Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lightroom Presets vs. Photoshop Actions

Lightroom Presets vs. Photoshop Actions

The ultimate battle ensues for the top drawer in my toolbox: presets versus actions. What's the difference and what are the pros and cons according to Elizabeth?

First the basics: Presets are Lightroom's way of applying many changes to a photo in one click. They can be made by you for a way in which you commonly treat a photo and would like to apply your own recipe in one click. Alternatively, they can be the recipes of other photographers which you purchase from them as .lrtemplate files to import into your lightroom catalogue of presets. Even better, some photographers give their presets away for free! Keep reading for those.

Photoshop's one-click version are called actions and they work in the same way. Scroll through the effect names, choose one and click. You then see your photograph go through a makeover in a split-second. Again, you can record your own action sequences or buy them as .atn files from other photographers.

I prefer LR presets. I'm a control freak (big time) and I want to have complete, effortless control over every last pixel of my work. I appreciate the foundation that presets can lay in my editing process, but I never click once and move on. I always then play with the sliders to make every last element of my photo exactly what I want it to be. With actions, I feel that I lose control and unless the one click produces exactly what I had in mind (it never does), I don't prefer to use them. The few times I've used actions, they always end up being from Florabella because she makes them work with a variety of layers which you can then tweak. But still, I don't feel that I have enough control.

So what actions/presets do I love? My first love came from the 'Lightroom Killer Tips' website. Matt gives utterly amazing LR tutorials and gives his presets away for free. He even invented a preset extractor program which extracts LR setting from photos on Flickr and that is free as well. Genius! For actions, I use Florabella. She is the love of my textures life and also makes smashing actions. Another place for free actions and presets is CoffeeShop. For presets, my loves are Rebecca Lily and One Willow's 'Retro Candy' presets with delicious names like 'cotton candy'.

Keep in mind that most presets are created to work on RAW files, so if you're not shooting in RAW yet, look into starting that before using presets. If you're not sure about RAW vs JPEG, read this.

Friday, January 29, 2010

February Meeting - special raffle from StockLayouts

Updated: 2-4-10

We have a special raffle set up for our February Meeting courtesy of our new friends at  One lucky winner will receive a 3 month subscription to StockLayouts which grants full access to their entire graphic design template library – hundreds of templates with thousands of graphic elements.Two lucky winners will receive a copy of The Design Box which is a box of sample layouts that you can use for inspiration and to show clients.  Everyone will be able to snag a 50% discount coupon for a template of their choice.

Be sure to check out their free samples. 
As usual, winner must be a CPAUG member and present to win.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adobe Calls Out Apple for Lack of Flash on iPad

Adobe Calls Out Apple for Lack of Flash on iPad

While the iPad sports a lot of features, one of them isn't Flash. The Adobe plug-in is nowhere to be found on Apple's device, meaning that many online games and video sites (such as Hulu) aren't usable on Apple's tablet device.

Don't think Adobe hasn't noticed this omission. In a stern blog post, the Flash team praised the inclusion of PDF and ePub support in the iPad, but quickly went on to condemn the company Steve Jobs built:

"It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers. Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format, consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple's DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers. And without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web."

Adobe is calling out one of the biggest gripes developers have with Apple's App ecosystem: its restrictive, closed environment where Apple must approve all programs that run on its platform.

While we doubt this post will sway the minds of the Apple leadership, it does escalate the battle between the two companies over the future of the web.

Tags: adobe, apple, Apple Tablet, Flash, ipad, Tablet

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Star Wars Opening Scene Rendered Entirely in HTML [VIDEO]

Star Wars Opening Scene Rendered Entirely in HTML [VIDEO]

What you are about to see is not done in Flash or Quicktime or any other video technology. It's the iconic Star Wars opening scene — where the backstory text scrolls by and recedes away from you — rendered entirely using the HTML and CSS standards that are used to build the vast majority of web pages you see online.

Guillermo Esteves built the scene using cutting-edge features of HTML5 (the standard YouTube just launched support for), which supports advanced 3D transformations and animations using CSS. As such, you can only view the actual creation in the limited selection of browsers that support these features: Safari 4.0.4 in OS X Snow Leopard and the WebKit nightly build.

If you don't have either of those browsers, fret not — Esteves rendered a YouTube video of the scene playing back in the WebKit nightly build so anyone can see the results. It's definitely more proof of concept than utility, but Esteves himself said he did it "just wanted to see if it could be done." It shows off some of what's going to be possible when HTML5 support becomes more widespread, and by using web standards instead of Flash or Quicktime, there's less bandwidth occupied and less draining on the battery life of whatever device you're watching from.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think. Have you seen any other cool HTML5 projects yet?

