How To Create A Facebook Cover Photo Using Photoshop CS6

In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast Terry White shows How to Create A Facebook Cover Photo Using Photoshop CS6. Using the New Crop Tool and a couple of tips and tricks.

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Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media



Review: Rogue Grid for Your Speedlight

Most of you know that I’m not really a fan of on camera flash. If I use a speed light, then chances are it’s on a stand. When I do use a speed light I usually use a modifier of some type. The one that I usually always have with me is the Rogue FlashBenders. Since I like the FlashBenders so much I decided to take the Rogue Grid for a spin. This is not my first attempt with this product. I received a review unit when it first came out and quite honestly I found the strap to attach it to your speed light so cumbersome that I never actually used it. I gave up. I let the folks at Expo Imaging know and they listened. They completely redesigned the Rogue Grid and made it MUCH EASIER to attach. I took it with me to South Africa and decided to take a couple of candid shots with it.

Focusing your light

The point of a spot grid is to focus your light to a more narrow beam. The Rogue Grid does this task with your speed light. I started with my colleague Jason Levine.

First without the speed light at all

Then with my Nikon SB 900 and the Rogue Grid

Although I saw some potential, it wasn’t quite right yet. The I adjusted the power settings on my SB 900 and took another shot of one of the hostesses at our event.

On this shot and subsequent shots, the Rogue Grid really started to shine

The light was good and not to harsh.

The Bottom Line

I still like the FlashBenders best, but I can definitely see some use for the Rogue Grid too.  Next up I’ll give the Rogue Diffusion Panels a shot.

You can get the Rogue Grid here: B&H or Amazon.

 


Skooba Design Outs a New Skooba Tablet Messenger v.3

The more I travel, the more I see people using iPads (and to a much smaller degree Android tablets) in lieu of laptops. This is especially true on planes.

On my recent flights I’m seeing iPads out number laptops by about 5 to 1

In some cases I myself have gone on short trips and used just my iPad instead of my laptop. With more and more useful iPad Apps coming to market each day, I find that I don’t require a laptop nearly as much as I used to for day to day communications and social media activities. The iPad may never replace my need for a “work” laptop, but it certainly goes a long way towards reducing that need for things like email, web, expense reports, blogging, etc. That being the case I can see times where carrying just my iPad in my laptop bag is overkill.

Skooba Design has the answer with their New Skooba Tablet Messenger v.3

This new bag is designed from the ground up to be a tablet bag, not a laptop bag. It has a special pocket inside for a 10″ tablet.

It has plenty of room for the tablet and accessories such as a charger, sync cables, headphones, keyboard, Jambox speaker, etc. I was also pleased to see that it was large enough to also accomodate a 13″ MacBook Air. This makes it a great bag for me because I can really go light with just the iPad or if I think I may need a computer, I can still bring my MacBook Air without totally weighing it down. Since most TSA checkpoints don’t require that you remove your tablet from your bag, you can just send the whole bag through the x-ray machine.

I would say the only disadvantage that this bag has over my Skooba TSA Friendly Backpack is that it’s not large enough to carry my DSLR, but that’s OK because it’s so small that I can still carry a small camera bag and fit both under the seat in front of me.

Can you get by with just an iPad on a trip?

This question comes up all the time and my buddy Calvin Carson had a great suggestion: Before going on your trip, try using just your iPad for a day or two while you’re still at home. Do the same things that you would do on your trip. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea of whether or not you can get by without your laptop.

You can get the Skooba Tablet Messenger v.3 here for about $40 below list price.

Also check out my FAVORITE iPad Keyboard!


Adobe Lightroom 4 is Now Part of Your Creative Cloud Membership

Since the launch of Adobe Creative Cloud, my readers have been asking “When will Lightroom 4 be available to Creative Cloud Members?” The answer to that question is TODAY! That’s right, if you are a current Creative Cloud Member or you sign up from today forward, you can now also get Lightroom 4 in addition to all the other services.

Creative Cloud will go for $49.99/month (with a 1 year commitment), but remember from now though August 2012 (time is running out) you can get your first year for only $29.99 if you’re an existing Creative Suite customer. This membership gets you access to all the Apps of Creative Suite Master Collection, Adobe Muse, Adobe Edge, Business Catalyst web hosting and now Lightroom 4.

