PhotoshopNews » Facts & Myths http://photoshopnews.com The latest news about the top pixel wrangling application on the planet. Sun, 17 Jul 2011 17:19:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Camera Raw and the shadow output levels http://photoshopnews.com/2008/01/14/camera-raw-and-the-shadow-output-levels/ http://photoshopnews.com/2008/01/14/camera-raw-and-the-shadow-output-levels/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2008 16:58:42 +0000 Martin Evening http://photoshopnews.com/2008/01/14/camera-raw-and-the-shadow-output-levels/ convert-levels-compare-low.jpg

Some image editing habits become so ingrained that it is hard to unlearn them when newer ways come along and make the old favorite methods redundant. An example of this is the subject of setting the output Levels in Photoshop for the print output. For many years Photoshop users were taught to set the output levels for the shadows at a slightly higher value than 0,0,0, even though (as you will read here) it has not been necessary to do so for quite some years now. Then came along Camera Raw and Lightroom and some photographers have been agonizing over how to set the output levels for an image when there is no output levels control in Camera Raw or Lightroom. Hopefully the following article will help shed some light on how Photoshop is still able to manage the output levels for you and why the solution is really a lot simpler than you would think.

Conflicting advice
You will sometimes come across advice that the output levels for the black point in an RGB image should be set to something like 20, 20, 20 (for the Red, Green, Blue RGB values) The usual reason given for this is because anything darker than say, a 20, 20, 20 shadow value will reproduce in print as a solid black. Just to add to the confusion, some people may suggest different numbers for the output levels: someone may suggest using 10,10,10, while another advises you use 25,25,25. In all this you are probably left wondering how to set the Blacks in Camera Raw, since you can only use the Blacks slider to clip the Black input levels and are offered no means to set a black levels output value using of the above suggested output settings.

This is one of those areas where the advice given is more complex than it needs to be. It is well known that because of factors such as dot gain, it has always been necessary to make the blacks in a digital image slightly lighter than the blackest black (0,0,0,) before outputting it to print. As a result of this, in the early days of digital imaging, the only way to get a digital image to print correctly was to manually adjust the output levels so that the black clipping point matched the print device. Back then, if you set the levels to 0,0,0, RGB, the blacks would print too dark and lose detail in the shadows. The solution therefore was to set the Output levels point to a value higher than this (such as 20,20,20 RGB), so that the blacks in the image matched the blackest black for the print device. These are the background reasons for such advice, because the black levels had to be adjusted differently for each type of print output including CMYK prepress files.

For the last 10 years or so, Photoshop has had a built-in automated colour management system that is designed to take care of the black clipping at the print stage. The advice these days is therefore really quite simple: you decide where you want the blackest blacks to be in the picture and clip them to 0,0,0, RGB (as discussed on the previous page). When you save the image out to Photoshop as a pixel image and send the image data to the printer, the Photoshop or print driver software will automatically calculate the precise amount of black clipping adjustment that is required for each and every print/paper combination. In the Figure 3.xx example you can see how the black clipping points for different print papers are automatically compensated when converting the data from the edited image to the profile space for the printing paper. But don’t just take my word, it is easy to prove this for yourself. Open an image, set the Channel display in the Histogram panel to Luminosity and refresh the histogram to show the most up-to-date histogram view. Then go to the Edit menu, choose Convert to Profile, select a CMYK or RGB print space and compare the before and after histograms.

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Figure 1. Here is the image that was used to generate the histogram panel views shown in the Figures below.

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Figure 2. This Histogram panel view shows the original histogram for this ProPhoto RGB image. Note that this histogram and the others shown here all used the Luminosity mode since this channel view mode accurately portrays the composite luminance levels in each version of the image.

convert-levels-compare-flat.jpg

Figure 3. This histogram shows a comparison of the image histogram after converting the ProPhoto RGB data to a print profile space for Innova Fibraprint glossy paper printed to an Epson 4800 printer. The print output histogram is overlaid here in green and you can see that the black levels clipping point has been automatically indented.

convert-somerset-velvet.jpg
Figure 4. This example shows the print profile for a Somerset Velvet matte paper printed to an Epson 9600 printer, again colored green so that you can compare it more easily with the before Histogram. The black clipping point is moved inwards even more here because the matte paper needs a higher black clipping point to avoid clogging up the shadow detail. The same thing also happens when you make a CMYK conversion, but the black point will possibly shift inwards even more.

So is it wrong to set levels manually?
Not really. All l I am suggesting here is that it is an unnecessary extra step to use Photoshop to set the black output levels to anything higher than the zero black after you have already set the black clipping to the desired setting at the Camera Raw editing stage (or done so in Photoshop). If you do set the black output levels manually to a setting that is higher than zero you won’t necessarily get inferior print outputs, providing that is, you set the black levels accurately and don’t set them any higher than is needed. And there’s the rub: how do you know how much to set the output levels, and what if you want to output a photo to more than one type of print paper? You see, it’s easier to let Photoshop work this out for you.

Some picture libraries are quite specific about how you set the output levels, but their suggested settings are usually very conservative and unlikely to result in weak shadows when printed to most devices. It is therefore probably better to oblige the libraries with what they ask for rather than fight them over the logic of their arguments.

The only time when you may need to give special consideration to setting the shadows to anything other than zero, is when you are required to edit an already converted CMYK or grayscale file that is destined to go to a printing press, where the black output levels have been incorrectly set. But as I say, if you use Photoshop color management properly you won’t likely encounter such problems.

Conclusion
In conclusion I would say that you shouldn’t need to worry about what the output levels should be. If you are editing a photo in Camera Raw or Lightroom, all you need to concern yourself with is applying the black point clipping that you feel is most appropriate for each individual image. Then let Photoshop or Lightroom take care of the black point output levels conversion at the point where you send the image data to the printer.

About Martin Evening
Martin Evening is the author of Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers as well as the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book. Martin is a London based fashion and beauty photographer as well as an alpha 7 beta tester for Adobe. He is also a founding member of Pixel Genius and was the product manager for PhotoKit Color 2.

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How to express blend modes as curves http://photoshopnews.com/2007/09/05/how-to-express-blend-modes-as-curves/ http://photoshopnews.com/2007/09/05/how-to-express-blend-modes-as-curves/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2007 20:45:20 +0000 Martin Evening http://photoshopnews.com/2007/09/05/how-to-express-blend-modes-as-curves/ multiblendmodes.jpg

This tutorial is all about the relationship between Photoshop Curves and how all non-dissolve, per-channel Photoshop blend modes are equivalent to some kind of curve.
It has often been said that there is always more than one way to achieve an identical result in Photoshop. The trick of course is to work out which method is best for you or which is the most efficient.

As far as some people are concerned, Photoshop holds a certain mystique where it is assumed that a more complex approach will produce a more refined result. But very often the underlying math is the same as that used when applying a simpler approach. This is not to say that all tone adjustment methods can be reduced to a single curve, but the steps shown here are designed to illustrate the following three points:

1. It is always more efficient to use adjustment layer blend modes to ‘Screen’ or ‘Multiply’ an image rather than to duplicate the Background layer

2. An arbitrary map curve setting can be converted to a Photoshop Raw file format and edited in Photoshop.

3. By using this method to edit Curve settings, some cumulative image adjustments can be distilled into a single curve setting.

Adjustment layer blend modes

ca2006-0130-normal.jpg
Figure 1.

Figure 1 shows an unedited image where the sky requires darkening. The method we are going to use here is to use a Multiply blend mode to darken the overall image and then apply a black to white linear gradient to mask the bottom half of the picture. And in order to further darken the sky, we are going to duplicate the blend mode layer to produce a more pronounced darkening.

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Figure 2.

There are two ways you can do this. The most often taught method is to simply duplicate the Background layer and change the layer blend mode to Multiply. This will work, but when you save the image you will end up with a file which in this case will be three times the original file size!

A better alternative is to add an adjustment layer (any will do) without actually altering the settings and change the blend mode. This will achieve the exact same result as duplicating the Background layer but will only marginally increase the file size. So all you need to do is add an adjustment layer, let’s say a Curves adjustment layer, and click OK when the dialog appears to close it without editing the curve in any way. Then simply change the layer blend mode as before. It’s that simple.

ca2006-0130-darker.jpg

Figure 3. Here is the end result when using either of the methods described above. The sky only is darkened because the linear gradient hides the adjustment to prevent it affecting the lower half of the picture.

If you refer back to Figure 2 you will notice how I duplicated the Multiply layer and adjusted the layer opacity of this second layer to 60%. By altering the layer opacity and duplicating layers, you can have full control over the intensity of the ‘Multiply’ effect.

Convert a curves setting to a Photoshop image file
OK, now for the complex part. This next section reveals a little-known trick, in which you can convert a curves setting to a Photoshop Raw format image file, edit the image in Photoshop and save it back as a Curve setting. At this point I should mention that it was Russell Williams at Adobe who first showed me this tip and who helped clarify some of the points made here about the similarity between blend modes and Photoshop curves settings. Just remember that the steps discussed in this next section all relate to what can be summarized as the ‘non-dissolve, per-channel blend modes’ and excludes those other blend mode formulas like Hue, Color and Saturation that don’t operate on the individual channels.

Now, I have described all the steps here in detail so that those of you who are inclined to experiment are able to follow the exact same steps that I used. I appreciate that not everyone will be interested in these details, so if you like you can skip to the end of this article and download some of the settings I created using this method and put them to use.

Steps to edit a curve setting

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Step 1. I needed to create a gradient image that could be edited in Photoshop. One way to do this would be to create a new grayscale image that is exactly 1 x 256 pixels in size and draw a horizontal linear gradient going from black to white. But the gradient steps must be precise, where each pixel represents a discrete pixel value going from 0–255. The most accurate way to achieve this is to open the Curves dialog and click on the pencil icon to switch the Curves dialog to ‘arbitrary map’ mode. It is important that no edits are made to the curve. Next, I went to the dialog fly-out menu and chose Save Preset…

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starterpreset.jpg

Step 2. I then saved this preset to a desired location and clicked ‘Save’ to create the Cruves arbitrary map (.amp) setting shown here.

