All posts by Jeremy Schultz

Use Picture Package to Show Off Your Kids

Photoshop can create a set of printable pics with just a few clicks

I think Photoshop’s Automate menu (under the File menu) is wonderful. There’s lots of great tools for automating some useful things like web gallery creation and batching an executable action. Picture Package is one that you don’t hear much about, but if you have a newborn or new family photo and you just have to give your family some wallets or five-by-sevens, Photoshop has you covered.

fig 1Figure 1: The Picture Package interface.

Selecting File->Automate->Picture Package… brings up this simple but powerful interface (Fig. 1). Select your source images at the top, whether it’s one you already have open in Photoshop, one on your hard drive or a whole folder of images. In the document area select your page size and resolution, as well as the layout you would like—all wallets, or larger images, or a combination of those and several other sizes. Figure 2 shows the standard choices, which Photoshop gives you by default. Quick tip: you can make your own layout by clicking the Edit Layout button under the layout preview.

Quick tip: you can make your own layout by clicking the Edit Layout button under the layout preview.

And in the label area you can choose to label your images with anything including the filename, photographer, description, custom text and more.

fig 2Figure 2: Photoshop’s default photo layouts.

So just select your images, page size and layout and Photoshop will do the rest of the work!

Apple’s Aperture Released, Will Compete with Photoshop for Pro Photo Market

The just-released application is designed for pro photographers—can it compete with Adobe’s prizefighter?

Apple Computer has just released Aperture, which will surely be a major competitor against Adobe Photoshop for the professional photography market.

The application boasts a smooth-as-silk RAW workflow, letting you import, edit, organize, retouch and publish images, something which Photoshop has done for a long time and really jumped into with CS two years ago and CS2 this year. The question is whether Aperture can compete with Photoshop, which has been the king for a long time, but whether or not it does compete one thing is certain: the relationship between Apple and Adobe, already shaken by Apple’s moves into the video market, will not be the same again.

Slick interface (of course)

fig 1Figure 1: The Adjustments palette.

As with all of Apple’s products, Aperture looks slick. Figure 1 is the Adjustments palette, and it looks to be a mix of Photoshop’s Camera Raw and Levels dialog boxes. What’s missing is the other elements of Photoshop’s Camera Raw, including lens, curve and calibration tools. It’s not clear from this screenshot if Aperture has Photoshop’s additional toolset. Slick design, but we’re not sure if it has all the tools Photoshop has.

A lot of the marketing materials Apple is putting out for Aperture touts its library and lightbox environment, which reminds me of Adobe Bridge. That application has had a mixed response from the Photoshop community (see my previous article on Dan Margulis and CS2) so will this be what takes its place? The interface looks strong; see Figures 2 through 5 below.

fig 2Figure 2: The work area.

fig 3Figure 3: The work area.

fig 4Figure 4: Grouping exposures in the work area.

Figure 5: Comparing images in the work area.

A very interesting feature is shown in Figure 4: you can use a slider to separate groups of images according to when they were shot and thus separate them into their bracketed bursts. Let’s say you group images that were shot within a second of one another. What happens is you’ll get groups of images that were bracketed and belong together. It’s a cool way to separate bracketed bursts and work with them quickly.

Watching Aperture at work in this way is impressive. It seems like a good way to work with your photo collection, and while I like Bridge for its command of all files within Creative Suite 2, which is an excellent boon for designers and multi-talented creative folks, it seems pro photographers and those who work with photos yearn for the old Photoshop CS File Browser. Aperture looks to fill the gap that left behind.

Another item: Aperture works with RAW files but boasts that you will never accidentally write over your RAW file as a JPEG or other format. You can create versions of the file and work with the image-enhancing tools and still keep your master file in RAW. I’d like to work with it myself before I pass judgment, but it sounds to me like a weak solution. In Photoshop you can open a DNG or RAW file and when you save you are prompted to resave. According to Apple, you need Aperture to protect your digital masters but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Creating versions sounds like more of a pain that should be necessary.

