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Adobe Photoshop Turns Twenty

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By Diane Berkenfeld

Today is a day of celebration as Adobe Photoshop turns 20 years old and fans of the powerhouse software program are rejoicing around the world. Festivities include an anniversary celebration hosted by NAPP, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, in San Francisco today as well as numerous organized events around the globe; a special Adobe TV broadcast reuniting the original “Photoshop team” for the first time in 18 years to discuss their early work on the software and demonstrate Photoshop 1.0 on a rebuilt Macintosh computer; Facebook and Twitter users sharing of stories online and changing their profile photo to an altered 20th anniversary logo (there are over 400,000 and growing Facebook fans for Photoshop); and Tweeting about the software by adding the tag #PS20.

The impact of Photoshop is everywhere, from the youngest digital photography enthusiast to virtually every professional photographer, to the artists at magazines and newspapers, website design, Madison Avenue and Hollywood.

In the Beginning

In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display. It was a simple program to showcase grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, after collaborating with his brother John, the two began adding features that made it possible to process digital image files. The program eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1988, Adobe made the decision to license the software, naming it Photoshop, and shipping the first version in 1990.

According to Thomas Knoll, Adobe predicted it would sell 500 copies of Photoshop per month. Sounds kind of like a comment made in 1943 attributed to then IBM president Thomas John Watson, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

The Photoshop team thrives off its rich beta tester program, with active and vocal users who have submitted requests and helped shape the development of features throughout the years.

“We knew we had a groundbreaking technology on our hands, but we never anticipated how much it would impact the images we see all around us. The ability to seamlessly place someone within an image was just the beginning of Photoshop’s magic,” Knoll said.

Over the past 20 years, Photoshop has evolved from a simple original display program to an application that has over 10 million users worldwide on Mac and Windows-based PCs. Countless other software companies have created software programs, Photoshop plug-ins and Photoshop actions that enrich the user experience. Not to mention the dozens of books, tutorials, workshops and other educational programs. An entire ecosystem surrounds Photoshop.

Photoshop logos through the years.

Not only has Photoshop grown from version 1.0 to where it is today at Photoshop Creative Suite (CS) 4, but Photoshop Elements, the program for enthusiasts is up to version 8, and there are even web-based solutions now, at Photoshop.com, as well as a Photoshop App., for the Apple iPhone and Android devices, as well as Photoshop Lightroom, now at version 2, (version 3 is in beta testing) for image management.

Photoshopped or Photoshop’d has even become a part of our vernacular to describe a digital image that has been altered. According to Wikipedia, Photoshopping is slang for the digital editing of images.

We here at Picture-soup.com doubt that anyone who uses Photoshop on a daily basis would want to live without the program, having grown to depend upon it for his or her livelihood. From its ability to help you salvage old, treasured family photographs, to retouching images to the point that the alterations are impossible to notice, Photoshop allows photographers and graphic artists to do their jobs better.

Long Time Users Comment

We asked a few of the folks we consider to be Photoshop Gurus to offer their thoughts on Photoshop turning 20. Read on…

Canon Explorer of Light and Print Master, Eddie Tapp (www.eddietapp.com), a photographer and educator first began using Photoshop with version 1. “I would open an image, clone something, close it out and a week later do the same thing. It wasn’t until the next version 2.5, did I jump into what Photoshop was then… more of a creative use with images applying glows, effects, this is when I developed the 90% method of color correction along with a few other techniques… and when 5.5 came out… Color Management became available for the masses for the first time,” he explains.