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Step 3. I then wanted to convert the setting into a Photoshop Raw file. To do this I renamed the setting file, changing the file extension from ‘.amp’ to ‘.raw’.

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Step 4. Now we can open the renamed raw file in Photoshop. You can use Bridge or the system navigation dialog to locate the file and then click Open.

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Step 5. This next bit is quite critical. The Photoshop Raw Options dialog will appear next and here I entered the dimensions for the file we were about to open: 256 pixels for the width and 1 pixel for the height. In the Channels section it was important that I set the count to 1, which meant that we would be opening this file as a grayscale image. After I clicked OK, another dialog appeared telling me that the specified image is smaller than the source file. I clicked OK to open anyway.

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Step 6. At this stage the missing profile dialog may appear (depending on how you have the color management preferences configured) and it is important here to NOT color manage the file we are about to open.

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Step 7. At last! We have managed to open the saved curve setting as a Photoshop image.

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Step 8. Now for the part where we edit the image file in Photoshop. In this example I added an adjustment layer and changed the blend mode to Multiply @ 100% layer opacity and then flattened the image to permanently edit the pixels in the file I had just opened. This is the stage where you can experiment using other blend modes, a combination of blend modes, or any other tone editing techniques that will work when applied to a grayscale image.

8-savecurve.jpg

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Step 9. I saved the edited file to the Photoshop Curves presets folder. This can be accessed by going to the Photoshop application folder and locating the Curves folder inside the Presets folder. You will note here that I saved the file using the same Photoshop Raw file format, but I changed the extension to .amp when saving (in the ‘Save As’ section the file is saved as ‘Multiply.amp’). When I clicked Save, the Photoshop Raw Options dialog appeared and I simply clicked OK.

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Step 10. Now it is time to put the edited curve setting to use. I opened a new image, added a Curves adjustment layer and chose Load Preset… from the Curves dialog fly-out menu.

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Step11. I located the recently saved Multiply.amp setting and clicked ‘Load’.

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Step 12. This will load the curve setting for the multiply curve and append the setting to the list of presets that can be accessed via the Curves dialog Preset menu. As you can see below in Figure 4, one can use the steps described so far to add more presets to this list.

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Figure 4. Here is a screen shot showing the Curves dialog where I had created and added curve settings for more Photoshop blend modes.

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Figure 5. Here is a repeat view of the Curves dialog that was shown at the beginning of this article in which I have overlaid the curves used to define the Screen, Multiply, Soft Light and Overlay blend mode curves.

Putting theories to the test
There was a time when my instincts led me to believe that the Photoshop blend modes, in particular Screen and Multiply, performed some kind of special magic that made them superior to normal curves. I used to assume (incorrectly) that they somehow added levels to an image rather than simply stretched the existing levels in a picture, which is what Levels or Curves adjustments do. So one of the things this exercise allowed me to do was to directly compare blend mode created curves with basic blend mode adjustments.

As I said earlier, you can use the above steps to create your own set of blend mode curves, or if you want to cut out all the hard work, just download the ZIP file which contains a set of blend mode curves for you to experiment with.

In one test I did I took an image and duplicated it. For one version I added an adjustment layer, set the blend mode to say, Multiply and flattened the image. I then took the other version of the image, applied a Multiply curve and again flattened it. The two images should look identical. But not only that, they will statistically be identical too. One way to prove this is to overlay one of the images on top of the other in registration and set the blend mode to Difference. If the blended image is solid black, then you know that they are exactly the same. Now there is one point I will concede here. If you carry this out on an image that is in 8-bit per channel mode, the results will be identical. If you carry this out with an image that is in 16-bit per channel mode, the results will look the same but there will be a very slight difference in the statistical analysis. I raised this observation with Russell Williams, who explained that a curve map setting will specify an exact 256 values for the curve mapping and when this is applied to an image with more than 256 levels (i.e. a 16-bit image) it will have to interpolate the values that fall between those 256 points. Note here that the ‘interpolation’ here refers to the interpolation of the curve mapping for the in between curve values and this is true for any curves map mode type adjustment that is applied to a 16-bit image.

The other theory I wanted to test was whether blend mode adjustments will preserve more levels. The answer to this is no. A blend mode adjustment does exactly the same thing as a Levels or Curves adjustment, it simply maps the levels to new positions. Where clipping occurs some levels will be lost, but no levels will ever get added.

Blend modes use formulas to calculate the tone mapping and this it is argued, produces a smoother curve mapping when editing 16-bit images compared to using curve maps. This does appear to be true. For example, if you create a gradient test image in 16-bit, posterize it and compare the two different methods for adjusting the tones and then analyze the two histograms, the levels appear to shift more smoothly when you use the blend mode method of adjustment. So is the blend mode method still better? Possibly, although the difference between the two methods at 16-bit is so slight that it is hard to say which one is actually ‘better’. I would be interested to know what others think on this subject. As Russell Williams explained, the difference can be so negligible that the key conclusion would be to select whichever method was the most easy to use. This leads me to the final section where as an added exercise, I wanted to look at the possibility of merging multiple curves adjustments into one.

Merging cumulative adjustments into a single curve
At the beginning of this article I showed how two Multiply adjustments could be used to darken the sky in a beach seascape photograph. Now the chief advantage of working with adjustment layers is that you can mask the adjustment layer effect and the settings will remain editable. But when you add one adjustment layer on top of the other and flatten the image the image is effectively adjusted as if you had applied each of the curves adjustments sequentially. The downside of this is that the levels will get adjusted in sequence, one adjustment as a time, which is not the most efficient way to edit the tone levels in an image if you wish to preserve as much image detail as possible.

So for this final exercise I opened the standard Photoshop Raw linear gradient image and applied the same sequence of blend mode adjustment layers as were used in Figure 2 and applied these to the image, as shown in Figure 6. You will note that the uppermost adjustment layer has been set to 60% opacity, to match the settings used in Figure 2. I then flattened the image and saved the flattened file as a custom curve setting, naming it: ‘Multiply_100-60.amp’

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Figure 6.

I then opened up the original beach scene photograph and applied this custom curve setting. Figure 7 shows the layers palette with the single Curves adjustment layer in place. Figure 8 shows the curve shape appearance of the custom curve. And finally, Figure 9, shows the end result, which is identical to the one at the beginning of this article that was created using a combination of two adjustment layers.

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Figure 7.

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Figure 8.

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Figure 9.

Conclusions
This main point of the exercises and steps shown here has been to provide some insight into the way Photoshop calculates its blend mode tone adjustments and how at one level you can say these have the same effect on an image as applying a normal curve adjustment.

Of course from a practical point of view it is not always going to be feasible to jump through all the hoops described here in order to create a ‘merged curves’ adjustment. But if for example you had a favorite tone mapping adjustment that involved say adding a gradient map adjustment followed by a curves adjustment to add a kick to the shadows followed by a layer blend options tweak, you could consider using the steps described in the last example to create a single curve setting that would let you achieve the same result in much less time.

But apart from that I did also want to demonstrate that in theory as well in practice, it could be possible for Photoshop to have a ‘merge adjustments’ feature in which certain types of multi-layered tone adjustments could be calculated as a single Curves adjustment.

Download the curve settings

If the above techniques interest you then you can download the curve settings as a ZIP file that I created for this article. The unstuffed folder will contain a Screen, Multiply, Soft Light and Overlay curve setting as well as the original Photoshop Raw file gradient image.

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Why Photoshop doesn’t provide secure metadata http://photoshopnews.com/2007/06/30/why-photoshop-doesnt-provide-secure-metadata/ http://photoshopnews.com/2007/06/30/why-photoshop-doesnt-provide-secure-metadata/#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2007 09:49:07 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/2007/06/30/why-photoshop-doesnt-provide-secure-metadata/ Source: John Nack on Adobe
Author: John Nack

Certain feature requests come up over and over, and customers wonder why Adobe doesn’t address them. In many cases it’s a matter of time, resources, and priorities (i.e. good idea, we just haven’t gotten there yet). In other cases, however, there are conceptual issues that make addressing the request impractical or impossible.

One of those cases concerns something that seems simple: letting Photoshop users apply copyright & other info, then lock it so that it can’t be removed. Photographers in particular request this capability year in and year out. Unfortunately there are good reasons why things don’t work as desired. If you’re interested in the details, read on for an explanation from Photoshop architect Russell Williams.

If I understand what you’re looking for — a way to distribute your image so that somebody can’t strip out the copyright, the only way to come close is to embed the copyright in the image with a watermark, either visible or invisible. Digimarc can do it with a mostly-invisible watermark. The less visible it is, the less robust it is to image manipulation.

It’s not just that the capability is lacking in Photoshop to attach a non-removable copyright. It is not logically possible to put a copyright notice in metadata (not embedded in the image data) in a way that it can’t be removed.

If the image data is accessible to someone, there’s no way to force them to keep the copyright notice with it. There are lots of programs that will open and re-save JPEGs, TIFFs, and even PSDs. It would be trivial to produce a version that doesn’t save the copyright with it. Not to mention metadata editing programs that can just remove or change arbitrary metadata. There’s no way to stop somebody from using one of those programs.

Even if they don’t happen to have a program that will re-save the image without the copyright or edit the metadata, they can always “print to PDF” out of any program that can open the image, or even show the image at 100%, do screenshots while scrolling around the image, and reassemble it. If they can see it, they can remove any attached copyright notice.

Everything else comes down to only sending the full resolution version to people you trust, because anybody who has the full resolution version can strip out any associated metadata.

Read the full story…

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Sasquatch: Man in a Monkey Suit? http://photoshopnews.com/2007/05/16/sasquatch-man-in-a-monkey-suit/ http://photoshopnews.com/2007/05/16/sasquatch-man-in-a-monkey-suit/#comments Wed, 16 May 2007 16:56:07 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/2007/05/16/sasquatch-man-in-a-monkey-suit/ bigfoot.pngSource: WIRED
Written by Joseph Rose
(originally posted on WIRED 01-19-1999)

YAKIMA, Washington — The scratchy movie footage shows a big, brown, hairy creature retreating over a stream bed into dense forest. But wait. Is that the glint of a belt buckle on Bigfoot? Or have skeptics gotten carried away with Photoshop?

