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Google announced plans to shut down their social media platform after news came out of a security breach this past Spring that released the private information for 500,000 users. Google+ has never been able to compete successfully with Facebook or Twitter and my guess is that the data breach along with the new security laws in the EU were enough for Google to toss in the towel. Looks like they have decided that it is not worth the time and effort to fix and bring up to speed with all of the new privacy laws. So, bye bye Google+, I have to admit aside from posting videos there from YouTube I never really used that social media platform.
On1, the makers of the photo post-production program ON1 Photo Raw, just announced that they will be releasing ON1 Photo Raw 2019 this November. They didn't give a date for the release so I am assuming mid-November as a guess. I was a little bit unsure about ON1 Photo Raw 2018 as it had some problems running on my test computer but the update ON1 Photo Raw 2018.5 fixed all of those issues and I now consider ON1 a great addition to your toolbox. What I especially like about ON1 is its large set of built in effects and the ability to use layers. 2019 promises to add greatly to the power of this program.
Some of the new features announced for ON1 Photo Raw 2019 are:
If you purchase ON1 Photo Raw 2018.5 now version 2019 will be a free upgrade as soon as it is released.
Adobe just announced an exciting upgrade to their already magical Content Aware Fill tool. Right now this tool can do wonders by filling in a selection with content from elsewhere in the image, often resulting in a perfect clean up of the selected area. But often Content Aware Fill just gets it wrong and you need to go in and do some clean up work with other tools after the automated fix. The new Content Aware Fill tool opens in a new dialog box giving you several additional options allowing you to more easily get a perfect fill.
The new tool first gives you a preview of the repair and allows you to adjust which parts of the original image are used to do the fill, this can solve most of the errors caused by the current tool. For more difficult or tricky fixes the new tool also has options for mirroring, rotation, and perspective. Put all of this together and this one tool will become one of the most useful tools in the Photoshop toolbox instead of being just an occasional tool if the image is right.
Adobe released a quick preview on YouTube on Monday Sep 10.
Have you checked out Deviant Art recently? If not it is worth your time to get reaquainted.
To find brush sets on Deviant Art just do a search for psbrushes, or to save you time here is the link https://www.deviantart.com/resources/applications/psbrushes/popular-all-time/. This will bring up a page showcasing the most popular Photoshop Brushes on Deviant Art. Deviant Art can be a bit glitchy at times, if you land on a page and get an OOPS! missing page notice just try back again later.
If you are unfamiliar with the process of installing custom brush sets into Adobe Photoshop here is a video showing the process. Photoshop Brushes: How to Find, Download, and Install Custom Brushes
Microsoft is currently doing 2 big updates a year for Windows 10, the last one was in April and the next one is coming next month in October. These updates are thoroughly tested over several pre-release versions but eve with all of that there are still problems coming with every update for some users. I am curious to dig into the latest update and see what has been added in the video and audio areas to see if that has any bearing on Adobe now requiring the latest version in their upcoming October update to Creative Cloud.
So, my big recommendation, now is a great time to make sure your backups are up to date and also a good time to set a fresh restore point for Windows, just in case something goes wrong with the update. Chances are that this October update will go perfectly smoothly, but why take chances?
It is always a good idea to have at least 3 copies of your important files, for me that is my computer, an external networked HD, and Carbonite which is a very easy to use online backup service (wish they gave me some money for that plug, but they don't). I have used Carbonite for over a decade and it has saved my bacon several times.
If you use Adobe Creative Cloud programs it may be time to upgrade your computer. Adobe just announced that starting with the next major release of Creative Cloud in Oct 2018 their programs will require the latest version of the operating system for both Windows and Macs. This upgrade change will not affect Photoshop or Lightroom Classic CC but will affect all other Audio and Video programs. I am sure that in 2019 Photoshop and Lightroom will also be added to this requirement. At this point if you don't have the latest and greatest operating system from Windows or Mac you will still be able to run the current or previous versions of CC software but you will not be able to get the update.
Adobe states that this is to "take advantage of the latest operating system features and technologies" but Adobe does not specifically state which features or technologies will prevent earlier operating systems from running the latest versions of CC programs.
This should not be too much of a problem for individuals as the cost of new computers has really come down in price recently but this could be a major hit for medium to larger companies who will have to replace or update loads of computers in time for October. As always it is a good idea to stay current with your operating system anyway but many people are unable to do so, especially those who use Adobe CC on a hobby basis or are on limited incomes like retirement. Just another example of how Adobe thinks that you have all the money in the world. I have also been seeing less interest from Adobe for their consumer and hobbyist software titles like Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. Obviously they are chasing the big bucks and looking to cut costs by limiting or removing less profitable products. This is often a first sign of a company having financial difficulties, in Adobe's case it could be a sign of trying to adjust to the changing marketplace. We will have to wait and see.
