filter instance, click the new ‘Brush’ mode (next to existing ‘New’ and ‘Edit’ mode buttons) to reveal brush controls that allow you to modify the selected mask.
    • Use the ‘Brush +’ and ‘Brush -’ icon buttons in the brush controls pane to add to or erase from the selected mask.
    • Press the ‘Clear’ button to remove all brush modifications from the currently selected mask.
    • When a Graduated or Radial Filter instance is selected, Shift-K can be used to enter and leave brush modification mode.
  • Mask visualization is now available for the Graduated and Radial Filters. Use the Mask checkbox at the bottom of the Local Corrections pane or press ‘Y’ to toggle the mask overlay.
  • Added new Per-Panel Preview default toggle
    • If the current panel’s settings are not the ACR defaults, clicking the new Per-panel Toggle Button will reset the panel to the ACR defaults.
    • Clicking the button again will restore the previous settings.
    • This is a standalone feature, separate from the new Preview controls
    • The changes are applied to the main view; if you have both the Before and After panes visible, changes will appear in the After pane.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed issue with Fujifilm X-T1 raw images appearing too bright at high ISO settings when using Dynamic Range 200% and 400%. Unfortunately, this fix may affect the appearance of existing images captured with this combination of settings. It is recommended that you (1) purge the Camera Raw cache via the Camera Raw Preferences dialog, and (2) review images shot at ISO settings higher than 1600 for unexpected brightness changes.
  • Fixed image quality issue (noisy result) when applying spot healing to floating-point (HDR) images.
  • Fixed issue with reading lossless compressed Nikon raw files (NEF files) from the camera models listed below. Previously, some images could be read but would appear as random noise, whereas attempting to open others would result in an error dialog. You will need to purge your Camera Raw cache via the Camera Raw Preferences dialog.
    • Nikon D1
    • Nikon D1H
    • Nikon D1X
    • Nikon D2H
    • Nikon D2Hs
    • Nikon D2X
    • Nikon D2Xs
    • Nikon D100
    • Nikon D200

New Camera Support

  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
  • Fuji FinePix S1
  • Nikon 1 J4
  • Nikon 1 V3
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 (*)

(*) denotes preliminary support

Adobe Camera RAW 8.5 Features for CS6 Users

Download the RC build here.

New Camera Support

The following new cameras are now supported:

  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
  • Fuji FinePix S1
  • Nikon 1 J4
  • Nikon 1 V3
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 (*)




Join me on the Adobe Create Now 2014 World Tour!

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We put the band back together and we’re headed out on tour! Jason Levine, Paul Trani, myself and several other Adobe Evangelists are headed out on the ALL NEW Adobe Create Now 2014 World Tour. We’ll kick things off with a LIVE event in New York that will be webcast worldwide. and then immediately after we’ll be heading to a city (hopefully) near you.

Tune in Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 1PM ET to see “What’s Next in Creative Cloud” You can sign up right here.

meet_us_in_person_create_now

Then starting on Thursday, June 19th we’ll hit the road and visit several cities around the globe. This will give us the chance to go deeper in the products and show you even more. You can find out where we’re going and register for the one closest to you right here. If by chance you’re not near any of those major events, we’ll also be doing several more tour stops here. As usual you can see my upcoming events right here on the right sidebar of my blog (or at the bottom of this post if you’re looking at this on a smartphone.

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Paul Trani and myself on stage during the Create Now 2013 Tour in Chicago

I look forward to see you all! This should be a lot of fun (saying that now of course before all the travel. ;-) )

Get a full year of Adobe Creative Cloud on sale here!






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