Loyal Bigfootologists and some computer-imaging experts are giving disapproving grunts to two researchers who claim that a computer analysis of a famous 1967 film shows a man in a monkey suit, not the legendary giant of the Northwest woods.

Bigfoot buffs Cliff Crook of Bothell, Washington, and Chris Murphy of Vancouver, Canada, say enlargements and computer enhancements of the film’s frames reveal an object hanging from the fur that resembles metal fasteners used on clothing at the time.

“When the guy in the suit turned to look at the camera, it probably snapped loose and dangled from the fur,” said Crook, who has been searching for the elusive creature for 42 years. “It’s a hoax. Why would Bigfoot be wearing a belt buckle?”

The claim has howling-mad Bigfoot enthusiasts branding Murphy and Crook as traitors on Internet newsgroups and attempting to discredit their findings as a publicity stunt.

“It’s like picking a sheep out of the clouds,” said Western Bigfoot Society president Ray Crowe of Portland, Oregon. “They’ve blown up the images beyond the size of recognition. So, they can pretty much see anything they imagine.”

At issue is the footage taken 32 years ago, when Bigfoot trackers Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin of Yakima were investigating reports of sasquatch footprints in Six Rivers National Forest, near the California-Oregon border. They purportedly spotted a female Bigfoot darting across a sandbar, and Patterson let his 16-mm Kodak movie camera roll.

The minute of jerky, grainy film and the plaster-cast footprints Patterson made that October day became the veritable gold standard for trackers and enthusiasts, the evidence by which all things Bigfoot are measured.

Murphy began questioning the film’s validity after discovering an aberration in the footage while helping his son with a class project in 1995. Using a computer, he zoomed in tighter and tighter on the frames, finding what appears to be a glimmering ornate latch in the shape of a bottle opener.

Read original article

Note: in 2004, 36 years after the making of the film, Bob Heironimus confessed to having donned a gorilla costume and appearing in the famous 1967 footage of Bigfoot. That story is here.

Bigfoot on Wikipedia

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Optimize performance of Photoshop CS3 on Windows XP and Vista http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/29/optimize-performance-of-photoshop-cs3-on-windows-xp-and-vista/ http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/29/optimize-performance-of-photoshop-cs3-on-windows-xp-and-vista/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2007 19:35:54 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/29/optimize-performance-of-photoshop-cs3-on-windows-xp-and-vista/ Source: Adobe Support TechNote 401088

The performance of Adobe Photoshop CS3 is affected by available random-access memory (RAM) and computer processor speed. Other factors can also affect performance, such as the options you select, system configuration, and the built-in limitations of Photoshop. Photoshop CS3 supports new maximum image dimensions, and file sizes requiring increased system requirements.

Read entire technote

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Optimize performance in Photoshop CS3 on Mac OS http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/29/optimize-performance-in-photoshop-cs3-on-mac-os/ http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/29/optimize-performance-in-photoshop-cs3-on-mac-os/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2007 19:33:12 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/29/optimize-performance-in-photoshop-cs3-on-mac-os/ Source: Adobe Support TechNote 401089

The performance of Adobe Photoshop CS3 is affected most by available random-access memory (RAM) and computer processor speed. Other factors can also affect performance, such as the options you select, your workflow, and your operating system and hardware configuration. Optimizing your operating system and hardware configuration also improves performance of other applications.

Read entire technote

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Geek Love, the Lenna Story http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/24/geek-love-the-lenna-story/ http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/24/geek-love-the-lenna-story/#comments Tue, 24 Apr 2007 17:27:38 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/2007/04/24/geek-love-the-lenna-story/ lenna-sm.jpgMay, 2007 will be the ten year anniversary of the unveiling of Lenna at the 1997 Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) conference in Boston.

Who is Lenna? Lenna (or Lena Soderberg) was a Playboy centerfold from November 1972. So how did her shot end up as the object of desire for so many “geeks”? (see Lenna’s Playmate page-warning, contains nudity)

According to Jamie Hutchinson in a May 2001 article in the Newsletter of the IEEE Professional Communication Society, it was pure happenstance.

“Alexander Sawchuk estimates that it was in June or July of 1973 when he, then an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the USC Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI), along with a graduate student and the SIPI lab manager, was hurriedly searching the lab for a good image to scan for a colleague’s conference paper. They had tired of their stock of usual test images, dull stuff dating back to television standards work in the early 1960s. They wanted something glossy to ensure good output dynamic range, and they wanted a human face. Just then, somebody happened to walk in with a recent issue of Playboy.

The engineers tore away the top third of the centerfold so they could wrap it around the drum of their Muirhead wirephoto scanner, which they had outfitted with analog-to-digital converters (one each for the red, green, and blue channels) and a Hewlett Packard 2100 minicomputer. The Muirhead had a fixed resolution of 100 lines per inch and the engineers wanted a 512 x 512 image, so they limited the scan to the top 5.12 inches of the picture, effectively cropping it at the subject’s shoulders.”

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Back in 1997 at the conference, it was decided to track down Lenna and invite her to attend in person. According to this story (308K PDF download), it was Jeff Seideman, president of the Boston chapter of the IS&T.

“”The use of her photo is clearly one of the most important events in the history of electronic imaging,” Seideman said. Image compression is what has made the World Wide Web the wildly popular communications medium it is today.

When it came time to plan for the 50th anniversary conference of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T), Seideman, in his role as president of the Boston chapter of the IS&T, decided he wanted to commemorate the event by featuring highlights from the history of imaging technology. Nobody he talked to knew what had become of the First Lady of the Internet, so Seideman decided he would track down the elusive Lena.

“I emailed the Swedish members in our directory asking if they knew how to get in touch with her, and none did,” Seideman said. “But then I got referred from one person to another and finally someone gave me her telephone number and address. I wrote her and asked if she would be willing to come to the conference, and she said yes.”

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Lena during a visit to IS&T

Lena Soderberg, nee Sjööblom, now lives near Stockholm and works for a government agency supervising handicapped employees archiving data using, appropriately, computers and scanners. With the assistance of Playboy, Seideman arranged for Miss November 1972, The First Lady of the Internet, to appear at the IS&T Boston conference on May 20 and 21.

Seideman adds that over the years some researchers have complained that they lacked vital information about the Lena image, such as what type of scanner was originally used, what kind of camera and film. He says that he is working with Playboy’s archivist to re-scan Lena’s image and compile all the missing information, including everything from the type of photo emulsion used to make the print to the technical specifications of the scanner. In this way, Seideman says, the image of this Playboy Playmate can remain the standard reference image for comparing compression technologies into the 21st century.”

It seems that very few people have seen the original (and uncropped) version of the image. The original can be found here (warning, Lena is, of course, nude).

cover-1972-11-sm3.jpg

A bit of trivia, according to this web page, Lenna’s issue (November 1972) was Playboy’s best selling issue ever and sold 7,161,561 copies.

A fellow by the name Thomas ‘C’ (no last name) even wrote a Sonnet for Lena.

“Over the years there has been quite a bit of controversy over the use of this image. Some people proposed banning the use of this image because of its source. Also, Playboy threatened to prosecute the unauthorized use of the image. Check out an editorial by the editor of SPIE journal Optical Engineering. Check out a note by the former editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. According to Wired Magazine, Playboy has eased up in its pursuit of the copyright violators of this image.”

The original image is still available as part of the USC SIPI Image Database in their “miscellaneous” collection.

lenna-color.jpg

A small sample of the research done utilizing Lenna’s image, check this page.

Topics include;

  • Color Image Quantization
  • Fractal Image Compression
  • Investigations of Image Compression Using Multisplines
  • Non-Uniform Sampling and Interpolation for Lossy Image Compression
  • Vector Quantization
  • Wavelets and Filterbanks

Unfortunately, some of the links are now broken.

lsmp_icn.gif

Additional Lena resources:

Original web page by Chuck Rosenberg (primary source)

Wired story

Playboy story The Search for Lena

An additional note by Jamie Hutchinson in his article:

A final, serendipitous detail from the legend of Lena: She makes a fleeting appearance in Woody Allen’s 1973 movie Sleeper.

Allen, playing the hero who awakens in the year 2173 after 200 years of cryogenically induced sleep, is asked to identify some artifacts from the 20th century. One of the artifacts is a Playboy centerfold, the very one in which Lena appears in her floppy, feathered hat, standing before a full-length mirror, gazing back at the viewer over her bare right shoulder, eyes beckoning, mouth set in a Mona Lisa-esque smile.

“I’ll just take this, you know, and study it later and give you a full report on it,” says Allen as he folds the picture and slips it inside his robe.

Surely, no image since Mona Lisa has been studied harder.

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Seetha’s Fan Club http://photoshopnews.com/2005/08/01/seethas-fan-club/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/08/01/seethas-fan-club/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2005 19:30:58 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/?p=596 Even before the premier of my photo essay, A Visit to Adobe a couple of weeks ago, it seems Seetha, or more accurately, Seetharaman Narayanan had a fan club.

Back in December of 2004, on CONCEPTART.ORG, messages were posted about Seetha’s name.

Jetpack42 said: “Every time I open up photoshop I am mezmorized by this guy’s name. It’s all I can look at. Don’t know why…”

The original thread started on December 10th, 2004 and continued until December 25th when it fell silent. However, on July 28th, 2005 it picked up again. It seems poster Yiako had found my picture of Seetha and posted it in the dormant thread.

This image prompted a variety of responses.

MoP said: “I think he was credited as “Seetha Narayanan” in Photoshop 6, although it was Seetharaman in PS 4. Maybe they thought his name was taking up an unfair amount of room?

Evidently he didn’t like that very much, because it’s back at Seetharaman now. It’s also the name that sticks most in my head… although Thomas Knoll and Marc Pawliger are also in there.

