I was this week's guest on The Grid with Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski. It's a live talk-show about photography, Photoshop & other industry-related topics. The archive of the live show just got posted. You can view it here. Episode Summary Scott is back from his European seminar tour and is joined by Matt and PSW Instructor, Rich Harrington. Today's topic: "C'mon… Admit it… You use Photoshop" - a lively discussion about why Photoshop is still seen as a taboo addition to photography by some, regardless of the fact that every photographer uses it. The discussion turns to "digital vs. darkroom"… And then careens right off the rails as Scott regales the audience with a lovely song about Brad's experience in Amsterdam. (NOTE: He's totally joking).
Starting today (Friday, August 5) Adobe will have regular Friday eSeminars called Ask a CS Pro. The series will focus on ways for creative professionals to get their jobs done and to get more out of Adobe software. The first session is by a super savvy colleague of mine, Carey Dissmore
In this week’s Ask a CS Pro, Carey Dissmore will talk about the importance of great demo reels, and provide an overview of the editing workflow in Premiere Pro from the perspective of an editor who is comfortable with Final Cut Pro. Carey will also share the similarities, differences and unique advantages of Premiere Pro, including its tight integration with other products in the Adobe Production Premium bundle such as After Effects, Photoshop and Audition.
The event starts at Noon Pacific. You can participate at the Connect Room: http://my.adobe.acrobat.co m/askcspro. The room will open up 15 minutes before the session starts. At this time, please sign in as a guest to join.
When it comes to video, there are no hard and fast rules for alignment. As a general practice, however, lower-thirds tend to be left or right justified (which leaves room for a logo or bug on the opposite side). Centered or force justified text is more commonly used for titles or bumpers.
When setting text in an Adobe application, you often don’t just want to click and type (called point text). Instead you can click and drag using the Type tool to define the paragraph area first. This is called Paragraph text and offers greater control over alignment and layout.
You’ll find alignment buttons within the type interfaces of Adobe software. The Alignment buttons attempt to align text left, right, or centered. They also add support for justification, which forces the text to align to both margins through the adjustment of spaces between words. Be sure to check out the new book An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Another property you’ll frequently adjust is leading to better fit your text. Pronounced led-ing as in the metal, not lead-ing as in sheep, leading is the space between lines of type. The name is derived from when strips of lead were used on a printing press to space out lines of text. The left image has too much leading and creates an unwanted visual break between the two lines. The right image has tighter leading, but care was taken to avoid a collision between the ascenders and descenders. By default, the leading should be set to Auto; however, you can adjust as needed to fit text into your design. If you need to fit more text on the screen, you’ll tighten the leading to produce less space between lines of text. Be careful to avoid setting the leading too tight; otherwise, descenders from the top line will cross ascenders from the lower line. This collision will likely result in a negative impact on readability. Be sure to check out the new book An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
When using text for video, it's very common to use type that is too small. Because video seems to have two distinct paths these days—traditional and Web—we've developed two quick tests that check for readability:
Traditional. When we build graphics for the television screen, we'll often stand up and step back a few feet from the monitor to view our work. This is because TV viewers rarely sit three feet from the screen.
Web. Video on the Web has a different set of problems. The two biggest issues you'll face are playback size and data rate. Most Web video is played back with a width of 320 or 640 pixels. This means that up to 83 percent of your information is being discarded (1920 vs. 360 pixels). Additionally, most Web video is compressed to a significantly smaller data rate. We recommend staying in your desk chair but reducing the playback window to 50 percent (or even 25 percent) magnification. You can also change the resolution of the Program Monitor to quarter or half quality.
Similar to kerning is tracking, which is the overall space between all letters in a line of text. You can use tracking as a way to condense or expand a block of text so it better fits the onscreen space (after all, you can’t scroll a video monitor to read more). You might choose a loose track to improve readability (especially if you’re using all caps or need to apply a stroked border). Tracking is typically done in the Title Properties panel in Adobe Premiere Pro or the Character panel in other Adobe applications. Tracking, like kerning, is subjective, and you can learn best how to do it by studying professional examples and looking for inspiration and guidance.
The top line is too loosely tracked, whereas the bottom line is too tight. Be sure to experiment with tracking when you need to fill in space on the screen or to make stroke text more readable.
As you work with text, you’ll often need to modify the space between letters. Adjusting the space between individual letter pairs is called kerning and is typically adjusted one pair at a time. Why all the fuss you ask? Well, design pros always check their kerning because kerning the space between letter pairs produces a better optical flow, which can greatly improve the appearance and readability of your text. Knowing how to kern is learned by studying examples of professionally laid out text.
The top line of text has irregular gaps between letters, which creates a challenge when reading the line. In Adobe Premiere Pro and other Adobe applications, kerning is simple to adjust.
Click to place your cursor or move it using the arrow keys.
