Remove Duplicate Fonts to Speed Up Your Mac and Photoshop

Here’s another speedup tip for Mac OS X users – get rid of duplicate fonts.

I found my system was spending a lot of time running a process called fontd. Also Photoshop on startup would spend time dealing with fonts. Thankfully the fix is easy.

Use the Font Book application to find and disable duplicate fonts. I’ve done this on both my and my wife’s laptops and it has made a big difference. Photoshop starts up faster and certain applications (I noticed it with Powerpoint) become much more responsive. You’ll find Font Book in the Applications folder.

DIMi Magazine Gets a Writeup

Eileen Fritsch has posted a nice article about the production of Digital ImageMaker international as a magazine over on the Great Output blog.

Great Output is an excellent blog on printing and related topics to do with imaging and art. Definitely worth a read.

 

The Photographic Seeing Exercise

In truth, photography is nothing to do with the gear you use, your mastery of exposure and any fancy post-processing. Photography is about seeing, pure and simple. There are an infinite number of images surrounding you at this very moment, if you can see them.

Improving your ability to see images is key to developing as a photographer. In fact it is this photographic seeing that is a large contributor to a photographer’s style: what you see and how you choose to capture it. Photographic seeing can be practiced.

Now I normally do this exercise with my students in courses, so there is the added push of having to bring resulting images to class next week to motivate, so you, working at home, will need to provide this push for yourself. Perhaps decide that each week you will put the best image up on your Facebook page for feedback, or on Flickr or your blog, show it to your husband or wife, or take it to the camera club. Whatever you need to do to motivate yourself, do it.

The exercise is in fact very simple. Pick a location that you are very familiar with, one where you would normally not consider taking photos, go there and keep shooting all sorts of different images until you think you have something. Then evaluate the images, paying attention to sections that work and not just the whole image. Then return to the same location and repeat.

Vision and perception is a muscle, like any other (figuratively) and so must be exercised to get stronger. I often point students to their local shopping strip, school and even rooms in their own home. In fact one of the most interesting I have ever set, and the results being so amazing that I now do this every course, is to get students to shoot in the smallest room of their home, which is usually the toilet. It pushes so many buttons: “what could I possibly shoot there”, “that’s disgusting”, “boring”, and so much more. Yet the photos that people bring back the following week are really amazing. In fact I sometimes push this further and make the assignment to only shoot within the toilet bowl. It is amazing just how creative you can be.

This exercise is really about restriction. By restricting your shooting to a well-known location it pushes the brain into a problem-solving mode of operation: “what can I do to get a good shot HERE?”

The extension of this exercise is to do this whenever you have some time to kill, such as waiting for an appointment or whatever. Use whatever camera you have with you, which for many will be their phone, and explore the space photographically in the time available.

Give it a try.

 

Cinemagraphs

 

A great website came to my attention cinemagraphs.com. The work of Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, the site shows their moving still images. These are animated GIF files that have one element moving within what is basically a still image. If you think of the moving photographs in Harry Potter newspapers you will have the right idea.

In the example above the man reading the newspaper is the only element that moves.

While they say little about the process on the site, it is a fairly straightforward process to recreate. The way I would tackle it is to shoot either a series of stills at high speed or HD video, and then pull single frames into layers in Photoshop. You would then erase all the elements you want stationary from all layers except one, leaving a stack of layers of the moving element(s). This could then be turned into an animated GIF using the Animation/Timeline window and turning layer visibility on and off as needed per frame.

The best work is extremely effective, whilst some is not quite as interesting. Definitely worth a look.

 

Prototyping iPad Applications using Keynote (and would even work in Powerpoint)

A really interesting thing I found was a tutorial on prototyping iPad and iPhone applications by using Keynote, Apple’s Powerpoint equivalent to build an interactive prototype that will let you test the user interface before building it.

Impressive.

The tutorial is on Amir Khella’s blog.

He also has a website that sells the themes for a very moderate price.

The approach works brilliantly. Great idea Amir.

The Keys to getting the most out of photography and art study

Many students doing a photography or fine art study program fail completely to get out of it all they could. Here is how to improve on this.

During the course of a semester of study, students are caught up in the tasks of note taking and doing projects/assignments. This dominates all thinking: the looming deadlines and examinations (if the course has them). This keeps their focus on doing what has to be done and not on drawing personal insights from the work they are doing.

One way to overcome this is for the student to take the opportunity of the breaks and holidays to sit down with their visual diaries and assignments and reflect on the work they have done, what they have learning and what they want to pursue from there. This reflection is critical and well done visual diaries and notebooks can greatly assist this by allowing the student to refresh themselves on what they did earlier in the semester. Few if any colleges encourage this, mainly because everyone, staff and students alike, are just plain exhausted and looking forward to the break.

All art students should also study creativity and the various ways of working with this, stimulating it and sharpening it as a tool you can control. This involves being exposed to the thinking that has happened about creativity since Freud.