Check it out here.

It won’t stop there! Creative Cloud members will continue to get additional benefits all year long.


Nikon Safari – Photographing the Big 5 in Sabi Sabi South Africa

One way to end a ten week international tour is to simply take a 16-18 hour flight home from Johannesburg, South Africa. Another way to end it is to have Nikon South Africa sponsor you on an African Safari at Sabi Sabi before that flight home! I was fortunate enough to have the latter.

I just came back from an Amazing week finishing off the international portion of our Adobe CS6 and Creative Cloud World Tour. The last two international stops were Johannesburg and Cape Town (see my earlier post). After leaving Cape Town we flew to Nelspurit and then drove on to Sabi Sabi (a private game preserve). This was my second safari in South Africa and it was a pleasure to be back.

I put together this photo book using Adobe Lightroom 4.

It was great photographing this magnificent creatures in the wild! It was even better doing so with a Nikon 200-400mm f/4 lens. Didn’t want to get too physically close :)

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Thank You South Africa!

What an amazing week I just had in South Africa! Johannesburg and Cape Town were the last two international stops of our Adobe CS6 and Creative Cloud World Tour and I must say that South Africa pulled out all the stops.

Flying over Johannesburg!

Kicking the week off with a special Nikon V.I.P. event at the Nikon South Africa Headquarters!

The crowds were great in both Johannesburg and Cape Town!

As you can see, they really got into Adobe CS6 :-)

Both cities offered a FULL DAY event and there was very little drop off by the end of the day.

Jason, Paul and I not only enjoyed our time presenting, but it was great to interact with you all live via social media.

Of course free t-shirts are always fun to toss out at random.

I gave my Nikon D4 a work out here in South Africa and this beast really performs.

It’s always great when fans come up and ask us questions.

I must say that Jason was really getting into it. He’s is crowd activated and the South African crowds got him going. The hair came down and the spontaneous singing began. Good thing he’s a musician too :-)

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Who Owns The Shot?

Image compliments of iStockphoto.com

Nothing sparks passion and debate like a good ole’ fashion copyright discussion. I’m sure this question has been asked before and probably answered, but I thought I’d ask it here and see what my readers feel…

If someone picks up your camera and snaps a photo, who owns it?

Yes technically it’s your camera and you physically have possession of the shot, but whose copyright is it? Does it matter if you gave permission to use your camera or not?

Sound off in the comment section…


Monoprice: So much more than low cost cables

 

Over the years I’ve published posts about spending too much money on cables. When you go to retail store to buy your electronics those stores typically lower the cost of the gadgets themselves to remain competitive (otherwise you’d just buy online or down the street). However, they tend to recoup that lost revenue in other areas and services such as cables. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen a sells rep bring out a $100+ Monster HDMI cable explaining to the customer how much they really need a “quality” cable. I agree! You should have a quality cable. The problem is that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I’ve got some really low cost HDMI and Ethernet cables over the years that are still in operation to this day without any problems.

Whenever I bring up the topic of low cost cables, someone enviably calls out monoprice.com. Monoprice has become my goto source for low cost/high quality cables of all types. Especially HDMI, USB and Ethernet. The prices are almost too good to be true and the quality of the cables is outstanding!

The point of today’s post is that Monoprice is more than just cables. I wanted to mount a 32″ HDTV on the wall in my office. What I didn’t want to do was pay an arm and a leg for the mounting bracket. This is another source of revenue for retailers. These brackets can easily cost $100 or more. A quick search on Monoprice.com revealed that not only could I get the bracket I needed a fraction of the cost, but it even offered a nifty built-in level. I ordered my bracket, installed my HDTV and I couldn’t be happier. It came with everything to mount the bracket to the wall/studs as well as the necessary screws to attach the TV to the bracket. It came with a variety of different screws for all kinds of wall materials and different TVs.

 

The next time you want to save money on cables and accessories, check them out!

 



Review: The 2012 AirPort Express – I love it, I hate it!

