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Free Chapter on Layout and Design

I've just gotten permission from my publisher to release a chapter for free from my new book How to Wow with PowerPoint. This is the intro to the book and focusses on best practices for designing graphics for the screen (so even if you aren't a PowerPoint fan, you'll find some wholesome goodness on here).

I hope you all enjoy it, you can download direct or visit the resources page. If you'd like to order the book (it ships in a few weeks) click
here.

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For Geeks with Bad Caffeine Habits

So what was in my stocking this morning? The perfect gift for someone who is frequently stuck next to a computer for long hours. A USB beverage cooler (no really.. I swear). Plug it in to a USB port and it dips to 45 degrees within seconds. Its perfect for chilling several cans of Coke Zero (I'm on a writing deadline you see).

The device works, doesn't seem to draw much power, and it runs silently. I know you're jealous, so if you're significant other didn't get you one, than stop over to
www.thinkgeek.com and pick one up.



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New Photoshop Podcast Soars

Well, it appears timing is everything. Our new podcast on Adobe Photoshop CS3 is rocking the charts. Literally overnight it took number 1 in the software training category. That's very motivational to a guy with zero advertising budget and very little public presence. I genuinely hope you are enjoying the show (I am trying to produce one a day for the next two weeks). Up next (its literally compressing right now) a 15 minute tutorial on creating panoramic photos.

Thanks to those who are watching (a few comments)
1. Please click the
subscribe button (it is free)
2. Please
tell your friends
3. Please
leave feedback.
4. Please post a comment here with requests for specific tutorials.

I want this podcast to be truly useful to the community. Your
support and feedback really do help.

Photoshop CS3 Sneak Peek On the Web On iTunes



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New Photoshop CS3 Online Learning Center

The great folks over at Photoshop User Magazine have launched an online learning center for the new Photoshop CS3 beta. You'll find great articles, interviews, and video tutorials on the latest technology development. I particularly liked Scott Kelby's Top 10 list and interview with John Nack, the Photoshop product manager.

These guys have good stuff and can be commended for making the bulk of it free to new users. Be sure to
check it out and explore new options. You may also want to Join NAPP for access to a wealth of other online materials and training.


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Photoshop CS3 Public Beta Available on Friday – New Podcast Today

Long-rumored, but finally true. Adobe has announced a public beta program for Photoshop CS3. While the finished program is not yet ready for release until the Spring, it is almost ready for 'prime-time.' You can read more about the release on Adobe's website for the full details.

If you are looking for some training, here's two places to start:
Photoshop CS3 Sneak Peek On the Web On iTunes
Photoshop CS3 Learning Center On the Web


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Great Deal on Shareware for a Good Cause



Some of my favorite tools are on sale this week as part of a great shareware bundle (deal ends this Sunday). Over at MacHeist (an online game) they have a shareware developer bundle. For $49 you can get the following programs.

1. Delicious Library (allows you to catalog music and DVDs)
2. Foto Magico (a cool slideshow application)
3. ShapeShifter (for changing the Mac UI)
4. Devon Think (a database application)
5. Disco (a disc burning application)
6. RapidWeaver (the blogging tool I use for this site)
7. iClip (a clipboard organizer that is very useful)
8. A game from Pangea software (several to choose from... I like Bugdom)
9. Newsfire (a RSS reader)
10. TextMate (a great text editor - unlocked if they raise 100K for charity)

Plus... 25% of the purchase price goes to a charity (of your choice). This is just a great example of geeks doing good... I am ordering mine today and suggest that other mac users
take this great deal up before it is gone.
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How to Wow for PowerPoint is On the Presses

The book is DONE! I have just finished a new book on PowerPoint 2007. It’s called How to Wow with PowerPoint and I am writing it with my friend Scott Rekdal. I am quite proud of it... It's full color, to-the-point, and teaches you how to do all the important stuff with PowerPoint 2007. It's great for all levels of users, especially those who feel their skills have leveled-off.

I'm trying to get a sample chapter up this week. If you want to order it, put a pre-order into
Amazon or directly at Peachpit. This way you'll get it first (heck we might even get the book out before Microsoft gets the software out).

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Aperture Update – Lot's of Tweaks

If you use Aperture, Apple's photo management application (I do), you'll be glad that they've released a new update. Here's the highlights (and my interpretation).

Aperture 1.5.2 addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance in a number of areas, including:
• Contact sheet printing (useful for sending to clients)
• Smart Albums
• Watermarks (useful for clients you don't trust)
• Lift and stamp
• Image export (Cuts down on artifacting when converting)

This part is essential
If you haven’t already done so, it is strongly recommended that you also download the Digital Camera RAW Support Update 1.0.1, which is available on the Apple Downloads support page at http://www.apple.com/support/downloads.

The Digital Camera RAW Support Update addresses the following issues:
• Handling of large Canon RAW files (.CRW)
• DNG compatibility on Intel-based Macintosh computers
(Important for Adobe users)
• Lines sometimes appearing in images exported from Aperture (sometimes? try all the time)



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Adobe Reader 8 is Released


Looking for greater options and compatibility when browsing PDF files? Then its time to download Adobe Reader 8 (formerly Acrobat Reader). The new version features a streamlined interface that can be customized by the end user. An important change is that Acrobat Professional users can enable the ability for Reader users to fill and submit forms as well as add comments. The program is also GPU aware so a powerful graphics card will speed things up.



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After Effects 7.0.1 is Released

While its 'just' a minor update, its still nice when our power tools get tweaked. Adobe just released a minor bug update to After Effects. Here are some details from the release notes about the most significant fixes in the 7.0.1 release (Mac or Win):

• An issue has been fixed where After Effects' application window could not be revealed after being hidden.

• After Effects can now read IFF image files rendered out of mental ray for Maya.

• Shift-clicking to draw vertices with the Pen tool now constrains to 45 degree angles.

• Copy and paste of semitransparent text from Illustrator into After Effects has been fixed.

• Choosing Composition > Preview > Audio Preview (Work Area) will now play the whole work area.

• Users can now import Blackmagic Design 8-bit YUV AVI compressed files.

• An issue that caused incorrect pixel aspect ratio and dimensions when importing DVCProHD files captured in FCP5 has been fixed.
(I begged for this one)

• Audio waveform no longer disappears when the window is resized.

A big thanks to After Effects Product Manager
Steve Kilisky for letting me know.



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New Presentation Posted on Video Podcasting


I've edited together the highlights from a recent class on video podcasting. If you attended my class at Digital Media DC, then this is the advanced notes. If you couldn't attend, then this is the next best thing. If you open this file in iTunes you can see the slides change in sync with the audio. If the slides are not visible, click the Show Artwork button in the lower left corner then click the slide thumbnail to go full-screen. You can also see the slides if you put the file on an iPod with a screen. I hope you enjoy and find the presentation useful.

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Take Our Monthly Survey – December 2006

It's that time again... we've launched our survey for the month of December. It's time for you to cast your vote and have your voice/click heard.

This time we want to know
which new tutorials to produce. Which Motion Graphics design skill do you want to see more training available? I'll produce both a for sale product and an exclusive sample for those who vote and comment. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address and I'll contact you next month with a free training module.

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GV Expo Class Notes Are Live

To those who attended, sorry for the short delay in getting my final notes up. Friday turned into a day of recovery, but you'll now find all of the notes posted. While you are in the handout section, feel free to poke around and look at other resources. You'll find lots of ideas that will help you out with projects.

If you wanted to take advantage of our DVD discount (10% off at
VASST.com) be sure to enter the code GVEXPO at check out.



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Great New Digital Camera

I have now made the leap to a new digital camera. I have been very happy with my Nikon D70 (albeit it's a few years old), but I have desired a smaller camera that I could keep in my laptop bag for the many trips I take. The thought being that carrying a full bag of lenses and camera parts isn't always going to be practical.

I was about ready to give up my shopping quest (don't even get me started on the in store people who tried to convince me that I didn't need to shoot Camera Raw). But some research and photography buddies turned me onto Leica camera. I have purchased (but not yet received) what I think to be the perfect camera for my needs.

The
Leica D-LUX 3 offers a superb amount of pro features in a small package:
  • 10-megapixel CCD (18 x 24-inch prints)
  • Shoot both RAW and JPEG
  • Manual setting options (focus, aperture, ISA, bracketing)
  • High-quality lens takes (equivalent to 28 mm - 112 mm)
  • Ability to shoot three aspect ratios (4:3 - 3:2 - 16:9)
  • Optical stabilization and fast processing (burst 1 fps)
  • High-quality aluminum housing
  • Video Record HD 720P @ 15 fps & SD @ 30 fps in QuickTime
  • Choice between automatic or manual ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 or ISO 1600.
  • Includes full copy of Photoshop Elements

The cameras are back ordered due to popularity, so you'll need to allow a few weeks to
get yours (I'm still anxiously waiting).
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iMix #5 – Music from 2006


Here's my latest iMix, a collection of songs posted to the iTunes music store for others to enjoy. Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life. Music from 2006 is a collection songs that I discovered in 2006. I've limited it to one song per artist (but I recommend checking entire albums). Visit iTunes to listen to the tracks, pick up the ones you want, and vote for the iMix in the rankings.


