May 2nd, 2006
Kodak proclaimed to the world â€œ You push the button, we do the restâ€.
Of course that was around 1888. The technology at that time was so complex that it was best for the majority of shutterbugs at that time to leave well enough alone. Or to Kodak.
We are now in the era where the technology is much more accessible but now the causal user is being asked to do a lot more than just push a button.
Fading fast is the time when you put a roll into the camera, shoot away, drop it off at the lab, return a few hours later and you were done.
Now you are being asked to read an inch thick manual, interface with your computer to get a good look at your shots, and then learn how to adjust the image for optimum results.
For those of us who first learned how to develop and print our own photographs with film, chemistry, and silver halide paper, it is a new very exciting world. For others it may be huge pain in the neck.
Right, enough of the passage of time, where we were, and where we are.
Lets get to it and see if we can help.
As many of you have been shooting digital, loading your cameras/cards/CDâ€™s onto your computers, there are wide ranges of software choices for your next steps in image treatment
Remember we are talking about digital darkrooms. The tools have changed , but content will always be the thing that moves us.
If you have used the general, what weâ€™ll call â€œintroductory softwareâ€, you get to do some broad stroke changes, color shifts, red eye reduction, contrast control, and now in IPHOTO some additional overall effects. Even design your own hardcover book.
Maybe you wanted to try some more fine-tuning, or change up specific areas of an image. Perhaps you know that the DSLR you are using is capable of much more than you may be getting. Have you ever gone through a series of changes in your image and then not be able to get back to the beginning when you realized you went to far?
OK, maybe you just wanted to put that friends head onto another persons body.
You are ready to graduate to the next level of digital imaging software.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 is the perfect next step. The same folks, who bring you Photoshop CS2, just updated Elements. We started with this product a few generations back, and were very curious to check out what was new.
We used a digital image in RAW format for the run through.
Trying to be good, first step was the howâ€“to section. By using an image we truly cared about, it made the learning a lot easier.
In following the steps, we were linked to each tool available, and truly was made very familiar with the program in a short period of time. This is a strong recco. You may get tempted to dive right in, but you will be blown away at what can you can do if you learn the basics.
Going through some of the highlights, there are a few features that would take up to 20 steps in CS2, that you can do easily. Gotta love that.
So here are some of the things that stand out :
*Isolating objects from the backgrounds allowing you to move objects from one image to another in a couple of easy steps. That person who should (shouldnâ€™t) be there can be moved in a few easy steps. Of course there are an amazing amount of uses for that feature.
*Selecting particular areas to adjust or retouch. When you want to bring out a certain color or contrast in just one area without affecting the entire image.
*Adobe Bridge allows you to search and preview all of the images on you computer and that hard drive you backed everything up on.
* Non-destructive photo processing- thatâ€™s when you can change, experiment, try, improve your image in any way, and know that you can revert to the original. Now that is freedom to explore.
* Better and more selective retouching tools than in any of the starter photo programs
*Stitching for panoramic images â€“ nothing new here, but one of our favorite features. Just select the images you want to stitch together, horizontal or vertical and the program figures the best combo. You may have to make some adjustments, but it is a very cool feature.
*As in the other programs you can order specialty products (calendars, photo books,)
email, post (it does go to a Kodak EasyShare Gallery)
Anything we didnâ€™t like? Never been fans of the auto fix features on this or any program. Never agreed with the standard is that determines the auto fix. This program does allow you to select the area for the auto fix. However if weâ€™re spending the time inside the image, weâ€™ll go for the full adjustments that we choose and select.
The HELP programs, and just general Adobe support is the best. You will not get lost here, and if you did, Adobe will help you find your way.
This new version of Photoshop Elements is what you might call a robust piece of software. Orâ€¦this has so much great stuff in here that is relatively easy to learn. The price is right: about $90. When you are ready to have some real fun, and work your great photos the way they should be worked, pick up this software.
And this is the perfect bridge to Photoshop CS2, the standard of the industry.
And if you read all the way to here, weâ€™ve got a tip for you: Adobe lets you try ,before you buy. For free. Visit www.adobe.com/products/ and you will be able to download a trial version in MAC or Windows.
A bit of a long blog today but we hope it was useful.
Next up: We back up a bit and discuss monitor calibration devices. Actually the first step in your digital photo world.