Monthly Archives: September 2013

Roger Ballen, Photographer. Oh, and psychologist. And geologist.

If you haven’t come across the curiously deep, off-balance and sometimes disturbing  photography of Roger Ballen I recommend seeing this LensCulture interview

The Bite. Copyright Roger Ballen

The Bite. Copyright Roger Ballen

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Photography Program applications and Behance

I’m already getting the feeling that the four elements of Photography Program are separate products packaged as a single subscription. There is a loose inter-working between Photoshop, Lightroom, Behance and Prosite but Creative Cloud doesn’t add much to the package, at least at the moment.

Behance (http://www.behance.net/) is a Cloud repository for photography projects where you can make sets of images available publicly for other to see and comment. It is intended for work in progress, and is a bit like a blog really, or perhaps a more up-market Flickr. The images feed ProSite, which packages & publishes them in a polished, customisable form. If it’s as good as the marketing blurb would have us believe, it should replace my stand-alone Web site. Well, we’ll see!

In December 2012 Behance and ProSite became subsidiary operations of Adobe Systems Inc., So I guess we can look forward to better integration in the future, but at the moment your Adobe ID isn’t linked to Behance or ProSite; a separate account is needed. I’ve covered the account creation process in a previous post; here we’ll see how Lightroom, Photoshop and Behance work together.

Lightroom and Behance

The obvious tool to hook up to Behance is Lightroom, and sure enough, there is a publishing option in the Library module

Behance in Lightroom

The Behance publishing service in Lightroom’s Library module

I can log in to my account and set a number of publishing options in this interface

Behance options in Lightroom

Behance options in Lightroom

I have several projects that I’d like to get feedback on so I’ll use one of these as a test. Eventually I will publish these images on ProSite, and a quick read through the Beginners Guide shows that the maximum image size it can display is 1920px wide so that’s what I’ll set in the Image Size section of the dialogue. Despite this, when I upload images to Behance they all come out as 710px wide, so that’s the first bug. Worse is to come.

Lightroom can only upload images as work in progress (WIP), not as projects. This is bad, particularly when there is no way in the Behance Web site to group my WIP images into projects. To use the Project feature of Behance I have to export my images from Lightroom to my hard drive then upload them via the Behance Web interface directory as a project. Adobe really hasn’t thought this one through from a user perspective. And there are user comments on Adobe’s own blog sites dating back to June 2013 expressing their contempt for the Behance plugin. Despite these gripes it didn’t get on Adobe’s to-do list as the plugin in LR5.2 hasn’t changed. I had hoped that Jeffrey Friedl would have produced one of his excellent plugins to replace the bare-bones Adobe effort, but he hasn’t (He does note a serious publishing-related bug in Lightroom 5 though, which also didn’t get on Adobe’s to-do- list: http://regex.info/blog/2013-06-10/2268)

Conclusion: at the moment (i.e. Lightroom 5.2) the Behance publishing plugin is too limiting to be worth using in my own workflow.

Photoshop CC and Behance

Photoshop CC sports a new menu option to Share on Behance, so let’s see if that fares any better than Lightroom.

Photoshop CC’s Share on Behance option only exports the currently visible image to Behance. The image can be titled and tagged, and a multi-layered PSD will be exported automatically as a flat JPEG, but the width is again limited to 710px. And the image can only be uploaded as WIP, not added to a project. So, unless you have a loyal following on Behance who are willing to comment on your images, perhaps as part of a distributed team working collaboratively, this feature seems of limited value.

Conclusion: the Share on Behance feature in PsCC is too limited to be of real value outside of a niche set of users. It is unlikely I’ll use it.

More development needed

The limited interface between Ps, Lr and Behance may be of some use to Adobe’s core creatives if they need tools for rapid iterations of work in progress, but Photography Program is aimed at professional and amateur photographers whose workflow and requirements are different. In particular, Adobe hasn’t catered for those who see Behance mainly as a staging post to making a full Web site available via Projects and ProSite.

Adobe urgently needs to improve the functionality of the Lightroom Behance publishing plugin if it wants to claim any sort of integration between the elements of its Photography Program. And Behance should add the ability to migrate images from WIP to projects rather than having to re-upload them (what a waste of time and bandwidth it is at the moment) as well as improving bulk operations on files (every file has to be uploaded and deleted individually).

Until the plugin improves, my workflow will be to export images from Lightroom to my hard drive then upload them as projects via the Behance Web interface.

Photography Program and Behance sign-up

I was promised a Behance Pro site as part of the Photoshop Photography Program but it’s not immediately obvious how I get one. Checking Adobe’s Web site only led me through the Photography Program purchasing chain. The Behance Web site was no better. The Creative Cloud application on my computer has a tab for Behance

Creative Cloud applicationbut this only gave me two options: make my work public or link to my Behance account, neither of which seemed appropriate. What the heck, I’ll click on the Make my Work Public button and see what happens. Hey presto, Behance wants me to open an account and not pay them any more money! As they say, simple when you know how.

They have a  Beginners Guide (sic), so off to read its 35 pages then report back on how I get on.

Updating applications via Creative Cloud

I’ve had Photoshop Photography Program installed for only a few days and I’ve already been prompted to update Photoshop CS6 (i.e. version 13), Photoshop CC (i.e. version 14) and CameraRAW.