Who’s Mark Hamburg? I’m sure that name’s been on the startup of PS before, but I don’t see him on CS2…”

Then dfacto posted an altered version. dfacto said: “Silly Yiako, you can’t cover up the truth with your silly photoshop.

Here’s the version he didn’t want you to see:”


Titled Seetharaman is god

Not to be out done, Okelvin went further.

Okelvin’s caption: “It has been said that Seetharaman Narayanan has evolved to the point where he is more Lens Flare than man. He can bevel and emboss through the power of sheer thought. I heard one time he was walking down the street and some gang tried to mug him and he Unsharp Masked his hand and karate chopped one of the thugs in half, and then one of the other thugs attacked him and he Pinched that guy’s head so hard it exploded and then after he Plastic Wrapped the rest of the thugs he disappeared in a burst of Difference Clouds.”

The thread continues…

Read the entire thread

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The Evolution of the Photoshop Splash Screen-UPDATED http://photoshopnews.com/2005/07/20/the-evolution-of-the-photoshop-splash-screen-updated/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/07/20/the-evolution-of-the-photoshop-splash-screen-updated/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2005 21:02:33 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=570 I’ve updated the The Evolution of the Photoshop Splash Screen PhotoshopNews feature story to include all of the shipping dates for all Mac versions of Photoshop since version 1.0.

The update was prompted by visiting Andrei Michael Herasimchuk’s web site Design by Fire and Andrei’s Photoshop Quiz answers from last year. I’m working on getting the shipping dates for the Windows versions to add to the list.

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Adobe Field Trip-visiting the Photoshop Engineers http://photoshopnews.com/2005/07/20/adobe-field-trip-visiting-the-photoshop-engineers/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/07/20/adobe-field-trip-visiting-the-photoshop-engineers/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2005 17:58:00 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=566

At the Northwest corner of Park Avenue and South Almaden Boulevard stand three rather tall buildings-by San Jose, California standards. They are the Adobe Towers, the buildings that PostScript and Photoshop built. On 10 West (10th floor, West Tower), the majority of the Photoshop engineers work and play.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone down to San Jose to visit 345 Park Avenue, 10th floor. I was there just a few weeks after the first tower, the West Tower, was opened. They had a few, uh, “issues”. I remember something about the elevators and security badges not working as expected. Not unheard of in a new high-tech office building.

My trips to Adobe Systems, Inc. actually started even before Adobe moved to San Jose. I first visited Adobe in their wooded Mountain View “campus”. A cluster of low buildings in a college-like environment. So, the high rise in San Jose was in stark contrast.

But Adobe’s 3 buildings in the heart of San Jose are a testament to both Adobe’s high-tech roots and San Jose’s strong desire to be the center of Silicon Valley. Adobe’s buildings are really due to the vision of Dr. John E. Warnock and Dr. Charles M. Geschke in developing PostScript, type and a little application called Photoshop-which until just recently had a long run as their single largest revenue source.

It should be noted that not all of the Photoshop engineers work in San Jose. There are engineers spread out all over the place including Seattle, Minneapolis and even some in far away places like Tokyo and Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India. But the 10 West location is where most of them are, day in and day out, working to make Photoshop the best it can be.

I thought it would be interesting for Photoshop users to see what it’s like to visit the Photoshop engineers. Before a recent class that I taught on the West Coast, I took a couple of days to go down to San Jose and visit Adobe. This was in late June, 2005 and many of the engineers were just starting to work the kinks out of the post Photoshop CS2 ship trama. But they were in good cheer-particularly because Adobe had just reported a record quarter of earnings (even though the anaylists were a bit dissappointed by conservative future estimates).

So, click on this link to Visit Adobe–it’s a new PhotoshopNews feature story.

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Photoshop CS2 Performance Articles http://photoshopnews.com/2005/07/19/photoshop-cs2-performance-articles/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/07/19/photoshop-cs2-performance-articles/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2005 17:45:28 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/?p=562 Over the last few months, PhotoshopNews has posted a number of articles regarding Photoshop CS and CS2 ram allocation and performance. Here is a summary of the articles.

Memory allocation and usage (Photoshop CS2)

Slow performance and screen redraw problems in Photoshop (CS2 on Windows)

Improve performance in Photoshop CS2 on computers with more than 1 GB RAM

Optimizing Photoshop performance (Mac & Win)

Photoshop needs 3x-5x the file size in ram – Myth

Memory allocation and usage in Photoshop CS

PhotoshopNews also posted a definitive article with quotes by Photoshop engineers in our exclusive article Photoshop CS2-How much RAM? – Fact

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The “Wayback Machine” Photoshop 2.5 in 1994 http://photoshopnews.com/2005/06/08/the-wayback-machine-photoshop-25-in-1994/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/06/08/the-wayback-machine-photoshop-25-in-1994/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2005 12:22:13 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=442 Even Sherman and Mr. Peabody would be impressed!

In this day and age where digital cameras are under $1K and Photoshop is at CS2–version 9, but actually the 11th if you count both 2.5 and 5.5–the year 1994 and Photoshop 2.5 is just so last millennium!

 

But that’s just what I found looking for old references to Photoshop. On the Internet Archive, a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, I found an episode of the Computer Chronicles, hosted by Stewart Cheifet, that covered photo imaging circa 1994. The PBS series ran from 1983-2002 when it left the air.

In this archived episode, the program looks at several early examples of computer based photo processing. Demonstrations include Photoshop 2.5, Nikon’s LS-10 CoolScan, PhotoFlash 2.0, Apple’s QuickTake Camera, Paint Alchemy, Terrazzo, Picture Window 1.0, EverColor and ArtLink. There was a demo about Photoshop 2.5 retouching capabilities (pretty tame by today’s standards).

There was also a special segment on photographer Stephen Johnson, one of the true pioneers of digital photography. Steve talks about giving up on film to shoot only digital and shows how he makes all-digital prints with the then, state of the art, Iris printer.

The show, which can be viewed via QuickTime, is an unusual glimpse back at what we thought the future might hold.

The show runs 25:44 minutes and is best viewed with a broadband net connection.

Direct Link (MPEG1 269MB)
Requires Apple QuickTime

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Arbitrary Resizing in Camera Raw – Top Secret http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/24/arbitrary-resizing-in-camera-raw-top-secret/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/24/arbitrary-resizing-in-camera-raw-top-secret/#comments Tue, 24 May 2005 16:05:19 +0000 Bruce Fraser http://photoshopnews.com/?p=374 I’ve heard various complaints about the limited range of output sizes offered by Camera Raw. It’s true that the Size menu in Camera Raw’s workflow options only offers six or seven output sizes, but Camera Raw also has a hidden feature that lets you choose any output size up to 10,000 pixels on the long dimension. It’s hidden in the Crop tool.

Start by choosing Custom from the Crop tool’s menu—see Figure 1.


Figure 1 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

Set the menu to pixels—see Figure 2.


Figure 2

Enter your desired pixel dimensions—you can choose any aspect ratio, the only limitation is the 10,000-pixel size limit. (See Figure 3.)


Figure 3

Apply the crop. The area of the image that you crop will be converted to the pixel dimensions you specified—see Figure 4.


Figure 4 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

The last-used Custom Crop setting appears on the Crop tool’s menu for easy recall. There’s no way to save multiple settings, at least at present. See Figure 5.


Figure 5 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

It probably isn’t particularly useful to enlarge a tiny area of an 8MP capture to 10,000 x 10,000 pixels. The point is that you can choose any pixel dimensions up to the 10,000-pixel limit.

For example, let’s say I need a bunch of 600 x 400-pixel images. First I set the Custom Crop to 600 x 400 pixels—see Figure 6.


Figure 6

Then, I open the images in Camera Raw’s filmstrip mode, and apply the crop to the first image—see Figure 7.


Figure 7 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

I click Select All, then Synchronize. In the Synchronize dialog box, I synchronize only the crop—see Figure 8.


Figure 8 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

From here, I can:
• Open the images in Photoshop, or
• Save the images out of Camera Raw as JPEG or TIFF, or
• Quit Camera Raw, return to Bridge, and run a Batch action that opens the images (they’ll open at 600 x 400 pixels), does something else useful such as sharpening, and saves the images in whatever format I want.

If you’re processing a lot of images this way, you’ll find that doing the downsampling in Camera Raw is much faster than converting at the smallest size on the Size menu, then downsampling in Photoshop.

Just don’t forget to clear the custom crop when you no longer need it!

Editor’s note: this little nugget of information came from a post that Thomas Knoll made on the Photoshop CS2 beta boards just before Photoshop CS2 shipped. Bruce was the first to notice the importance of this little secret. It came too late for Bruce to include in Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Just in case you were wondering about that 10,000 x 10,000 cropped image of Bruce’s, he sent along this small portion out of the original Camera Raw rendered 10K x 10K processed file. The preview image is from a 3,200 x 3,200 pixel square crop. Click in the image to view the entire 3200 x 3200 crop. (Note, it is a 179KB JPG that will open in a new window) Does anybody know what species of whale this might be? Could it be the Loch Ness monster on a Hawaiian vacation?

UPDATE: subsequent to the posting of this article, Bruce Fraser sent along a better representation of “Nessie”. Bruce feels that this could indeed be Nessie but doubts seriously that Nessie could travel all the way to Hawaii without outside help or intervention.

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If it Sounds Too Good to be True… http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/16/if-it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true-it-isnt/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/16/if-it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true-it-isnt/#comments Mon, 16 May 2005 17:40:07 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/16/if-it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true-it-isnt/ Ever wonder about the web sites that offer a full version of Photoshop for $99.99? Is it legit or is it a scam? Well, do you really even need to ask?

PhotoshopNews has noted the tendency for a lot of web sites to offer discounted or OEM versions of Photoshop for far below the normal retail price. Google Ads are particularly aggressive in touting discount prices-often on web sites that are designed to promote Photoshop or offer tutorials or Photoshop tips & techniques. Come ons such as “Adobe Software 90% Off” or “Photoshop CS2 $278.45 Rock-bottom price! Save Over 80% Off Adobe” or “Photoshop 50$” attract a lot of attention but what are these web sites really offering?