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Just What are Scratch Disks?

While teaching this week, we got on the topic of how to make Photoshop run faster. Most in the audience thought the answer was to add more RAM (yes that will help), but its not the only way. Adobe Photoshop can recognize up to 3GB of physical RAM, but you can also use virtual memory in the form of a scratch disk.

By targeting hard drive, Photoshop can temporarily use disk space to help in opening large files, ruing complex filters, or performing a resize command. But how do you set this up?

1. Launch your preferences by pressing Cmd + K (Ctrl + K).
2. Find the Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks Category in the drop down menu at the top of the window.
3. Set your first Scratch Disk to a hard drive and click OK.

Internal hard drives are best (as opposed to networked drives). You should also avoid using the Startup (system) drive as this will bog performance down. If you are a video editor, you can target your fast video editing drives. Don't worry, Photoshop will trash any temp files when you quit or on relaunch after a crash.

Be sure to set your Scratch Disk preferences right for a great bump in performance when working with larger files or with several files open.


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Super Cool Audio Recorder for Podcasting and Field Production

While I was traveling for DV Expo, we decided to pick up a new digital audio recorder. After an exhaustive search, we decided upon the Microtrack 24/96 from M-Audio. This recorder has proven very flexible as we can use it several ways.

  • It can be patched into a soundboard easily with three different connection types
  • It can be connected to a video camera's headphone port to record audio
  • It has an attachable mike for quick voice records of meetings or creative sessions

The feature list is pretty impressive as it offers pro options at a reasonable price. It's important that you download the latest software updates (which are free) but the whole package is great. I love being able to both charge and transfer data via a USB 2 cable. Don't let some of the inexperienced Amazon reviewers throw you off, I trust the recommendation of Douglas Spotted Eagle any day.
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Adobe Releases New Articles on Digital Photography

If you are in need of some new ideas or inspiration, be sure to check out the new articles from Adobe experts. There's a full list posted over at PhotoshopNews.com and there's some truly great stuff in there. While the articles skew towards digital photographers (like most of Adobe these days), I found these two very useful.

Digital Image Integrity by George Reis Photographs have been altered or “faked” ever since the very beginning of chemical photography. Learn how Photoshop CS is providing forensics experts and law enforcement specialists better tools for evaluating the authenticity of a photograph.

Black and White Conversion Tutorial by John Paul Caponigro Are you looking for more detail in your digital B&W conversions? Or perhaps better contrast and tonal separation? Here’s an opportunity to learn how to get maximum flexibility out of your B&W conversions. Follow along step-by-step, as John Paul Caponigro shows you how the pros do it in this dynamic PDF tutorial.
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Mac OS 10.4.8 and Adobe Software

Just read over at the wonderful blog of John Nack that I am not crazy. You see, my MacBook and MacBook Pro have both gotten much faster lately, and I thought maybe it was my overactive imagination. But it turns out that Apple and Adobe collaborated (BLESS THEM) on the latest OSX update. John reports that Photoshop is running 35% faster on Intel machines, After Effects is up 15% and Flash is a 10% improvement. Seems Adobe and Apple shared code and got the Rosetta emulators running Adobe software significantly better. This is great news as we anxiously await the next versions of Mactel-native software.


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The Latest Adobe News (With Personality)


I really enjoy that fact that Adobe has an active blogging initiative amongst their employees. These folks really know their tools and their community. The problem before has been that I don't have time to browse ALL of them for those golden nuggets of Adobe goodness... until now.

While visiting Adobe Labs, I found them showing off a new product called
Spry. The whole Ajax and Web 2.0 stuff is a little beyond me, but they do have a nice gallery of practical uses. Check out their Photo Gallery, Effects Demo, and the aforementioned Super RSS Reader (OK, I added the Super part). Now in one window you can browse ALL the Adobe blogs for all applications. This really is a cool way to keep up on the lesser known parts of Adobe.
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New Free Photoshop Actions

If you're looking for some great new Photoshop actions, hop over to Panos FX. This site is chock full of great actions (both free and for sale). Recent freebies include Rubik’s Cube and Plasma TV. One of my new favorites is Embossed Label which makes a great effect for title treatments. The actions are absolutely amazing and worth checking out. Be sure to visit Panos FX and browse their library.


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Kuler – Very Cool Online Color Picker

If you need to try out different color combinations, be sure to try Kuler from Adobe labs. This flash-based application lets you browse a wide variety of designer created color schemes as well as create your own. It supports all the major rules from Analogous to Shades. The controls are beautifully designed and the entire application really inspires creativity. In order to access it, you are supposed to have a live connection to the Internet. You'll need to be online to take advantage of the shared and highest rated features, but I've found a work-around for those times when an Internet connection isn't an option. I was able to save a web archive in Safari (File > Save As) which can then be opened up when I am not on the Net. Be sure to check this very cool application out.



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Podcasts on a PSP


In case you didn't know, the Sony Playstation Portable (aka PSP) is podcast compatible. Just not right out of the box. Sony sells a software/cable bundle called the Sony PSP Media Manager which lets you manage your media library (even iTunes) and move things onto the Playstation Portable. On the Mac side, there's a great piece of shareware called PSPWare which lets you mange media on your Mac and move things over. All in all, pretty dang cool (plus it gave me a "legitmate" reason to finally pick one up).

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Holiday Shopping Guides for Gadget Loving Geeks

There are two great gift guides for the holiday season (both published by friends). If you need to find something for the digital geek in your life (or even just want something to give others ideas) then check these two out.

First, you have Scott Kelby's
Gonzo Holiday Gadget Guide.” This free PDF features a ton of cool digital photography and photoshop related goodies. All the products have been tested by Scott himself, which is cool as he certainly knows his stuff. You can download it from http://www.planetphotoshop.com.

The other guide is from Terry White (who is a true road warrior who works for Adobe).
The 2006 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is an interactive PDF links to some of the coolest gizmos out there. Terry covers everything from digital video to frequent traveler to music lover. His choice are really very good.



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Two Surveys are Better than One – Take Our Monthly Survey – November 2006

It's that time again... we've launched our survey for the month of November. It's time for you to cast your vote and have your voice/click heard.

This time we want to know which technology two things. First, What are your plans in regard to High Definition DVDs? Are you an early adopter. sitting on the fence, or just don't believe the "hype?" Our second question, when do you finally expect to see the Adobe Creative Suite CS3 finally shipping?












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A Truly Amazing Comic (On Copyright)

I’m still reading this comic, but it is absolutely amazing. Bound by Law is absolutely amazing, it analyzes the murky world of copyright law in a clear way. It is an excellent source on information for film and video pros as well as other creative professions. Published by the Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain, this comic covers the essential information in the most creative and entertaining way possible. It’s totally free and should not be missed.


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Final Cut Help Gets Some Help from iTunes

Our new video podcast on Final Cut Pro has been shown some love from iTunes. It's always a great night when you log in and see your podcast featured in the New and Notable section on the front page. We’re really proud of this one as it features five great trainers, Abba Shapiro, Gary Adcock, Chris Phrommayon, Mason Dixon, and Richard Harrington. A new episode airs each week and we hope you find the tips truly useful. Thanks Apple for the kind plug... be sure to subscribe today (it’s totally free). You can get it at iTunes (the preferred method) or manually visit our web feed.



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A Colloborative Note-taking Tool – SubEthaEdit


I was talking with some software developers over a great dinner last night and we got on a favorite topic, collaboration. I brought up one of my favorite tools, SubEthaEdit ($35 from www.codingmonkeys.de). You can collaborate on one open document across your network. It's also Apple Rendezvous (aka Bonjour under OS 10.4)-enabled, so it's easy for other Mac users to join in. Nice features such as color-coding for each user and time stamping make this a flexible tool. If you need some group-think without the use of a projector, this is a perfect tool.

For more on great shareware,
see this useful article.
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The Director’s Cut – Now Available

I've just posted an old article of mine that I really like. It’s called “The Director’s Cut – Digital Video and the Power of the Macintosh.” It’s a fun article that shares a bunch of ideas on pre-production, production, and post. It was originally published in MacDesign Magazine (now called Layers). The article is totally free and showcases a lot of products and techniques that we use to save time and money over at RHED Pixel. I hope you enjoy.


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When Camera Memory Cards Go Bad


I’ve found a great tool for rescuing photos from your digital camera. Accidentally delete an image? Picture Rescue can save the day. In fact it can even work with reformatted or damaged cards. It works with all types of camera media, compact flash, memory sticks, SD cards, and more. It really works well and I used it to recover 3GB of data recently with no hitches. The best thing is the try before you buy. You can download the demo and scan your cards... if the demo version sees the pictures it can recover them. Be sure to give it a shot.
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New Video Screen Capture Tool – iShowU

Looking for a great screen capture tool? I’ve got a new favorite for grabbing video on a Mac. Be sure to check out iShowU from shinywhitebox. This tool is much more stable then others I've tried and it is a true universal application that runs great on both Intel and PowerPC Macs. What’s truly unique is that the video files are captured and encoded in real time. This means as soon as the capture is stopped, the file is ready to use. You can create screen captures for web tutorials, DVDs, or even HD. What will all this power set you back? A whopping $20. Be sure to check it out.