The loupe and red eye tools

There isn’t much information on image enhancement tools for Aperture, possibly because its tool set is relatively weak. It doesn’t seem to be wanting to compete with Photoshop on that level: no layers, no filters, no styles or glows or drop shadows. Just a few photographic tools, such as a red eye tool (Figure 6) and loupe tool (Figure 7). I think this is the main difference between Aperture and Photoshop: Aperture specializes in photography, while Photoshop has tools for designers and photographers.
Aperture specializes in photography, while Photoshop has tools for designers and photographers.
The key for Aperture’s success will be in just how much better it is than Photoshop for photo import and archiving.

fig6Figure 6: The red eye tool.

fig7Figure 7: The loupe tool.

Figure 8 illustrates a proofing profile option, which gives you control over what profile will be used when proofing on screen. I didn’t see any real color management settings in the work area or other screens, so I’ll be interested in finding out just how Aperture deals with color management, which is still (and will always be) a topic of debate.

fig8Figure 8: Setting the proofing profile.

Showing off your photos: Aperture does it well

Pro photographers are always showing off proofs, whether to newly-married couples or art directors or prospective clients or what-have-you. Aperture has some pretty strong tools to do this, a larger set than Photoshop offers but it’s unclear just how much control photographers have here. Some of what you’ll see below belong in the realm of graphic design, and a real pro may not find Aperture up to the task the way InDesign or Dreamweaver may be.

fig9Figure 9: Create a book with Aperture!

This is the feature I’m most excited about: create a book of photographs within Aperture! Looks very slick, there’s templates for quick layouts and they’re editable so you can rework things a bit. The big problem I see is that some users will want to design the book as much as they want to shoot the photos, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough control over it. If this tool feels like it belongs in iPhoto or some other novice application, pros won’t use it. They’ll hire a designer or design it themselves–many of them probably use Quark or InDesign and can design a book right.

fig10Figure 10: Create a website with Aperture.

You can also print contact sheets or send your photos to a lab through Aperture, but the website-creation tool gets a lot of press from Apple (see Figure 10). Photoshop has had a similar feature since version 7, and with CS2 it got a boost with some cool Flash templates. Aperture doesn’t seem to incorporate Flash but it does have a solid interface and some decent features. I use websites all the time to show off my work because it’s accessible anywhere, and these automation tools are great for when you don’t need to invest a lot of design time doing them.

How will Aperture affect Photoshop?

It’s tough to predict if Aperture will affect Photoshop or Adobe in any way. I think Adobe will (and should) be more tenacious with Apple, who in my opinion has become something of a Microsoft of the 2000s for their shoehorning in on territory that has been in good hands for years, ie. Adobe’s control of the photo-editing and video markets. Apple pushed their way into video with Final Cut Pro and its sister applications, and Adobe no longer makes its Premiere video application for Macintosh, only Windows. Can you imagine if Photoshop became a Windows-only application? I don’t think it will ever happen, but if Apple can take that market they will.

It will be interesting to see how Aperture performs. Apple has some big-name photographers touting its virtues, including Heinz Kluetmeier and Richard Burbridge, but I tend not to trust Apple’s slick marketing. It sounds too much like Steve Jobs selling me something. I’ll wait until I hear from others using it, and until I can get my own hands on a copy, before I say anything. But I do know this: Aperture is worth a try.

A More Precise Curves

This quick tip is essential for retouching and color correction

The Curves dialog box (Cmd-M or Ctrl-M) is considered by many experts to be the best place to manipulate colors and values for color-correction purposes. The Levels dialog box takes second place in that race, but Levels is really just Curves with only three editable points—shadow, highlight and 50% midtone. Levels’ only advantage is its histogram, but since CS Photoshop has had its own Histogram palette so Levels is no longer necessary for reading histograms. But the fact remains that Curves is the place to go for precision and ease of use when manipulating color and value.

