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June 2012 Archives

June 11, 2012

Explore Metal Print Potential

By Mark Levesque, CPP, M. Photog., Cr

Metal prints are real head-turners. Seriously, we're talking high impact. In an industry where differentiation is critical, metal prints provide photographers with a product that is new, different, and not yet available to the masses of new camera owners. It’s as close to a leg up as can be expected in the current state of the industry, and photographers would be wise to consider metal prints as part of their product offering.


The metal prints product round up in May's Professional Photographer magazine showed the wealth of choices in this product space. From regular rectangular panels to custom shapes, to multi-panel murals and ornaments, there are plenty of options to fit with your existing product line. 


A ChromaLuxe white-base, custom shape metal print.

Metal panels are created using a dye-sublimation process. A print is made using dye-sublimation inks on a sheet of transfer paper, which is then placed on an aluminum panel that has been coated with a special polymer. A heat press is used to apply pressure at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the ink particles to sublimate from a solid to a gas, which then bond with the polymer molecules. This process causes the dye particles to be embedded in the polymer coating, with the dual benefits of color fastness and surface durability. The risk of scratches marring the surface is minimal; the hard shell polymer coating is quite resistant to abrasion.

Most of the labs that offer metal prints are using ChromaLuxe’s dye-sublimation technology. The lab is supplied with a recipe for creating the panels, as well as the coated aluminum panels themselves. Each lab tweaks the recipe to become the lab’s own, so there may be subtle differences in the product appearance even though the raw materials are coming from the same place. It is a good idea to order some samples from your lab to ensure that you know that your lab’s implementation of the dye-sublimation procedure suits your style, and also so you are familiar with the various finishes.

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Nikon D800: A Filmmaker's DSLR


By J.R. Hughto

Not since the release of the D90 in August 2008 has a Nikon DSLR camera hit the market with outstanding video capability. The D90 was the first DSLR to record in high definition, but it was eclipsed almost immediately by Canon’s release of the 5D Mark II, which has dominated the video DSLR market. Now Nikon introduces the D800, a camera that not only matches the performance of Canon’s new 5D Mark III but in some ways surpasses it.

For still photographers, the D800’s 36.3- megapixel FX-format sensor is the party piece. Its high resolution translates into incredible sharpness; great news for videographers, this resolution does not go to waste. Even when video is recorded internally in the camera’s h.264 format, the capture’s sharpness is high while the moiré is slight. The major leap in resolution hasn’t hurt the signal-to-noise ratio at high ISO settings. Video quality is quite good up to ISO 3200—which isn’t even blazingly fast compared to the camera’s maximum ISO of 25,600—remarkable for a camera with such high resolution.


The most powerful new feature for video—and unmatched in its price class—is the D800’s ability to stream uncompressed 8-bit, 4:2:2 progressive video from its mini-HDMI port without overlays of any kind. This allows recording to an external device for as long as the batteries last. I used a Sound Devices PIX 240 video recorder with the camera. Setting it up was a straightforward, three-step process: remove the memory card from the D800 (which triggers progressive output over HDMI), set the camera to automatic output in 1080p24 mode, and set the PIX 240 record ing mode to Same As Video Input (to record whatever frame rate and raster it detected). The only drawback of external recording is that the camera cannot record internally and externally synchronously. When recording internally, the HDMI tap automatically down-converts to 720p60. Though the difference in quality between internal h.264 and external ProRes HQ is immediate and obvious, the h.264 implementation is quite good considering the compression.

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June 13, 2012

"Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers" Excerpt: What's New in Camera Raw 7.0, The New Camera Raw Workflow


The following has been excerpted and edited from the 10th edition of Martin Evening's book, "Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers." The book is currently available for purchase for $54.95 at FocalPress.com, BN.com and Amazon.com, as well as in major bookstores. To view CS6 video tutorials based on the contents of this book, click here.