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Asking for Your Help - American Diabetes Association


I will be walking this weekend to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. If you are able to, would you consider making a small donation to the cause? Every dollar raised goes to help in the fight against diabetes. Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 21 seconds, this is quickly becoming the leading cause of death in America. America's Walk for Diabetes is my chance to give back (and yours as well). If you find this blog helpful or entertaining, please consider making a $5 donation. Thanks!

-Rich Harrington



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New Audio Tool from Adobe for AE and Flash Users


Continuing their new Labs idea, Adobe has a preview release of yet another new product. This time its Adobe Soundbooth which is an audio editing tool for those who don't need the power of Adobe Audition (or who find all the features just a little confusing.) The program is well suited for:
• Editing audio quickly.
• Cleaning up noisy audio.
• Visually identifying and removing unwanted sounds.
• Recording and polishing voiceovers.
• Adding effects and filters.

Download now before the current Soundbooth beta expires on February 28, 2007.

A great review of Soundbooth can be found on
Creative Cow.


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New Freebies for Video Pros

I've posted some new items online to help spice up your projects and make your digital life a little easier.

Background Textures from Digital Anarchy
NTSC Test Image (For use with Photoshop's Video Actions)
Power Window/Vignette to enhance Film Look
Over The Shoulder Data Sets Template

I hope you enjoy. If you spot any problems, please let me know.


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New Training DVDs Released

In need of someone training this Fall? We've released five new titles. Three are brand new for Final Cut Pro users: Color Correction, Advanced Trimming, and Media Management. These are three areas that even the most experienced user can gain speed and confidence.

We've also significantly updated two of our best sellers: An
Inside Look at the HVX-200 and a guide to working with HD Media. There are these and several more available at VASST.com. We hope you enjoy them!



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Conference Notes from NAB New York



I've posted conference notes from my sessions at NAB New York. If you attended any of my classes, be sure to have a look. Even if you didn't attend, you might find the resources useful. The two most popular classes were Color Correction for Final Cut Pro and Motion Control 3D. If you couldn't attend (or want to go deeper) both of these have DVDs available from VASST.com.



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New Film/Video Group in NYC


While at NAB New York, I had the chance to catch up with some industry pros. I just found at that the New York Final Cut Pro User Group has evolved into a broader focus. The group is now called The Motion Pictures Collective.

"The Moving Pictures Collective fosters our professional filmmaking community to enhance their abilities and broaden their overall knowledge and skills to reach their career goals. With post-production as our core competency, we will share techniques, tools, and best practices in all competencies including editing, directing, writing, producing, and shooting. We will also promote member collaboration by sharing our work in a supportive environment and create opportunities for our members to flourish.”

If you live near New York City, be sure to check out one of their
great events.



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New Rotoscoping Solution Previewed - Motor from Imagineer Systems


At NAB New York, I had a chance to take a look at a new rotoscoping product that is truly unique and fast! Imageneer Systems showed off motor, which looks to speed up the tedious process of rotoscoping by 3 times. The tools is designed for both video and film work. It is a standalone product, but it can export matted clips or mask data to other programs. The product works using 2.5D planar tracking technology where the user defines basic objects or planes (like body parts). The system then supports variable edge width and the ability to refine edges with far fewer keyframes. The product is currently in beta testing (but release looks to be soon).


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I'm Hitting New York City (for NAB)

If you'll be in New York City this week, be sure to say hi. I'll be speaking at the NAB New York conference this week on a variety of topics. Classes aren't free (but the tradeshow is for advanced registration). You can also get a one-session free pass by stopping by the Future Media Concepts booth.

Here's my class schedule if you're coming to the conference.


Monday - October 23rd
10:00 - 1:00 Fast Start with Adobe Photoshop CS2
2:00 - 5:00 Fast Start with Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Video

Tuesday - October 24th
9:00 - 10:15 Automating Photoshop CS2 for a Video Workflow
12:30 - 1:30 When Multicam Shoots Go Right (and Wrong)

Wednesday - October 25th
1:45 - 3:00 HD Loops: Creative Looping Backgrounds
4:45 - 6:00 Interfaces in Motion – Bringing Web Pages to Life

Thursday - October 26th
9:00 - 10:15 Essential Color Correction Concepts
12:45 - 2:00 Motion Control 3D: How to Create Movement within a Photo
2:15 - 3:30 Word Play: Title Design Workshop



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The Real Reason for Windows Vista Delay

While clearing off my cell phone camera, I came across this gem from Photoshop World. I had intended to sit down and watch a demo on Windows Vista (writing a book on PowerPoint makes you do strange things).

So I went to hear (and see the latest). But it seems that the Microsoft rep couldn't get the system to boot up using Windows Vista. The audience was good natured, but still after multiple reboots and attempts, it just wouldn't work). So, the unaltered photos you see here are what the audience got (at least the demo guy had a sense of humor).

So, has Vegas started taking odds on Apple vs. Windows as to who will get their operating system out the door first? What are your plans about Windows Vista?



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Technology for the Masses – K-mart Goes Broadband


Tonight, I ended up in a K-mart (I was looking for a bin of Tinker Toys for my son Michael). My eye was caught by the promise of 'free high-speed internet access' (or acceso gratuito de alta velocidad a internet for K-mart's Spanish speaking customers). Naturally, my curiosity got the best of me.

1. Who exactly goes to K-mart with a laptop?

2. While they do have a snack-bar, could you really see yourself sitting down with a big tall ICEE (blue please) and telecommute?

3. Where did they dig up the dinosaur 'Application Center' terminal. This thing totally looks like a TRS (Trash) 80... If you know what I mean... please validate this inane post by leaving a comment.

Well, as a podcaster, I guess I should be glad that you can now get my latest episodes at K-mart. Be sure to stop into your “all-new” K-mart (now owned by Sears) and see what joys lie in-store for you.

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Video Preview out of Photoshop CS2

This one came up today when a client asked me about previewing Photoshop graphics on a TV monitor. There's a great product called EchoFire, which lets you preview out of Photoshop using virtually any video hardware. But if DV is good enough for you, then Photoshop CS2 has you covered.

1. Hook up a FireWire device that uses the DV protocol like a deck or Analog/Digital converter (I like ones from Canopus).
2. Make sure the hardwire is powered up and connected to a monitor, then launch Photoshop.
3. Work with your current document and design as needed.
4. Choose File > Export Video Preview...
5. Specify your Output Mode and Aspect Ratio and click OK.

Preview away



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The History of Photoshop

I was recently asked how I could teach Photoshop and not be a professional photographer. It seems that most people forget that Photoshop has a diverse history and origin. In fact, I often point out its strong roots in the world of film and special effects (one half of the development team worked at Industrial Light and Magic). Photoshop serves all and this great article by Jeff Schewe gives you insight into its rich history.

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Great Tee-Shirts for the Mac Oriented

I own a few geeky Mac shirts already. I've got my Mac Genius shirt with the logo from Apple‘s Genius Bar that is discontinued (this is close). My son has two shirts that say mini with an apple logo (back from the days of the iPod mini). My wife also found my favorite tech shirt that simply states RTFM (if you aren't sure what those letters mean...). Fortunately there's a new company in town. and the geeks can go even longer without doing their laundry. Insanely Great Tees has a preview site up and they look to have some good shirts when they launch.



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The Photoshop User Awards

Looking for a cool contest with prizes better than a shiny statue? Then don't miss the Photoshop User Awards sponsored by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. They've got great prizes including passes to Photoshop World and a prize package of design tools. The Best of Show winner gets to go ‘on assignment’ in Rome, Italy.
The deadline for entry is December 31, 2006 and you can find the full rules here. There are eleven categories to enter:

1. General Photography (digital or traditional scanned images manipulated or collaged in Photoshop)
2. Illustration (original creations drawn or created in Photoshop)
3. Artistic (artistic creations)
4. Photo Restoration (Restoring or repairing damaged images - die: rips, scratches, tears, faded photos, etc.)
5. Wedding and Portrait Photography (Wedding or Portrait images enhanced using Photoshop.)
6. Landscape & Travel Photography (Outdoor photography enhanced or corrected, or processed in Photoshop)
7. Photo Retouching (Retouching people, landscapes, architectural images, commercial retouching, etc.)
8. Advertising Design (Images used in brochures, annual report collages, advertising, logos, etc.)
9. Composites and Collaging (Collage of images).
10. Student Work (Images created or manipulated by students. NOTE: A valid student ID is required to enter work in this category).
11. General Photoshop Design (Images that don't fit into one of the categories listed above: cartoons, Photoshop graffiti art, tattoo art, medical imagery, astronomy, etc.).

It's a great contest and open to all Photoshop users.


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New iMac is Breath-taking


We found ourselves 'hardware-crunched' due to recent project deadlines. To get by, we picked up one of the new iMacs. For the money, these machines are very impressive. Here's the features that matter to pro designers.