The problem with the standard Curves dialog box (Fig. 1) is that it is imprecise. The default grid only marks 25, 50 and 75 percent, so if you’re wanting to pinpoint 30% or 40% you’ll have to guess. But there’s a hidden trick: Option-click the grid space and it will be demarcated in tenths instead of quarters.

Tip

Option-click the grid space and it will be demarcated in tenths instead of quarters.

Figure 2 is the new Curves dialog box, marked in tenths, and it makes it a lot easier to manipulate precise values.

Default CurvesFigure 1: The default Curves dialog box.

New CurvesFigure 2: The Curves dialog box with the grid space demarcated in tenths.

Ben Willmore’s “Up To Speed” Book A Great Resource

This small volume is excellent for power users wanting to get 100% familiar with CS2

up to speed cover

In the introduction to Ben Willmore’s “Up To Speed: Photoshop CS2″, Ben lists the three main classifications of Photoshop books today:

  • Photoshop “bibles” that cover everything and weigh as much as your G5
  • Cookbooks that give you recipes for cool tricks but no in-depth study of what it all does
  • Books that are in-depth and focus on a single area, such as retouching or color management

Ben writes that his “Up To Speed” book doesn’t fall in any of these categories, but I think it fits the third because it is exhaustively in-depth and it covers a narrow range of Photoshop tools and techniques, specifically those new to CS2. This is an excellent book because it has a lot of useful information, things you will probably not learn just by putzing around in the application, it’s presented clearly and, whether you’re a designer or a photographer, there’s entire sections that will seem like they were written just for you (because they were!).

Section I: Foundations

Ben: thank you for writing on Adobe Bridge. It’s an important part of the Creative Suite but I don’t see many books on the shelves written for that application and sometimes it can be hard to simply “figure out” the new stuff. In “Up To Speed” there’s a whole chapter on Bridge, and it gives users some great ideas on how to fluidly access images and materials from a variety of folders and servers. Read the pages on Compact Mode and Ultra-Compact Mode and you’ll see what I mean.

The second chapter in Foundations covers all the general changes from CS to CS2, things you will probably not notice right away like the Type Preferences pane, increased memory usage and Shadow/Highlight’s new ability to work with CMYK as well as RGB images. The greatest thing about this book are exactly these little things, and you wonder how Ben was able to find every one of them (hint: Adobe helped out a little).

Section II: Design

This is the bulk of the book, and for good reason: many of the largest sea changes in Photoshop, such as the Layers palette and Smart Objects, are features for designers.

Ben’s chapter on the Layers palette is probably one of the best explanations of this new beast that I’ve seen

Ben’s chapter on the Layers palette is probably one of the best explanations of this new beast that I’ve seen. Users who are getting angry trying to work with the new Layers palette, or novices who find the palette unintuitive, will benefit a lot from reading this chapter. Smart Objects are also covered in great detail, but I wish the Variables section had more detail. I came away from it not feeling I had a firm grasp, unlike the other sections. I think some more screenshots would help a great deal, as the Variables dialog box has a lot going on in it. In general, I wish the book was a bit larger and had room for more screenshots to illustrate all the information given.

My favorite chapter is the “Small Gems For Designers” chapter, because it brings together all the CS2 changes that designers will find handy. I think it’s great that the chapter is organized with the reader in mind, rather than the application. The greatest breakthrough in CS2’s adoption of ImageReady’s Animation palette, and Ben suggests that by the next upgrade Photoshop will have absorbed ImageReady’s tools and become integrated with it. I’ve been advocating this for some time (ImageReady has always been buried in the Photoshop folder, and not many users know its abilities) and I hope an integration with Photoshop will brings that power into the hands of more people. Until then, though it’s incomplete, Photoshop has at least the power to create an animated GIF if you’re handy. In a future post I’ll look into how you can create animated GIFs with Photoshop CS2 and how it matches and sometimes falls behind ImageReady CS2.