Bottom line, time for a new computer update.
In my recent YouTube video about ON1 Camera Raw 2018 I basically liked the program but I had several performance issues that kept me from giving the program a rave review. Luckily ON1 has released version 2018.5 and I am not experiencing any of the issues that concerned me in the previous release. Now ON1 is truly a great program and a good stand alone solution for photo post-production if you are on a limited budget and even more so as an add on to programs like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements.
I really love the Effects available with the program and the speed of the browser is second to none. The way I like to work is to use this program as a plugin inside of Adobe Photoshop since one of the few areas where PS is lacking is in a good assortment of photo production presets. ON1 solves that limitation nicely. I will be doing a full review of ON1 version 2018.5 soon but if you want to find out more about this program now just look for the ad on the right where you can also save a bit of money and help out this blog at the same time.
The latest version of the amazing Photolemur post-production photo program is coming in just a couple of weeks and you can reserve your copy now during the Pre-Sale.
The Pre-Sale link below has complete information and samples on using Photolemur 3.0.
https://photolemur.sjv.io/c/1241746/511641/8584 Just use this link to get in on the Pre-Sale and also help me keep this blog going as well since I will get a small percentage of each pre-sale. During the pre-sale you save $10 off of the Family plan (basically allowing you to use the program on several computers or devices). Photolemur 3.0 will be released on Sept 14. If you already have Photolemur there is an upgrade price of only $19 which you can get as soon as the program is released.
Photolemur is a simply amazing software tool for enhancing your photographs. What makes this tool stand out from all of the other photo editing tools on the market is that it does the whole process automatically. Photolemur's AI engine analyses the photo then applies several different adjustments automatically giving you a great image extremely fast with no additional work on your part. I recently did a review of this program on my YouTube channel and was very impressed.
Version 3.0 adds several exciting new features plus a bunch of improvements as well.
Some of the new features and enhancements are:
Even if you are using a different program for post-production of your images Photolemur is a great addition, just run your photos through Photolemur first, then finish up any adjustments in a program like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements. This can save you loads of time. I have my workflow set up this way and I will be upgrading to version 3.0 myself.
Affinity just released a Beta trial of their upcoming Affinity Publisher program and it is very impressive. Currently I am using Adobe InDesign since it is part of the Creative Cloud Suite of programs but as it is on a subscription it is rather pricey over time but as it is from Adobe it is also very feature rich and is the standard in the Page Layout software world. I believe that the upcoming Affinity Publisher could give it a run for its money. From just my first quick look through the program it appears to have all of the standard functions needed for quality page layout. Over the next month or so I will be giving it a complete run through and comparison on a feature by feature basis to Adobe InDesign.
So far Affinity Publisher looks very impressive. I have no idea what the final release will cost but since their Affinity Photo is only $49 there is a very good chance that this new program will also be a great bargain. As I become more familiar with the program I will be posting more info here on my blog.
If you are interested in giving this new program a try during the beta trial release you can get a free download here https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/publisher/
I've decided to add a few videos about smart phone apps on my YouTube channel and I have been looking at different ways to record the videos. Most likely I will end up with mirroring my smart phone on my desktop using WiFi but I found another option that is interesting, especially if you are a gamer. It is called BlueStacks and it is an Android Emulator that runs on your desktop just like a regular Android device.
Installation was simple and the app is Free, which I always like, but there are a few issues. You can't actually use the app as an Android phone but then who makes phone calls anymore anyway. I found it to be a bit glitchy depending on the app you are running. It works very well with Android Games and this is its main focus allowing you to play smart phone games on your computer's larger screen with full keyboard and mouse access. This makes game play so much more enjoyable.
When I set up BlueStacks to emulate my Instagram account it worked well enough for me to use it in a video talking about Adobe Lightroom and Instagram but then I was only using it to show one picture in smart phone format. When uploading images from BlueStacks to my Instagram account it crashed half of the time, when it worked it was very easy just like using my smart phone. When it didn't work the Instagram app crashed and put me back into the default BlueStacks interface. To be fair BlueStacks recommends that you set up Virtualization on your computer which my CPU can handle but my computer brand does not so I am unable to do that. Could make all the difference.
I also found that BlueStacks always crashes out of my 3D Lut Creator app whenever I try to use it, could be a problem with the app though and not BlueStacks. This Fall I will be playing with different ways to mirror my smart phone on my computer and that could give me better results with 3D Lut Creator.
For what its designed for BlueStacks is great, namely playing games and I highly recommend giving it a try if you love your smart phone games but want a larger screen. For other apps I have had issues but I can't say if this is my computer, the app, or BlueStacks. I will be doing a more in-depth review of game play through BlueStacks soon.
To learn more about Blue Stacks visit their website at https://www.bluestacks.com/