Set-up
• Plugged in the power cord and network cable, it was up an running
• In less than 5 minutes the computer was un-boxed and running (sure.. installing the Apple and Adobe collections took longer.... )


System Specs
• 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (very fast at encoding DVDs!)
• Comes with 1GB memory (more is nice... but this was enough to 'just go')
• A robust and fast 250GB Serial ATA 7200-rpm hard drive
• 8x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) (yes... does just about everything)
• High-speed 802.11g, Bluetooth, and Ethernet built-in

The Display
• A HUGE 24-inch widescreen LCD (everyone from staff to clients stares and comments on how nice the screen looks... everyone)
• Very bright and crisp with a wide viewing angle
• a reasonably powered NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics processor with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM using PCI Express (fast enough for Motion and After Effects).
• Support for external display in extended desktop

Other Nice Things that come in handy
• Built-in iSight camera
• One FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port
• Three USB 2.0 ports
• Internal 24-watt speakers (not bad sounding.... but use monitors for real audio work)

What's really cool is the system is actually approved for running Final Cut Studio. I highly recommend if you are in a system crunch or need an extra machine to check the iMac out.

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New Radio Interview – Photoshop and the Classroom


Richard Harrington was recently interviewed by Mac Edition Radio about Photoshop and education.

"
An interview with Peachpit Press Author Richard Harrington on writing a book to help teach Photoshop. Rich brings years of teaching experience, expertise with motion graphics, and a longing for the perfect book to teach Photoshop with, and wrote Understanding Adobe Photoshop: Digital Image Concepts and Techniques.” Recorded at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals Photoshop World Conference, Las Vegas, in September 2006 by Harris Fogel."

Have
a listen if you'd like.



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iPod Vending Machine – For Real

While at the Ottawa Convention Center for the Podcasting and Portable Media Expo, I was quite surprised to see a large vending machine filled with electronics. Everything from iPods to PlayStation Portables stocked this machine. It was really pretty amazing. Swipe your credit card and you could be basic things like an iPod cable or laptop cable, to a 60GB video iPod. Prices were the same as retail in a store... so there was really no disadvantage to buying (although I imagine returns or exchanges would be tricky). And unlike that bag of M&Ms, they product does not fall to the ground (a robotic arm/magic elf gently moves the package from shelf to pickup bin).I am sure there are more of these out there... anyone ever buy from one?

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5GB of Free Online Storage for PC Users (and Very Patient Mac Users)

AOL has launched a free utility for online storage called Xdrive. They'll give you a whopping 5 GB (which is pretty good). The service is free (for now it appears) as it doesn't charge you or ask for any payment info. But the login screen does allude that they may ask to charge in the future (you won't be billed automatically).

“With your 5GB of secure online storage there's plenty of room to keep backup copies of digital photos, all your important documents, e-mail attachments, and other files — and still have space leftover for your music collection. It's the best way to keep computer crashes from becoming disasters. Think of it as hard drive insurance.”

In that vein, it gets even better. When I logged in, they upped it to 50 GB for free. They offer free software for Windows users that lets you mount the Xdrive as a volume on your desktop. But Mac users can still access the service through a slightly more clunky web interface.






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iDisk Tip

Have an iDisk? They are a useful part of a .mac account that allow you to store and backup files to an Internet hard drive. If you use an iDisk with clients, it can get a little tricky for clients to figure out how to access your iDisk using Apple's iDisk utility. An easier way is through a web browser. Just have your client type http://idisk.mac.com/your iDisk name and they'll be connected.





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Editor’s Retreat Offers Expanded Content

The Editor's Retreat has announced even more speakers and sessions.

  • The Evolving Role of the Editor
  • State of the Union by Avid, Apple, & Adobe
  • Power Tools - Photoshop Automation, Small Format Tips: iPods and Beyond
  • Color Grading Theory and Techniques
  • Business Track: Freelancers, Boutique Owners, Facility Managers
 
Speakers who've been added that we know and work with:
 


The Editors Retreat is an unparalleled industry event, exclusive to highly experienced editors of film, TV and video. To ensure that only the best of the best attend, participation is subject to an application and screening process by a committee of peers. Running for 5 days and 4 nights, the Retreat will only be open to approximately 75 qualified applicants.

The Retreat’s focus will be evenly split between high-end technical sessions and ‘the world behind the timeline’ – the creativity and the craft of the editor, and the business of creating a thriving editing career. Presenters include award-winning editors and icons from the editing world, alumni of previous FMC ‘Master Editor’ programs and known industry power users.



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Never Lost on a Road Trip Again

I have found the best gadget for traveling... an affordable GPS system that you can take with you on the road. I'm in LA for the Podcasting Expo and I bought a portable GPS unit (for those of you who've driven LA, you'll understand the need to bale from a clogged highway and find a new route). The Garmin Nuvi 360 Pocket or Vehicle GPS Navigator just rocks.

• It just works, zero problems getting a signal and clear directions.
• It has Bluetooth which is really cool. Pair it with your cell phone and it works as a speaker phone. Need to find a hotel or restaurant, click the built-in guide then push the phone button and you are connected. Dial the office and you have a great hands-free speaker phone. It's clear for both parties and totally works.
• It has built-in storage, and can play music (and even cooler Audible books).
• The screen is bright and clear, plus its a touch screen
• It charges via a USB cable or runs of a cigarette adapter.
• You can put it into a pedestrian mode for walking around cities (it'll ignore one ways, or places that aren't accessible to pedestrians).
• There are no subscription fees.

Be sure to
check it out... this little device has taken away a big chunk of the stress I feel in rental cars (and makes my wife happy as she uses it in her non-GPSed car when I am not traveling).

Thanks to
Terry White from Adobe for the initial tip.

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A Good Week for our New Photoshop Podcast

So... I've never been able to say this... forgive the indulgence... “We're number one... we're number one!” Okay... I’m over it. This week our new Podcast hit #1 on the iTunes Store for Software Training (and we broke the Top 5 for all technology). I am quite happy that thousands of folks are accessing our Photoshop training and I hope you all find it helpful. In case you haven’t subscribed yet (it’s free) be sure to check it out on the iTunes store (if you don't want to use iTunes, click here.)

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Going to Podcast & Portable Media Expo?


I'll be at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo next week in California. This two day event is all about podcasting and the such. If you plan to attend, I'd love to catch up. I'll be sure to bring back a report on all that I learn. I'll also be filing reports for Inside Media Networks and will add links as the stories go online. The event will be held September 29 & 30 in Ontario, California (not far from LA). Hope to see some of you there.



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A Universal Media Player

Tired of trying to open your media files in a variety of players only to suffer from incompatibility and versioning issues? Video Lan Client (or VLC) is the most universal player I've found. In my tests, I opened Windows-formatted media files on my Mac with surprising success. I also see greater compatibility on the Windows side as well (plus an easier-to-use interface than Windows Media Player). If your Web video experience seems incomplete, or you are looking for another app to test your media files before distribution, be sure to check this one out. You can open and view pretty much any form of audio or video on both a Mac or a PC (or any flavor of Linux for that matter).
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Classic TV Test Pattern Now as Desktop Wallpaper


A few folks commented about my desktop pattern at a recent conference. It seems the old 'Indian head' pattern evokes some memories in many audience members.

Well the version I had comes from a Russian designer named Art. Lebedev. You'll find it and several other pieces of artwork on his
posters page. For the test pattern, scroll down to the bottom and you'll find it in the right column. All are free to download.



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My Laptop Backup Strategy

I have bad luck when it comes to laptops (or perhaps as the Apple tech said, I work my laptops harder than 99% of the users out there). It seems I have experienced data loss a few times to many and I finally sat down and figured out a back-up strategy. So you can save yourself a headache, I offer you my workflow to achieve data nirvana.



1. Get a small, high-quality drive that you can take with you. My choice was to get an OWC Mercury On-The-Go case. There are four different options to choose from and they each offer connection options that are impressive. My choice was to get the case only and drop in a SATA laptop drive. I was able to get a 160 GB drive that is big enough to hold the contents of both my MacBook and MackBook Pro. (If you are curious... the MBP is my small writing/blogging machine while the 17 inch is for teaching and production... 17 inch laptops and coach seats don't go together.)

2. Get backup software like Data Backup from Prosoft. I like this package because its affordable and I have had great experiences with the company's other software like Data Rescue and Picture Rescue. This package allows you to Clone your drives and make a bootable image so you can easily restore files. My favorite feature is its robust scheduling tools including the ability to have a backup start whenever you plug in the backup drive. Simply set the program to automatically open as a login item (right click on its icon in the Dock at choose Open at Login). Then choose to set a schedule and set an event for the presence of the backup target.

3. Remember to plug-in the backup drive weekly, and keep it in the bag of your laptop.

That's it... much less stress for the road warrior.
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Lost Fans or Casual Bystanders... Catch Up!


So iTunes and ABC are doing something cool. You can download the season finale of Lost (as well as Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives) for free. The first Million viewers can pull down the show as well as "The Lost Survival Guide" so you can catch back up.

As a podcaster, it's an interesting concept. Making something free, but 'exclusive' (if you consider a million to be exclusive). Still, I like free TV as much as the next creative type.

Be sure to
check it out.... it's free after all!




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Automating FCP Project Backups (Works for others too!)