Section 3: Photography

Photoshop has grown into a tool for photographers as well as designers, and with the advent of digital photography it was a smart move to grow the application to embrace those users. CS2 has two very large and important changes just for photographers: Camera Raw 3 and HDR (High Dynamic Range) Imaging. Ben’s chapters on these two topics are thorough and detailed, and are accessible not only to advanced users but also to novices who are looking to grow. If you haven’t used CR or HDR before, start learning it here.

If you haven’t used CR or HDR before, start learning it here.

I was disappointed to see that some of the flashiest and most-hyped new features of CS2, such as the Vanishing Point filter and Spot Healing Brush, were stuck way in the back of the book on Chapter 9. These are tools that photographers and designers alike will be looking to learn about, and I thought they should have been in the Foundations section for that reason. A designer may miss them altogether if they don’t look hard enough. But it’s a minor quibble, because the chapter itself is solid and so is the final chapter, “Small Gems For Photographers”, which will do for photographers what the Small Gems For Designers chapter did for the designers. Did you know that Dr. Russell Brown’s Image Processor, which has been around for years, is now a part of CS2? You do now.

Conclusion

Aside from some minor complaints about screenshots and lack of depth, I think the “Up To Speed” book is exceptional and is a must-read for those who have CS2 but haven’t had the time to learn the new features (or those who are going batty because things don’t function the way they used to). Ben tells you when Adobe has done something dumb, and he will usually have a workaround for you to get around it. The book is $24.99, which compared to a lot of Photoshop books is a relatively small price to pay, and it’s one of the better deals you’ll find.

Russell Brown’s History of Photoshop

Who knew that Adobe got its start in a hut on Tatooine?

This crazy Star Wars-inspired QuickTime movie recently showed up on one of the Yahoo! user groups. It’s the “History of Photoshop” movie presented by none other than Adobe Senior Creative Director Russell Brown.

If you love Photoshop, you’ll like this parody. If you love Star Wars too, you won’t be able to get enough! I thought it was great. Russell Brown is in my opinion sometimes a bit too zany in his seminars and classes, but I get a kick out of his movies.

Here’s some screenshots:

I can hear the 20th Century Fox theme now...I can hear the 20th Century Fox theme now…

Can you name the Photoshop pioneers in this image?Can you name the Photoshop pioneers in this image?

One of Russell Brown's many screentests...One of Russell Brown’s many screentests…

Tutorial: Creating A Cast Shadow

Drop shadows are okay, but a cast shadow can make your photoillustrations come to life

I like shadows. They create depth and make your images stronger and more lifelike. PhotoSpin.com has a great tutorial available now for creating cast shadows, which are shadows that retain the shape of that which casts it.

Figure 1: The cast shadow.

Click this link to view it.

This tutorial comes courtesy of Colin Smith and his site www.PhotoshopCafe.com.

New For CS2: Increase The Type Size In Your Palettes

A welcome addition to those squinting at their palettes

Figure 1: UI Font Size in the CS2 preferences box.

On the General pane of the new Photoshop CS2 preferences is the UI Font Size drop-down menu (Figure 1), which allows you to specify the type size in all palettes (sorry, you can’t change the size in the menu bar at the top of the screen). This is a new addition very helpful to those with poor eyesight or those who use high-resolution displays with a lot of pixels.

Figure 2 is the Info palette with small text…

…Figure 3 with medium text…

…and Figure 4 with large text.

I notice there’s not much difference between medium and large sizes, and the large palette is only one pixel larger than the medium palette.

Some of us have monitors that can display at a higher screen resolution, but we never wanted to use those extra pixels because it would make the palettes and other text hard to read. Now we have a way to bump up the type size and gain a lot more screen real estate. Try it out!

Two Tools For Pearly Whites

Whitening teeth is easy with these two tools

Probably the top three things a good retoucher needs to know is how to erase blemishes, remove red eye and whiten teeth. And while there is a Red Eye tool in Photoshop CS2 designed to erase red eye, there is no Teeth Whitener tool. But it’s actually not too difficult to do it with Photoshop’s current tool set, specifically two tools that have been around since the early days of Photoshop and even before then, back when retouching was done in the darkroom.