When the blinking I-bar is between the two letters you want to kern, hold down the Option (Alt) key.
Press the left arrow key to pull the letters closer or the right arrow key to push them farther apart.
Move to the next letter pair and adjust as needed.
Making the right text color choice can be surprisingly tricky. The truth is that typically only a few colors work well for text and remain clear to the viewer. The task is made difficult because you need to constrain color choice to meet broadcast standards and because text is often laid over a busy moving background. The use of a contrasting edge makes it easier to read text when laid over moving video. Although it may seem a little boring, the most common color for text in video is white. Not surprisingly, the second most popular color is black. If a color is used, it tends to be in very light or very dark shades. Lighter colors that work well include light blue, yellow, gray, and tan. Darker colors that hold up include navy and forest green. Remember to keep your text towards the very dark or very light range, or contrast will become an issue when the text is placed over a motion background.
Type on Pattern
When creating text for video, the text will often be placed over a background that contains a full spectrum of color. Achieving proper contrast is the key to preserving legibility. Try applying a stroke, outer glow, or tight drop shadow to get a contrasting edge. The biggest problem with type and video is that there will always be light and dark elements in your scene. It is crucial to add a contrasting edge to any type that will be keyed over a full-chroma, moving background. Be sure to check out the new book An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
When it comes time to classify fonts, there are two major distinctions: serif or sans serif. Serifs are the hooks that distinguish the details of letter shape. Sans serif fonts tend to be more uniform in shape. For instant clarity, the shape of individual letters in serif fonts tend to be easier to distinguish. Many clients prefer serif fonts because they are more traditional. Often, there are more serif fonts to choose from because serif type has a long history. Serif fonts are modeled after many handwritten texts as well as the initial type used in printing presses.
A potential drawback, however, is that serif fonts can shimmer or vibrate onscreen because they often come to thin or small points. As an alternative, consider sans-serif fonts, which can have a cleaner style and are composed of generally even-weighted lines. Be sure to check out the new book An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro
Although the font choice on the left certainly says American Southwest, it does not capture the same emotional sensitivity as the choice on the right. Always take the time to explore several options when choosing a font family. Selecting the right font can be a tough choice (of course it might already be made for you by an art director, producer, or client). Chances are your computer has hundreds if not thousands of fonts. You can easily become overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of options. To simplify the process, you need to approach this decision with a triage mentality and consider a few guiding questions:
Readability. Is the font easy to read at the point size you are using? Are all the characters in the line readable? If you look at it quickly and then close your eyes, what do you remember about the text block?
Style. Does the font convey the right emotion for your video? Type is a like wardrobe; picking the right font is essential to the success of the design.
Flexibility. Does the font mix well with others? Does it come in various weights (such as bold, italic, and semibold) that make it easier to convey significance when using that font?
How you answer the questions for each of the three guiding principles will steer you towards good design. It’s also a good idea to work with your clients, producer, or art director. Instead of scrolling through a list of fonts for hours, interview your clients about the style and mood they want to invoke. If they suggest a boring font, direct them towards an alternative that looks similar but may be better optimized for video. If you have too many fonts loaded, it can make it difficult to find the right font. It also can lead to serious performance issues, such as an unstable operating system and slow launch times. Consider using a font manager to group fonts into sets for clients as well as activate and deactivate fonts on the fly (without having to relaunch a program).
Finding Fonts Online
Here are a few of our favorite Web sites that offer free and affordable fonts:
Proper use of type is crucial in designing effective graphics for video. Often, the text you create will be composited over moving footage, which can make it even more difficult to read. As you design type for video, it is necessary to balance legibility with style, fitting enough information on the screen but not crowding it. If you can combine this functional purpose with a better sense of style and control, you can improve the professional appearance of your designs. Further Reading on Type A great book to truly understand type is the oddly named “Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works” (Adobe Press, 2002) by Erik Spiekermann and E.M. Ginger.
I'm speaking today and tomorrow at the Creve Coeur Camera Superstore in Saint Louis about Adobe Photoshop and digital photography. The classes are 100% free, but are first come first serve (tickets are handed out one hour in advance. The store is located at: 11615 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, MO 63141 314-567-3456
FRIDAY Adobe Photoshop® Presented by Richard Harrington Learn about Photoshop® tools and photo manipulation. 2:00-3:00pm in classroom A 5:00-6:00pm in classroom A
SATURDAY Adobe Photoshop® Presented by Richard Harrington Learn about Photoshop® tools and photo manipulation. 8:30-9:30am in classroom A 11:30am-12:30pm in classroom A
If you need to try out different color combinations, be sure to try Kuler from Adobe. This flash-based application lets you browse a wide variety of designer created color schemes as well as create your own. It supports all the major rules from Analogous to Shades. The controls are beautifully designed and the entire application really inspires creativity. In order to access it, you are supposed to have a live connection to the Internet. You'll need to be online to take advantage of the shared and highest rated features, but I've found a work-around for those times when an Internet connection isn't an option. I was able to save a web archive in Safari (File > Save As) which can then be opened up when I am not on the Net. Be sure to check this very cool application out.