One of my favorite road warrior gadgets is the AirPort Express. I have several of them for AirPlay streaming around the house and studio as well as at least one with me at all times when I travel (it lives in my bag). See “What’s In My Laptop Bag.” I never had an issue with the design of it. I actually appreciated the simplicity of it being a compact self-contained router with flip out prongs to plug it into a wall outlet for power. It was fast, easy to setup and it just worked. Now that I not only have to demo cloud services for living, but also mobile Apps, I really appreciate being able to setup my own WiFi network on stage as well as my hotel rooms. The previous generation AirPort Express had 802.11n support as well as AirPlay and supported up to 10 devices simultaneously connected. It even supports connecting a USB printer for easy wireless printing. Yep, it was just about perfect what it was.

 

Apple changed it!

The new AirPort Express on top now comes with a freakin’ cord! Noooooooooo!

 

Apple quietly introduced a brand new AirPort Express model on Monday at the WWDC (along with new MacBooks and iOS 6 – yeah there was a speed bump to the Mac Pro too – sad that it’s virtually the same chassis as the Power Mac G5 and got no Thunderbolt or USB 3 love…). Although I was most excited about the new MacBook line up, I was quick to take a look at the New AirPort Express too. While the specs looked great, I cringed when I saw the back of it. Apple has gone away from the all-in-one design to one that is almost identical of the Apple TV. By that I mean that it now requires a power cord. This may not seem like a big deal and maybe it isn’t (I’ll be on the road with it next week), but I certainly will miss just flipping out the prongs and plugging it in!

The new one is slightly wider, but also slightly thinner.

On the plus side Apple added a second Ethernet jack so that you can connect not only the ethernet cable to your internet connection, but also plug in a device via ethernet for speed. Sadly though these still aren’t gigabit ethernet ports. Not sure how much I’ll need that second port on the road, but it’s nice to have. The new AirPort Express is also dual band (like the AirPort Extreme) simultaneously supporting 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz WiFi connected devices. It still has AirPlay and a USB port for printers as well as support now for up to 50 devices. It’s that last one that pushed me over the edge. While I personally don’t need more than 10 connections on the road, there are times when I’m using the AirPort Express on stage and sharing it with other presenters and perhaps a colleague or two in the audience. With laptops, tablets and phones connecting to it, it’s much easier to go past 10 devices than it was back in the day.

Setup

The setup is a piece of cake as usual with the AirPort Utility. You can even do the setup from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with the iOS version of the AirPort Utility. Now you can even setup a guest network like you can on the AirPort Extreme granting those users just internet access instead of access to your entire network.

AirPort Utility - Apple

The Bottom Line

New AirPort Express on the Left, Old AirPort Express on the right.

The 2012 AirPort Express is overall a nice upgrade at the same price as the old one. It’s about the same size as the old one being a little thinner, but a little bigger overall. I wished they had kept an all-in-one design as I don’t want to have to have one more cord to carry, but I’m sure I’ll be able to adjust. If you have a recent 802.11n model then there probably isn’t much of a reason to upgrade. However, if you’re on an older 802.11b/g model or you use one at home as your primary router, then you’ll want the new stuff in this one.

You can get it here for $99 or here for about $99.

 

UPDATE

Leave it to my buddy Scott Diussa from Nikon to give me an option. Apparently the plug adapter for the Nikon D7000 battery charger will fit the New AirPort Express and work in a pinch. It’s not elegant. It’s not pretty, but it does work. Now if it were only white. :)

Update #2 While the Nikon plug does fit (so does the original Apple one), it slightly blocks the WAN port making it a non-starter. :(



iStockphoto Integrates with Adobe Creative Suite 6

iStockphoto panel showing in InDesign CS6 and a drag and drop of a comp image right into the layout.

I use images (and now video and audio) from iStockphoto all the time. In many cases the images I’m using are for blog posts, however there are times when I’ll use stock photography for layouts too. iStockphoto is my service of choice and needless to say I couldn’t be more excited to find out that they now have plug-ins/Extensions for both Photoshop and InDesign.

With the iStockphoto Extension installed I can do searches right inside Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign for the images I may want to use. I can even drag and drop comps right from the panel into my documents. Since I’m logged in with my same iStockphoto account I can keep a check on my available credits as well as buy royalty free images right there on the spot to use.

There is no charge for the Extension. You can download it here. Once you install it, you can grab the panel from the Window-Extensions menu in either Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign.

Thanks iStockphoto for making the design process a little easier!


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