What makes whitening teeth so easy is that your end result isn’t going to have much color to deal with. If you remove red eye but make the eyes gray as a result, well, people will notice. Working with the teeth is a lot more forgiving. Sure, you may be working with a photo of an old man with teeth as yellow as a Post-It note, but when people think of teeth they think of the color white, so as long as you get those chompers white or gray, or whatever shade makes sense for that particular image and light, then you will have a respectable image.

Use the Sponge tool

This is my favorite tool to whiten teeth, and it works best when the teeth you’re whitening are fairly bright but just have a yellow cast to them. The Sponge tool is basically a tool for spot-reducing or spot-increasing the saturation of a part of an image. If you open the Hue/Saturation dialog box (Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation…) and fiddle with the Saturation slider you will see what the Sponge tool does but on a global scale. Positive values increase color saturation to the point of fluorescence, while negative values decrease color saturation to the point of grays, or absence of color.

The Sponge tool does not deal with positive or negative values like the Hue/Saturation dialog box; its interface is more like a brush’s, with a flow rate and brush tip options. The key to using the Sponge to whiten teeth is to use the Desaturation option in the Mode drop-down menu. With this selected you’ll be removing the yellow color in the teeth and leaving its natural white value, whether white or off-white.

Figure 1 is an example of teeth with good bright values but with an undesirable yellowish cast. I set my Sponge tool for Desaturate and set the flow rate to 50%. You can set it to 100% or whatever works best for you, but I like to use a lower flow rate and go over an area a few times to gradually make the change. That way I don’t go from “too yellow” to “too gray” in one stroke. And this tip doesn’t apply to just the Sponge tool, either: using lower opacity and flow percentages when using any of Photoshop’s brush or spot-retouching tools will help you gain control over you retouching.

Tip: Use lower flow or opacity percentages and gradually brush an area for better control when you are retouching.

I use a soft-edged brush tip so there are no sharp differences between the retouched and untouched areas. After three or four passes across the teeth with my Sponge tool I have Figure 2 below, with teeth that are nice and neutral and have little noticeable color. And as I mentioned earlier, though the teeth are not pure white they are natural white, and will look great to the average person.

For deep cleaning, use the Dodge tool

Sometimes you want more than naturally white teeth: you want really white teeth, or even glow-in-the-dark teeth. With Halloween coming up, this would be a very timely technique! The best tool to do this is the Dodge tool, which looks like a black lollipop in the Toolbox and complements the Burn and Sponge tools. All these tools originated in the darkroom, and professional darkroom photographers still use these tools today. Photoshop, back when it was an extension of the darkroom, carried many of these same photographer’s tools and are still a part of the Photoshop tools, even in this era of Camera RAW and DNG.

Using the Dodge tool is very similar to using the Sponge tool. The main difference is that the Mode drop-down menu in the Sponge tool’s options is now the Range drop-down menu for the Dodge tool’s options. The Dodge tool works with a specific range of values at any given time, and it is in the Range menu that you will specify what that range is. Unfortunately there are only three options: Highlights, Midtones and Shadows. You have very little control over what you can edit with the Dodge tool, unlike the Hue/Saturation dialog box in which you can control the range a great deal.

For this technique, we are editing the light pixels of the teeth so choosing the Highlights range works very well. As with the Sponge tool, select a soft-edged brush and set exposure (which is the same as the Sponge tool’s flow rate) to 20%. I find the Dodge tool goes a long way, and you will often work with exposure with 20% or even less. We’ll use the Dodge tool on Figure 2, which has already been treated with the Sponge tool. Brush over the teeth and they will brighten. Figure 3 is the final image, with bright white teeth. It only took a single pass with 20% exposure to achieve this brightness.

The Dodge tool can brighten your teeth to the point of being pure white (see Figure 4), so use this tool with care.

