How to Blur Backgrounds with a Compact Camera — CreativePro.com article

Blurring the background of a photo is often used to help draw attention to the subject. It’s not hard to do with an SLR camera because of the size of the digital sensor or film frame, but what if all you have is the little digital camera in your pocket? You can still get it done using traditional techniques for depth-of-field control, but with a small camera you’ll have to work a little harder at it. The good news? Some newer digital compact cameras give you more of the depth-of-field control that used to be available only with larger cameras.

Want the whole story? Click the link below to read my article at CreativePro.com:
How to Blur Backgrounds with a Compact Camera

How to Blur Backgrounds with a Compact Camera on CreativePro.com

How to install earlier versions of Creative Cloud applications

You can now install older versions of Adobe software using the Creative Cloud desktop application. For some reason this feature is not easy to find in the Creative Cloud app, so I’ll lead you through the steps.

Start by clicking the icon for the Creative Cloud desktop application to open it. In OS X, that icon is in the menu bar; in Windows it’s a tile on the Start screen or an icon in the Taskbar.

In the Creative Cloud application, click Apps and scroll down to the Find New Apps section. Click the blue Filters & Versions text at the right side of the Find New Apps section heading and choose Previous Version. This adds a drop-down arrow to the Install buttons in the Find New Apps section.

Choosing Previous Version from the Filters & Versions menu in the Creative Cloud desktop application

Find Photoshop in the Find New Apps section, click its Install button, and choose the earlier version you want. The Creative Cloud app will install that version.

Choosing a previous version from the Install button for Photoshop in the Creative Cloud desktop application

Not all versions are available. You can install only the versions that have been designed or adapted to be installed by the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop application. In general that means CS6 or later.

For example, the earliest version of Photoshop you can install is Photoshop CS6, because older versions (such as Photoshop CS5, CS4, etc.) were not adapted to work with Creative Cloud. If you want to install Adobe software that isn’t listed in the Creative Cloud app, you have to use that application’s own installer and have a valid serial number to complete the installation (in other words, you have to install it the traditional way).

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014: Upgrade tips, and things to watch out for

Creative Cloud desktop app with 2014 updates

The 2014 release of Adobe Creative Cloud significantly updates the entire range of Adobe applications and services. I’ve collected some practical tips and information that you might not be seeing on the new feature lists.

You can watch a recording of the Adobe announcement event (June 18, 2014).

New version naming, and additional updates

In the picture of my Adobe Creative Cloud desktop application above, you might notice that Photoshop is listed three times. What’s that all about?

In this round of Creative Cloud applications, the name of each application contains the release year (2014). This name change indicates that the software is a significant revision, similar to saying Version 2.0 instead of Version 1.0. The code in the 2014 applications is different enough that they are installed in addition to the older CC apps instead of replacing them. (This doesn’t apply to all of the applications; for example, Adobe Bridge CC is updated in place and isn’t given the CC 2014 naming.)

One reason that updates are also listed for some CC and CS6 applications like Photoshop is because Camera Raw 8.5 became available at the same time and is compatible with those applications.

Stuff to watch out for

When you see the long list of new and updated software in the Creative Cloud desktop application, it’s tempting to just hit the Update All button. But before you dive into all the new hotness, there are a few things you should know and be prepared for. I strongly recommend reading Installing the 2014 Release of Creative Cloud by Julieanne Kost, and 2014 release of Photoshop CC: FAQ by Jeff Tranberry. I highlighted some of the issues below.

