Delivering on the promise of Creative Cloud and subscriptions Adobe has released a major feature update to Adobe Muse in just 3 months after its initial 1.0 release. This update brings many of the most requested features to Muse without having to wait for the typical 12-18-24 month cycle. Creative Cloud Members and Muse Subscribers will simply be able to click update the Adobe Application Manager or from launching Muse to get these new features.
In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast Terry White shows the main new features in the Adobe Muse 2.0 update:
- Align Panel and Ruler Guides
- Asset Upload (link to external files)
- Contact Forms
- Drag & Drop Styles
- FTP Upload (for non-Adobe hosting)
- Adobe Edge Integration (place Edge HTML5 animations directly into Muse 2.0)
- Sitemap.xml (for non-Adobe hosting
- Adobe Muse 2.0 now generates CSS for gradients, shadows and glows instead of images.
- More optimized code
- Japanese Language support
- Several UI tweaks, better font handling and bug fixes
Also be sure to check out Edge Animate 7
Edge Animate preview 7 is here! This is a huge update with new resizable layouts, rulers and guides, shadows, enhanced text editing, timeline grid and SO much more. Download it now! Download it here.
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See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here.
I recently got a chance to shoot with the Westcott IceLight. The IceLight is a portable continuous “daylight balanced” LED light source. It can run on its built-in rechargeable battery or AC power.
Think of it as a portable Spiderlite TDx
The fact that it’s continuous light, like the Spiderlite TD6 means that what you see is what you get. If it’s not lighting your subject properly you’ll see it right in the shot before you take it. It’s fully dimmable, 1,160 lumen LED rated at 50,000 hours. The built-in battery will last about 60 minutes before needing another charge.
The IceLight creates a nice soft natural light.
I was skeptical at first until I took my 1st couple of shots with it. The IceLight can be hand held by the subject or an assistant or you can mount it on a light stand. When you turn it on you won’t be able to help yourself. You will wave it around like a lightsaber. It’s OK. Go for it. Have fun. Just make sure no one is video recording you or that you right don’t get into a real battle and damage it. After your Jedi workout is over, you can then concentrate on using it for your shoot.
When the model/your subject holds the IceLight they may have a natural tendency to turn the light away from their eyes. After all it is bright! So you may have to instruct them to turn it towards themselves more or do it yourself. This is why it may be better in some cases to put it on a light stand. However, you will then lose the creativity that some subjects may have in how they hold. In fact I encourage you to let your subject hold it the way they want at least for part of the shoot. You’ll get some really interesting looks that way.
The Bottom Line
The IceLight is a great addition to my on-the-go photography gear. I can quickly and easily create different dramatic looks without having to rely on a bunch of different modifiers for my speedlight. It also comes with clips to attach gels. The one suggestion I would have to the engineers at Westcott is to make the “power” button both an on and off button. Right now it only turns it OFF and you use the up/down dim buttons to turn it on. Most people will try to press the power button to turn it on and wonder why it’s not working?
The IceLight is nice but this convenience does come a price though. The IceLight is not cheap. You can get the IceLight here.
My buddy and fellow photographer Rynelle Walker posed against a Mist X-Drop
If you’re traveling to do an on location portrait shoot you can either utilize the surrounding area as your backdrop or bring your own. Using a nice location is great, but what if you don’t have one? I’ve done family portraits in hotel hallways and hospitality suites during family reunions and let’s just say that the wallpaper in these venues usually isn’t good enough. However, traveling with a full blown backdrop and support system can be a pain too.
Westcott X-Drop Backdrops
Westcott just introduced a series of 5′x7′ backdrops and a kit to hold them up. When I first saw them I was really only interested in the backdrops themselves. I wasn’t really thinking about a support to hang them since I already have a couple. However, I got a kit and I gotta say that I’m glad I did. First off I couldn’t believe how light weight this thing was compared to traditional pole type support systems. Secondly it goes up in about 5 minutes or less.
Linda standing against the Saffron X-Drop
You have your choice of 6 different colors: Mist, Quarry, Saffron, Serenity, Eminence and Slate. Plus Black, White and Green Screen for a total of 9. The X-drops can either be ordered separately or as a kit with the stand. I highly recommend at least one kit with the color you want and then if you want additional X-drops you can just order them separately and use the same stand from the kit.
Mist Kit, Quarry Kit, Saffron Kit, Serenity Kit, Eminence Kit, Slate Kit, Black Kit, White Kit, Green Screen Kit.
Like most cloth backdrops it will ship folded and therefore you will have to deal with the creases either by ironing/steaming them out or with Photoshop in post. I used a steamer with great fast results. The good news also is that they are machine washable. The kits come complete with a travel bag that would fit easily in the overhead bin or even in a suitcase.