(From Chapter 1)

What's new in Camera Raw 7.0 

Camera Raw 7.0 offers some further image processing refinements. In particular, there is now a new Process 2012 option in which the main Basic panel controls have been completely revised to provide more extensive editing capabilities for both raw and non-raw images. In fact, if you are familiar with the image editing controls in Adobe Revel for tablet devices, you'll already have seen how these work. The main Process 2012 sliders are also available as localized adjustments, along with new Temp and Tint adjustment controls. Lastly, the Tone Curve panel now also offers an RGB point curve editing option.


Figure 1.104 When you select a single raw image in Bridge, and double-click to open, you will see the Camera Raw dialog shown here. The Basic panel controls are a good place to get started, but the Auto button can often apply an adjustment that is ideally suited for most types of images. Once you are happy, click on the Open Image button at the bottom to open it in Photoshop. TIP: If you click on the Full Screen mode button in Camera Raw (circled above in blue), you can quickly switch the Camera Raw view to Full Screen mode.


Saving from raw files

If you save an image that's been opened up from a raw file original, Photoshop will by default suggest you save it using the native Photoshop (PSD) file format. You are always forced to save it as something else and never to overwrite the original raw image. Most raw formats have unique extensions anyway like .crw or .nef. However, Canon did once decide to use a .tif extension for some of their raw file formats (so that the thumbnails would show up in their proprietary browser program). The danger here was that if you overrode the Photoshop default behavior and tried saving an opened Canon raw image as a TIFF, you risked overwriting the original raw file.


Opening photos from Bridge via Camera Raw

If you double-click to open a raw or DNG image via Bridge, these will automatically open via the Camera Raw dialog shown in Figure 1.104, where Photoshop will host Camera Raw. Alternatively, if you choose File ➯ Open in Camera Raw... via the Bridge menu, this will open the file in Camera Raw hosted by Bridge. The advantage of doing this is that it allows you to free up Photoshop to carry on working on other images. If you choose to open multiple raw images you will see a filmstrip of thumbnails appear down the left-hand side of the Camera Raw dialog, where you can edit one image and then sync the settings across all the other selected photos. There is also a preference setting in Bridge that allows you to open up JPEG and TIFF images via Camera Raw too.

I would say that the main benefit of using Camera Raw is that any edits you apply in Camera Raw are nonpermanent and this latest version in Photoshop CS6 offers yet further major advances in raw image processing. If you are still a little intimidated by the Camera Raw dialog interface, you can for now just click on the Auto button (circled in red in Figure 1.104). When the default settings in Camera Raw are set to Auto, Camera Raw usually does a pretty good job of optimizing the image settings for you. You can then click on the 'Done' or 'Open Image' button without concerning yourself too much just yet with what all the Camera Raw controls do. This should give you a good image to start working with in Photoshop and the beauty of working with Camera Raw is that you never risk overwriting the original master raw file. If you don't like the auto settings Camera Raw gives you, then it is relatively easy to adjust the tone and color sliders and make your own improvements upon the auto adjustment settings.

Easter eggs

There are some hidden items in Photoshop. If you drag down from the system or Apple menu to select About Photoshop..., the splash screen reopens and after about 5 seconds the text starts to scroll telling you lots of stuff about the Adobe team who wrote the program, etc. Hold down opt/alt and the text scrolls faster. Last, but not least, you'll see a special mention to the most important Photoshop user of all... Now hold down cmd/ctrl-alt and choose About Photoshop... Here, you will see the Superstition beta test version of the splash screen (Figure 1.105 below). When the credits have finished scrolling, carefully control/alt-click in the white space above the credits (and below Superstition) to see what are known as Adobe Transient Witticisms appearing one at a time above the credits. Being a member of the team that makes Photoshop has many rewards, but one of the perks is having the opportunity to add little office in-jokes in a secret spot on the Photoshop splash screen. It's a sign of what spending long hours building a new version of Photoshop will do to you. And if you are looking for the Merlin begone Easter egg, associated with the Layers panel options, well, Merlin is truly begone now!


Figure 1.105 The Superstition beta splash screen.

Continue reading ""Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers" Excerpt: What's New in Camera Raw 7.0, The New Camera Raw Workflow" »

About June 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in June 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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