I’m in a somewhat unusual situation, I have my Mac Pro set up at home and I use my MacBook Pro full time at the office with a docking station. Therefore, I have two full-time workstations set up. I took that opportunity to purchase two different wireless keyboard and mouse solutions. I used the Apple [...]
I thought I’s better let you know why the blog and podcast has been so quiet this past week. If you do not already know, I’m in San Francisco CA. for Macworld 2010. (and a little week of R&R). What I’ve been doing out here, both socially and business related will take weeks of blog [...]
If you normally read my blog, or listen to the podcast, you’ll know we’re not a news based organization. I like to review hardware, software and apps that make using the Mac special. But, I’ve had a lot of readers and friends that asked me why I’ve not talked about the iPad before the event [...]
This is another review that I wanted to do once I received my MacBook Pro 13 inch. Again, like the Tom Bihn laptop case, I had a BookEndz Docking Station for my old TiBook G4 many years ago and I loved it. The BookEndz folks were just about to release their new Docking Station for [...]
Well you all have the application I’m talking about this week, although to be honest, some of you will have an earlier version than the one I’m talking about. So if I have your attention I’ll dive straight in. iPhoto, see I told you you all have the application, currently I’m using the latest build 8.0.4 which is part of the iLife 09 suite.
Why did I want to chat about iPhoto? I’m not going to go through all of the great features but specifically, and emphasising I’m no expert, I was amazed to hear someone in an online meeting I was on say that they didn’t realize how much editing you can do within the application, and since I’ve just come back from holiday iPhoto has had a lot of use.
This got me thinking, I wonder how many people buy their Mac, get it home, throw the pictures into iPhoto but never get to the point where they click on the edit button at the bottom of the screen? If you’re one of those types, listen on because iPhoto is really quite a powerful tool.
So you’ve imported the photos, whether they be JPEG’s or RAW images, although if you’re shooting RAW you may already use the editing capability of another more powerful photo editing application, but iPhoto can do a lot. Click on the edit icon and you’re into a world of improvements.
Once you’ve clicked the edit icon you should see at the top of iPhoto a row of your photo’s then the photo it’s self and at the bottom a row of icons that do varying things to your pictures. The first icon is nice and easy and can also be adjusted without entering the edit mode, Rotate. Rotate your photo through 360 degree’s in 90 degree increments.
Then we have Crop. To me, this can be a really powerful way to improve your picture, go in and try. Choose a picture, click on Crop and iPhoto opens the picture and adds a white outline where you can grab the corners or any of the edges and adjust on certain parts of the picture. When you make the adjustment, iPhoto adds a grid which helps when it comes to getting your thirds correct on the photo. I won’t go into thirds here, but believe me taking note of the grid will help you compose your image. One thing I like to do is change the view to a more rectangular view. It’s amazing how you can change the shot with this tool.
Now before I go on, remember these adjustments are non destructive so if you don’t like the finished product then you can always revert back.
The next icon is straighten. We all try to take a level picture but it isn’t always possible, so go into Straighten and make that right. If you combine angling the picture, you don’t have to straighten the picture after all, just Crop and you’ll come up with some great affects.
The next icon is Enhance, this button will automatically adjust the photo to enhance it’s light and color. Here’s a trick, if you want to see exactly what is being done, click on the Adjust icon before clicking the Enhance icon. A floating panel will open up with lots of adjustment bars, with Adjust open, click on the Enhance icon, you’ll see that some of those adjustment bars move. If you want to experiment move some of those bars to see for yourself the impact your having. Enhance does a pretty good job, but sometimes it doesn’t create the affect you want, if this happens you can undo the affect easily with the key combination CMD Z.
The next icon is Red-Eye. The current Red-Eye reduction is better than previous versions but it’s still not quite there, but with some practice you’ll soon get used to using the tool for best results, and get rid of those ugly red eyed pictures that always seem to occur no much you try to avoid them.
Moving onto the next icon which is Retouch. This tool is great if you find you have a blemish on the picture, this could be because of a dirty lens or that darn fly landed right where you didn’t want it to when you took the shot. Click here and iPhoto gives you an adjustable size circular curser which you then click over the blemish and iPhoto will use data local to outside of the cursor and replicate the area with that data, you’ll see the blemish disappear, it’s almost magic.