Over at RHED Pixel, we've finally come up with a reasonable backup strategy for our FCP systems. Figured I'd share for those of you who need it

1.
Target One Folder – We save all FCP projects to an FCP folder on the internal drive.

2. Use Backup Software – We've started using Data Backup from Prosoft. I like this package because its affordable and I have had great experiences with the company's other software like Data Rescue and Picture Rescue. This package allows you to pick a folder for backup. My favorite feature is its robust scheduling tools.

• Simply purchase a 1-4 GB USB thumb drive and plug it into your system.
• Then set Data Backup to automatically open as a login item (right click on its icon in the Dock at choose Open at Login).
• Then choose to set a schedule for backup and target the thumb drive.

May your project files find a safe haven.... All for about $150 a machine (software plus thumb drive).



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Why You Must Download iTunes 7 Today


The short answer... it rocks.

Apple has taken a nearly perfect piece of software and made it better. There's a
full write-up on Apple's site, but I'd like to share some standout features and what they really mean to the end user.


Movies – So they're only from Disney-owned companies (for now)... someone had to be first. What's nice is Apple upped the quality to 640X480 which looks great on a laptop and playing off an iPod to a TV set via the AV cable. By the way... it's you buy movies (and everything else) from the iTunes Store (they dropped the word Music).

Cover Flow – You can now flip through all of your 'albums' by cover.... it's a cool 3D effect that encourages browsing and helps put a face back on those 'virtual' albums. Missing artwork? No problem... iTunes will now download artwork for free and add it to any song in your library (provided the album is listed in the iTunes store).

New User Interface – The Source List allows you to view and manage all of your files and devices. It really lets you take control of your collection (especially if you have multiple iPods). iPod Games – Just what I need... a waste of time... but I've already bought three. So far Cubis is my favorite, game-play with the scroll wheel is enjoyble and at $4.99, it wasn't a hard sell. The games only work with the 5G (or video iPods) but no problems for me as my nearly year-old iPod worked fine.

Device Management – You know get total control over each iPod, including which elements sync. I particulary like the visual interface that displays the contents of an iPod.


Download Manager – You can now control the order of downloads (useful when you want to hear the music you just chosen and its stuck behind a HUGE movie file. What is even better is the ability to pause (or stop) a download and resume where you left off. This was helpful while riding the Amtrak Acela to New York as my Internet connection kept dropping (hey... tunnels... Hudson River... I understand).


Onscreen Video Controls – Straight out of QuickTime, you now get a great controller that floats over the picture (when you move the mouse). Convenient controls are easy to reach (including a useful full-screnn button). I find this most useful as my keyboard shortcut database has no room left in the brain.

Library Backup – Having lost music... I really appreciate this feature. You can now initiate a “Back Up to Disc” command. This quickly allows you to back up your entire iTunes library to CD or DVD.

Reverse Sync –
If you plug your iPod into another computer that has been authorized for your iTunes account (up to 5 machines), you can now transfer music OFF the iPod. It only works with music purchases... but its flawless.

To get the new update...
visit the iTunes page.
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Paralells Gets Even Better

Long time readers will know that we are big fans of Parallels Desktop solution for running Windows on a Mac. No need for multiple partitions or rebooting, you can have both Operating Systems going at the same time. Plus you can install the optional Tools that allow you to copy and paste between systems and even access folders on your Mac.

The good news... their
trial is still available and a new update has been released.

Recent improvements include:
  • Support for new quad-processor Mac Pro towers outfitted with up to 3.5GB of RAM
  • Experimental support for Windows Vista
  • An improved Parallels Tools package
  • Better video output improvement and acceleration
  • Added isochronous USB devices support (including WebCam devices)
  • Keyboard support improvement: Eject CD key support and more
  • Clipboard synchronization tool
  • Sound playback and recording improvement
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Just Can't Get Enough Photoshop? We've Got Two Free Podcasts for You.

If you're a Photoshop fan, then we've got you covered. We've got two Photoshop podcasts you should check out.


  • Understanding Adobe Photoshop This is a weekly podcast targeting new and intermediate users of Photoshop in all industries. It's sponsored by Peachpit TV.
  • Photoshop for Video This one also comes at you every week and focusses on those issues facing video and motion graphic designers. Other kinds of users may enjoy its emphasis on speed and flexibility as well.

    By the way... we're not the only one's who like them. Apple has featured both on the front page of the Technology section in their New & Notable spotlight.

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Machine Wash Filters for Photoshop

While much of my time is spent making photos look better... sometimes I have to go the opposite direction. Mister Retro has three filter packs available called machine wash that can mangle and age images or text. Think of those "new-old" tee-shirts that are so popular in stores like American Eagle and Abercrombie and Fitch.

I first started using Machine Wash when they were actions for Photoshop, now they've evolved into actual filters. I checked them out at Photoshop World in Las Vegas, and the plug-ins are fast and responsive. These filters are of course well suited for clothing, but I find myself using them on photos and type treatments for the screen as well. To see a real-time preview, check out their gallery.

The filters are priced at $49 a set, and upgrades for previous users are available if you contact tech support.



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New Conference Notes


As Photoshop World winds down, its time for homework. Be sure to check out the conference handout section for extra notes and practice files. If you took a class with me, I hope you enjoyed. Have fun and keep learning.


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New DVD – Motion Control: Turning Photos into Moving Footage

It’s finally shipping, my new DVD. If you need to use photos in your videos or film, you'll enjoy this new disc. I go very in-depth on how to create standard and 3D camera moves with photos.

Motion Control: Using Photoshop and After Effects To Tranform Still Images into Moving Footage
No longer locked to a stationary position on screen, your photos now possess distinct storytelling abilities.  Join Richard Harrington, Photoshop and motion graphics guru, as he reveals the top techniques used by pros to bring still images to life.  This DVD will benefit all users interested in improved storytelling abilities. You’ll learn essential techniques both in 2D and 3D space.
  • Adobe Photoshop essentials
  • Traditional two-dimensional motion control
  • Using 3D cameras
  • Working in 3D space
  • Using 3D lighting to enhance your images
  • Performing advanced camera operations
Bonus Features
  • Original and processed images
  • Adobe Photoshop and After Effects project assets
Estimated ship date is September 20th 2006. You can order it here.


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New Photoshop Podcast


Join us each week for a dose of professional Photoshop training. We've turned our new book, Understanding Adobe Photoshop into a weekly podcast. It's a good idea to subscribe via iTunes, as back episodes won't hang around long. If you are impatient (or want to get the whole set on a DVD) you can purchase the book.

Subscribe now and receive a dose technical training delivered every Monday. Understanding Adobe Photoshop with Richard Harrington .

The new podcast is brought to you by the fine folks at Peachpit Press.

Hope you all enjoy...

NOTE: If you haven't subscribed... don't miss our free Photoshop podcast exclusively for video pros – Photoshop CS: Essentials for Digital Video.



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Understanding Adobe Photoshop Gets High Marks


A few months ago, my new book on Adobe Photoshop was released. I'm not one for fancy titles... so I simply called this one "Understanding Adobe Photoshop." The book combined everything I learned teaching Adobe Photoshop to both college students and working pros, and it is targeted for both new users and those who are self-taught (having never taken a full college-level class).

The book is doing well (but of course... I'd be happy to sell more). It is
very well-suited for classroom use as well with hundreds of hands-on exercises (including images) as well as 4.5 hours of training videos. Enough of my thoughts... what are others saying?
Read More...
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New Design Tool for Slow Days


Looking for a new design tool? Well this probably is not it... but it is fun. The Official Seal Generator can create 'official-looking' seals in a flash. Enter your text then choose a border and an emblem. You can even customize colors. A simple click of the 'Go' button and an 'Official Seal' will be generated for you. If the presets don't do it for you, the author encourages you to make contact.

There's a ton of funny things like this made by the same group, be sure to check out
their site.





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If You're an Experienced Video Editor... Check Out this Event

One of the most influential events I've ever attended was Avid's Master Editor Workshop series. But it appears that the workshop has gone the way of Umatic tape machines. The replacement? A new event called the Editors Retreat. This is truly a retreat, in that editors come to live together and learn (did I mention the living part happens in South Beach in January). The event runs for 5 days and 4 nights, and is open to approximately 75 qualified applicants. The Retreat’s focus focusses on high-end technical sessions and ‘the world behind the timeline’ – the creativity and the craft of the editor. Other classes delve into the business side as well. Its a great learning opportunity and worth checking out.


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Missed SIGGRAPH? Want News?


If you couldn't make it to SIGGRAPH, be sure to check out these great video reports. Over at the Digital Production Buzz, you'll find several video podcasts with the newsmakers at SIGGRAPH. Additionally, you'll find additional podcasts from NAB and E3. You can subscribe to this occasional feed of video-of-interest here.


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Final Results of the NLE Survey

The polls are now closed for our August survey.
We asked:
Which NLE do you prefer to use the most?



We set an all time record for responses. All said, 510 users weighed in... and the results were surprising.