“What I use to love doing in the darkroom, I now love creating in Photoshop… Photoshop gives [me] so much more control in every aspect of processing my images… I do however, miss the smell of Fixer on my fingers after processing… perhaps I should invent Channel Fixer #5…”

“Photoshop the tool has aged well, becoming more and more sophisticated as it innovates technology at each release… From what I’ve seen and heard… the next release will be a celebration of enhancements and next level imaging…”

Jim Tierney, Chief Executive Anarchist at software company Digital Anarchy (www.digitalanarchy.com) started using Photoshop with version 2.0 and was developing plug-ins for it shortly thereafter with MetaTools. “It’s been interesting to see how the uses of Photoshop have expanded and changed,” he says. “When I first started using it, it was used more for design than photography. Certainly some photographers were using it, but it definitely wasn’t a requirement. You could shoot and print without ever going through an image editing program. And if your photo got scanned in, usually it went straight into Pagemaker or Quark [Xpress]. If the photo did go through Photoshop, usually it was just to tweak the contrast… either that or to do some crazy outlandish thing [to it]. Photoshop was a new tool, digital was a new medium, and people were experimenting. There were a lot of really bad Photoshop’d images out there.”

“Layers really changed things. It became much easier to do professional looking work. Before layers, you really had to understand all aspects of the program to get good results out of it. Not too mention, that around the time of versions 2.0 and 2.5 you were lucky to have a monitor that could display thousands of colors.”

“Digital imaging… the ubiquitous digital cameras that started [showing up] everywhere that made Photoshop such a powerful tool—not only for designers and photographers, but for medical, science, law enforcement uses, etc. …brought it to the point that now everyone knows what Photoshop is. THAT is an incredible difference, especially for someone who was using it when no one knew what you were talking about.”

“And Digital/RAW really changed things for photographers. It’s now become an essential tool for photographers. Those who aren’t shooting digitally and using RAW are a dying breed.”

“So I think the most interesting things about Photoshop turning 20 is all of the things that have happened around it to make it the tool it is.”

Fashion and beauty photographer Helene DeLillo (www.helenedelillo.com) first started using Photoshop at around version 1.5, when it was for scanning software. “They never thought it would be a product except for a tool to use with scanners,” she explains.

“Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are essential tools for photographers in the production and management of their digital images. In my professional work they are invaluable. Photoshop allows me to take my fine art/Sci-Fi creative work of faeries and magical creatures to beyond this world. If I dream them flying or in an eternal forest or garden I can now seam them together and make all the lighting & textures match… My dreams become still imagery.”

“Over the last 3 months my assistant has been archiving all our old files online so that I can access any images I ever retouched or captured…It’s been an awesome process and still is not yet done. However I have been reviewing images from over 10 years ago and what a difference—imagine not having layers and every time you made a big brush stroke you had to wait; in fact the Macintosh OS would give you a coffee cup with steam [coming] off of it instead of the possessed lollypop… sometimes it would be a 15 minute wait for an action or even 30 minutes for the unsharp mask [to take effect].”

“I Love Adobe Photoshop—HAPPY 20th—we love you Knoll Brothers!!!”

Photographer, author and consultant Andrew Darlow’s (http://www.imagingbuffet.com / http://www.PhotoPetTips.com) first exposure to Photoshop was with version 2.5 while he was working at a graphic arts/prepress/printing company in New York City. “Photoshop has been and continues to be an essential part of my workflow and it has helped me to do what I love best—take and make photos that express my vision—without having to deal with the many headaches that photographers have faced for so many years,” he says.

Photographer, Action Hero, and educator Kevin Kubota (www.kkphoto-design.com / www.kubotaimagetools.com) started in digital imaging when, “We can Scitex it out” was the buzz word at the studio he worked at. “That’s when it cost a few hundred bucks to send an image out to have a small blemish removed by a lab with a Scitex machine. Now anybody with Photoshop can easily do that in under a minute. Times have changed. I think I started using Photoshop at version 2 or 3. I remember it was frustrating because at that time it was very costly to have images scanned so that you could actually have something to manipulate in Photoshop. It was love at first sight though, and I ate it up—every pixel (that was pre-MEGApixel),” he says.