The next effect is something I haven’t used too much but again is a powerful tool and creates some interesting effects, and each of the effects can have an impact on each of the other. So if you want a sepia, vignette photo with an edge blur go here. Again a neat trick is to have the Adjust menu open to see what impact the adjustments your making are having on the metadata of the photograph. CMD Z here does work, but there is also an original photo in the middle of the grid that pops up enabling you to get back to the photo you had prior to all changes.
Now the final icon one that I’ve mentioned already is Adjust, this is a powerful tool and something that if you’re not careful, you can spend far too much time messing about in. I’ll try and give you pointers here, but there are many other websites and podcasts to really get into what each of these adjustments can do for you.
Once you’ve clicked on the Adjust icon, a floating submenu pops up which has what is referred to as a levels panel where you can make adjustments. Quick tip, if you have a full spread of peaks on this graph leave the end sliders alone, slide the middle adjustment left or right but as in all of the adjustments you must watch the picture as you get a live view of the impact you are having on the picture. CMD Z doesn’t work here, but there is a reset button on the bottom of the submenu, this is your friend. Now if those peaks of red’s greens and blue’s I mentioned are gathered around the middle of the panel, try moving the end sliders in toward the edges of the colors, watching the picture for changes.
The next three sliders below this panel are Exposure, Contrast and Saturation. I tend to leave these alone. They can have big impacts on the end result these can often be counter adjusted in some of the other edits, yes I am probably talking sacrilege, but this is how I use the adjustment sliders remember.
The next section of the submenu is Definition, Highlights, Shadows, Sharpness and De-Noise. These sliders I find myself using more than the others, you might want to try Highlights and Shadows first. The Highlights slider will often bring out clouds that you thought you’d captured and just seem to be a white greyish mass, and Shadows can bring out definition in the darker area’s of your picture.
The last two options again will have a big impact but until your really into making these adjustments you may find like me, your not using much are Temperature and Tint. There is also a droplet icon next to Tint that allows you to remove a color cast, I have only just started playing with that option.
Another nice option is that at the bottom of the menu is a copy and paste option, you can use this to paste any adjustments onto another similar picture you may have taken at the same time, this I do use but not as much as you’d think.
As I said these adjustments are non destructive and not permanent, but in the case of JPG’s I believe that iPhoto keeps a copy of the original and one of the adjusted photo. With RAW images the metadata is adjusted and the original metadata is not lost either.
I hope this gives you the initiative to go take a look at editing your photos. You never know, that magic shot you thought you had may still be a magic shot with just a few adjustments. Here’s a link that will help you when working in iPhoto. http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/#iphoto
I’ve been having nothing but problems keeping my wireless connection alive on my AppleTV the last month. I never had troubles like this before, I never changed the location of my Time Capsule or my AppleTV so why all the problems all of a sudden? I’ve tried restoring, rebooting, changing channels, a static IP, cutting down the Multi-Cast, and other ideas. So far, it works for a few days then back to dropping the wireless connection.
This week I’m looking at the Focal XS 2.1 computer and iPod speakers system. I listen to a lot of music and I’ll admit I’m a snob when it comes to audio equipment. I want speakers that sound great and look fantastic. The Focal speaker system is a high-end entry into the iPod and Apple computer market. And by “high end”, I’m talking $600.
These speakers look superb. The cabinets are solid and the cables are cloth wrapped. They were obviously designed with the current crop of iMacs in mind. Each unit has just the right combination of silver bezel and black body to make you think it was designed in a hidden lab in Cupertino. Additionally, one of the satellites includes a standard iPod dock. Using this dock, you can either sync your iPod to your computer or play directly into the speakers. This is controlled by a toggle switch behind the right satellite speaker. Keeping them next to my desktop machine it was no trouble for me to depress the button but this could be a problem depending on how you set them up. It also includes a simple remote that magnetically will attach itself to the satellite post. Neat.
PDFs are great, they can be viewed on any platform. They look the same on any viewer and can (at least in OS X) easily be created using the print dialog. But there is one downside. They are not editable. Maybe not with Preview or Adobe Reader but with PDFPen you actually can.
So the game I’m looking at is Flick Bowling from Freeverse, and interestingly I think they might be bringing out a compilation of Flick games as once your into the main menu the heading says Flick Sports Bowling, so I’ll keep an eye open on that one.
As the name suggests, this is a bowling game, however I must quantify that as a bowling game, in the UK this could indicate Crown Green Bowling and I’m sure that are other Bowling games in the world that are not ten pin bowling, which of course this game is.