[YouTube Video]

[via The iPhone Blog]

Reviews: Safari, YouTube


Megan Fister. Sent from my iPhone.

ComparePSD Compares Photoshop Images Layer-by-Layer [Downloads]

ComparePSD Compares Photoshop Images Layer-by-Layer [Downloads]

Windows only: If you find yourself stuck with multiple copies of the same Photoshop project, free utility ComparePSD might help—it quickly compares PSD files layer-by-layer, effect-by-effect to find the one you're looking for.

If you're lucky, you've learned the lesson "save early and save often"—and if you're really lucky, you've learned to save a new copy each time, so if you make a mistake you can go back to an earlier draft. However, that creates a whole new problem when you don't know which file is which—and no one wants to open each one up in Photoshop and look through the effects in each file.

ComparePSD lays these files out side by side and lets you compare the files layer by layer, so you can notice effects differences easier—with thumbnails to make it all the easier. It also integrates with the Windows Explorer context menu, letting you select files to compare straight from their folder. Plus, as of today, it's free—and it certainly beats waiting for Photoshop to load.

ComparePSD is a free download, Windows only (although they are working on a Mac version as well).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FlashCookiesView Shows Exactly How Web Sites are Tracking You [Downloads]

FlashCookiesView Shows Exactly How Web Sites are Tracking You [Downloads]

Windows only: Portable utility FlashCookiesView displays a list of those hidden Flash cookies that web sites use to track where you are going, and allows you to easily delete them.

We've already explained how to clean up Flash cookies in our guide to browsing without leaving a trace, but FlashCookiesView makes viewing and deleting the cookies extremely simple no matter what browser you're using—just open the utility, and you'll see a list of cookies you can view or delete. You'll want to note that even when you use private browsing mode, Flash cookies are still tracking you across sessions—in the screenshot above, the offending cookie was generated in Google Chrome's private browsing mode.

FlashCookiesView is a free download for Windows only, but be sure to read our guide to browsing without a trace for an automated method to clean them up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mastering Photoshop: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers

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Mastering Photoshop: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers

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We all have shortcuts that are essential to our daily workflow. A majority of them are staples such as Copy (Command + C) and Paste (Command + V), but occasionally we stumble upon a shortcut we wish we'd learned years ago. Suddenly, this simple shortcut has streamlined our process and shaved quite a bit of time off our day. Collected here are some lesser known but extremely useful shortcuts. Many of these are not documented in the "Keyboard Shortcuts" menu, and some of them don't even have equivalent menu options.

Please note that all of the shortcuts listed below assume that you are using Photoshop CS4 on OS X. They will work on the Windows platform by converting as follows: Command → Control and Option → Alt.

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Sifting through nests of layer sets to find the layer you need quickly becomes tiresome. Luckily, there are a number of ways to select layers more intuitively. Using the Move tool (V), you can Command + click on the canvas to select the uppermost layer with pixel data located directly below the mouse. If your layers are grouped within layer sets, this action may have selected the entire folder. You can change this behavior to select the actual layer by using the Auto-select drop-down in the Move tool's property bar.

Megan Fister. Sent from my iPhone.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wordpress Book Review - Coming Soon!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be reviewing the book, Wordpress 2.8 Theme Design by Tessa Blakeley Silver in the near future.  Please return for the review soon!

Disclosure:  I received this book at no cost from the book publisher.  The link provided in this blog post is an affiliate link.  Any proceeds from that link go back into running and supporting CPAUG.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CPAUG News - January Meeting Recap, February Meeting, Flash Editor Discussion

January Meeting Recap:
The January Meeting Recap on Wii Flash Games including meeting notes and links can be found in the "Meeting Minutes" at:

February Meeting - Captivate 4:
Our next meeting is Monday, February 15th where Michael Dunmire will be presenting on Adobe Captivate .  Meeting details and RSVP can be found at: 

Discussion: What Flash editor do you use?
Tamara would like to know what editors you're using for your Flash projects.  Join the discussion at:

Meetings are always free of charge and open to the public. Please note that the Kline Library branch does not have free WiFi nor do they allow food or drink.

Poll Results: "Do you own a Nintendo Wii?"

  4 (44%)
  5 (55%)

Votes so far: 9
Poll closed

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting started with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional February 23, 2010 Philadelphia, PA Learn how to use Flash CS4 Pro

Getting started with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional
February 23, 2010
Philadelphia, PA
Learn how to use Flash CS4 Professional to create uniquely compelling experiences. You'll walk away with new skills using this industry-leading animation authoring software.
Learn more at

Wednesday, January 6, 2010