The Cornell University Law School has a page that may give a clue–ironically, the Cornell site is actually used as justification by esmartsoftware.net that what they are doing is legitimate. From the Cornell site:

(a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy.— Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, or

(2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful.

What these web sites are essentially doing is selling you copies of the actual Adobe Photoshop installer disks while claiming that they are selling them as “back ups” for people who are the legitimate owners of the software.

Many of the websites include disclamers such as “This is a CD only sale. All CD’s are brand new and still in the factory seal. This is the full version not a limited or trial version. As bundled software it qualifies for all online upgrades but does not qualify for technical support registration from Adobe”.

Ok, while they claim it’s “the full version not a limited or trial version” they also state that it “does not qualify for technical support registration from Adobe”. So, do you really think this is a legitimate sale of a license of Photoshop?

It’s particularly notable that many of these websites sell previous versions of Photoshop such as Photoshop 7 or Photoshop CS AFTER a new version is released by Adobe. However, Adobe has a policy of only selling the current shipping version of Photoshop. Adobe also no longer sells “OEM” (original equipment manufacturers) versions of Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop Elements is sold as OEM versions to camera, printer and scanner manufacturers but the full retail version of Photoshop is rarely bundled with any hardware any more. That’s not to say Adobe didn’t. It used to be a good way of getting a copy of Photoshop really cheap. Some scanners came with a full legit registerable copy of Photoshop. At the time (middle 1990′s) the cost of the scanner was often only slightly higher than the cost of Photoshop. It was almost like buying Photoshop and getting a scanner nearly free. But those days are over.

It should also be noted that these websites spring up overnight and often disappear just as quickly. Some even offer 30-day money back guarantees. Often several web site url’s will redirect to the same IP number.

Are these web sites legit? Not really. While U.S. Copyright law does allow for “Fair Use” backup and archiving, the sales of such backups is questionable. Statements such as “The software on this web site is not eligible for registration or tech support from it’s respective manufacture.” –which basically translates to these are not legit copies, tells you that you are not buying a full retail license to the software. Ironically, even though it “sounds cheap”, when you understand you are not getting a full license and registration, even at $99.99 you are paying for a very expensive CD duplication service.

Are there legitimate methods of getting Photoshop for less than the regular retail price of about $600.00? Yes. If you are a student or educator and are with an accredited educational institute you would qualify for an education pricing towards Adobe products. Educational pricing for Photoshop CS2 is $299.00. Adobe has a web page outlining exactly how to qualify for educational pricing.

If you receive an OEM version of Adobe Photoshop Elements as part of a digital camera, printer or scanner sale, you are also eligible to upgrade from Elements to a full version of Photoshop at a reduced rate. While the Adobe Store lists such upgrades as costing $499.00, Adobe will offer occasional promotional discounts through their partners for less. Sometimes as low as $399.00.

You can also buy a “used version of Photoshop” legitimately. However, to do so you must understand several caveats; you must make sure that the original owner has a legitimate license and you need to be sure they will execute a transfer of license with Adobe. From the Adobe web page outlining the procedure:

Transfer an Adobe License

Return a completed Transfer of Adobe License form to Adobe any time you sell or give away a single-user, retail version of a licensed Adobe product that is registered in your name. The product remains licensed to you or the company to which it’s registered until Adobe receives the completed Transfer of Adobe License form. Once Adobe receives the form, the Adobe software can be registered to the new owner. Registration ensures that the new owner is recognized as the legal licensee and can receive customer service and support.

If you follow this procedure, you will be able to purchase and legitimately transfer a license. This is often a very good way of obtaining a legitimate license as a backup or for running on additional computers or across platform.

Adobe also offers cross-platform license transfers. To find out the current policy and price, contact Adobe Customer Support, seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Pacific time, call toll-free at 888-724-4508.

The bottom line is that piracy costs software publishers an enormous amount of lost revenue that ends up costing customers a lot of grief. Adobe says “Be cautious when ordering software over the Internet. Many resellers with Internet storefronts or those who sell from auction sites knowingly distribute copies of software illegally. Estimates reveal that as much as 90% of software sold over Internet auction sites is either bootlegged or gray market. So, if the pricing seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Many legitimate users feel inconvenienced by anti-piracy technologies such as dongles, product activation and other attempts at reducing bootlegging and infringement. The Software Publishers Association has estimated that there are between 3x to 5x the number of bootleg copies of Photoshop to registered licensed users. Over the years, this piracy has cost Adobe millions of dollars in lost revenue and has forced Adobe to take anti-piracy measures.

SPA says about Internet websites that claim to offer discounted software:

I have found a website where I can buy software at a cost much lower than at the store, is this legit?

If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. There are many sites that sell OEM software or backup copies. You should avoid these sites. Not only are they probably dealing in counterfeit software, but they may even rip-off the credit card that you use. When shopping for software, it is possible to find good deals while still getting legal software. Here are a few pointers to tell if the site is not selling legal copies:

* If they have any type of disclaimer about the legality of their software, it isn’t legal.

* The software is labeled as OEM or backup software. Not only is it illegal, but you will not be given the same level of tech support.

* Pay attention to the location from which they ship the software. If it comes from Eastern Europe, China or other locations that have high piracy rates, it may be suspect.

* You are warned not to register the software.

* The software is being sold as Academic Version or “Not for Resale.”

* If they offer the software in a download format as opposed to a physical disk shipped to your door then there is a good chance that the software is pirated. While many companies are using the direct download method to reshape the methods of distribution, they very rarely allow third parties to distribute in this fashion.

The other thing you really have to ask yourself is whether you really want to give your credit card number to some fly by night operation that is potentially operating on the fringes of the law. If these shady operators are willing to skirt the copyright laws, what’s to say they won’t skirt the laws regarding credit card transactions as well?

The other thing that PhotoshopNews would like to state is that we find it particularly ironic (and a bit distasteful) that websites devoted to Photoshop would accept advertising from places like Google Ads that advertises what should clearly be considered questionable software merchants. We suggest pointing this out to the owners of these websites.

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Metamerism – Friend or Foe? http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/20/metamerism-%e2%80%93-friend-or-foe/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/20/metamerism-%e2%80%93-friend-or-foe/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2005 18:38:01 +0000 Steve Upton http://photoshopnews.com/?p=400
Metamerism – or Things That Go Weird in the Light

Have you ever compared two garments in a store and decided they matched, only to find that when you left the store and went out into daylight they no longer matched and instead looked quite different?

If so, you have seen an optical phenomenon called metamerism. Strictly speaking, metamerism occurs when you see two samples match under one light source (illuminant) and not match under another.

How can this be?

Well, it comes down to the difference between how an object affects light, and the color it appears to our eyes. Objects affect light by selectively reflecting or absorbing light of different wavelengths. So an object that absorbs most blue wavelengths and reflects most red wavelengths will usually appear red to our eyes. The actual color it appears to us is dependent on the spectral composition of the light reflecting off the object.

Let’s say, for example, we have two objects that each reflect red light in approximately the same way but one reflects blue light while the other absorbs it. If you put both objects under reddish lighting (and most indoor tungsten lighting falls into this range) then they may appear to be very close to the same color. As there is very little blue light falling on our objects, the difference between their blue reflectiveness is almost invisible. The red reflection is about the same so they both reflect similar wavelengths and our eyes see them as the same color!

This would not be a problem if we didn’t have many different colors of lighting in everyday life.

So let’s take our objects outside into mid-afternoon daylight. Sunlight at that time of day contains considerably more blue light than indoor lighting. As before, our pair of objects will reflect red light similarly but one of them will reflect a significant amount of blue light while the other absorbs it. Our eyes will see the blue light from one object combined with the red light and we would probably call the result magenta. Suddenly what we thought were two reddish objects no longer match at all!

Is this a problem?

That depends. In many ways this very phenomenon is essential to color reproduction (see “Metamerism as Friend” below), but when colors “shift” from our expectations, clients stop paying bills, and that is a problem.

Where will we see this problem in the business of digital imaging?

- Proofs and press jobs failing to match under different lighting.

- Color builds chosen for normal printing failing to match under unusual lighting. A good example of this is trade show booths and how they are lit with unusual lights in exhibit halls.

- Two prints using different technologies – such as inkjet vs photographic print – failing to match under certain lighting.

- A product shot failing to match the product in all lighting conditions.

There are other situations as well.

Is there anything we can do about it?

1) Be aware – this isn’t really a solution but it is always the first step toward one.

2) Choose pigments carefully. Beware of pigmented inks for inkjet printers (see Pseudo Metamerism below)

3) Control your lighting – both for producing prints and for final viewing, if possible.

4) Profile carefully

Can color management using ICC profiles correct for this problem?

No… and yes. ICC profiles are typically built using readings referenced to D50 (5000K) lighting. That means that prints created using these profiles will look best under D50 lighting. Viewing them under any other lighting can give unpredictable results. Most printing pigments and dyes have been carefully chosen to not conflict with each other or other pigment sets. One exception that is appearing more and more is pigmented inks for inkjet printers (again, see Pseudo Metamerism below). Sometimes you can measure printed or scan/camera targets with a different light source such as D65 in the calculations. This should make the print viewable optimally under D65 lighting. This is not always successful and requires the appropriate settings to be available both on the instrument and in the software. We are continually experimenting with such techniques to find solutions for our clients.

* Pseudo Metamerism *

One closely-related problem cropping up more and more often in the inkjet printing world is often (incorrectly) called metamerism.

When colorants are mixed carefully in a printer, you can achieve a smooth, neutral gray gradient from black to white. With most inkjet printers, the ink combination will include Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow inks in varying amounts along with Black ink. When properly balanced, pleasing black and white images can be printed. Many users are also experimenting with near-neutral imaging such as adding a slightly blue or sepia tone for effect.

