Faster, Pantone, Kill, Kill

Featured Photoshop Software

First Look At CS5

Creative Suite 5 is out, and it’s got bells and whistles.  I am hesitant to call it a game changer.  Just better bells and whistles.  Here are some highlights that immediately jumped out at me:

Photoshop, Premiere, and Aftereffects are now 64 bit.  Snow Leopard users should see an improvement in performance as a result, especially in video preview and playback.

Photoshop junkies…the content awareness capability is actually “all that“.  I can’t wait to try it.  Of equal importance is the new Refine Edge command which will allow you to further tweak your Quick Selection Tool grabs.  The new overused graphic tool? Repousse.  It turns a selected 2d graphic into a 3d one.  Do not get me wrong, it’s nice.  But if not used properly, it is going to be the new lens flare.  Brushes now have a natural media Natural Media Bristle Tip along with a Mixer Brush tool.  This allows you to control the bristle size/shape/rotation of the brush tip.  The mixer gives a variance to multiple colors, transparency, and rotation.  To me, this looks like a challenge to Corel’s Painter, and it will be interesting to compare.  For photographers (although anyone who likes good file management should appreciate this) is the incorporation of a Mini Bridge palette.  An overly quick demo was made of Puppet Warp which looks like a more intelligent mesh warp.  General improvement tweaks were made to sharpness, noise reduction, and mosaic filters.

For Illustrator, of particular interest to myself was the Variable Width Stroke tool, which allows you to manipulate the width of a line by doing a pass over it.  This should be a hit among those in the comics community for digital inking.  InDesign now has an animation palette for Flash content and video (which can be scrubbed through.)  For web designers, Adobe has created a Browser Lab application which is a godsend.  It allows for a full preview in various browsers via a dropdown menu.  More than one window can be opened so you can compare a page generated in Safari v. one in Firefox.  You can also overlay them with an onion skin to see the minute differences.  Aftereffects has better compositing tools that take advantage of Photoshops content awareness and greatly simplifies rotoscoping.

Also announced was the purchase of Omniture which will integrate business tools into the CS5 suite which will make your management/sales section happy in generating some content analysis.  Of particular interest to DAJ’ers may be Business Catalyst which will provide some ecommerce capability for small businesses.

One thing to keep in mind when they talk about creating content for all “smart phone and media devices” is Apple’s recent iPhone SDK 3.3.1 announcement, which states that all apps for the iPhone must be written in C/C++/Objective-C.  This flies in the face of Flash development.  If you’ll notice there is no iPhone or iPad pictured or in use during the presentation.

The demo today was fast and furious, and I recommend researching further online for details as they come up.  Watch it yourself and draw your own conclusions at

ArtWorks Featured

MacHeist Bundle 3…is it for artists?


ner herd2 MacHeist Bundle it for artists?Last week I talked breifly about the MacHeist bundle something I generally take part in. Since then, I’ve received a few questions asking about the literacy level of the apps. So first, they are pretty basic but more importantly the question you should be asking yourself is whether the apps will help you do what you do.

I generally buy the bundle for two reasons: 1. It’s a good cause and 2. It is a really good way to get some higher priced software at a much discounted rate. Every bundle I have purchased has included at least one app that was well worth the purchase price of the whole bundle. However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER I work on my computer all day and use lots of different apps to do what I do, so I know my needs. This bundle offered several apps that are promising for making my life easier…so I snatched it up.

Since I am focused on helping artists and one of the things that seems to be hanging many folks up, is the whole Zapplication process as in resizing images, I have been on the lookout for simple inexpensive graphic programs that help artists.

So..with artists and the uses of the applications in mind I have put together a little guide here to help you decide.

Graphics/Image manipulation


This app is great for creating quick and easy presentation formats for images, but not much more. You can use it to create those funky perspectivezed images that are part of OSX Leopard.

picturesque MacHeist Bundle it for artists?


This app is really like a very tiny version of some of Photohop’s best tricks, you can apply layers, add text, apply some cool filter effects that Photoshop doesn’t do easily and as with Picturesque you can do all of these likety-split. BUT you can’t do the canvas resize, make square, with black ground thing demanded by Zapp….Bummer!


Wire Tap Studio

This is an audio program that has had pretty good reviews, I’ve been looking for one that is easy to use, so the price was right anything is better than  Garage Band. I haven’t had a chance to really jump in to it but it does look promising so far and a lot less counter intuitive tha either Garage Band or Audacity.



This a 3D animation software and once you figure out how to use it you’ll be able to create some pretty cool stuff. The learning curve on this one looks to be pretty high even for a geek like me. Once you learn it though you’ll be able to pretty easily make some slick effects for videos especially if you want to use them on your blog.

kinemac MacHeist Bundle it for artists?


If you always wanted to have your own TV show this is the way to go. Say you want to record a video cast for your blog or site that shows you doing your thing, just connect your cameras, find somebody to man the keyboard and mouse and off you go. It is really designed for Podcasters and on-line video production that is done live and be edited in real time. Seriously…this could be fun to use and definitely add a touch to your blog that few other artists will have.

boinx MacHeist Bundle it for artists?