1. Apple Final Cut Pro/Final Cut Express (36.27%)
2. Avid Nonlinear Editing Systems (
31.96%)
3. Sony Vegas (
14.12%)
4. Adobe Premiere Pro (
13.73%)
5. Media 100 (
3.92%)

Given the number of respondents, we have determined that the survey is accurate within +/- 4%... That means Final Cut Pros lead was slim, but it still took the top spot.



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Going to Photoshop World? Then Take My Classes...

Hope to see some of you at Photoshop World in Las Vegas. If you plan to attend, I hope to see some of you there. Here's my teaching schedule for those who'd like to catch up.

Thursday – September 7
Do No Harm - Non-Destructive Color Correction
NAPP Expo Theatre – 03:30-04:30 pm

Help Desk Live
Various Times

Friday – September 8
Your Photoshop is in My After Effects
Motion Graphics Track – 09:30 -10:30 am

Podcasting for Educators
Peachpit Expo Theater – 12:00-12:40 pm

Photoshop in the Classroom
Peachpit Expo Theater – 2:00 - 2:40 pm

Typography in Motion
Motion Graphics Track – 4:00 - 5:00 pm

Motion Control 3D
Motion Graphics Track – 5:15 - 6:15 pm



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Photoshop for Video Podcast Gets Reviewed

Thanks to Sheila Ward and DV Guru for the write-up on our Photoshop for Video podcast. We appreciate the link and turning people on to our show. If you've never checked out their site, have a look. Its a great community of bloggers posting on digital video and related technology.



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Useful Shareware – Art Directors Toolkit

Looking for a helpful tool to for designers? Then check out the Art Directors Toolkit. Although this handy application can't make you an art director for 40 bucks, it replaces a bunch of tools that always seem to get misplaced in my office. It's designed for print pros, but motion graphics and web designers will appreciate some of its key features:
- A Scale Calculator to help you determine percentages for resizing to a specific target. - A text-preview window so you can see source copy in a variety of fonts. - A symbol-conversion pane to unlock specialty characters in your fonts. - A Swatch Book for viewing Pantone colors and finding related colors. - A Blend window to find a third color that will work well with two others. - A Units Converter to calculate different measurement conversions. - A very robust RGB color picker.
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Photoshop World Show Floor Action

Planning on coming to Photoshop World in Vegas? Even if you can't attend the whole conference, you should check out the trade show floor. The Photoshop World Expo floor will be open to the public on on September 7th. The event is held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and is a great chance to catch up on the latest in digital photography and digital imaging.

You can come check out many different vendors as well as attend free educational sessions. You can get your free pass by
signing up in advance or you'll have to pay $20.00 at the door.


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Omni Dazzle – A Great Tool for Teachers and Presenters

What piece of Mac shareware has me most excited... a cursor enhancer called OmniDazzle. Yup... giggle if you want. But the Omni Group has released a killer program that has dramatically changed my teaching style. This useful application add several visual effects for the screen and mouse pointer.

Now some of them are downright cheesy, but educators should really check out the following effects:
Flashlight – Which points a spotlight on the area of focus and dims the screen
Focal Point – Which darkens all but the active UI element
Scribble – This gives you four colored markers to draw on the screen like a NFL commentator
• Zoom – My favorite, which lets you marquee a selection, which is then magnified full-screen

So yes... its version 1.0 and Mac-only (and requires OS 10.4.6 and Core Video)... its still worth checking out. It's $14.95 and you can download a demo from the
Omni Group website.
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New EVDO ExpressCard Arrives (and is Perfect!)

So... you may have picked up on my love of all things EVDO. These great cards let the business traveler or mobile blogger kill off the expense of logging in at coffee shops, hotels, and convention centers (I've had months where access has run me $225). Unfortunately, the new Macs and Dells required an ExpressCard (which was not available until today). But I have mine, and thanks to the card... I am mobile and plugged in (in fact that is how this very entry was posted!)

Hats off to
EVDO Info for shipping as promised and getting it to me overnight. Note, their website references a high demand... so if you need one... pre-order.

“The demand is huge for the ExpressCard.
We sold out of our first shipment (which is being sent out to customers on 8/11/2006). Our next shipment is currently scheduled for 8/23/2006.”

Boy... do I love wireless internet.... *GRIN*


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The Truth About Laptops, Cell Phones, and the TSA

As a person living in target number one (Washington, D.C.) the news of a recently foiled terrorist attack greatly bothered me. As the frequent business traveler, I was stymied by the news reports that all sorts of items such as laptops, cell phones, and iPods were being banned. I thought... how could they? Could you imagine a flight where no business traveler got any work done no child could watch a movie, those of us who like quiet time couldn't ignore the world by drowning it out with an iPod?
Read More...
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Review – Color Theory and Color Theory Pro

Although you may be able to match your own clothes in the morning, finding just the precise complementary colors is sometimes a pretty daunting task, or at least a time-consuming one. How do you pick out four colors that work with your client's logo?

ColorTheory from Digital Anarchy provides a pretty quick answer. The interface is clean and simple, but generates powerful results in a variety of color schemes. The Pro version adds the ability to load a source graphic in to compare with your colors. It also adds the ability to run ColorTheory as a plug-in from Photoshop or After Effects-compliant hosts.

The product is priced at $49 for the Standard version and $99 for the Pro.


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Microsoft Kills Virtual PC for Macintosh

Microsoft has a bad habit of buying technology... then killing it. It'd not really their fault... they've got all of that cash just lying around. The recent victim is Virtual PC. Originally developed by Connectix, it was sold to Microsoft in 2003. In a statement today Microsoft said it "has made the decision not to move forward with a Universal version of Virtual PC at this time."

At this time is corporate speak for never, in fact never ever. Recent competition from Parallels and VMWare have made the Windows on a Mac space a bit cluttered. Additionally, Microsoft alluded that rewriting Virtual PC to run on Intel Processors would mean having to essentially rewrite the program.

"The (Macintosh business unit) still recognizes that customers need access to Windows applications from their Intel-based Macs and feels confident that alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors, combined with a fully packaged retail copy of Windows will satisfy this need," the company said.

Anyone else find it ironic that Microsoft which started as a company that made Mac software, has decided that it is too difficult to get their software to run on Intel chips. Go figure. Guess they're too busy getting Vista out the door.


For more details, head over to
CNET.

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Game On – The History of Video Games

If you happen to be traveling through the Pacific Northwest any time soon, I recommend a stop at the Pacific Science Center. They have an in-depth exhibit on video games. It focusses on the technology, as well as the art and cultural issues. Seeing that the video game industry is as big as the feature film marketplace, its important to keep an eye on. This exhibit explores the field through all aspects and offers a chance to get hands-on with a wide range of games.

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Macdinked

In my efforts to keep you a member of the techno-elite, I bring you a new tech word.

MACDINKED – verb: When a designer (or client) continues to tweak a project beyond an appropriate level because they are technologically capable of doing so.

This word was brought to my attention by my Dad (and yes... I felt slightly aghast that he was more plugged in). Feel free to comment or add your own.
Email submissions welcome and there will be a prize for the best word each month.
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The Experience Music Project

I've been meaning to visit the Experience Music Project museum for some time. Started as a shrine to Jimi Hendrix by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, the museum offers much more. I particularly enjoyed exhibits on the early years of Rap music, as well as an in-depth exploration of the history of guitars.

Designers will throughly enjoy two temporary exhibits, on one
concert posters allows for great exploration of typography and print-making, while Double-Take counters classic artists like Van Gough to moderns such as Lichtenstein. The museum also offers some innovative computer technology that allows all-ages to get hands on with instruments as well as receive some digital tutoring in musicianship.

The building itself is even a piece of art and is a
Frank Gehey master-piece that encourages you to explore. Even if you're not a passionate audiophile, the technology and design aspects of this museum make it a must-stop for those passing through Seattle.


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Your Voice Matters - Computer Hardware Survey


Many of you voted in our survey last month about computer hardware. The results were very interesting with Macintosh taking a strong lead. In fact we weren't the only ones who were interested in your future technology plans. Inside Mac Radio featured the results of the survey on the daily Macintosh podcast for August 3. You can listen to it here if you'd like. Be sure to vote each month as your input affects the coverage of this site as well as which training products we release.

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New Resource Page - Free Images

We've added a brand new page to our Resources section. Come search for “free” images at various government agency sites. Several websites offer images that are either public domain or have very generous usage rights. Be sure to read usage terms at each site.

We call them “free” as they were paid for with U.S. tax dollars (which means they are now free to use). Start to
explore now and find images for your next project (many of these are high-resolution as well!) Please share this page with your friends or students.

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Mighty Mouse Goes Bluetooth


It was only a matter of (too much) time. First, Apple launched wireless mice and keyboards (for those who hate the clutter of cables). Then Hell froze over and Apple released a two-button mouse called Mighty Mouse (do they have to pay royalties to the cartoon character?). But it appeared the two products would never meet. But like all good mice, they eventually created off-spring, and the Mighty Mouse has gone wireless.

