Computer Software & Hardware; To Err Is Human But To Foul Things Up Requires A Computer

“Computers = Ticket to Hell.”—from an old Alien Skin Software T-shirt

I’ve always been an ambidextrous computer user, having a Windows system on my left and a Mac OS computer on my right. That Windows computer handles Internet surfing for Web Profiles and e-mail. It’s also where I test the $29 “just as good as Photoshop but Windows-only” imaging software that some PR people are always touting. This activity produces more crashes and burns than a typical Windows user experiences and I usually have to replace that computer every 18 months, in the meantime doing the familiar “format and reinstall” routine. Recently, that computer was attacked by the Microsoft Security Essentials Trojan. My virus protection fixed it, but it returned in a stronger version that attacked the virus protection and my browser. I purchased a new and highly rated virus protection package but it only fixed part of the problem and the Trojan’s response to being removed was to continually crash Windows until the new virus protection program was trash. Since I don’t currently have the wherewithal to bring in a consultant or The Geek Squad to fix this mess, there’s a temporary moratorium on testing Windows-only software. In the meantime, I’ll feature the Mac OS versions of products that are available for both platforms. Watch for updates on this situation in future columns.

Courtesy of Apple

Practically Perfect Presets
The onOne Software (www.ononesoftware.com) Perfect Presets for Lightroom 3 now includes a third volume of effects created by Mike Wong that “are meant to be a starting point to help other photographers in that process and to be used potentially as the basis for creating their own presets.” The free Perfect Presets for Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom that is available for download (www.ononesoftware.com/free) includes Jack Davis’s One-Click WOW! presets for quick and easy image optimization such as color and tonal corrections. Davis’s WOW! Effects also includes presets and brushes for adding special effects. Wong’s presets provide automatic color and tonal adjustments as well as noise reduction, black-and-white conversions, and several stylized effects.

© 2010, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Craig’s Beauty Actions
I’ve been testing a beta version of Craig Minielly’s Beauty Bar Action set that consists of skin softening and makeup tools, along with a collection of one-touch workflows that let you perform all of the needed retouching and image enhancements needed for a great portrait. Check out his website (www.craigsactions.com) and you’ll see the finished product displayed. Beauty Bar is a specialty set of actions that are focused on creating a final look of fashionable imagery. Producing looks that vary from a natural cosmetic look to stylized pinups, the workflows in this set give you a single tool to produce an image that is client ready in seconds. (Actually, 11 seconds on an Apple MacBook Pro with Photoshop CS5 but without any plug-in hassles.) The set includes Lifestyle and Portraiture Workflows that will take an image from original to print in seconds and along with the Blemish Busters Actions provides a one-two punch for portrait and wedding photographers. Minielly’s Lifestyle Actions are designed for three-quarter length poses as well as groups, while the Portraiture Workflows are intended for close-up portraits or headshots. Minielly told me that “you can use them any way you want but the default settings are set to best retain detail” with those kinds of subjects. Custom Workflows are also included in the package for step-by-step control and the Saver Workflows include output file prep, allowing for a true walkaway workflow experience.

© 2010, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved
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