There are two ways to update: using the “old” Adobe Application Manager; or use the Creative Cloud application. A popup prompted me to update and when I clicked it, Creative Cloud opened – Creative Cloud looks like this:
Creative Cloud application

I clicked to Update All but after a few minutes it told me there was an error, please try again. Clicking again simply gave me another error message about a corrupt download. Unfortunately CC would not re-download the files so I tried another approach. I opened Photoshop CC and clicked Help | Updates. Interestingly, this opened Adobe Application Manager, which proceeded to download and update the applications successfully.
Adobe Application Manager

The Creative Cloud application has been available for a little while but is clearly still not as robust as the older Application Manager. Let’s hope the Creative Cloud application can update itself more successfully than it does the other applications!

Image

Small country

20130921-064443.jpg

Adobe Photography Program – purchase experience

Adobe’s Photography Program is now live at https://creative.adobe.com/plans/offer/photoshop+lightroom?sdid=KIHZP. Interestingly, it is now being touted as the Photoshop Photography Program.Adobe Photography Program offer

Anyone who owns a copy of Photoshop CS3 or later can purchase a licence for £8.78 /month including VAT for the next year. As I explained in a previous post, this represents a potentially good deal. However it is a special price that will only last a year, after which we can only assume that the price will be close to the Photoshop CC licence of £17.58 inc. VAT.

Initially I don’t expect to see a huge advantage from the software point of view: I might get updates more quickly, but it’s only after 12-18 months that I’m likely to see significant advantage as Adobe moves more functionality and support to their Creative Cloud offerings. The immediate benefit to me will be the Cloud storage and web site creation. So normally I wouldn’t rush to adopt this new service but I am intensely curious about Adobe’s move – for those who use Adobe’s software professionally the cost may well be justified but what about us amateurs? Will it be worth it not just now but into the future? Just for once, I’m going to be an early adopter of this service and document my experiences here.

Step 1: sign in with your Adobe ID

If you don’t have one already, it’s an easy matter to create one. But if you don’t have one you might get problems since I’m not sure how else Adobe will have your ownership of Photoshop recorded in their system. Yes that’s right, Adobe checks its records (step 2) to make sure you are entitled to the special offer.

Step 3: accept T&C

Accept the terms and conditionsThe T&Cs are straight forward and if you are happy, proceed to payment.

Step 4: Visa or Mastercard only (too bad on you PayPal addicts!)adobe-03After you’ve spent a minute or two in Adobe’s waiting area you are directed to download the software

adobe-04While doing this you can salivate at the new features in Photoshop

adobe-05

Creative Cloud installation

I already have the Creative Cloud software installed on my PC so my browser only had to confirm that I wanted to use this application for the download and installation. If you don’t have Creative Cloud installed, this may be an additional step for you.

adobe-06Photoshop is a sizable program so it will take a while but Creative Cloud shows you progress

adobe-07I’m on a moderately fast home broadband and it took just over 20 minutes to download. So it’s back the the waiting area, a coffee, and a browse through the Photoshop CC features. Here’s and interesting one: in the Filter | Sharpen menu there is a new filter for Shake Reduction. That’s not in the latest update to Ps CS6! And Camera RAW is available as a filter so if you like using the controls in CR just apply them as a filter to your image – not essential, but neat!

Starting Photoshop CC

Let’s check the download/install went as smoothly as it seemed and start the program. There’s no desktop shortcut so off to the Start menu. There’s a 32-bit and 64-bit version. A couple of right-clicks on the 64-bit version and I have a shortcut. The 64-bit version fires up and asks if I want to migrate my presets from CS6 to CC. Answer yes. Photoshop looks the same as ever but a quick look through the drop-down menus shows a few extra items. At the bottom of the Edit menu there are options to manage my CC subscription

additional meu items in Ps CCAnd on the File menu there is an option to Share on Behance.

Lightroom

To install Lightroom I have to go back to the Creative Cloud application, click the Install button next to Lightroom to start the download/installation of this software. This only takes about 12 minutes. In fact, there isn’t a Creative Cloud version of Lightroom, all I’ve done is download and install the same piece of software I had as a stand-alone application, though this time Creative Cloud is aware of it and, presumably, will keep it up to dateLightroom installation under Creative CloudMy desktop shortcut works but Lightroom wants me to register , despite having done so when I originally installed the software. It also defaults to use my stand-alone serial number, so what would happen if I were installing it for the first time as part of the Creative Cloud subscription, I don’t know. Oh well, it works for me. so I’ll leave it as it is. It seems that Lightroom is bundled as part of the subscription but without any additional features, not even the integration of Adobe ID in the menus.

Creative Cloud storage and Behance

These are both services rather than desktop applications, so investigating them will be part of a follow-on blog post.

So far, then, a fairly painless process! I wonder if it will continue that way?!

Commuting in London

Some London underground trains get really hot in the summer so why not substitute a cold drink can for your phone? (Maybe Apple’s next iPhone will have air conditioning built in)

hot afternoon commute, London

iPhone 4, Hipstamatic app, Buckhorst H1 lens, BlacKeys Supergrain film. Copyright Malcolm Raggett