Graphics / Design
You’ve all seen the animated GIFs on the various entertainment news sites, right? Those looping animations of bizarre facial reactions or of dancers falling down for our entertainment? They can be quite comical and they can be quite annoying, but either way, they’re now very easy to make with apps such as PicGIF from Pearl Mountain Technology.
Adobe’s Photoshop Elements has been the benchmark application by which consumer (ie: relatively affordable) image editing apps are judged for 18 years. First introduced as Photoshop LE in 1996, Photoshop Elements 12 is still the image editor to have if you’re only having one in the sub-$100 class.
Adobe created a program that—for $9.99 per month (based on a years contract)—provides users with access to Photoshop, Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, 20 GB of Cloud Storage, and a Behance ProSite. This is a truly spectacular deal, but there is a catch; you have to sign up before March 31st. That’s it.
New on Adobe Labs is the latest candidate for Adobe Camera Raw (v. 8.4) for both Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC. Be advised, though, that if you’re still using OS X v10.6.8, or if you are using Windows XP or Vista, do not download the new build as this release will not be compatible with your system. Either stay with ACR 8.3 or update your OS.
iResizer is a content-aware image scaling app that lets you resize your images without distorting the subjects. You can squash a landscape into a square while preserving the people in your snapshot, but the app’s got some rough edges that make it a tough sell.
The oddly-named GIMP (acronym for: GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source, high-end image editing and creation alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop and its now open-ended, monthly wallet-siphoning distribution mode for tasks like photo retouching, image editing and composition, and image authoring.
Aptly named, Intensify is designed to help you bring out the details in your photos, whether it’s recovering landscape details lost to haze or just making an otherwise drab cityscape pop. Unlike some programs of the HDR editing variety, however, Intensify’s adjustments are natural looking and can be infinitely altered through a powerful combination of sliders and masking.
3D printing is a technology on the verge of going mainstream, and getting support from Adobe Photoshop CC is certainly a shove in the right direction. With the Adobe, Adobe sought to radically simplify the 3D print process in order to make Photoshop CC the go-to tool for those wanting to print a 3D model. As a result, Creative Cloud members can “… easily and reliably build, refine, preview, prepare and print 3D designs, setting the stage for explosive growth in the 3D printing market.”
While iPhoto is a wonderful tool for the consumer market—helping people store and tweak the photographs they take in everyday life—it is completely inadequate for managing the large libraries that professionals or dedicated amateurs will quickly accumulate. Adobe Lightroom 5 is a library system for images, allowing you to tag, catalog, and export photos in a nondestructive environment, along with basic manipulation tools.
It’s because ideas have their ebb and flow—and to keep up with them, to organize everything systematically, and to make them more concrete and palatable—you need tools and methods. Fortunately, Realmac’s Ember for Mac OS X does a pretty good job with this. It’s a must-have app for professionals and creative types who are into curating, organizing, collecting, and visualizing photos, designs, ideas and more.
I’m a fan of small, nimble, fast, and focused applications that just work, and Maxim Gapchenko’s Inpaint Pro qualifies on all counts. Inpaint is a program—a graphics utility really—designed to do just one thing: remove unwanted elements from your photos. Inpaint can be used to repair old photos, remove watermarks, remove unwanted objects, do digital facial retouching and erase wrinkles and skin blemishes, remove watermarks and date stamps, and so forth. It’s really straightforward and easy to use. Fun, even.
Adobe releases a new version of Photoshop Elements every year, and makes improvements to it each time. You might think they would run out of ideas to put into Elements, but the excellent editing features it has had since day one remain, and they’ve made improvements to make them even better in this latest version.