  • CC 2014 versions install separately. I just mentioned that CC 2014 applications are installed in addition to CC applications, so you’ll end up with two versions. This is confusing a lot of people. For example, you may need to uninstall your old CC versions and delete old Dock (OS X) or Taskbar (Windows) shortcuts, add new shortcuts for the CC 2014 versions, and make sure your add-ons still work (see next item).
  • Plug-ins and extensions apparently missing (but not really). Because CC 2014 applications install separately, they may not see your plug-ins and extensions if those are stored in folders for an earlier version of Photoshop. You may have to drag over those add-ons to the appropriate CC 2014 folder, or reinstall them.
  • Disk space requirements. Installing the 2014 Creative Cloud apps will consume many gigabytes of disk space, because remember, the old CC apps aren’t removed. If you’re down to less than 30-40GB of disk space you may want to do a fair bit of spring cleaning before updating a large number of Creative Cloud apps. (That number is my own very rough guideline, because the Creative Cloud desktop app doesn’t show how much disk space is needed, the total depends on how many applications you update, and because you do need to keep a lot of disk space free at all times.)
  • Removed features. Back in April, Adobe warned us that some features would be removed in the next version of Photoshop, and Photoshop CC 2014 is that version. Before you uninstall any old CC apps, test your workflow in CC 2014. Most of the features removed from Photoshop are related to the Pixel Bender technology (no longer developed) such as Oil Paint, and panels and extensions based on Flash such as Mini Bridge and other Flash-based extensions (including those made with Configurator). Also, Photoshop CC 2014 doesn’t support OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.
  • Photoshop crash when quitting. If Photoshop CC 2014 is crashing when you exit the application, and you had custom styles, brushes, patterns, or tool presets, Adobe is investigating this crash. They’ve published a tech note with workarounds and a request for your crash reports to help them debug the problem: Photoshop CC 2014 crashes when you quit
  • Lightroom 5.5 not starting or Develop module disabled. This is happening to lots of people; Adobe has published a tech note with workarounds: Lightroom does not launch or get error: “Develop module is disabled” after 5.5 update
  • Horizontally oriented dialog boxes. You may see some Photoshop CC 2014 user interface changes such as dialog boxes that are redesigned with a horizontally oriented layout. This was done to better fit dialog boxes to today’s widescreen displays, particularly those on lower-resolution widescreen laptops where the old tall dialog boxes could get cut off.
  • File Info redesigned. You might notice that the File Info dialog box looks different in Photoshop CC 2014. I believe this is because File Info was Flash-based in previous versions, so the dialog box was rebuilt due to the removal of Flash-based components.

You can also monitor the Adobe user forums for emerging issues with the CC apps you use the most.

Links to individual installers

If you need to download Adobe application installers instead of installing with the Creative Cloud desktop application, as usual ProDesignTools has a list of download links for each application. Be sure to follow the instructions exactly, otherwise you’ll get an error.

Creative Cloud services branch out

When Creative Cloud was originally introduced, the services were promising but incomplete. Though there are still some glaring holes, they’re gradually becoming more useful.

  • Lightroom sync expands. Lightroom Mobile now syncs Lightroom on the desktop with Lightroom on iPad and iPhone as well as the lightroom.adobe.com web view, and the Adobe Voice app for iPad can now get images from Lightroom synced collections. The growing reach of Lightroom Mobile sync is leading more users to point to the elephant in the room and ask: How soon will LIghtroom be able to sync catalogs between a desktop and laptop?
  • Folder sharing enabled. The ability to share a folder from Creative Cloud online storage is significant. Previously you could only share individual files, which seriously limited the value of your Creative Cloud shared storage. Being able to share folders removes that limit and makes Creative Cloud file sharing much more useful, especially for sharing Adobe file formats. But Creative Cloud file sharing still isn’t as widely supported by applications and devices as Dropbox,  Box, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Behance more tightly integrated. The Behance service is being tied into more Creative Cloud desktop and mobile applications as Adobe grows this creative online community of conversations and feedback about both portfolios and works in progress. For example, the new Adobe Sketch and Line apps for iPad are both intended to use Behance as a place to both store and show off the work done in those apps.
  • Royalty-free assets coming soon. Adobe talked about adding access to a new library of royalty-free assets, but it isn’t available yet. This won’t be the first time they’ve tried this; I remember Adobe Stock Photos. Although the new service will probably go well beyond photos.
  • Typekit support expands. Access to thousands of Typekit fonts is one of the most immediately useful Creative Cloud services, and more Creative Cloud applications now have access to them, notably Photoshop.

I didn’t completely cover changes to all of the applications, the new range of mobile apps and hardware, and the very interesting Adobe Creative SDK, but when you throw all that in with the application upgrades, with the 2014 release we’re starting to see the larger and longer-term vision that Adobe has for Creative Cloud.

Choosing a Display for Photography and Design — Peachpit.com article

When you buy a new monitor for photography or design, what features should you look for? Should your next monitor be a 4K or wide gamut display? In an article I wrote for Peachpit, I help you understand the alphabet soup of display terminology so that you understand which features are actually important to a creative professional. I discuss features that affect color reproduction quality, and why some monitors cost a lot more than others.

Click the link below to read the article at Peachpit.com:
Choosing a Display for Photography and Design

Choosing a Display for Photography and Design on Peachpit.com

Know Your Photoshop File Sizes — CreativePro.com article

How can one Photoshop image grow and shrink dramatically during production, even without compression? And why does Photoshop sometimes show you multiple file sizes for the same photo? In an article I wrote for CreativePro.com, I help you understand the many factors that affect the file size numbers you see both inside Photoshop and on the desktop. And the answers could save you a lot of storage space on your hard drive or in the cloud.

Click the link below to read the article at CreativePro.com:
Know Your Photoshop File Sizes

Know Your Photoshop File Sizes on CreativePro.com