“Somehow I knew that this was the direction photography was headed. I eagerly adopted the early digital cameras as well—excited that I finally had a way to quickly get my images in the computer without costly scanning.”

“Being an early Photoshop adopter gave me a couple of advantages: I was able to enhance my images and show things to my clients that very few other photographers were showing at that time. It was a great boost to my business and it kept me excited about shooting…and discovering what I could do with the images in post.”

“I also learned early on how to create my own Photoshop Actions, which I then taught people how to do as well at my early workshops. I soon realized that the looks I created and the tools I used were very valuable to other photographers as well. Photoshop gave me a vehicle, and a common platform, to share these tools and techniques. It changed my life as it gave me another new business and opened new creative doors.”

“I think that Photographers generally fall in one of two camps—those that believe the art of photography happens solely in the camera, and those that believe it happens all the way from camera to presentation. Neither is right or wrong. The only thing ‘wrong’ would be to follow a path you didn’t believe in. I am in camp two. I think that there is no ‘rule’ that photography has to be pure. It’s an art form to me, just like painting. There are no rules in art—you combine tools, techniques, brushes, colors, whatever you want to create your vision. The end product is what matters, not the tools you used to get there. Photoshop has given photographers another tool to express their vision. It has helped to allow Photography to be impressionistic, modern, and fresh like few other artists tools have done. I love that.”

Photographer and instructor Gary Small (www.jsmallphoto.com) started using Photoshop in 1996, with Version 3. “It was the first version that used layers,” he notes. “Over the past 13 years, I have watched Photoshop grow and evolve into the wonderfully powerful program it is today, while at the same time, my skills and knowledge in this fantastic program have grown and evolved as well. I got to see and experience firsthand, the introduction of color management, adjustment layers, vector based text, text on a path, Liquify, Vanishing Point, Extract, Smart Objects, Healing Brush and Patch Tool, History Brush, Smart Filters, Content Aware Scaling, and so much more. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m looking forward to continuing this adventure.”

“Like Photography itself, I’ve found that there is no end to the learning process or the things you can do with Photoshop. Without a doubt, it has had the greatest and most positive impact on my career, over everything else I’ve ever involved myself in. The impact Photoshop has had on my work as a photographer as well as an image manipulator has been amazing. It has given me the opportunity to take my images to new levels, with amazing results that were not achievable prior to Photoshop hitting the scene.”

“As an educator, it is a huge rush to be able to pass along this knowledge to others who share the same passion for photography and image manipulation that I do. Seeing the excitement in others that I had when I first learned Photoshop has made the experience that much more fulfilling for me.”

Yours truly started using Photoshop around versions 5.5 or 6 and while I would not consider myself anywhere near the Guru status of those quoted above, I do know my way around the program. —DB.

Tell us what Photoshop means to you!

For more information about the Photoshop family of products, go to www.adobe.com.

Find Photoshop on Facebook at www.facebook.com/photoshop. Find Photoshop on Twitter at www.twitter.com/photoshop.

To see the NAPP Photoshop 20th Anniversary Celebration, go to www.photoshopuser.com/photoshop20th.

To see the Adobe TV Photoshop 20th Anniversary Broadcast, go to http://tv.adobe.com/go/photoshop-20th-anniversary.

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Camera Review: Olympus E-P1

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Text & Photos By Diane BerkenfeldOlympusEP1frontweb

Last fall, at the photokina trade fair, the bi-annual photography event held in Cologne, Germany, I had a chance to view what was at that time a non-working concept camera that Olympus had developed. Reminiscent of a Leica Rangefinder camera, the body was small yet elegant in its design. Fast-forward to the Spring of 2009 and the debut of Olympus Imaging America’s E-P1. Olympus touts the camera not as a P&S, not as an SLR, but a PEN.

The first-generation Olympus Pen camera appeared in 1959. The concepts embodied in the Pen Series eventually led to the creation of the legendary Pen F Series half-frame single lens reflex system. Check out the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_Pen to get a thorough look at the history of the Olympus Pen series cameras.

