All posts tagged ‘photos’

Video Tutorial Demonstrates Photoshop CS 4’s ‘Content Aware Scaling’

photoshop content aware optionPhotoshop guru Russell Brown has posted a video demonstrating the power of Photoshop CS4′s “content aware scaling,” which is difficult to describe, but fairly mind-blowing once you’ve seen it in action (video link).

In a nutshell, content aware scaling enables you to resize an image on single axis without distorting any of the primary content. It works by analyzing your image and figuring out what is important and what isn’t. Generally speaking, that means that foreground subjects are left alone and backgrounds are resized independently, though the exact behavior will depend on the image you’re working with.

But squeezing backgrounds isn’t the only thing content aware scaling can handle, you can also use the “protect” feature to manually control which parts of your image are preserved and which are resized. In the video Brown walks you through how to use an alpha channel mask to selectively resize parts of your image.

Of course to get your own hands dirty with content aware scaling, you’ll have to wait until Photoshop CS4 is available later this month. In the mean time, you can drool over the possibilities highlighted in Brown’s demo.

And note that yes, Brown is, well, a bit eccentric shall we say, but he knows Photoshop better than most. If the nerd version of the monster truck rally voiceover makes you cringe, just hit mute and watch the video — content aware scaling speaks for itself.

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Rainbow Vomiting Panda Bear Takes Over Flickr

flickr panda

Flickr has added a new and very odd way to explore photos on the site — via a rainbow vomiting Panda Bear.

The feature itself isn’t anything too exciting — it scrolls through images based on Flickr’s “interestingness” criteria — but the interface is perhaps the most bizarre design choice we’ve ever seen.

We’re not sure what’s in the water over at the Flickr headquarters, but we want some.

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Picasa for Linux 3.0: Photo Management Done Right

picasa.jpgGoogle’s Picasa photo editing tool for Linux has caught up to its Windows sibling with a new beta 3 release. The latest version of Picasa for Linux packs in all the features from the recent Windows beta, save one — there’s no slideshow movie feature.

The lack of slideshow movies is due to shortcomings in Wine, which powers Picasa for Linux. But the latest version packs in enough new features to keep most users happy.

The most notable of the changes are vast improvements to the way Picasa integrates with other apps. For instance, it now uses your preferred file manager to show files on disk and can use your default e-mail program to send photos directly from Picasa.

picasa linux

There also new support for the camera detection features in both GNOME and KDE flavors of Linux, so whenever you plug in your camera, you’ll be prompted to open Picasa.

And yes, the rest of the new features from the Windows release are all here — faster performance, automatic web syncing, all the new retouching tools and more. Our personal favorite: you can now move entire folders around on your hard drive from within Picasa 3.

Mac users, however, will have to wait. Google still hasn’t released any more details about the long-awaited release of Picasa for Mac OS X. Since there were some rumblings that a release could be right around the corner as far back as the Macworld conference and expo last January, a release can’t be too far off.

The facial recognition “Name Tags” feature is a component of Picasa Web Albums, the online sharing component tied to the Picasa desktop software, so all Picasa Web members should have access to that feature regardless of which operating system they’re using.

For a complete rundown of everything that’s new, check out the release notes. You can grab the latest version here.

[screenshot via Google]

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New GIMP 2.6 Gives Photoshop a Run for Its Money

gimp.jpgThe developers behind the GNU Image Manipulation Program, better known as GIMP, have released a new version that features a major overhaul to the program’s user interface. The result is a version of GIMP that behaves much more like Photoshop and makes a very capable replacement for those not locked into an Adobe workflow.

Perhaps the most welcome change to the UI is that the palettes (toolbox and docks in GIMP parlance) are now utility windows, which means that they won’t show up in your dock or task bar as separate windows — a long-requested feature for GIMP.

GIMP 2.6 doesn’t move to a single unified window, as Photoshop has done, but it does now feature an “empty image window’ which acts as a container for all your open images. That means that closing an image no longer closes the app and it also means there’s drag-and-drop support for opening images.

gimp

The result is a much more pleasant UI experience, which has the secondary benefit of being much more familiar to those coming from various versions of Photoshop.

Aside from the interface changes, GIMP 2.6 also represents a huge leap forward on the image-depth front. Although many people claim that GIMP is a viable replacement for Photoshop, professional designers have long balked at the GIMP’s limited color depth — 8 bits per color channel.

GIMP 2.6 moves to remedy this issue with the new GEGL image back end, which includes support for 32-bit images. For the time being the GEGL support is experimental and disabled by default, but you can turn it on by heading to Colors >> Use GEGL.

The new version of GIMP also includes a much more robust plug-in framework.

If you’d like to read about the rest of the changes, head over to release notes, and for a look at some more changes in store for the GIMP UI, be sure to read through the redesign wiki page.

GIMP 2.6 is free download for all platforms. Grab your copy from the downloads page.

[screenshot from GIMP.org]

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File Under: Software & Tools

Adobe Lightroom 2.1: More Cameras, Fewer Bugs

Lightroom2boxAdobe has made a Lightroom 2.1 release candidate available for download on the Adobe Labs site. The update eliminates a number of bugs, improves performance and adds support for some newer DSL cameras.

The main focus for this release is stamping out bugs introduced by the recent 2.0 upgrade, so don’t expect any new features.

But if you’ve got a new Mac, Lightroom 2.1 should be a bit faster thanks to improved rendering performance on 64-bit Intel machines. For the rest of us, the update promises to solve a number of bugs, including some image rotation issues and problems that could arise when transferring files to Photoshop.

Lightroom 2.1 is also notable for including all the additional RAW profiles that were of the recent Camera Raw 4.6 update.

While Lightroom 2.1 is a release candidate and should be stable, it isn’t intended for production work. Still, if you’ve got a new camera, or have been bitten by bugs in Lightroom 2.0, it might be worth giving 2.1 it a try. And of course if you find any bugs, be sure to let Adobe know.

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