The Sponge and Dodge tools are two of your best friends for whitening teeth. Rather than introducing white pixels to your image, these tools work with the pixels that are already there and thus ensuring that your retouching won’t seem fake.

In a future article I will discuss the Burn tool, the third tool bundled with the Sponge and Dodge tools in the Toolbox. Together these three tools are an important addition to your retouching arsenal.

If You Love Good Type, Subscribe To Typeradio.org’s Podcast

Now we’re talking: Typeradio.org’s podcast brings the worldwide type family together

The website is http://www.typeradio.org, or click here to subscribe to the podcast.

I’m a fan of good type and typography, and most every designer I’ve met who is really good and really serious about their craft has the same strange need to see type kerned and leaded in the best way, not just in a way that’s okay to read if you work at it. I’d say that typography, perhaps more than any discipline in the whole of graphic design, proves that things work in certain ways, that there is a craft involved in the process, and there are right ways and wrong ways to achieve perfect type for a given situation.

The Typeradio podcasts were recorded at various type conferences: last month’s ATypI in Helsinki, Typo Berlin ’04, New York Typecon 2005 and Typecon 2004 in San Francisco.

Typeradio.org’s podcast will not teach you how to set perfect type. It will not teach you how to make your own fonts or get them published. You may even be a little miffed when you first hear hosts Donald Beekman and Liza Enebeis ask their guests inane questions like “Do you hate someone?” and Liza’s “Do you love me?” (that one always gets an awkward pause). There’s a whole round of questions like this, and it can get annoying if you’re a die-hard typophile and want to jump into questions on hinting, foundries and Max Miedinger. Does it matter if Adam Twardoch is religious (he is, by default: he’s Polish, so he must be Catholic–he says so himself)? Why is Sumner Stone‘s favorite drink simple warm water? And why does Erik Spiekermann not remember his last vacation? Do we really care?

If all you care about is type, then no, you probably don’t care what Erik thinks of his vacation. All that’s really important is Meta, the font he designed that gave him some fame. But what the questions do is reveal this group of type designers and type celebrities as a unique collection of interesting people, without pretensions or facades. And they are very interesting. I especially like the questions “Are you rich?”, “Are you famous?” and “Are you important?” (most seem to answer “no”, “no” and “yes”). As designers we use these designers’ typefaces probably every day, and they are a part of our visual culture. But they are quite humble and sometimes even mundane. Stefan Sagmeister is an example: we know his groundbreaking work with AIGA posters and stratosphere-level clients like The Rolling Stones, and he’s one of the most visible designers working today, but hearing him discuss problem clients and other difficulties that beginner freelancers deal with makes him accessible to those beginners who see Stefan’s visibility and fame as unachievable.

Podcasts to catch

I have to say that I think most of the podcasts are really interesting. You can’t go wrong with most of them, but I found these below to be particularly illuminating.

Stefan Sagmeister
Can you imagine Stefan telling the type crowd that he actually isn’t all that interested in type, and finds selecting typefaces pretty dull? But it’s true, and you’ll hear about it here. Also intriguing is his recent working sabattical, in which he stretched his skills by designing mock CD jackets and booklets in only three or four hours (as opposed to three months). A great example of a top designer still looking for ways to grow and expand.

Erik Spiekermann
An excellent type designer speaks very candidly about his old agency Meta and how he was forced out (he doesn’t hate them though, he says), why he created his blog (so lazy students would stop calling him with questions) and how much he sleeps per night (only four hours, 3AM–7AM, because his brain is always working). It’s an amazing look at one of our profession’s more famous members, and when you’re done with all six podcast sessions you’ll feel like you know him.

