There Will Be No News Today

This is what could happen if present trends continue.  There won’t be any news to turn to.

Cool Links #1

Sometimes I come across a bunch of unrelated, but cool links and I don’t like to have to come up with a long title every time, so today I’m starting Cool Links.

First I found an interesting page with lots of photoshop tutorial videos – very cool.

Second, I found a creepy Orwell vision of the future right now. A photog in the UK gets stopped by a couple of volunteer police officers and told he can’t take pictures in a public place. Scary

Black Star Rising (a photo blog) has a really good commentary on the Annie Leibovitz’s recent Vogue magazine cover.  King Kong racism or just a really cool photo – you decide.

If you live in Florida, you must love the current debate about Nipplegate and the WWE.  Enough said.

Finally some great background info on the famous Shooting A VC photograph.  Warning – graphic images and content.

What’ The Vector, Victor – Not A Raster Roger!

As you  know, I love Photoshop.  But sometimes there are things good old Photoshop just can’t do or isn’t very good at.  One of those things is a Vector Image.  Usually Vector Art is created in an application such as Illustrator.  Vector art is really great for creating scalable images with sharp edges.  Usually it is saved as an EPS or PDF file format or AI.

Now I don’t have anything against Illustrator, but I do 99.9 percent of my art work in photoshop.  If I am creating some kind of art, I usually use PS.  But when I need to send artwork to a t-shirt printer they really want Vector art, not the Raster images that Photoshop makes.

Why?  Because Raster images are fuzzy on the edges and are not easily scaled.  So, what can you do if you don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy Illustrator and the time to learn it?  You can keep creating your art in photoshop and then use one of these cool web resources to convert it to a Vector.

The best is probably Vector Magic.  But it is also costly.  They let you convert two images for free, but after that, they charge you $3 an image.

The next solution I recommend is this utility that creates an almost vector image, but not a true vector.

Finally there is AutoTrace and Potrace, but you need to be willing to assemble these programs together yourself.  Not my cup of tea.

Express Yourself – Through Photosphop

Adobe finally released in public beta the long rumored Adobe Photoshop Express.  This is a free online version of Adobe Photoshop.  It is not Photoshop, but I was actually impressed with how much it can do for the average user.  It does do a lot of basic editing functions and it is FREE!

The other cool thing is that it gives you 2GB of storage online for free, plus your own URL for a gallery.

The one thing I think it would be useful for in a yearbook setting would be to encourage all of your photographers to sign up for an account.  Then they can post their photos to their account and you can make the gallery available online so that people in their photos could self identify.  It could be neat and interactive.

Oh, The Horror!

Photoshop is a great tool and for student publications a must have tool.  But we all know that the photoshopping of magazine covers and other celebrity pictures has gotten out of hand.  And what is even worse is that some people who are using photoshop don’t really know that they are making horrible errors.  Here’s a great site courtesy of the blog photoshop disasters that focuses on really bad photoshop mistakes in celeb magazines and ads.  The language is NSFS so don’t open this at school in front of students, but some of the photos are worth sharing with your kids.

Hacking Up Old Tripods

After a lot of internal debate, I have decided to replace the two “Aggie pods” in my studio with cut down tripods. What I did was this:

For the cameras, we are going to mount them right on top of the monitor. To do this costs about $4 for two mounts. What you need are two standard 3/8 inch cable wallplates like these from Lowe’s, cost .57 cents each. And you need two 1/4 inch -20 bolts with nuts and about 6 lags or washers. On the bolt, place one washer, then the plate, then five washers and then the bolt. This should leave less than 1/8 of an inch of bolt to mount your camera on. Duct tape the completed plate assembly on the top of the monitor. The monitor needs to be the kind that tilts up and down. This allows you to tilt the camera into the proper position. Flip out the camera’s monitor and turn it so the anchor can see themselves in it. That way, they know if they are out of the frame.

But over time I can see that it is too limited. It does not allow you to pan or tilt. So, we are going to try an correct the problem. I have two old (3-5 years) Vivitar tripods that I never liked. They are tough, but without a quick release head, they are not so useful. Right now we use them only as back up tripods if one breaks. So, I took one and cut it down. Removed the center post of the elevator, except for about two inches and cut the legs off at about five inches.

What I plan to do is spread the short legs out and then duct tape it to the top of the monitor. Basically turning the monitor into a tripod base with a head on it. I’ll tell you how it turns out.

Update: 4/2/08

I hacked up one tripod, but it didn’t work like I thought it would.   Back to the drawing board.

What’s Wrong With That Picture?

Photoshopped is a great blog with examples from magazine covers to ads with photoshop mistakes.  For a program that is supposed to make pictures look better, we seem to end up with so many looking worse.

First Person Photos

MSNBC.com has a great multimedia slide show of pictures of soldiers and their families taken by soldiers and their families.  Not only are the photos touching and sometimes horrific, but the multimedia is well done too.

Get A Grip

Here’s a great new podcast from Brent Bye at PixelCorps.tv called The Grip Guide.  So far there are only a few episodes, but they are really full featured and delve deeply into the topic, such as cable rolling and checking A/C voltage.

Lotsa Links

Here’s another roundup of links from all over the web.

ABC News Doctored Photos web slide show.  From Britney to OJ, the most well known altered magazine covers and photos.

Is Seeing Believing?  A multimedia resource for photo fakes and hoaxes.  Great site.

FLICKSCHOOL video and multimedia gallery.  The back door to their how to videos.

101 Five Minute Fixes for Your Web Site.  A gallery of quick and easy things to do to make your web site better.

Identifying Altered Images:  Great magazine article on how to detect an altered image.

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