This a very basic web site builder and editor, and it is made by the same folks as CSSedit a great app for editing CSS on or off line. Espresso will be a good fit for someone who knows just enough to be dangerous and wants to know more about web development. By focusing on crisp workflow that makes sense it looks promising both as a regular tool and a learning device.

Odds & Sods

Little Snapper

a screen grab app but to be honest it kept crashing, anyway for what I do I prefer Skitch which is FREE!!

Hit List

a basic task manager (todo list manager) I use the Omni-Outliner which comes with most Macs.


Now… don’t get me wrong these are all outstanding apps …just make sure you need what they have to offer, If so then put your money down and hit the download button!!

pixy MacHeist Bundle it for artists?

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Artist Alert: watch this now!

 If you have doubts about all this tech stuff and why you need it to succeed from here on out watch this video! Then tell me what you think…is it all hooey do artists really need to do this? Obviously, I think so and I think the sooner the better! Our replacements are in school now or close to getting out how god of an example are you being? Are you leading the way for their future also by showing them how they can integrate art with technology with community building?


pixy Artist Alert: watch this now!

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The Tao of I. T. Al

The Tao of I.T. Al #58



blame madbadcat for this episode too.

The Tao of I. T. Al

The Tao of I.T. Al #55

 (this surveillance footage is supplied by madbadcat who has been spying on al on behalf of the yaccuzzi)


Parallel Desktops

Skitch makes it easy to annotate pics

Though Skitch has apparently been around for a while now I didn’t hear about it until I saw a Merlin Mann’s video on how he has his Mac desktop set up. For those that don’t follow Merlin’s stuff you really should.

Since I tend to write about software that I find for my Mac quite a bit I drop in a lot of screen shots. Since Macs have an excellent built in screen capture capability I often just used that, pushing Command-Shift-4 to activate it and drop the resulting capture as a PNG on my desktop. I would then take the PNG and load it up into my graphics editor (usually GIMP), then crop or edit the image. If I wanted to annotate the image with highlights or callouts I would use the line drawing tools which were a bit of a challenge.

This is where Skitch really shines. You can capture an image just as easily as with the built in Mac capture tools but this give you an editable surface that allows you to quickly crop, resize and annotate the image with really simple tools.

I won’t go into too much more detail because Michael Warf created a really excellent little video a while back walking through the features of Skitch, including the picture sharing that’s included with the service:

Skitch Video Review from Michael Warf on Vimeo.

On top of all this Skitch is free. If you know of a better solution for screen capture than what I’m getting with Skitch please drop a note in the comments below.



Marketing Monday: Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize

Do you know that many people want to buy your work but don’t have the ability to visualize it in their homes or offices? For many, their buying decision is based on whether they can picture whatever it is they are contemplating in their own home or office environment. Most people do not have the ability to visualize,something we often take for granted by assuming that everybody can see what we see.

We can help potential buyers by showing them how our work can fit into their environment. Photographers  display photos alone or in wall groupings throughout their studios to show how a client might use their photographs. In recent years, digital cameras, projectors and specially designed software have allowed us to project client’s images directly on their walls at actual sizes, so clients could see what a large image might look like over their couch or in their dining room. By showing the options we were able to help our clients make decisions about size, color, frame etc. and move from uncertainty to certainty about what would work best for them.

Other visual artists can do the same thing and because of new technology  do it much easier. Let’s look at a couple of ways you can, with very little effort, help your potential buyers.

The first way is to contact those who have your pots, paintings, photographs, fiber art and

Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize

  • Ask them if they would take a quick photo of how they are using what they purchased.
  • Also ask them to write a little bit about how they have felt about having that particular piece of yours in their environment… Has it changed anything? How does it add to their lives.
  • Then ask them to e-mail, both to you. If you have a blog you can use these testimonials as weekly features inserting your comments along side theirs.
  • You can also have small graphics of them in your booth.

The other way you can do this has just gotten as easy as the one above. This past year saw the introduction of small very inexpensive video cameras called Flip videos. These cameras do not use tape they have a built in drive capable of capturing up to an hour of video. The really cool thing is they make loading the video onto you blog a breeze. So using this technology you can do short videos in wide range of environments  describing and showing your buyers how they might best use your work. You could even  go to one of your favorite buyer’s home and interview them while capturing some short clips of your work in their house or office.  Because this technology is extremely easy you can have a short clip up on your blog in the blink of an eye. There are a couple of versions, the basic one runns generally around $80.00- $90.00 while the HD version is $199.00.

Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize

Flip Video MinoHD Camcorder, 60 Minutes (Black)

Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize

Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder, 60-Minutes (Black)

You could use one or both of these techniques and you might be very surprised as to how they would help your buyers. How about putting this on your list for ‘09… now is the perfect time to get it done.

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Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize

Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize
Show & Tell helping your buyers visualize

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