I am glad that this has finally happened for several reasons.
• When I use pro video and graphics apps the right-click is a huge time saver as it unlocks many features
• When running Windows on my Mac (don't hate the player) I find myself need to right-click a whole lot
• Trackpads aren't great for precise control such as illustration or design

So, is it worth buying? The short answer is yes (if you need a multi-button mouse). Getting the mouse to pair with a computer is easy (provided you have
Bluetooth). The tracking is accurate (with an improved sensor over original models) and the product appears to have good battery life. The buttons are programmable and most users will find the control button on top of the mouse useful for scrolling and panning. The only annoyance (which is an easy fix) are the side buttons. These are a bit too easy to trigger for my taste as my larger hands tend to trigger them easily. By default, this launches Exposé which will re-arrange your windows on screen. A quick visit to the Keyboard & Mouse System Preference Pane allows you to deactivate these buttons. If you need additional control, then pick this mouse up online or at your local Apple store.
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Great Tool for Presenters Using Keynote

I came across a great piece of software called ProfCast that lets you turn a Keynote presentation into an enhanced podcast. These podcasts are very small as it is jut an audio file, but when viewed on an iPod or within iTunes, the artwork changes for the slide. It's a pretty cool way for teachers to share their lessons, and the whole process is very easy for the mildly tech-savvy to perform. I covered how to do this very task using iWork and Garageband in the new iWork book, but this application saves several steps and is very pleasant to use. You can create a podcast directly, sent it to GarageBand or iWeb, or take it directly online to a user-specified server (.xml authoring for the feed is included). At $25 its an affordable tool all Mac-based educators or technical trainers should add.

UPDATE – The new version also works with PowerPoint

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iMix #4 - Radio & TV

Continuing my mixtape habit.... I invite you to listen to an iMix (a collection of songs arranged around a topic). Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life.

Radio & TV features some songs for those who work in the film/video/broadcast industry. A little satire, a few good beats, and some nice instrumentals. Seems that all my iMixes run with a theme... but I guess all good mix tapes do.


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Windows Media Works on New Macs... Finally

Mac users can now access Windows Media files... for free. Telestream has updated Flip4Mac, so it works with the new Intel-based Macs. Telestream has a series of QuickTime components that enables Mac OS X users to play, import and export Windows Media files using QuickTime-based applications. Mac users can access the free player from Microsoft's website, while those creating pro vide will want to check out the different options at Telestream's site.

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Tutorial: Create Once, Distribute Anywhere

A brand new tutorial on building graphics for multiple video formats just went online. You'll find it on DV Magazines website in both online and print formats. Learn how to work in HD, but also create for multimedia, DVD, and Podcast distribution. This is useful in you need to generate multiple animations on a budget or deadline.

The tutorial uses Adobe After Effects, and is not version specific. If you'd like some extra resources, visit the
Magazine section as well.

UPDATE: For PC users looking for a 10-bit codec... you can either download the Blackmagic codecs or check out SheerVideo.

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Stuck in a Creative Rut?

If you are having a bad creative day working on your clients latest ad... be sure to try out the online Advertising Slogan Generator. You type in a word and it spits out your latest soda catch phrase. Don't like the first result.. click again. It's a good way to waste some time and still feel like you're working.

Okay its silly.... but I like
surreal items. They make me think and smile. Be sure to check it out, then explore the site for other fun/useful items.


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Get Your Sport on in Las Vegas

For those of who work in Sports media (or if you live near Las Vegas), you should attend the C4-Sports conference. The event is billed as an explosive vision of sport. The conference is aimed towards those working for professional and collegiate sports teams, sports media experts in production, editing, content creation, and distribution, and IT and communication professionals from sporting arenas, stadiums, and facilities. They will explore state-of-the-art media technology solutions designed to improve performance, create revenue-generating opportunities, and increase profits

Richard Harrington will be teaching three conference sessions as well as two free classes on the trade show floor.

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Long Delayed, But On It's Way!

Are you an intermediate to advanced After Effects user? If so, the coolest book ever is about to ship. I recently edited a book called After Effects @ Work. It features top designers like Trish & Chris Meyer, Mark Coleran, Ken Locsmandi, Rachel Max and Dave Phillips. Join eleven well -known AE designers and teachers as they teach you real-world secrets. You'll get an inside glimpse at 11 projects and see what an expert can do using just the tools that come on the After Effects CD-Rom and a budget of $10,000 or less. This book is a hybrid of case studies, tutorials, and inspiration. It's like eleven internships in a box. I'm really proud of this one and excited that it is to ship the week of July 16. To order, go visit Amazon for the lowest price.


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Macintosh Clippings made Useful

I often find when I am browsing the Net to select text and drag it to the Desktop. I often use these clippings as a way to gather a few notes. The only problem with this system is that you can’t modify the clipping. If you open the clipping in the Finder you can read it, copy the text to your clipboard, but that’s about it. But don’t worry, there’s a great piece of freeware to make tweaks.

Everyday Software has released ClipEdit so you can modify both text and image clippings. The program is free and very useful if you collect bits of knowledge/trivia. For best results try the following.

1. Right-click (Control-click) on a clipping file and choose Get Info.
2. Change the Open with: drop down menu to ClipEdit
3. Click Change All…

ClipEdit is now set as the default editor for all clippings… much more useful and all it’ll cost you is a visit to
Everyday Software.

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iMix #3 - 1980’s Rewind

Continuing my mixtape habit.... I invite you to listen to an iMix (a collection of songs arranged around a topic). Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life.

"1980's Rewind" features Some songs that pulled me through the 1980's. Some alternative and pop classics as well as a few 'guilty pleasures.' These are the songs that don't embarass the decade.


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It’s all About Covering Your Assets

Apple launched Aperture, then Adobe announced Lightroom. Leave it to Microsoft to get in on the fray. iView Multimedia is now part of Microsoft. Micrsoft has picked up three products: View MediaPro, iView Media, iView Catalog Reader. As people gather more and more photos, movies, and other digital files, keeping track of them all gets even harder. Yan Calotychos, has written a letter about the Microsoft deal which you can read here.


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iPhoto Books Tip

So, making a book using iPhoto is still the best. I sat down and was going to use Aperture, but it didn't have the theme I wanted (although both use the same engine and printer service). If you've never made a book, the process is a snap.
1. Select the photos you want in the browser (pick more than you think you'll need)
2. Click the Book icon in the Toolbar
3. Flip from page to page (choosing layout options from the Toolbar)
4. Drag photos in and scale and position using intuitive controls.

Mini books start at $4 and larger books range between $20 -$30 depending on soft or hard covers. It really makes a nice keepsake for friends or even a new way to build a portfolio. But what about 'proofing?' Well you can share the book before you print it.

1. In iPhoto, choose File > Print.
2. In the Print Window, choose Save as PDF.
3. Pick a destination, then name the file and click OK.
4. Send the PDF to those who need to review it.

The mini books make great leave behinds for clients or potential employers.

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Spot the Fake

How good are your eyes? Sure in the good old days you could spot the fake dinosaurs and Spiderman was a stunt man in a suit for every shot, These days we are inundated with photorealistic CGI on TV and in cinema. Just how good are your senses? Head over to Autodesk (makers of 3D Studio Max and Maya) to take this quiz. I got 8 out of 10 on my first try... take a look and stretch your brain for two minutes. Thanks to Scott Simmons for the story.


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Useful Website for AE and 3D

From Germany comes a very useful site on After Effects and several 3D animation tools. The site is named for its creator Mylenium, who is an animator as well as a forum host over at Creative Cow. Be sure to check out his useful site for a ton of free resources (as well as a few affordably priced ones as well). I've personally around downloaded some of his easy to use 'Looks' to stylize footage in Adobe After Effects.


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The Polls Have Been Rebuilt

Narrator: Raster|Vector: website. A blog barely alive.
Adam Kranitz: Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the polls more responsive and interactive. Raster|Vector will be that site. Better than it was before. Better…stronger…faster.

Okay, so if you voted before, you'll need to revoice your opinion. I've opened up both polls (just scroll down). Let your voice be heard... or at least make a really loud click.


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Join Me in Discovering PowerPoint 2007

I've caught up on my sleep and appear to be a glutton for punishment again. I have been asked to co-author a new book on PowerPoint (more details soon). Essentially, I will be putting together a new book on design principles and techniques for effective screen graphics. The book is going to focus on all versions of PowerPoint, including the recently announced PowerPoint 2007. I am starting to wade into this latest version (its a public beta). If you are a cutting-edge, risk taking technocrat, feel free to join me. You can download the beta (legally) from Microsoft by clicking here. It's a Windows only program (though its running just fine on both my MacBook and MacBook Pro). I welcome your comments as I work on the new book. Requests and suggestions are welcome.

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Richard Harrington on Inside Mac Radio

I got a chance to appear on the July 1 edition of Inside Mac Radio. I was on to promote the new book on iWork ’06 and to offer some tips on using iWork and iLife. It was a quick interview, but I think we got some good information out for the loyal listeners. If you'd like to hear the episode (it's free), just click here. Inside Mac Radio offers both a daily version that's a short news blast on all things Mac and a two-hour Saturday program that airs live in some markets and is ready to download in others.
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EVDO Card on its way for MacBook Pro and Dell

A lot of new laptops (such as those from Apple and Dell) are shipping with the newer ExpressCard port. The good news is that the port is very fast and allows for much better performance than the older PC card slots. The bad news is that the peripheral manufacturers are more than a bit behind. When I switched laptops to a MacBook Pro, I had to give up on my wireless EVDO card that allowed me to access a broadband connection from almost anywhere. Well it looks like the drought is almost over. According to EVDOinfo.com, Verizon is in the process of sending Novatel XV620 ExpressCards to their warehouses. This means customers will be able to start placing orders soon.

