SmartObjects425

Smart Objects are smart layers, and they have been in Photoshop for years. They have been evolving, but few people truly understand them and fewer still take full advantage of them. There are major benefits to learning what Smart Objects offer you and how they can change your workflow. Here are four things Smart Objects can do for you.

1. Change Or Update RAW Conversion Settings.

2. Apply Filters Nondestructively.

3. Apply Nondestructive Scaling And Distortion To Layers.

4. Blend Multiple Exposures Or Layers With Stack Modes. 

The first benefit, Change Or Update RAW Conversion Settings, is the most essential; something every Photoshop user should know how to use. Here’s how to use it.

Whether you’re using Lightroom or Bridge/Photoshop, if, and only if, you acquire a RAW file as a Smart Object, by double-clicking it, you’ll be able to change conversion settings and even update the RAW-processing algorithms to the latest version. Forgot to adjust a setting? Found better settings? Want to take advantage of advances made in the latest process version of ACR? All of these are reasons to use Smart Objects.

To acquire a RAW file as a Smart Object in Lightroom, go to Photo > Edit In > Open As Smart Object In Photoshop. With Adobe Camera Raw, click the blue underlined line at the bottom of the window to access Workflow Options and check Open In Photoshop As Smart Objects, which will set this as a default for opening files. The Open Image button will change to Open Objects. Notice that in Photoshop the bottom layer uses the file name instead of Background, and it contains a small rectangular icon that indicates it’s a Smart Object.

But wait, there are three more reasons to use Smart Objects. You’ll find the steps for the other three benefits detailed in my column on Digital Photo Pro.

There’s more than one kind of Smart Object; those that reaccess Raw file data and those that don’t. Smart Objects have limits; the list is steadily diminishing. Smart Objects come at a price; larger file sizes. While Smart Objects aren’t simple, but they’re extremely powerful and flexible. For this reason, I consider them essential components of an optimum Photoshop workflow. Exactly how and when you implement Smart Objects will depend on the specific challenges you face with a given image. While everyone needs to be aware of the possibilities Smart Objects offer, make your use of Smart Objects as simple as possible, but not simpler. You’ll find that even the most minimal implementation of Smart Objects will be extremely helpful.

Read more details in my column R/Evolution on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

PHOTOGRAPH – Issue 2

February 12, 2013 | Leave a Comment |

There’s lots of inspiration in Issue 2 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine, which includes featured portfolios and interviews with Martin Bailey, Andy Biggs, and Chris Orwig, as well as articles from David duChemin, Nicole S. Young, John Paul Caponigro, Martin Bailey, Al Smith, Jay Goodrich, Piet Van den Eynde, Younes Bounhar, Kevin Clark, and Chris Orwig.

My Creative Composition article discusses using the frame creatively, perhaps the most essential skill in photography.

Purchase it here – $8 single issue or $24 quarterly subscription.

 

There’s a new electronic magazine in town – and I’m delighted to be a part of it.

The 132 pages in Issue One of PHOTOGRAPH, A Digitial Quarterly Magazine for Creative Photographers. features …

Columns include Martin Bailey’s The Art of the Print, John Paul Caponigro’s Creative Composition, Kevin Clark’s The Studio Sketchbook, David Duchemin’s Without The Camera, Chris Orwig’s Creativity, and Piet van Den Eynde’s Lightroom Before + After.

Portfolios by Art Wolfe, Nate Parker, and Bruce Percy are followed by short interviews.

Featured articles by Younes Bounhar, Andrew Gibson, Jay Goodrich, Al Smith, and Nicole Young.

PHOTOGRAPH is available now through Craft & Vision, as a PDF download, for USD$8. A 4-issue subscription for US$24 (or buy 3 issues and get one free). You can subscribe today, or, if you want to do so risk-free, we’ll send a short email to everyone that buys Issue One and give you the chance to top-up your subscription with the remaining 3 issues for US$16, as long as you do it before the end of November 2012.

Find out more and subscribe on David Duchemin’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt from the first article in my column Creative Composition.

Dynamics Not Rules

“When it comes to composition, there are no rules . . . except, perhaps, never say never and always avoid saying always. I recommend you don’t ask, “Should I . . .?”; rather, ask “What happens when I . . . ?”. But there are principles. Each element has a unique force and contributes to the whole. Each element influences the other, creating a cascading chain of action, reaction, and interaction. These forces are definable and consistent, so you can understand them and apply them repeatedly. An understanding of what these elements are will open up possibilities and create opportunities for you. An understanding of how each element works will help you apply it so that you can improvise given the unique characteristics of a specific situation and your own con- cerns. Versatility with many strategies enables you to be more successful in more varied situations and to make more varied statements. Understanding the principles of visual dynamics will help make your decision making pro- cess more informed, but it won’t make choices for you. Awareness is the key. Better awareness brings better choices. Better choices bring better results …”

Read the rest of this article and much more in the first issue of PHOTOGRAPH.

The latest issue of View Camera Magazine features my father, Paul Caponigro with a special portfolio of unpublished work from 1959-2009.

64 pages of images with inspiring and insightful text.

“The eminent designer Eleanor Morris Caponigro has established a pace and rhythm here that allows each picture to breathe.  See how each refers to the one before it and sets up the next. A record of an amazing life – an astonishing achievement – climbs to elusive harmonious heights. ” – Michael Moore

Find more at View Camera

Read our father son conversation

Read over 40 conversations with photographers

noise-capture

Noise comes in three types or patterns:
1) Random noise 2) Fixed-pattern noise 3) Banding noise

Noise often has two components—brightness and color:
4) Image noise 5) Luminance noise 6) Chrominance noise

Knowing the type and kind of noise produced will help guide you to solutions to reduce it. There are three types of noise: random noise, fixed-pattern noise and banding noise.