Now that I have a mix of USB 3.0 and 2.0 peripherals I began the search for the best USB 3.0 Hub. I was interested in a 7 port model and most of all it had to be able to mix both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices. What I mean by this is that USB 3.0 devices shouldn’t suffer slow downs when you plug USB 2.0 devices into the same hub. My search led me to the Uspeed USB 3.0 7 Port Hub.
Setup and testing
Setup was easy and straight forward. It came with a power supply that in my opinion has a relatively short cord. It didn’t reach my power strip under my desk that my previous hub’s power supply did. Otherwise it came with everything needed to set it up and plug it into my MacBook Pro Retina Display. I plugged in my USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices. However, before hand I ran a speed test on one of my hard drives plugged directly into my computer and then I ran the same test with the drive plugged into the hub while USB 2.0 devices were also plugged in and I got the exact same speed results. So it passed my biggest test/concern.
All of the USB ports are on one side, which is both good and bad. It’s good for cable management since all the USB cables go in one side. However, the power cable and host USB cable are on the other side, so you’re going to have cables coming off both sides no matter what. There are blue LED lights that confirm if a port is in use or not.
The Bottom Line
While this may not be the prettiest design, it is very functional and meets my needs quite nicely. If you’re looking for a 7 port USB 3.0 hub to plug in both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices, then this is probably one of if not the best one on the market.
You can get the Uspeed USB 3.0 7 Port Hub here.
In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast Terry White shows how to take a photo, separate it from its background and then bring it into Adobe Illustrator CS6 to Trace it and make it part of a logo design.
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See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. 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:
This is a sneak peek of a feature that will soon be added to Adobe Illustrator CS6 for Adobe Creative Cloud members and point product subscribers only. The feature is so highly requested that Rufus Deuchler couldn’t help but to sneak it… What you will be able to do is to automatically create a folder that contains all of the elements necessary for working with the file (linked files, fonts, etc…) for archiving purposes or to share with another designer in your workflow.
Package files is only one of the enhancements that will come to Adobe Illustrator very soon, so stay tuned because the time for running your Adobe Application Manager has almost come.
Remember that if you are a current Creative Suite user you can save $20/month for the first year on Adobe Creative Cloud (Offer available to qualified registered users of individual products and suite editions, CS3 or later): http://adobe.ly/HXRaMg. This offer is ending very soon…
Hands down, my favorite iPad Keyboard/Smart Cover is the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. However, the one problem with it is the back (the surface that will be on the table/desk) is susceptible to scratches and the front really shows off fingerprints.
iCarbons.com answered my call and designed skins to cover both the front and back of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. You have a choice of colors and even a couple of simulated wood tones. I went with the dark wood and it works great. These skins are not permanent and can easily be taken off or repositioned as needed.
They also make skins for the iPad itself. Thanks iCarbons for answering my needs here and being the 1st to market with a cover for my favorite iPad accessory.
Now that both the MacBook Pro Retina Display and MacBook Air ship with USB 3 I was curious to find out which was actually faster? Going with my existing Firewire 800 drives and the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter or USB 3 drives. I did searches online and really didn’t come up with much in the way of current data or test. Most of what I found was comparisons to USB 2 or tests done before Macs had USB 3 built-in. Since I couldn’t find the data I wanted, I decided to do my own tests.
Making it fair
I wanted this to be as fair as possible. That meant that I didn’t want to use two different drives. Ideally I would want to test the same drive that has both Firewire 800 and USB 3 built-in. That configuration isn’t as easy to find as you would think on a portable drive. I found two: LaCie’s Rugged 1TB (which I’ve used in the past with no issues) and the Oyen Digital Mini Pro. Since I was looking to have a smaller enclosure, I decided to give the Oyen Digital a shot. It was also a few bucks cheaper.
For the benchmarks I went with the Free App – BlackMagic Disk Speed Test.
Get it here
I recorded my results in the video above.
Adobe has had an Adobe Exchange website for years. This site was designed for you to discover and download 3rd party extensions and plug-ins for your your favorite Creative Suite products. Thanks to a new Extension on Adobe Labs, you can now search for, download and install cool extensions right inside your Adobe Creative Suite Products.
All you have to do is head over to Adobe Labs and download the New Exchange Extension. Once installed, you will have an Exchange Panel inside your Creative Suite Apps to see what’s available for your favorite Adobe apps.
Most people that use Adobe Creative Suite Applications tend to use the same tools all the time. However, the built-in tool panel is set in a certain configuration that you can’t really change. Or can you? Well no you can’t alter the built-in Tool Panel, but you can make your own! Adobe Configurator 3.1 allows you to create your own custom panels for Adobe Photoshop or Adobe InDesign.
Here’s one that I put together for Retouching in Photoshop
It has the tools and commands I use almost every single time I retouch an image. As a bonus I’m giving it away as a free download here (you’ll need to install Adobe Configurator 3.1 first to install the panel). You can start with my Retouching Panel and customize it to your liking.
You can download Adobe Configurator 3.1 here on Adobe Labs for CS 5.x or CS6 users.