I want to apologise for the lack of updates this week. I've not had a very fun week. What started out as someone coughing on me in a line at the bank, turned into a cold, which I then thought was becoming the flu, ended up as a bad chest infection that had me taken to hospital by ambulance the other night with a fever and a ridiculously high heart rate. Special thanks to my Apple watch for the heads up on that one.
In keeping with my earlier post today, I wanted to share some of the other projects I'm working on. Specifically in terms of the e-book guides I've published recently. I currently have two guides out for Processing X-Trans files in Lightroom and Capture One respectively. I'm currently working on a third guide as well as some updates.
One of the biggest complaints that users of Sony’s Aps-c format E-mount cameras such as the A6000 have is the lack of good, inexpensive prime lenses. In my recent long term review of the A6000 I made this point, and I wished for an equivalent to Fuji’s excellent 35mm f/1.4. In fact, the lack of a good fast native prime for the format has been a real issue. Fortunately Sigma has just addressed that gap in the lineup with the launch of the new 30mm f/1.4mm prime lens for e-mount (and m43).
I didn't get to cover this at the time, but there were some issues with Capture One and El Capitan when it was released. Apparently the issue was to do with the Open CL support and it caused crashing. there was a work around which would temporarily disable Open CL support, but Phase One has now released an update which supposedly fixes the issue. If you had been holding off on updating to El Capitan because of this, then it's good to know that there is now an updated version which addresses the bug. You can get the updated version by using the "Check for Updates..." function in the Capture One menu.
Apple rolled out an update for Yosemite yesterday, and part of that update featured a minor update to Photos for Mac. This was primarily a bug fix release, but one of the improvements listed is more reliable syncing. I’ve talked about in the past briefly about the issues that I’ve been having with syncing on Photos, namely that it stops intermittently and you have to re-start the application or the iOS photos app.
I'm a big fan of Sony Products, and anyone who follows this blog knows that I've a soft spot for their cameras. I currently have an A6000 and I've previously shot with a Nex 7. I've also been eagerly following the developments of the A7 line with great interest. I've said it before, but Sony are one of the few companies really innovating in the imaging space. Not only are their sensors used by pretty much every other major company now, but they're constantly pushing the envelope in the camera market. From the RX1 which brought a superb full frame sensor to the compact camera form factor, to the A7 Line which made full frame really affordable and small. The A7 line certainly isn't perfect, but with the recently announced A7 R Mark II Sony are getting pretty close to it.
As I’m sure any iPhone, iPad or Mac owner out there knows, Apple held its annual WWDC conference yesterday. Among the many things it showed off was the next version of OS X, called El Capitan, which will focus on performance and user interface improvements. While some highlights were revealed at the show, the presentation didn’t show all the features, and one of those that didn’t make the keynote was an update to Photos for the Mac.
Spring is normally a quiet time for me with design work, but this year, I've been swamped, so my photography blog has taken a bit of a back seat. I want to do both, but unfortunately I just haven't been keeping up. I'm in the process of re-designing my long idle design portfolio and website too, so when I keep mentioning the design work I'm doing, I'll finally be able to refer you to what I'm talking about. I'm actually working on some interesting projects, but I can't talk about them now.
Anyway, I haven't been totally abandoning the photography side of things. I've been doing some bits and pieces that you may find of interest.
Yesterday on February 19th, Adobe Photoshop celebrated its 25th birthday. It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago the first version of the venerable photo manipulation software was launched.
While it probably doesn't get the attention that other important innovations of the late 20th century get, such as the personal computer, Photoshop is still one of the most influential inventions of the time. When you think about how much of the visual world we live in today has been influenced by computer graphics in one way or another, from advertising to movies, and much of that can be traced back to Photoshop.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about what the then rumoured 5K iMac would mean that for photographers, and how you would now be pixel peeping on such a display even just looking at images. It was sort of a tongue in cheek piece, but now that the Retina iMac is real, I thought it would be important to have another look at the implications of a 5k display for photographers. If you're considering one of these new iMacs (I know I am !) then there are a few things you may want to ponder first!
400 Grunge Textures for Photoshop
I'm very excited to announce a new product this morning. I've been planning and working on this for a long time, and so I'm delighted that it's finally ready for release. It's called "Texture Box One" and, to put it simply it's a huge pack of textures for dirtying up and ageing your images in Photoshop.
For the longest time I've been fascinated by textures. As a long time designer (in my other career) I have always used textures as design elements, as a way of makings something look more natural, and adding a layer of life to an image. Over the years I've collected numerous textures and used them extensively in design and animation as well as various photographic projects. But using the textures that I've found online and in stock libraries didn't cut it so I started creating my own library. I shot hundreds of images of grungy materials, such as concrete and stone, dirt and metal, and then I used my own process in photoshop to extract the necessary patterns into specific texture maps that can be easily added to a composition as layers in Photoshop, or any image editing software.
The Pack contains nearly 800mb of files consisting of 400 high resolution grunge textures designed to add dirt, grit scratches and dust to add to an image to create a distressed or artistically aged look. These textures can be used in Photoshop as a way to treat a photograph, or as part of a design project, to weather and age a design.
The textures have been hand crafted from photographs of textures (which are also included) and are in four main sets
The dirt maps contain black dirt marks on a white background. These are extracted from various photographic images and represent a variety of organic and natural patterns of dirt and grit for use as textures.
The scratch maps aren't really scratches, but are called that after the effect of dirt damaging a negative.
Dust maps contain fine "dust like" patterns of noise and grit to add additional layers of texture to your images.
This set contains 100 of the original colour photographic textures that were used to create the dirt, scratch and dust maps.
Examples of the Textures in Use
Here are some examples of using the textures in photographic projects. Each of the images has been composited with multiple layers of textures from the pack.
If you're wondering what these images looked like before, here are the originals:
Texture Box One is available now on the Download store. The normal price will be €60 but for the next week there's a special Launch price of just €50. For more details, and to download a sample pack with a selection of full resolution images from Texture Box One, see the full product page on the store.