Creatively Technical

Thoughts on photography, electrical engineering, and management

Posts tagged apple

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The Flash Blog » Apple Slaps Developers In The Face

The Flash Blog ยป Apple Slaps Developers In The Face: “Speaking purely for myself, I would look to make it clear what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple.”

This Adobe Flash Evangelist takes Apple’s latest SDK quite personally. To quote a tweet by @fraying: >Things like this are usually the last thing an “evangelist” posts before having to get a new job. The famous Godfather quote regarding actions being business, not personal, apply. While it seems like Apple is trying to ensure the App Store is the sole source for iPhone/iPad applications, HTML5 can already do Flash-y type things without requiring a Cray supercomputer.

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Apple inside: the significance of the iPad's A4 chip

Apple inside: the significance of the iPad’s A4 chip Macworld:

Now we have the Apple A4, a brand new design for a SoC produced and owned by Apple, using the same ARM architecture that powers the iPhone. The A4 runs at 1GHz and supposedly helps the iPad achieve a maximum battery life of 10 hours, thanks to its tight placement of circuitry and small form factor. In integrating a CPU with a GPU, it follows in the footsteps of other energy-efficient SoC processors, like Nvidia’s Tegra.
Intel cannot, and will not, win everything.

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My Digital Workflow

I read about the workflows of many photographers as my photography curiosity turned into a full-on hobby. It was a bit difficult to determine what tools photographers used because they wanted to, and what they used due to sponsorships. In the end, I came up a few required categories.

Hardware

Computer

For starters, you need to choose a computer. I’m an Apple guy, so I’ve got a MacBook Pro, but there are photographers who use Microsoft Windows and are not lacking for high-end software.

Importing images

Everyone needs a means of getting their images from their cameras to their computer. At minimum, most cameras have a mini-USB 2.0 connector. These, however, tend to be slow as cameras rarely have high-grade USB 2.0 chipsets. It is a cheap way to get started or as an emergency backup. I much prefer a card reader. I’ve used a Lexar Compact Flash Firewire 400 reader since 2002. If your computer has Firewire 400 or 800, I highly recommend a reader that utilizes that bus. Firewire devices are more expensive, but they’re also higher-performing.

Backups

Finally, everyone needs a backup solution. I lost all of the pictures from my first digital camera in a hard-drive crash in the late 90s. Even with my relatively “small” images from the 12 MP Canon 5D, the RAW photos are over 10 MB and JPEGs are over 3 MB. I’ve filled a 4 GB card in a day of shooting, and come home from week-long vacations with an additional 15 GB of photos. It can add up quick!

Starting with Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard operating system, Time Machine has been a viable way of backing up data wirelessly. It captures hourly snapshots, keeping as much history as it can until it fills up. I have a 1 TB disk connected to an Apple Airport Extreme, allowing my MacBook Pro’s 320 GB hard disk the opportunity to backup recently changed files whenever it’s powered up and on my home wireless network. Time Machine also has the ability to back up data on external hard drives. This allows me to keep “older” images on a 500 GB Firewire 800 drive and still making sure they’re properly backed up as well. I’d love to keep all my photos on one drive, but the physical realities of laptop hard drives won’t allow me to do that.

Input device

When working with an image editor (below), a mouse will work ok. However, once you’ve used a precision input tablet from Wacom, you’ll never want to use a mouse to edit an image again. I use a Wacom Intuos 4 (medium), with its high-precision pen and mouse input.

Software

Photo Editor

A key piece of software in today’s industry is the photo editor. Its primary job is to organize photos, allowing you to analyze each frame and choose which ones to keep and which to delete forever. I like to keep 2 types of photos: the best, and the sentimental. I take a lot of photos of my children, and I must admit deleting those that you’d never print or share with others is still difficult! Photo editors also allow you to remove red-eye and crop (zoom) images to get the exact composition you want.

I used iPhoto from 2004 to 2008, and made the switch to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom at that point. Lightroom is more expensive, but you get more for the money. Many other people have expounded on all of Lightroom’s features, but there are a few that I use the most. First, I (or the auto setting) don’t always set the white balance correctly, and I use Lightroom to fix a number of the pictures I take. Also, Lightroom’s develop module adds rotating to the crop feature. One can either rotate the image by hand, or click 2 points that should be level and Lightroom will take care of the rest. Finally, I take all of my images in RAW, so they’re all Canon .CR2 file formats. I use Lightroom to convert to DNG on import, which both future-proofs my images to an open standard and stores RAW information in DNG instead of XMP sidecar files.

These advanced photo editors continue to inherit more features from traditional image editors like Photoshop. They also maintain an edge over Photoshop in that they’re able to make all of their edits non-destructively (even to RAW files) by simply maintaining a database of operations needed to recreate the image.

Image Editor

Image editors are typically layer-based tools that allow one to fix flaws with the picture itself. These days “Photoshopping” is a verb used to describe activities that see one cloning out power lines, removing dark circles under the eyes, and turning normal women into supermodels with eating disorders.

I used Flying Meat’s Acorn for a long time on the Mac platform, until finally purchasing the full-fledged Adobe Photoshop CS4 package. Acorn, like many applications from independent software developers on the Mac platform, does what it does very well for a reasonable price. However, Photoshop has a long list of 3rd party developers that sell plug-ins for the industry-standard image editor software.

Plug-Ins

There are many plug-ins for image editors. I personally use Nik Software's Complete Collection. This includes Viveva for color correcting, DFine for noise reduction (high-ISO noise), Color Efex Pro for color effects, Silver Efex Pro for turning images into different styles of black and white, and Sharpener Pro for both RAW pre-sharpening and final sharpening. The Complete Collection has a cheaper version that works with only Lightroom and Apple's Aperture, and a full-priced version that works with both those and Photoshop.

Final words

I survived many years with iPhoto, but like Google’s Picasa it’s not a tool that will grow with you. You’ll eventually need to upgrade to either Lightroom, Aperture, or manual organization and viewing with Adobe Camera Raw (included with Photoshop). Once you’ve got that, consider an image editor (like Photoshop, or a low-cost alternative) to make those edits you need to save a photo!

Filed under photography adobe apple