With the fugitive nature of dye-based inks, many users are switching to pigment-based inks for the vastly improved permanence. After all, if you are printing and selling works for display, your customers tend to have the expectation that the work will last beyond 2-3 years. Pigmented inks however, can suffer from a pigment balance problem which rears its head in a similar manner to the two-sample metamerism problem.

When a quality ICC profile is created for a pigmented ink set, you will typically see a good neutral gray gradient. As mentioned above, ICC profiling assumes the print is viewed under D50 lighting. With some pigment sets (ie CMYK inks sold and/or used together) the gray gradient color shifts considerably when viewed under different illuminants. It is important to note that this is not an expected color shift but rather a shift that appears strange to the eye. One would expect that a gray tone viewed under D50 lighting would appear to be a warmer gray when viewed under warmer, tungsten lighting. The color balance failure we are referring to here shows up as a green or magenta cast and is noticeably different than a shift normally attributed to warmer or cooler light.

http://photoshopnews.com/wp-userdata/neutral_notneutral.jpg

Many people incorrectly refer to this phenomenon as metamerism. Metamerism, however, is specifically defined as a phenomenon that occurs between two samples. The ink balancing situation does not involve two samples but rather a balance of pigments in one sample. Strictly speaking, then, it is not metamerism and we (at CHROMiX) often refer to the problem as Gray Balance Failure or Color Balance Failure.

What can I do to avoid Gray Balance Failure (GBF)?

As with the suggestions above there are several things to do to minimize the effects.

1) Control your lighting – not always possible, but if you can it is often the easiest solution.

2) Choose your pigmented ink set carefully. View them under different lighting conditions to see if they shift considerably. Remember, it is the combination of pigments that is causing the problem. Some users have found success in mixing inks from different vendors such as the black from one set in combination with the colored inks from another. Needless to say, this route can require extensive testing.

3) Profile for different lighting conditions – as mentioned before, this is not often very easy to do.

** Metamerism as Friend **

After all is said and done, it is fair to say that metamerism is our enemy, right?

Not so fast…

Metamerism, remember is when an object matches another under a certain illuminant even though the spectral characteristics of the two objects differ. The act of balancing three or four colorants (such as CMYK inks) so they appear to be the same color as an original object is also based on metamerism. Because of the 3-channel nature of our eyes, we can get 4 inks to appear to match a real-world object like a person’s face without the spectral characteristics of the inks resembling the face much at all. This means that the print and the face affect light differently but appear to be the same color to our eyes!

This is the basis of digital imaging and printing today. It is fair to say, then, that without metamerism we would not be able to do ANY of the imaging we do today! It is only when the balance fails that we call it a problem. Perhaps a match-failure problem should be called metamerism “failure” rather than metamerism, but this term does not seem to be used at all.

In closing…

As with anything in the color management world, being aware of the problem is half the battle. Now that you know about metamerism and GBF you can consider it as a contributing factor when things don’t look right.

Also, if you have no D50 lighting under which to view your prints it is possible they will never look quite right. Invest in controlled lighting for print viewing. With the many variables in digital color work that can give you problems, nailing down lighting is considered a basic requirement for print viewing as well as monitor to print matching.

Steve Upton is president of CHROMIX Inc, a Seattle-based firm providing color management products, consulting, training, and technical support to visual content creators in various industries. He is the creator of the award-winning ColorThink color profile graphing and analysis package and also speaks at user groups and trade shows including MacWorld, Seybold Seminars and the GATF Color Conference. With years of computing and photographic experience, and a degree in computing science and optics, Steve is uniquely qualified to manage color fidelity in the digital realm.

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A Brief History of Macromedia http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/18/a-brief-history-of-macromedia/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/18/a-brief-history-of-macromedia/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:50:55 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff http://photoshopnews.com/?p=237 Macromedia, was formed through the merger of three small software companies: Macromind, Paracomp, and Authorware. Macromind was most well known for Director (see the “Unofficial Brief History of Director“). Many Director customers created 3D renderings and animations using Paracomp’s Swivel3D, designed for photorealistic 3D graphics and true color output for illustration, product design, graphic design and animation. The two companies saw a synergy in their products and formed Macromind Paracomp in late 1990. Soon thereafter, Macromind Paracomp merged with Authorware to form Macromedia in 1991.

Macromedia aquired Aldus Freehand from Altsys, as a required divestiture returned Freehand rights to Altsys as a result of the merger of Aldus and Adobe in 1995.

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Kai’s Power Tips & Where’s Kai now? http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/08/kais-power-tips/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/08/kais-power-tips/#comments Sat, 09 Apr 2005 02:35:33 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=189 In the “good old days” of Photoshop lore, back before Photoshop 3 and layers made everything so darn easy, there was a fellow by the name of Kai Krause who was a magician with Photoshop. For some reason, call it brilliance or an intuitive mind, Kai was able to “Think Photoshop” in his mind to come up with some amazing methods of creating interesting (sometimes not so interesting) effects. In late 1992 and 1993, he posted these “Tips” on the AOL Photoshop forum. At the time, they were amazing–and to a certain extent, they still are. To learn and understand Kai’s tips is to glean a better fundamental understanding of Photoshop itself.

What ever happened to those tips? The Gurus Network has them archived on their web site at the Guru’s Kai’s Power Tips page.

What about Kai himself?
According to a recent bio, he acquired a 1000-year-old castle on the Rhein river, dubbed Byteburg, where he and a small team are developing his next generation software project, code-named “TimeDoubler”. There’s also a few Kai’isms from Edge: The World Question Center:

Kai’s Existential Dilemma
I think….
there….
4a.m.

Kai’s Exactness Dilemma
93.8127 % of all statistics are useless.

Kai’s Example Dilemma
A good analogy is like a diagonal frog.

There’s also a blog record from Down the Avenue by Renee L. Blodgett that reports on a recent interview of Kai Krause by Chris Shipley at the DEMO conference that happened in February in Scottsdale AZ. DEMO has a video of Kai’s interview.


Kai Krause interview photo Feb. 14, 2005.
He still has long hair. . .I always liked that about him.

PhotoshopNews will be doing a feature story about Kai in the not too distant future.

Kai, if you’re out there, give me a ping. . .

And, if you don’t know anything about Kai, read the tips above, you’ll learn something about Photoshop. Then do some homework and look up; Kai’s Power Tools, Bryce, LivePicture, Goo & Soap. There will be a test at mid-term.

Comments are on.
Normal rules apply.

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Interview: John Nack–Photoshop Product Manager http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/04/interview-john-nack-photoshop-product-manager/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/04/interview-john-nack-photoshop-product-manager/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2005 17:48:12 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=143
Interview: John Nack

So John, how’s life as a Photoshop Product Manager?

Hey Jeff. Life is good, thanks! Announcing a new version is easily the most exciting time to be on the team.

BTW, can you tell us your –EXACT– title?

My title is “Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop.”

One of the big new features of Photoshop CS2 is Adobe Bridge, can you tell us why you guys decided to rip the File Browser out of Photoshop and make it a stand-alone application?

It’s a good question, and there are a couple of reasons. First, we’d gotten a lot of requests from people using Illustrator, InDesign, and GoLive for a File Browser that would work for them. Rather than duplicate the Photoshop browser several times, we opted to re-write it from scratch to be more powerful and extensible.

Second, making Bridge into its own executable opens some new workflow possibilities. In CS, if you start batch processing images in Photoshop, you’re locked out of the browser, and if the browser is busy building an image cache, Photoshop can get bogged down. In CS2, by contrast, you can use Bridge to kick off a batch in Photoshop, then switch back to Bridge and keep working while Photoshop churns away.

So, there are two versions of Bridge? The one that ships with the full CS2 Suite and the one that ships with Photoshop CS2, what are the primary differences?

When you buy the Creative Suite, you get two extra features in Bridge. One is Bridge Center, which is kind of a dashboard for the Suite (showing recently used files, up-to-date tips and tricks, etc.). The other is the Creative Suite Color Settings dialog box, which lets you synchronize color management settings across the Suite.

One of the new features of Bridge is the Slide Show, I know that one was kinda snuck in by Arno Gourdol, can you tell us how Arno did that?

Heh–Arno is one of those passionate engineers who won’t take no for an answer, so he came in one weekend and wrote Slide Show pretty much from scratch. One of the great things about working on tools for digital photography is that a lot of the team is shooting and editing in their spare time. Slide Show is a tool Arno really wanted for his personal work, so he came in and made it happen.

One of the new configurations available in Bridge is the Film Strip mode, was that specially designed for photographers?

Yep–exactly. We saw that a lot of people were configuring the CS File Browser to have a really large Preview pane plus a strip of thumbnails. But creating a workspace to get to this mode quickly wasn’t particularly obvious, and when things were set up in this mode you couldn’t see or edit metadata, browse to other folders, etc. So we designed Filmstrip mode to do what photographers were already doing, but more easily and without the trade-offs.

The big news for photographers is the tight integration of Camera Raw 3.0 and Bridge and Photoshop, can you tell us how that came about? Did Thomas Knoll, the primary engineer on Camera Raw have a lot of feedback? Did your photographer beta testers?

I think that would be a bit of an understatement!

Photoshop users, and particularly the folks on the alpha and beta, are *very* passionate and very vocal, so there was no shortage of real-world feedback for us to help shape this release. And Thomas is a pretty accomplished shooter, so a lot of changes he made were in response to his experiences using CS.

Negotiating the transition from an embedded File Browser to a stand-alone Bridge took a lot of effort and some trial and error. We wanted to preserve the best of what CS offered (the built-in integration) while offering some new workflow possibilities. We wouldn’t have nearly the spit and polish we do now without some welcome prodding from the folks in the field who rely on these tools to make a living.

Camera Raw 3 is a new breed of plug-in. It’s used by both Bridge and Photoshop CS2–even at the same time. What are the primary differences with Camera Raw being hosted by Bridge vs. Photoshop CS2?

The interface is pretty much identical whether you hit Cmd-O (to open images in Camera Raw in Photoshop) or Cmd-R (to open them in Camera Raw in Bridge). So, why did we offer two paths? The main difference is that when using Camera Raw within Bridge, the plug-in can keep batch processing in the background while you continue to work in Photoshop or Bridge.