Random noise appears as both luminance (light and dark) and chrominance (hue/saturation) variations not native to an image, but produced by the electrical operation of a capture device. The electrical signal produced in response to photons is commingled with electrical variations in the operation of the capture device. Random noise patterns always change, even if exposure conditions are identical. Random noise is most sensitive to ISO setting. Again, digital cameras have one native ISO setting; higher ISO settings artificially boost the signal produced by the sensor and the noise accompanying it. The results? You get a brighter picture from less light and exaggerated noise. Since the pattern is random, it’s challenging to separate the noise from the image, especially texture, and even the best software used to reduce it through blurring may compromise image sharpness; how much depends on the level of reduction.

Fixed-pattern noise (“hot pixels”) is a consistent pattern specific to an individual sensor. Fixed-pattern noise becomes more pronounced with longer exposures. Higher temperatures also intensify it. Since the pattern is consistent, it easily can be mapped and reduced or eliminated.

Banding noise is introduced when the camera reads the data produced by the sensor; it’s camera-dependent. Banding noise is most visible at high ISOs, in shadows and when an image has been dramatically brightened. This type of noise is obvious and objectionable; the regular row and column patterns from the sensor quickly call attention to the presence of banding noise, and it’s challenging to reduce without severely compromising image sharpness …

Read the rest of the article in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more with my free Lessons.

Learn even more in my Workshops.

Combination

July 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

You can create synergy between existing elements in your images and generate something new. How? Takes these steps.

Step one. Identify all the elements in your best images.
Step two. List all the possible combinations.
Step Three. Put what you’ve discovered into words.
Step four. Select the most promising combinations to pursue.
Step five. Generate a lot of variations on a single combination before committing to a final solution.
Step six. Execute.

This is an extreme distillation of my article Combination, now in the current issue of AfterCapture magazine.

Read more in my Creativity ebooks.

Learn more in my workshops.

The latest issue of Fraction, an online photographic magazine features a preview of my new work from Antarctica.
See it here.

Layering Noise

June 15, 2009 | Leave a Comment |


Here’s an excerpt from my column in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.

“When adding noise to digital files, keep noise separate from the image so you can control both independently of one another. This way you’ve got extraordinary control and flexibility. When noise is placed on its own layer you can eliminate or change it at any time in the future, reduce its opacity, localize it, desaturate it, target it into specific channels, move it, scale it, blur it and much more …”

Read more in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.
Learn out more in my digital printing workshops.

“How do you define something? One classic strategy is to let the dictionary define it for you. The Oxford English Dictionary defines composition in the following ways …

… the act of combining; forming relationships (between things); synthesis; reasoning from the universal to the particular; combining arithmetical factors, ratios, forces, elements to produce a compound; chemical combination; combining words and sentences to produce a literary work; combining sounds to produce a musical work; settling differences or an agreement; arrangement; constitution of mind and/or body or both; a creation shared by individual parts; union; aggregate; mixture; structure; design …

This paraphrases a more than one page definition. Reproducing the full version would be tedious. But I recommend you take a glance at the full definition to get a sense of how wide ranging the many definitions contained in this one entry are, which are used by many disciplines yet still related.

For the visual artist we could settle on a working definition, a simple statement that could be useful. Composition is the act of combining graphic elements to create a visual structure or it’s the product generated by this act. That suffices. That’s useful. But, while it’s useful to settle this, it would also be useful not to settle this issue definitively. The tension set up by continuing to consider all of the ambiguities, contradictions, connections, and unanswered questions will lead to some marvelous insights. For this very reason, I recommend you settle on your own working definition. And then continue to refine it. Because, rather than settling it definitively, by continuing to work with the question you’ll benefit even more …”

“You can see the fundamental structures present and visual dynamics at work in your images by reducing the wealth of information found in photographs. You can use Photoshop to do this in countless ways. Here are a few …”

Read more on Luminous Landscape. Click here.

Learn more about composition in my field workshops.

6/12-15 – Along the Waterline

8/9-15 – Iceland

10/16-19 – Fall Foliage

Variations

May 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

Here’s an excerpt from my article in the current issue of After Capture magazine.

“Once you’ve identified the core concerns, strengths, and weaknesses a body of work your path becomes clearer. Stick to your strong points; repeat them. Eliminate or minimize weaknesses. Introduce small variations of less essential items to add life, complexity, and nuances to the work. Enrich text with subtext. Make a list of possible variations upon the elements that you’ve identified. Consider, different points of view and different combinations of elements. Keep adding to your list as time goes on. It’s likely you’ll generate many more ideas than you can accomplish in a short time. With these options in mind you’ll never run out of ideas to pursue. Pursue only the very best ideas; let the lesser ideas pass you by. How do you evaluate new ideas? Ask yourself some questions. How much repetition leads to saturation (adding more information without adding anything new)? How much variation can you support without losing track of the essential idea and starting a new one? Does including a variation reinforce or distract from the entire body of work and its theme? If it reinforces it, include it. If it distracts from it, set it aside for another use. Quite often these images can start new bodies of work. They can even serve as bridges between related bodies of work. Engaging this process consciously increases the likelihood that you will produce the more significant results both now and in the future. You’ll know what to move forward on and when to move forward. You’ll know what to defer and when to defer it so you don’t get sidetracked …”

Find my PDFs on Creativity here.

Learn these and other core concepts in my workshops.


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