Its retro-chic look turns heads, from tech aficionados and camera buffs to the fashion-conscious and everyday point-and-shooter.

The E-P1 is a 12.3 megapixel interchangeable lens system digital. The camera offers the quality and flexibility of a DSLR in a compact (stainless-steel) body. The camera can be described as retro-chic and is available in two versions, silver with black accent or white with tan accent. The E-P1 is the first Olympus camera in the Micro Four Thirds system format. Two lenses were introduced with the camera—the M Zuiko Digital Micro Four Thirds 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (28-84mm equivalent) and 17mm f/2.8 (34mm equivalent).

OlympusEP1backwebThe camera does not feature a viewfinder—optical or EVF—and that’s the one feature that I truly miss. A 3-inch LCD allows for the composition of images and video as well as playback. For the 17mm lens, an optional accessory viewfinder slips into the camera’s hot shoe. Consumers accustomed to composing and focusing using a P&S camera’s LCD won’t miss the lack of a viewfinder. The camera’s Live Control function allows menu icons to appear on the LCD—over the image you’re composing, for more seamless shooting.

You can shoot Jpeg, Raw, or Jpeg + Raw, which is how I normally shoot. The reason I like the combination of both Raw plus Jpeg is that it offers me the ability to shoot Raw and have access to all that great data, but also Jpegs so I can quickly edit through images. I also like that most cameras that offer Raw + Jpeg recording let you shoot B&W or in the case of the E-P1 by using various Art Filters but if you want to, you can always go back to the Raw file and reprocess the image without the filters or monochrome look. The way I see it, Raw + Jpeg lets you have your cake and eat it too. Images are recorded onto SD/SDHC media cards.

The E-P1 offers four aspect ratios that serve as masks to frame images: the standard 4:3, 16:9, which displays perfectly on a widescreen TV, 3:2 and 6:6.

The camera is fully manual as well as fully automatic, and practically everything in between; offering 19 scene modes, as well as Olympus’ intelligent Auto, program, aperture- and shutter speed-priority modes. One of the more interesting is the ePortrait Mode which enables you to smooth your subject’s face—in-camera and before capture. Additionally, edits can be made post-capture using the ePortrait Fix mode.

I have to hand it to Olympus—the scene modes of the E-P1 were right on the money. When I found myself shooting in tricky lighting situations, I found the scene modes did a better job than the camera set on Program, and faster than if I was shooting completely manual. Considering that this camera was designed for the P&S user that wants to step up to the next level in photography, it makes sense that the scene modes will most likely be used a lot.

The E-P1 offers Face Detection, of up to eight subject’s faces, tracking them within the image area. The Face Detection works well, in fact, I found myself relying on it during portrait shoots, especially with multiple people in the frame.

Images from the E-P1 are as sharp as those of any DSLR I’ve used.

Cropped view - actual pixels, from image on left. Flower is tack sharp.

Cropped view - actual pixels, from image on left. Flower is tack sharp.

Full image, macro shot.

Full image, macro shot.

Instant Gratification

One of the coolest aspects of this camera is the inclusion of the art filters, first introduced in the Olympus E-30 DSLR. The art filters are accessed through the mode dial. Each of the six filters—Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, and Pin Hole—can be previewed live on the LCD as you’re shooting. For imaging purists who want to shoot without filters, and apply the filters to images inside the camera later, or just edit images back at their computers, the E-P1 provides these options. The art filters can also be used while shooting HD video.

Examples of the Art Filters: (top row l. to r.) Pin Hole, Pop Art, Soft Focus; (bottom row l. to r.) Light Tone & Color, Pale Color, Grainy. Photos by Diane Berkenfeld.

Examples of the Art Filters: (top row l. to r.) Pin Hole, Pop Art, Soft Focus; (bottom row l. to r.) Light Tone & Color, Pale Color, Grainy Film.