So, if you’re expecting to edit and convert images without opening all or most of them in Photoshop, using Camera Raw within Bridge makes sense. If you’re planning to open the files in Photoshop, however, hitting Cmd-O/Ctrl-O is the most obvious and efficient way to go.

You mention batch processing, there’s a new command within Bridge called Image Processor, where did that come from?

Last time around, Russell Brown noticed a lot of people creating very complex actions for converting files (especially raw images) into other formats. This process could trip folks up, so he commissioned Tom Ruark in Photoshop engineering to write the very popular “Dr. Brown’s Image Processor.” The new Image Processor built into Bridge and CS2 builds on what Russell and Tom started, making it easy to convert images and perform common tasks (scaling them down, etc.).

Under the Tools menu, you have a variety of functions for the various Suite applications, what’s under the hood there?

There’s a ton of power in the Creative Suite applications, but most people aren’t a master of every app. Being able to hand off images from the File Browser to Photoshop automation tools proved really popular, so we wanted to extend that power to the whole Suite. The idea is to let every app do what it does best. So while you can still hand off images to Photoshop to build a contact sheet, you can build an even better contact sheet by handing off images to InDesign. We think this cross-application automation is a pretty exciting area for the future.

You mention automation, since Bridge is basically a new ground up application, how extensible is Bridge?

Bridge is highly extensible via cross-platform JavaScript. Scripting can be used to do things as simple as adding a menu item, all the way up to implementing a service like Adobe Stock Photos.

Is there an SDK for 3rd parties for building scripting additions to Bridge?

Yes, we have some pretty extensive documentation, and for the first time we’re shipping a script writing and debugging application for all the Suite apps.

The star method of ranking seems to be ideal for photographers and photo editors, how did that evolve? Did the testers have some useful feedback on that?

Definitely. We experimented with a bunch of different ideas (ranking, flagging, etc.), but it was our testers like Seth Resnick who pointed out that in the real world, photographers are used to doing a first pass through of files, marking some with a tic or plus mark, then going back through those files, adding a second mark, etc. Therefore we came up with a way to apply up to five stars to each image. Martin Evening made the helpful suggestion that we include keys that would add or remove stars from files, so we have those as well.

The rumor has it that Arno put in a key command for Bridge to hide all the file names and other distracting clutter in the main view of Bridge to satisfy one particular guy, who was that guy?

Well, he’s this very shy, retiring guy… No, not really: it was you, Jeff. :-)

The command unofficially known as “Hide the Crap” now lets you bounce between seeing just images & seeing the images with associated data (ratings, labels, names, date shot, etc.). Cmd-T/Ctrl-T hides the crap!

Since Bridge ships with the entire Creative Suite 2, it’s not just for photographers any more, how can designers and art directors make use of it?

As you’d expect, Bridge now supports the range of formats used across the Creative Suite, letting you preview Illustrator and InDesign files, page through multi-page PDFs, etc. The metadata pane reveals info that the apps capture automatically (for example, InDesign now records a list of fonts and colors used in each file). And one really interesting feature is Compact Mode, which can float above any application. You can toggle any Bridge window into Compact mode, which effectively turns it into a palette for the Creative Suite. You can then drag and drop files into your design apps.

You mentioned the Compact Mode, which is basically turning the Bridge Window into a floating palette, how does that work?

You can hit a little icon in any Bridge window to toggle from normal to Compact mode and back again, or you can hit Cmd-Enter on the keyboard.

Can you set the Compact Mode to behave like a regular window?

Sure; there’s a preference for floating/non-floating behavior in the little flyout menu.

Compact Mode actually has two modes, the regular and the super tiny mode, how did you guys come up with that?

User feedback was overwhelming on this point: Compact Mode is great, but only if I can make it appear, then get out of my way quickly. So we came up with Ultra-Compact Mode, which lets you make floating windows tiny, then pop them open easily.

As a beta tester, I saw all the iterations that Bridge took over the various builds. How do you feel Adobe Bridge version 1.0 stacks up?

Hey, I’m biased, you know? But I’m very proud of the work we’ve done this cycle. The team rebuilt two versions’ worth of Photoshop File Browser features from scratch, expanding and refining pretty much every area along the way, while building a highly scriptable, extensible platform for the future. I think the integration between Bridge and Camera Raw alone represents a huge leap forward.

You’ve referred to the Bridge engineers as the “Bridge Builders”. How was it working with the Bridge engineering team? How about the alpha and beta testers?

It’s been a real pleasure. The hours are long for everybody concerned, but we couldn’t be more fortunate with the combination of passionate developers and equally passionate customers. I think it’s a pretty unique combination.

In May, users will be getting their hands on Adobe Bridge, but you guys are already looking forward. Where do you see Bridge going from it’s 1.0 release?

You tell us!

Seriously, we’re all ears when it comes to feedback on the future direction of this technology. The number of assets (especially photographs) keeps exploding, so providing tools for finding the right files and spending time smartly is key. In broad terms, we’ll keep working to refine the tools for rapidly previewing, rating, sorting, and processing files, whether they be raw images or other formats.

The biggest challenge may be that once Bridge gets out there, people will start using it in so many ways and workflows that we’ll have more good ideas than we know what to do with. I’m confident, though, that our customers will keep guiding us in the right direction. We’re off to a great start.

John Nack, AKA Tiny Elvis first suggested starting a dedicated Photoshop news blog. At the time, I thought it was silly, but John turned out to be right. Over the months of development it became clear that the time was right because right from within the new Adobe Bridge (the full CS2 Suite version) you’ll be able to get RSS newsfeeds live. Pretty cool! And John, thanks for the suggestion dooode!

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Photoshop CS2-How much RAM? – Fact http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/04/photoshop-cs2-how-much-ram-fact/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/04/photoshop-cs2-how-much-ram-fact/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2005 12:15:08 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=134 Adobe® Photoshop® CS2 will be able to go beyond the previous 2gig/process barrier that pervious versions of Photoshop were limited to. The answer of “How Much Beyond” varies. . .

On OS X with the supported system versions, Photoshop CS2 can go to 3+ gigs. The actual amount could be 3.5 gigs or so, but due to certain reporting issues, it’s tough to say precisely. Tiger (10.4) will not expand beyond this limit since at the root, OS X is still really only a 32 bit OS with certain 64 bit optimizations and Photoshop CS2 is still a 32 bit application for both Mac & Win.

For Windows, the answer is more complicated. If you are running Win 2K or XP Home/Pro with SP1, the limit is still 2 gigs. With XP Pro & SP2, the limit is 3 gigs -IF- you’ve enabled the 3 gig boot switch, which can be problematic.

If you are running the released version of Windows XP 64 bit edition and are running either an AMD64 or Intel EM64T chipset, the limit will be 3+ gigs or so with the same issue of reporting issues.

That is not to say that Photoshop and your OS will not benefit by having more ram. More is always better (unless you have motherboard or ram chip issues). Having an excess of ram beyond what Photoshop can directly use will still benefit the system by reducing system paging and additional applications running will still be able to use the ram. With Photoshop CS2, the engineers are doing some special OS caching.

From Russell Williams, Photoshop architect:

Just to be a little more explicit on the “3+GB thing” — if you’ve got 4GB and are still hitting the scratch disk on either Mac or Win, you will probably see significant benefit from adding RAM. We’ve seen 40% and greater speedups when running tests on big documents that hit the scratch disk by increasing RAM from 4GB to 6GB.

What’s happening is that Photoshop can only make direct use of about 3.5 GB of RAM on Mac and 2GB on Windows and 3+ on XP 64 bit. But when it goes to write to the scratch file, normally that I/O is done directly from Photoshop’s memory to the disk (or vice versa). If you’ve got more than 4GB of RAM, we let the OS do its buffering thang instead. That is, data is not written directly to the disk; the OS copies it into RAM buffers that reside in that extra RAM Photoshop can’t otherwise use. If Photoshop later asks for some data from the scratch disk and it happens to be in one of those buffers, the OS copies it from the buffer instead of reading from the disk.

This is the usual way that most file access works — via the OS disk buffers. The reasons Photoshop normally *doesn’t* use those buffers are:

1. It costs extra to copy the data to and from the buffers instead of just reading it to / from the disk. If you get data from the buffer instead of doing a disk I / O, this is more than worth it, but…

2. Photoshop’s access patterns to its scratch file mostly don’t match what the OS is expecting. The OS assumes that if you just read or wrote it, you’re likely to need it again soon. But that’s not generally the case with Photoshop’s scratch disk.

But when you’ve got more RAM than Photoshop can use directly, there’s little to lose by letting the OS cache it.

So yes, 4 gigs or more can be of benefit to Photoshop CS2.

The default ram allocation settings are 70% for Mac and 55% for Windows. Under normal use for most users, these settings will be optimal. You can fine tune your own settings based upon your own system, installed ram and the way in which you use Photoshop. Depending upon the number of system processes running, and the number of other applications running, you can try turning up the ram allocation percent incrementally upwards while checking the available unused ram ram with a system utility. Ideally, you should always leave a few hundred MBs free to avoid starving the system. For Mac, you can use Activity Monitor (built in OS X) to watch ram usage. For Windows you can watch Performance Monitor which is built in.

Ram is only one of the three major Photoshop bottlenecks; CPU speed, ram and scratch disk. Multiple processor machines are faster than single processor machines and Photoshop, since version 4 or so can use multiple processors on many Photoshop operations.

The old saying, “you can never be too thin, or too rich or have too much ram” is basically true. Adding ram will, in most cases help. You can set your window display option to display “Efficiency” and watch it during the course of normal Photoshop operations. If your Efficiency remains at or near 100%, you basically have enough ram. If however, you notice Efficiency dropping below 90% for any sustained period, you are a candidate for adding ram. The ram requirements vary considerably based upon file size, number of files open at a time and the particular Photoshop operation running. Some operations are particularly ram intensive. In some situations, the available ram can become so fragmented that system and Photoshop performance can degrade. In that situation, closing down unused applications and quitting and re-launching Photoshop can restore the fragmented ram.