Aaron Marcus
Some designers out there use type only for their company newsletters and flyers. I’m guessing Verdana and Times New Roman gets used a lot. Others may be more sophisticated, making magazines and advertisements with Trade Gothic, Minion and other higher-tier typefaces. If you’re really good you may be modifying your typefaces and even designing your own. But take a look at Aaron Marcus, who may best be described as a conceptual type designer. Nowadays his true calling is interface and information design, but back in the Seventies he was using pay phones to set up simultaneous conference calls across the United States and thus creating characters using phone signals. Imagine a massive “X” going across the country, which is what Aaron did among other things. It’s almost like installation art or performance art, and it’s a refreshing new way to think about type and, more accurately, mark-making.

Carol Wahler
Carol is the director of the Type Directors Club, and she’s not a designer or a type designer but she helps makes the type community go ’round with her handling of the Club’s annual exhibition as well as the Club itself. Listen to her speak about her absolute love of typography and the type community and you will love this close-knit community of type designers too! Her sessions will remind you why you can’t get over loving good type.

Peter Saville
Like Stefan Sagmeister, Peter Saville is one of those designers who seems to have made graphic design visible to the outside world. His work with album covers in the Seventies and Eighties made design cool for everyone. Peter speaks about this phenomenon quite vividly, and also interesting is near the end when he talks about his new work as a design director (or sorts) for the City of Manchester, England.

Guess the typeface
Cyrus Highsmith and Christian Schwartz play a modified game of “Name That Tune,” with one describing a selected typeface and the other having to guess what it might be. And when I say “describing” I don’t mean describing x-heights or serifs or historical eras. Imagine Christian calling a typeface “hot,” or Cyrus describing a typeface as “an American guy who works really hard, does heavy lifting.” You’ll be surprised how quickly these type designers can pinpoint the one typeface out of millions that the other is talking about! It’s extraordinary. Play along and maybe you’ll guess the typefaces too.

Podcasts to avoid

Some of the sessions just seemed to land flat on their face. You may enjoy them, but I didn’t.

House Industries
I don’t think this group of dudes talked once about type. Most of their two sessions were spent clowning around and talking about the heavy-metal band they are involved in. I do find that interesting, because they have made the band part of their lecture routine and they’ll tell you why, but I like House Industries’ work a lot and to hear pretty much nothing about it was disappointing.

Kai Rentola
I’m sure Kai had interesting things to say. But his monotone delivery and choppy thoughts throughout made him hard to follow.

Cyrus Highsmith
Cyrus graces us with a mumbled rendition of the ABC’s (“…next time won’t you sing with me?”). It’s not worth downloading. But he must have been having an off-day because in the “Guess the typeface” segments he and Christian Schwartz are fun to listen to (see above).

Conclusion

As the title says, if you love good type, subscribe to this podcast. You’ll gain an understanding of some of the world’s greatest type designers, and you’ll never see Meta, Barmeno or The Guardian the same way again.

PhotoSpin.com Offers Tutorial on Smart Objects

Tommy Maloney’s tutorial explains the basics of Smart Objects, the new non-destructive way to manipulate images

The Smart Objects feature is one of the most exciting things Photoshop has brought to the table in recent years: importing an image and being able to scale, distort, transform and otherwise manipulate it without making it go soft or blurry because you scaled it too large. It’s like working with an image in Illustrator and being able to enlarge it 1000% without any image degradation. I tell people that I predict the way of the future is a single Adobe application for page layout, photo manipulation and graphics creation (Creative Suite, anyone?) and this is one of those little examples of one Adobe application using ideas from another and/or using one app to do another’s job. Heck, lots of designers use Illustrator to create layouts when they should be using InDesign, so why not use Photoshop in a way championed by vector editors like Illustrator?

Anyway, PhotoSpin.com has published this interesting primer covering the basics of Smart Objects. It’s not bleeding-edge stuff, but if you haven’t heard of Smart Objects before go here and you’ll have a good understanding of the feature.

I just bought Ben Willmore’s Photoshop CS2: Up to Speed and it has an entire chapter on Smart Objects. I haven’t read that part yet but I will and if readers are interested I’ll post some of those tips as well as some far-out effects if I can conjure up some.