Overpriced Schools part II

This is sort of a followup to my Overpriced Schools For Design, Visual Effects, Photography, Whatever post about schools and going into debt getting an education.

There’s a good book out on the topic of student loans called the Student Loan Scam. Every student should read this before they go into debt for an education. As you can guess, it paints a somewhat unfavorable view of student loans… but there’s lots of good information in the book on how to get a loan and what to look for.

Obviously, there have been many people that have used student loans to great success. The problem starts to occur when you get private and technical colleges marketing themselves heavily and making impossible promises to impressionable 18-22 y.o. Continue reading Overpriced Schools part II

More about cartoons: xkcd.com

On the heels of my previous post,whenever I talk about cartoons online, I always have to mention my favorite online comic, xkcd, www.xkcd.com.

This web comic is self-described as ‘a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’. It is also hysterically time-sucking so be careful if you click my link. XKCD also a great way to learn new geek words. So basically, this blog post of mine has absolutely nothing to do with Photoshop plugins, but it may help you to gain street cred with your IT or engineering department (or your 13 year old nephew who knows more than you).

For instance, look at the panel that was drawn for Valentine’s Day, titled ‘Sierpinski Valentine’:

021509-sierpinski_valsm
Continue reading More about cartoons: xkcd.com

Cartoons! But not ours.

Our company, Digital Anarchy, creates a terrific ‘toon’ product called Toonit! Photo. This Adobe Photoshop cartooning plugin lets you turn photographs into a cartoon look very easily and quickly, and generally without changing the default settings.

021709_toonit-logo

But suppose you want to make a cartoon the old fashioned way? By hand! Or rather, by hand in the computer. Well, there are a few websites that I’ve been hanging around for inspiration. They are Drawn!, Deviant Art and MyToons. Continue reading Cartoons! But not ours.

Fake or Not Fake?

A picture can not lie. We all know the untruth of that these days. But what do you do when a picture isn’t lying, yet looks ‘obviously’ fake?

The below photo illustrates this to some degree:

photography sometimes captures real life in an unrealistic way
photography sometimes captures real life in an unrealistic way

This is a photo of a friend’s whale watching boat (Ultimate Whale Watch in Maui). Obviously, I shot this from a different boat while a whale swam up to and under the boat. I’m using a 70-200mm f2.8 lens, so I’ve got really narrow depth of field. As a consequence, the boat is razor sharp and everything else is pretty blurred.

If you saw the above image in a marketing brochure would you believe it?

Continue reading Fake or Not Fake?

Photoshop free alternatives

As a developer for Photoshop (and now Aperture) I rarely spend time in other host graphics apps. There are other purchasable ones, like the Corel Painter Suite, but they generally don’t publish a good API that plugin developers like Digital Anarchy (that’s us) can hook into.

There are also a bunch of free image editing apps. For our customer model, they simply fall short of what Photoshop can do and none are widespread enough for us to support. Which makes sense since these free apps are not trying to be Photoshop, just act as an alternative for folks who aren’t doing graphics for a living and don’t want to invest money into graphic manipulation.

Having said that, I occasionally run into a summary list of free Photoshop alternatives. Thought it would be interesting to post a list that I found on Downloadsquad.com through a friend’s blog, pirandello.wordpress.com. Continue reading Photoshop free alternatives

My favorite photography ‘gear’ site

There are a lot of review sites out there. http://www.dpreview.com is a good one… however, my favorite is http://www.slrgear.com.

In truth, they really only do lenses, but it’s an incredible site. The most in depth reviews of lenses you can imagine, including an interactive 3D graph showing you the focus profiles at any given aperture/focal length. It’s hugely entertaining to play around with the 3D graph and see where the sweet spot is for the lens and where it starts to really break down… as far as sharpness and vignetting goes.

For example, I’ve got the Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. You can see looking at the SLRgear graph that at 1.4, the lens really isn’t that great. But once you get to 2.0 and especially 2.8, it’s a great lens. It’s a good thing to check if you want to get the most out of your lenses.

Here’s a screenshot:

Screenshot of slrgear.com's 3D Blur index for camera lenses (Tamron 70-200mm in this case)
Screenshot of slrgear.com's 3D Blur index for camera lenses (Tamron 70-200mm in this case)

Camera sensors

So an article discussing 2K vs. 4K images popped up on my radar today. It’s named ‘The Truth About 2K and 4K’ and is an interview with John Galt of panavision. It’s partially a marketing piece for Panavision, so take a grain of salt to some of the ‘truth’. On one hand he disparages the RED camera (panavision competitor) for not having a true 4K sensor (this is apprently true) and then later in the article he disparages IMAX (panavision competitor) for being 4K but that it doesn’t really matter because our eyes can normally only see 2K worth of detail.  Uh… so that means RED actually got it right?

The jist of it is that RED, like Canon/Nikon DSLRs, uses a sensor with a Bayer mosaic pattern. Each spot (viewsite) on the sensor only receives one color (R, G, or B). 4 (Green gets counted twice) of those are added up to produce one pixel in your camera. Because of this, technically the image RED produces (and Canon and Nikon and…) is interpolated. The alternative is to have each spot on the sensor record all three colors at once. There is a GREAT comparison of the Canon 5D with the Sigma SD14 (which does use a sensor that captures all three colors on the same spot) and explains the difference between sensors very well:

http://www.ddisoftware.com/sd14-5d/

Between both articles it brings up some interesting questions for RED users and for digital photographers.

Continue reading Camera sensors

Digital Anarchy does Aperture!

Yesterday was an exciting one as Digital Anarchy branched out into a new host application: the wild world of Aperture. Our Photoshop plugins ToonIt! Photo and Knoll Light Factory are now available for use in Aperture.

Our president, Jim Tierney, had the disadvantage of working on this product release remotely… from Hawaii. Here are some of his hard-earned Maui test shots for Knoll Light Factory.

His original shot:

The Knoll-infused version:


Continue reading Digital Anarchy does Aperture!

Getting a telephoto lens into a sporting event

So in honor of the SuperBowl…

There are those of you who might own a relatively large telephoto and like sports. Usually, if you have a big lens attached to the camera, you’re not going to be allowed in, especially for big events. However, here’s a trick I’ve used to get my Canon 100-400mm lens into the BCS Title game, NFL Playoffs, and the NCAA tournament (among other things)…

Put a normal lens on the camera and put the telephoto lens in it’s case. Let someone else carry the camera in and you carry the lens in. If anyone asks about it… say it’s a binocular. The guys at the gate have no idea what a lens is unless it’s actually attached to the camera.

I’ve never been denied getting in.

Once in, it’s a little different story. You have to be somewhat stealthy about using it… especially if you have good seats. Where security along the sidelines can see you. I have been threatened with being kicked out if I didn’t stop using it. Dumbest move: had sideline seats at the 2006 BCS title game and got busted taking shots of warmups. They’ll give you a warning… but it made using it during the game a bit riskier because they’ve already seen you. So… don’t take shots of warmups or pregame crap. Nevertheless… got some good shots.

cheers,

Jim Tierney

http://www.digitalanarchy.com

http://anarchyjim.digitalanarchy.com

Reggie Bush running