It should also be noted that the Cache Level settings under the Memory and Image Cache can have an impact on ram usage. Increasing the Image Cache setting will speed screen redraw-particularly when you are working with larger files with a lot of layers. However, the Image Cache doesn’t do too much for small files. The Photoshop CS2 default is set to Cache Level 6 with 8 being the maximum. If you routinely work with larger multi-layered files, try increasing the cache level.

The 3rd Photoshop bottleneck is scratch disk usage. For optimum performance, the primary scratch disk for Photoshop should be a different physical drive than your system’s boot drive (assuming that your system is set to page to your boot drive). Having a second fast drive for Photoshop’s scratch disk can improve performance. There is simply no longer a fast and hard rule about how large the scratch disk should be. It depends upon too many factors such as file size, ram allocation and what your History States setting is. It should be noted that History States do -NOT- affect ram allocation, it only affects the potential for scratch disk size. The higher the History States, the larger the potential scratch disk size you’ll require-sometimes by a huge amount. The scratch disk can be split across up to 4 different drives, however, I’ve found it’s optimal to assign a single large volume rather than several smaller volumes. While the previous largest file size on most systems was 2 gigs, this barrier has been eliminated in Photoshop CS and above because Photoshop can split the scratch file size into hundreds of individual files.

There is an upwards limit to the scratch file “somewhere around 64 Exabytes, but you’ll run out of ram before you get there so the practical limits is more like 32 Terabytes” according to Photoshop engineer Chris Cox.

Performance for Photoshop CS2 will be considerably better for the Photoshop power user. However, for optimum performance, all aspects of Photoshop bottlenecks must be addressed. Additionally, Photoshop’s performance and stability is still only as good as the health of your system and hardware. Regular maintenance and running a clean system without a load of system hacks and overloading the running applications is the best way to assure maximum Photoshop performance.

For more information about Adobe Photoshop CS2 check the Photoshop CS2 page. Check here for the Photoshop CS2 System Requirements.

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Photoshop Contests – Fact http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/02/photoshop-contests-%e2%80%93-fact/ http://photoshopnews.com/2005/04/02/photoshop-contests-%e2%80%93-fact/#comments Sat, 02 Apr 2005 06:05:31 +0000 Jeff Schewe http://photoshopnews.com/?p=151 I would be tempted to file this under “people with way too much time on their hands” except that I’ve been to all of the sites, and well, ok–I will admit to being intrigued. It seems that Photoshop has fostered a subculture of Photoshop contest junkies on the web. And they sure seem to have fun–even though when they win, they don’t win anything (except higher rankings and the respect of their peers).

I remember a few years back in WIRED News, the article about Anyone for Photoshop Tennis?. While the original Photoshop Tennis site seems to be down, the WIRED article described it as: “an online contest in which the players are Web designers, a Photoshop document is the ball, and a send button is the racquet.”

The rules of the game are simple. In Photoshop tennis, two designers send an image document back and forth, adding one layer for each turn. The document is posted to a website in real time, accompanied by announcer commentary. The match ends pretty much whenever the designers decide they’ve had enough. Sometimes it’s hours later, at which point “audience members” vote on a winner. Photoshop works using a system of layers — background, foreground and innumerable layers in between, each containing a different element of the image.

The prize?

It’s a great way to show off your chops,” said its inventor Jim Coudal, founder of Coudal Partners, a Chicago advertising and design agency.”

I remember back in the old Photoshop Chat room days on AOL we had some Photoshop challenges, but it was never anything like this. Now it’s institutionalized. Somebody even snatched up the domain PhotoshopContest.com. From their web page: “At Photoshop Contest users take a randomly chosen image, manipulate it and post it for the others to view, vote, comment and submit their own versions.” I checked thier web site for any clue about what the winners get and while there are a lot of answers in their FAQ’s page, my only conclusion is that contestants are doing it for the love of doing it and to garner high rankings. And doing something for the love of doing it is something I can get behind.

The high ranking leader as of the time of this writing is holly9000 and a quick visit to her profile reveals some interesting images such as this one from the “Deer Bone” contest. I have no idea who holly9000 is, but the work shows some skills.

There are other sites that go even further. . .

Worth1000 bills itself as “the top creative competition and photoshop contest site on the web”.

FreakingNews takes a slightly different tact by concentrating more on the alteration of news photos. There’s some scary stuff there. . .such as: “Australians Surgeons Reattach Boy’s Foot, Hands“. . .EEEEK! (talk about Photoshop abusers)

FreakingNews even has their own slang (called Freakisms):

BANHAMMER – What will strike you if you break the rules, resulting in a ban.

CLICHE – overused entry.

CNP – See CUT AND PASTE.

COLLECTIVE VOTING / FRIEND VOTING – having friends rate yours and only your image, or groups of friends who vote on each other only.

CRAPSLAPPED – Being found guilty of attempting to limbo under ‘the bar’ with a poor quality entry. (In other words, disqualification).

CUT AND PASTE – a crappy entry that looks like it had maybe all of 5 seconds invested in it.

FILTER – A feature of the site that changes certain keywords to other words. Quite fun when it happens to you. See this list.

FIXER FREAK – Those who claim that a contest is fixed (based on the ‘proof’ that their crappy entry didn’t score as high as actual good entries).

FLAG-BAIT – Any entry which is potentially NSFW, OT, offensive etc… In short, it’ll probably be flagged in the next fifteen minutes.

FLAGGING – clicking the white flag on a comment or image (or clicking “alert mods”) to bring it to the moderator’s attention.

HALL OF FAME – The vaunted area of the site, where the best players are listed, based on their stats.

HERD VOTING – the act of only voting for images that are already at the top of the leader board. Frowned upon.

JUNKIE – What you are going to be once you start playing on this site.

JUROR – A special hand-picked player on this site whose voting power counts for twice the average player, and have the ability to award out JUROR PICKS for outstanding entries.

JUROR PICKS – A special nod that says “this entry was pretty good.” Only JUROR PICKED entries appear in the galleries area.

LEADER TICKER – the listings of all entries by order of highest score. It updates in real time and displays ranking changes.

LOSATAR – The avatar awarded by the winner of a Head-to-Head match to the loser of the match (animated humiliation).

MODERATOR / ADMINISTRATOR – The nice guy/gal with the BAN-HAMMER.

NEW JERSEY – The filtered form of the word “He11.” The most infamous and prevalent of the conversions by the FILTER

NSFW – See NOT SAFE FOR WORK.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK – Any entry that would get someone fired if the boss walked by while they were viewing it. Posting it is a sure way to get banned.

PHOTOSHOPPING – the act of editing an image, even if you don’t use the namesake Adobe product to do it.

PICTURE OF THE DAY – A fantastic daily image selected from our archives. It can be found here.

POTD – See PICTURE OF THE DAY

SLIDER – This is the nickname for the product preview box that appears on contest and gallery pages, because of the way it slides with you as you scroll down the page.

SUICIDE NOTE – Posting “I quit” in the forums. Usually because a user’s entry was removed or didn’t score as high as they claimed it should in their VANITY POST. We deactivate these accounts since apparently they won’t be needing them anymore.

THEMEPOST – It’s either the example image used to kick off a contest or it’s the image that is edited during b2b contests.

TP – See Themepost.

OFF-THEME – An entry that has nothing do with the contest theme.

OT – See Off-theme.

VANITY POST – Posting in the forums about how good you are and talented you are. It usually concludes in a whine about how your entry didn’t score as well as it deserved. Frowned upon, obviously.

VOTE HISTORY – A listing that shows the voters vote history pattern over for a single contest. It’s linked on any contest page.

FN – Short for Freaking News. For all you really lazy types.

FREAKINGNEWS – Not the brightest bulb, are you?

FREAKISMS – Slang terms / made-up FreakingNews terminology that appear on the site.

FING pretty much goes after the marketing industry by mocking the “consumer culture with prankster attitude and seemingly innocent in-your-face four-letter wording”. I particularly like their new proposed Photoshop tag line: “Adobe Photoshop…When Your Photos Pretty Much Suck“. Yeah, ok, I doubt that Adobe will pick that one up.

There are other sites whose personality and agenda seems to be either to the right of Rush Limbaugh or the left of Al Franken. FARK seems to be somewhere on both sides. From FARK’s FAQ page: “Participating in a FARK Photoshop contest can be a unique and rewarding experience. It can also be a nightmare rivaled only in scope and severity by the sudden popularity of reality TV.” Ok, well I don’t think I’ll go there. . .There’s also News From Babylon that has a section called: “Photo or Photoshop” I really wouldn’t know whether to classify this as social commentary or the lunatic fringe–it kinda skirts the edge.

Then there’s the “Outer Limits”. . .web sites that go into another dimension. Like larrysface. I don’t know what Larry did to deserve this–I assume it was egregious.

From the larrysface.com FAQ’s:

Q. Who is Larry?

A. Larry is just a regular forty-something guy who lives in the northeastern U.S., a father of three who works in sales.

Q. Aren’t Larry’s 15 minutes about up?

A. Larry didn’t even ask for his 15 minutes. This started as a noodge by his brother, a private gag for friends and family that has ballooned beyond all imaginable proportions.

Q. What does Larry think about the site?

A. He was a little annoyed at first, but has grown to like it. Fortunately, Larry has a great sense of humor and is a good sport. He also learned that he could be cute as a woman.

—-

Ok, I don’t think this is what Thomas and John had in mind back in 1990 when Photoshop was first unleashed, er, released. So, what is my point? I don’t know that I really have a point–other than to pass along some rather off the wall developments within the Photoshop community and culture. When I first started researching this piece it was really just to answer the question in my mind of what was a “Photoshop Contest”? I didn’t have a particular agenda. However, in looking at all these sites I find myself a bit shocked that all this has been going on right under my nose. During the visits, I did see interesting and shocking images. That doesn’t bother me in the least–though I always prefer to see good Photoshop technique.

I guess the point is–hey, look what’s happening in the Photoshop world. . .

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