To sign up for an email notification click here.
• MacBook Pro and EVDO
• ExpressCard/34 & ExpressCard/54 For EVDO

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Take Our Monthly Survey – Hardware

It's that time again... we've launched our survey for July. This time its all about hardware. For your next computer purchase will it be Mac or PC? Desktop or Laptop? Be sure to vote for your next credit card bill... inquiring minds want to know.


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iMix #2 - Socially Aware

OK, I used to make mix tapes all the time for friends.... If you're on this site you're at least an acquaintance. I invite you to listen to an iMix (a collection of songs arranged around a topic). Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life. "Socially Aware" is a collection of newer songs that remind me that music with a message can motivate and move you at the same time. Visit iTunes to listen to the tracks, pick up the ones you want, and vote for the iMix in the rankings.


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Super Cool Photoshop Actions

While working on my latest Photoshop book, I did some research on Actions. I was looking for some new examples of actions that push the boundaries of what Photoshop can do. I came across several beautiful actions created by Panos FX.
From postcards and filmstrips to paper and sketch effects. These actions are great, they produce powerful results and are flexible enough to create several looks. The website has more than 30 free actions and the powerful ones for sale are very affordable. Be sure to check out their many products to build up your Photoshop toolbox. If you did pick up the new book, be sure to look on the DVD for some additional free actions.

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My Favorite Case for a Video iPod

Well, I finally found the perfect case (albeit a little too late). One of the benefits of the black iPod is that video is easier to see due to the higher contrast. The downside is that the black finish shows off scratches a little too well. I finally found a case that protects the iPod without affecting the viewability of the video screen. The Agent 18 VideoShield has been the perfect case so far.

• This hard shell case doesn't significantly increase the size of the iPod
(its still comfortable to hold)
• The price is reasonable (it lists for $25, but I bought it at Target for $19)
• The switch and dock connectors are easy to access
• It’s simple to snap it on and off

To find out more, click
here.
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Two Childhood Favorites in One

So, I really don't need any time distracters, but I've found a good one. Take LEGOs and add Star Wars, and you get a great game. Sure the premise seems pretty silly, blocky computer graphics with characters you know all too well. But the game play is surprisingly fun. The levels are challenging with lots of twists and bonuses to unlock. Plus the levels are huge and entertaining. The game is available for all console systems as well as Mac and PC. Just be sure to add a gamepad style controller if your playing on a computer as its a little too robust to try and run from a keyboard.

To get it for your system, visit
Amazon.

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Saving Space on a Mac

When a Macintosh application is installed, it tends to install several language localization files on your drive. If you have a robust Applications folder, these files can quickly add up to gigabytes of space. On a laptop, this can be particularly bad. Instead of manually performing a 'seek-and-dstroy' mission, you can harness the power of DeLocalizer. This useful piece of freeware will remove all non-American English localization resource files that you specify. This useful program lets you customize which languages to remove and can save you a lot of space on your drive.
For more information click here.


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iMix #1 - Saturday Morning Wakeup

Here's my very first iMix, a collection of songs posted to the iTunes music store for others to enjoy. Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life. "Saturday Morning Wakeup" is a collection of music to gently start your weekend off. Three decades of music here for when time doesn't matter. Visit iTunes to listen to the tracks, pick up the ones you want, and vote for the iMix in the rankings.


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Windows vs. Mac – the OS Showdown



With a sense of humor firmly intact, New York Times columnist David Pogue
reviews Microsoft Windows Vista. David takes a look at several of the new features in the latest version of Windows (set to ship next month). His mission... prove that “Microsoft did not steal ideas from Mac OS X.” Does he succeed? It all depends on your perspective so you'll want to judge for yourself. You can take a look at the quick video for free online.
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Richard Harrington on Photoshop TV

Looking for the latest on Adobe Photoshop? Then don't miss Photoshop TV with the “Photoshop Guys” Scott Kelby, Dave Cross, and Matt Kloskowski. While down visiting the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, I stopped in on a show taping. They had me on to show two tips.
• How to correct a series faded photographs with adjustment layers
• How to use video actions for creating DVD slide shows from your images

If you'd like to subscribe to the free podcast, click
here.
To buy this episode, click
here.

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Another way to run Windows on an Intel Mac

So, I am a cross-platform kinda guy (but its hard to be while mobile). No one wants to lug two or three laptops around. I frequently need to teach Adobe products (such as their video apps) but not all run on a Mac. Toss in my writing duties and I really need to dabble on the other side at least weekly. Most of you probably heard of Boot Camp from Apple, but that wouldn't work for me. Why?

1. It requires you to not have your drive partitioned when starting the install. This doesn't work as I keep my laptops split into 2 or 3 partitions for media management purposes.
2. I really hate having to reboot.
3. Just cause I'm in windows doesn't mean I want to run another email client, give up access to my iCal, etc.

The solution? Its called Parallels Desktop. It functions just like Virtual PC did, allowing you to run windows in, well a window, or go full-screen. Why do I like it?
1. It's FAST. it uses hardware, not software emulation.
2. It's easy to install and tweak.
3. Windows is installed into a virtual machine... if things go 'bad' you can just trash the virtual machine or create a new one. Its just a disk image file.
4. Its affordable. During public beta its only $39. Later it'll go up to $79. (You do need to provide your own legal copy of windows - but it runs nearly all flavors of windows, not just XP).

Download and Evaluate Parallels Desktop Release Candidate 2 for Mac.
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New Book on Apple’s iWork

Be sure to take a quick peek at my latest book, Apple Training Series : iWork 06 with iLife 06. It was co-written with the entire office at RHED Pixel. It goes in-depth on both Pages and Keynote and shows off the latest features. We use pages to create newsletters and flyers for the office and I usually use Keynote to create dynamic multimedia presentations. The book is full-color and comes with a DVD-ROM and all the source files you need to get hands-on with both programs.

For a free handout, click here.
For more information, click here.
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3D Made Easier

While at the National Association of Broadcaster's show, I picked up a copy of Zaxwerks' ProAnimator. This product is both a program and a plug-in. It is useful for creating animated text or logos. You can import Adobe Illustrator files, 3D models, or type original text in using any system font. It's fast and easy and give impressive results.
For more info.
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NuLooq First Look

The fine folks at Logitech sent one of these over for me to play with. It's an alternative input device for Mac users (primarily for Adobe apps - for now). It allows for a customizable interface and is really comfortable to use. Essentially, you can program frequently used tools to be literally 'at hand' or via a custom floating palette on-screen. So far, it's a winner, and I'll update you as I go deeper.
To find out more.

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MacBook Pro Thoughts

Took the plunge and bought a MacBook Pro 17 inch laptop. Been using it for about two weeks and figured I'd share my thoughts.

Pros:
- It's fast as heck
- The Dual layer DVD and FW800 port are back in
- The screen is beautiful from almost any angle
- Running apps under Rosetta (like Photoshop) is pretty smooth
- The built-in iSight camera makes it easier to see my family while on the road.

Cons:
- After a while, it feels like you can cook an egg on it (with great power comes great warmth)
- My Wireless Internet card doesn't fit as Apple felt the need to adopt a new Express Card format which no one has released wireless cards for
- Can't get any spare batteries and Apple's site says shipping in 2-3 weeks (no luck in stores either)

All in all... very happy and I suspect with time the missing hardware will come available and the charred flesh on my lap will grow numb
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FCP Resuce Saves the Day

When using Final Cut Pro, it's a little too easy to corrupt your user preferences (especially if you have multiple video decks hooked up). This useful program allows you to quickly backup and restore your user preferences. This shareware program allows you to save the following:
• User preferences
• Audio/Video settings
• System settings
• Windowsettings
• Keyboard setup
• Easy setups

Free download
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Advanced Calendar Program with Filemaker Pro

We've switched the office over to a new calendar program. We've outgrown iCal and needed something beefier. After a lot of searching and trials, we decided upon CC Calendar (Scheduling Edition). The Calendar is essentially a Filemaker Pro file, which means you can share it with other users in the office. It's totally flexible and allows for tracking of rooms, people, and to-do items. And as far as iCal goes, it even offers syncing options.

To download a demo.
To download FileMaker Pro demo.
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Adobe Releases New Photoshop CS2 Update

Adobe has released an important maintenance update to Photoshop CS. No, it does not make it a Universal application for Mac users, but it does fix several little things, including: • Photoshop no longer hangs for several seconds when using painting tools with quick strokes. • Documents containing a large number of text layers now open more quickly. • Problems related to palettes (slow redraw, palettes go white, possible crash) have been addressed. • Slow performance when toggling layer visibility has been fixed. • Info palette numbers are now displayed and updated when moving a curve point in Curves via the cursor keys. • Problems opening certain TIFF and PSB files greater than 2GB have been resolved.
The download is free and should be downloaded by all users.

Download
Mac
Download Windows
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