I've written a free book for Adobe about how to get more done with After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere Pro and more. ”Explore the creative possibilities of DSLR video editing with Adobe Creative Suite 5 software. This paper provides tips and tricks for navigating Adobe Premiere® Pro CS5, Photoshop® CS5, Photoshop CS5 Extended, After Effects® CS5, and other CS5 components to help you along the way." The book is 100% Free, and contains all sorts of great knowledge.
Working in the timeline of Adobe Premiere Pro
Get more done with Adobe Photoshop
Get organized with Adobe Bridge
Working with audio
Adobe After Effects Advanced techniques
Good shooting practices and Production Techniques
Sharing and publishing your video
You can download the free eBook with tips for DSLR and Creative Suite at http://adobe.ly/dslrtips For more on the fusion of photography and video, check out From Still to Motion. If you enjoy the ebook, please leave a comment . It means a lot and lets Adobe know people are reading and appreciate the book.
This is a re-post... but I was asked to share it again. Here's a free (and really good) way to learn all about the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in. This is a bonus eBook I wrote to go along with the book Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5. Its yours for free... I hope it helps.
Blending modes are both a mystery and a source of great design power. Each blending mode controls how one layer’s pixels are affected by those in another layer (or by a tool from the Tools panel). Most users give up on blending modes because the technical definitions of each mode get very tricky. The secret is to not worry too much about the technical issues and to learn how to experiment. Read the whole article here – http://www.tipsquirrel.com/index.php/2010/12/mastering-photoshops-blending-...
I have a free webinar about Photoshop CS5 and my new book Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5.
Join author and instructor Richard Harrington for an overview of the new features in Photoshop CS5 and how his book, Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5 and its accompanying video training on DVD, can be used effectively in the classroom. DETAILS: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 3:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00) Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, GMT-07:00) SIGN UP HERE: http://tinyurl.com/cs5edcast
I posted a new article over at TipSquirrel.com on the rarely used Lens Blur command. Selectively blurring an image can help your viewer find a focal point. Photoshop offers a realistic lens blur that also produces depth-of-field blurring. This allows some objects to remain in focus while others fall gently out of focus.
You can be very specific in regard to the blurring if you make an accurate alpha channel to serve as a depth matte. The depth matte defines how far away things are from the camera.
I came across a great white paper on Adobe's website about color management in After Effects. As more and more color choices are being made on set, its important that artists respect the wishes of the director or DP. This white paper is intended for professionals in the motion graphics, video, and film production industries who need a reliable approach to achieving accurate and consistent color in their workflows. It provides compelling answers to a major question: How does color management technology in After Effects help you achieve accurate and consistent color reproduction?
The Clone Stamp can produce predictable and accurate results with just a little practice. It works by sampling pixels from one area of an image and painting them in another.
This technique goes beyond copy and paste, however, because it uses the flexibility of Photoshop’s Brush palette. This allows you to adjust the size and hardness of the brush as well as the opacity of the stroke.
Select the Clone Stamp tool by pressing S.
Select a brush from the Options bar or Brushes panel.
Specify the tool alignment in the Options bar. If Aligned is selected, the sample point and painting point move parallel as you brush. If you click again and start over, the sample point picks up relative to the current brush position. If Aligned is deselected, the initial sample point is re-used. The second method ensures that you are always sampling from the same area but the first produces more visual variety if using a large textured area.
Option+click (Alt+click) within the current document, or another open document (set to the same color mode). This defines the source point for sampled pixel data.
Click and start to paint as if you were using the Brush Tool (you are essentially sampling pixels from one area and painting them into another). The sampled pixels are drawn from before you click. Therefore, it may be necessary to release and start over occasionally to avoid cloning the problem area. If using Photoshop CS4 or later, you’ll also see a preview of the pixels you are painting.
Try cloning at a lower opacity from several different places to fill in a problem area. This way you can avoid too much repetition in the pattern.
Try to “follow the line” by looking for edges to follow in the image. Straight lines such as creases in clothing are easier to follow than random spots. Look to follow the natural curves and linear paths that are present.
You can clone from all visible layers by specifying Use All Layers. This is useful if you want to clone to an empty layer at the top of your document while sampling from the layers below.
I find that most users quickly master the Clone Stamp tool. Unfortunately many become truly stumped by its two cousins, the Healing Brush tool and the Patch tool. Knowing when to turn from cloning to healing and patching is an important distinction.
The Healing Brush (J) is a tool that is designed to correct imperfections in a photo.
The Patch Tool uses similar technology as the Healing Brush, but Patch is better suited to fixing larger problems or empty areas.