Don’t they say an Englishman’s home is his Castle? Well, unfortunately over here at Chez Rolfe the builders have been in. So we moved out for a few days – to another castle. Yes we headed under the channel and across France to the Dream Castle. Yes, le house of mouse, was our new home for the next few days.
So what better device to entertain us on our trip? Of course my iPod Touch. Loaded up with a couple of cracking new apps. If you search for “Blackjack” on the iTunes App Store you will get a list as long as your arm of titles. We all know the basic idea behind Blackjack. Try and get “21″ or as close as possible with your hand of cards.
I don’t know why I happened to pick this particular incarnation but I’m so, so glad that I did. This has got to be one of the best applications that I’ve played so far. What makes this stand out for me is that it has been put together so well. The graphics are gorgeous. From the moodily lit table top, the brightly coloured chips and even the minute detail on the back of the cards.
I’m continuing the video theme this week. I have an AppleTV and I love it, even though perhaps the cost of TV programs and and films over here could be a little lower, but since rentals came over to the UK it’s made the device really great. Now I haven’t hacked the Apple TV or added extra functionality, yet. So what am I talking about today? There have been times when we couldn’t watch some YouTube videos. They hadn’t been converted, plus perhaps, you want the clip downloaded rather than having to go to the web all the time and there are other video sites out there which don’t interact with the Apple TV up front. There is a little free or at least donation wear app, that my friend Mike over at the For Mac Eyes Only podcast told me about some time ago.
Leopard has been out for almost a year now, and those of us using Time Machine hopefully have had a good experience with it, I know I have. When I first setup Time Machine, I used a hard drive that I had partitioned, and well after about 8 months or so decided that Time Machine needed its own, much larger hard drive. I wasn’t able to go as far back in time as I hoped.
I purchased a new hard drive, and thought I could just drag my Time Machine backup folders from my original drive and drop them on to the new drive. Hmmm…….if only it was that simple. That just didn’t work!. After a few google searches I found the solution and thought, “I’d share it with everyone in 10 Easy steps.”
So the Application that I’m looking at this week is called AppDelete from Reggie Ashworth. As it sounds, AppDelete is an application that deletes applications, hang on I hear you say I can do that quite easily right now, just by moving an application over to the Trash, and of course I have to say if you have Hazel, that I reviewed the other week, then you don’t need this app, however if you liked the thought of being able to delete apps but didn’t want to get Hazel for all the other things it could do then this is a great alternative as the app which was once free now still only costs $5.00 minimum, a very reasonable cost compared to some other apps that also do a similar job.
I have been racking my brain as to which app I could review next, well I was messing about in my system preferences when I spotted an App called Hazel sitting there looking all lonely and to be perfectly honest not doing a great deal. Now before you think I go around buying apps and then forgetting them this App was purchased in a Mac bundle when I first switched from the world of windows, and haven’t really looked at it since, so I thought why not review Hazel, I might learn something about the App at the same time.
So what is Hazel well it’s not a one trick pony which is what I thought it was when I first got the Application. Now this sits in your System Preferences pane as it’s a utility app but this App does some thinking for you if setup correctly.
This is Robert Lachman from PhotographyAndTheMac.Com. This week I’m going to review Adobe’s Lightroom 2.
Lightroom 2 is a powerful photo-editing software, that is used to import, organize and make some adjustments to your photos.
Most consumers who are happy using iPhoto on their Macs for photo editing, are probably fine, and may not be quite ready to take the leap into Lightroom 2. iPhoto is like driving a Ford and Lightroom 2 is like driving a Ferrari to get to the same location. It’s a ramped up, supercharged, photo-editing machine with a multitude of features.
When you do need the high performance of library modules, dual-monitor support, web-gallery exporting, great control over Raw image import, color correction, gradient tools and adjustment brushes and smooth integration with Photoshop, Lightroom 2 from Adobe is your best choice. The Apple product in this category is Aperture 2.
Lightroom 2 does have a fairly steep learning curve, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not an abundance of ways to learn about the software program. There are plenty of seminars, tutorial videos and books on the subject. A quick check on the Amazon site gave me the name of ten Lightroom 2 book titles which include: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers, The Serious Photographer’s Guide to Lightroom Efficiency, Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure, Workflow not Workslow in Lightroom 2 and Lightroom 2 For Dummies.