iPhone Videos - Brushes
Tuesday
Sep092014

Modo 801 testing 

Though the rest of the world is going crazy over whatever Apple may be saying on the keynote tonight, I am knee-deep in learning a new piece of 3d software, Modo. I was really on the fence when the Foundry purchased Modo, as I felt like 3d software keeps getting gobbled up by huge companies, but I was pretty impressed with what I had seen out of Modo, and the 801 updates looked very strong...especially in modeling and rendering. It's been a few years since I learned a new 3d package, and it was time- I find it to be a great way to evaluate your own status quo in terms of working methods, and to see whether you can make your life a little easier. Modo feels uncannily familiar, enough like Maya that I can navigate around, but a bit easier to get up and running. It seems like 3d beginners will have a much easier time with Modo.

 

Wednesday
Sep032014

Overlay updates for Skillshare Photoshop class

Some of the feedback that I have received from my Photoshop class on the basics of opening and editing an image in Photoshop talked about my fairly Mac-centric shortcuts. It's true that I have been working mostly on the Mac for a long time, but that's really no reaosn to leave others out in the cold. I'll make the overlays in Photoshop and build out to Final Cut.

Tuesday
Sep022014

Photoshop CS 2014 Blur Gallery

As I dive into using Photoshop CS 2014 in production on images and CG content, one of my favorite features is the Blur Gallery. I say that with full disclosure, aware that I dissed it when I first started using CS 2014. Why it's become such a staple is Field Blur, which simulates a depth of field effect in a very simple and effective way...my only mild gripe is that somethime you need to manually ease the edges of the primary point of focus. Below I used it on a quick bevel test of a 3d logo:

 

Wednesday
Jul092014

Creative Cloud Updates

Disclaimer: these are the opinions of Matt Connors; not those of my employer, Quad/Graphics. I am not knowingly receiving monetary compensation from Adobe in any way, shape or form. 

A few days ago, Adobe pushed out the most recent version of Creative Cloud, 2014. I have to assume that a lot of people like me had been paying attention to all of the press and the fanfare about the advantages of being in the Adode Cloud and having access to the CS toolset: One of the biggest features was supposed to be that there would be incremental changes to a version of software - such as Illustrator or InDesign, but that this would happen to the existing copy of that software's version of CC. You can skip my editorial and go to the official press release here: http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2014/06/crank-it-up-to-15-introducing-adobe-photoshop-cc-2014.html

Sure, we are still using CS 6 at QG sites in most cases, due to ImageXtreme, but we should know what clients may be asking about.

Imagine my surprise when a whole new application, Photoshop CC 2014 (along with a host of other apps) all installed into my Applications folder the other night on my laptop. The bad news is that I almost ran out of disk space when 6 applications all updated with new copies. So far the good news is that app presets migrate fairly easily as long as you say yes to a dialog box that pops open the first time you open the new app version, but it's still a whole new app with its own learning curve and interface. Some of us who are conservative about software hang onto older versions of the software just in case a client or a project will demand an older Photoshop or Illustrator, so this means another set of apps that you need to store on your hard drive. On my home machines, for instance, I keep Photoshop CC 2014, CC, and CS 6 on my main computer, and CS 6, CS 5, and CS 4 on my older laptop. Yeesh, that's a lot of copies of the same software…Adobe should really get into the business of selling hard drives; they'd dominate the world even faster that way. 

Far be it for me to dwell on this through, as I hope that our friends at Adobe will start to figure out what we all thought CC would mean for us; on to the updates starting in no particular order:

Swatch and Color Enhancements:
I am a junkie about my color sets and swatches, and any refinement to this area is appreciated; you can now expand the color box to see more of the hue change, which I like, as I can pull it open to select colors along a linear path to highlight or to shadow. The swatch dialog also shows the most recent sampled color from the eyedropper, which saves steps when you want to save out the swatches of a document that you've been working on. 

Layer Comps to Smart Objects: 
I can't get enough of layer comps; maybe it's the time that I spent working on User interface buttons/screen while in IPS, but it is a stronger feature now, especially if you want to set up 
complex layer combinations to represent the rounds that you show to a customer. It's an easy way to quickly make sense out of a complex file. This window to the right is much more comprehensive than it used to be in CC or CS6.


Blur Gallery is getting a lot of buzz, but I have a hard time imagining this being useful on a day-to-day basis. Watch the vid to learn more about it. 

Path Blur is probably the most directly useful in imaging work, and mores for the titles that have images moving quickly that should look even faster- cars, sporting shots, etc. The reality for prep is that more of our clients are looking to us to sharpen, not blur…this feature may have more of a direct impact with photographers.


Smart Object linking is a useful feature to make sure that you don't have orphaned elements, but there isn't much call to have exterior elements in our PS files anyway. 

Typekit Integration is new for Photoshop, but is had been in InDesign for CC; the addition really makes sense for what Adobe is trying to do with a cloud database for fonts, though this is a non-impact for prepress production, as we almost never have Photoshop files with any text. Check out the Typekit information page if you're new to the concept; they break down fonts according to use for web (online) and offline, which is most likely how we would use the fonts for prepress. 

Content-Aware Fill also got an upgrade, there is less chance of having light or dark halo around the replaced area, though I need to play with this more.

Expanded 3d Tools include the ability to link to 3d warehouses like Turbosquid  for input and 3d printers for output, all of which are like putting a screen door on a submarine. Don't get me wrong, I am a 3d enthusiast, but Photoshop - regardless of their updates in the versions of CC, is just a tough place to edit your 3d files, unless you are just making a lighting change or work on some 3d type effects. The interface and space looks cool, though, and I do like the cyc wall kits (see below). They make for a good, easy way to showcase a model. 

And now for a curve ball: Adobe Photoshop Mix and Lightroom-
Adobe's big play for the mobile market

Up until now, the mobile offerings of Adobe have really not held a candle to what you can do with Photoshop on the desktop. The first few apps like Touch were toys, though I have seen amazing illustrations done with Adobe Ideas on an iPad. See a quick piece by a guy I know:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fabriclenny/10967551114/in/photostream/
The video below talks about some of the reasons for the previous limitations of phot apps on mobile devices, most of which build down to the lack of computing power of the device to complete mathematically challenging tasks. Mix allows you to see basically the smaller version of the file that exists in the cloud, so you can make more complex edits, which are just giving instructions to the cloud server to edit the image and serve it back to you. Pretty amazing, eh? (Retouchers all groan in unison)
http://mix.adobe.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1bfmtt6txM



 

Monday
Jun022014

'Long Haul' and Vue demo

I was working on a project, making terrain with Mudbox and ran into some

roadblocks, so Idecided to take another look at Vue in a Demo of Vue Studio.

It had been a few years since I had used Vue, and I was very surprised with

how easy it was to set up and edit a scene. 

I thought that I would make the scene a little more populated with a few trees, and a lopoly truck

I rendered the scene at iPad resolution sothat I could make further edits in Procreate to add more of a

painted look...

 

 

Long Haul