In addition to being able to view the Art Filters on the scene while you’re composing, other settings are also WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get). These include white balance and exposure changes.

One feature that is slowly making its way into higher-end digital cameras is the Multiple Exposure mode. The E-P1 allows users to create multiple exposures in camera, in real time, or by capturing both shots separately and combining them in the camera later. This is yet another creative option that photographers using the E-P1 have at their disposal while shooting—which for many folks using digital is ideal, as they don’t want to have to use software to alter images, but create photographs in the camera that can be easily printed out.

E-P1 – Packed with Features

The E-P1 is the first Micro Four Thirds camera introduced by Olympus, however the camera uses the same size Live MOS image sensor as the E-30 and E-620 DSLR models. The camera also utilizes the new TruePic V image processor. Some of the other features of the camera include in-body image stabilization; Olympus’ patented Supersonic Wave Filter for dust reduction; ISO range of 100 to 6400; an internal Digital Level Sensor that detects the camera’s pitch and roll; manual and automatic focusing; as well as a MF Assist Function and magnification display that lets you magnify the image on the LCD by up to 10x. Metering modes include spot, center-weighted and the 18×18, 324-division ESP metering.

The camera includes Olympus Master 2 software, for the Mac and PC. The software allows users to organize images and process Raw files. The software is also used for updating camera and lens firmware. The software is easy to navigate and offers more detailed EXIF data on the image files than does Photoshop or Lightroom.

In addition to video, the camera also has a built-in stereo microphone and can record audio narration. The E-P1 comes with five built-in background music options so users can mix stills and video in-camera to create multimedia slideshows, which can then be viewed on any HDTV via an HDMI cable.

As I mentioned earlier, I had to get used to composing via an LCD instead of a viewfinder, so a photographer who normally only shoots with a DSLR may feel the same way I did when they first pick up the E-P1, but you quickly get used to composing on the LCD.

The beginner or intermediate photographer will have no problem picking up the E-P1 and getting started. This type of user most likely has owned or used a digital P&S camera in the past and will be used to composing on an LCD, as well as using program and scene modes. The manual modes are in the camera so they can step up to the features as they learn how to use them.

For the enthusiast or professional photographer who has used Rangefinder cameras in the past, and want a more compact camera to take with them on vacations [i.e. when not working], the E-P1 would be a great choice.

And if this type of photographer already shoots with Olympus’ E-series digital SLRs, they can utilize their Four Thirds lenses with the E-P1 using the MMF-1 Four Thirds System Lens Adapter. This adapter also allows Four Thirds System lenses from Sigma, Panasonic, and Leica to attach to the E-P1. For photographers who go back further still, and were Olympus film SLR shooters, their OM lenses will work on the E-P1 with the MF-2 OM Lens Adapter.

The other feature that I miss on this camera is a built-in flash. Most compact digital cameras, super zoom digital Point & Shoots and even many DSLRs offer a built-in pop-up flash. The E-P1 does not. The camera does have a hot shoe so you can add the optional FL-14 accessory flash. Without the flash, you may be limited in low-light use.

As I did not have enough time to truly test out the video and audio features of the camera, this review only includes my views on the still capture features.

Overall, I enjoyed using the E-P1. It’s a great little camera. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more Micro Four Thirds format digital cameras from Olympus in the future. Oh, and the E-P1 does turn heads, so be prepared for the attention it will bring you!

Estimated street prices for the E-P1 body only: $749.99; E-P1 body with the ED 14-42mm f/3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens: $799.99; and E-P1 Body with ED 17mm f/2.8 lens with the optical viewfinder: $899.99.

For more information about the E-P1, check out the website at www.olympusamerica.com.

[Editor’s Note: Read about the new Lark Books Magic Lantern Guide about the Olympus E-P1  on this website.]

9/11/01: We Will Never Forget

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Today is September 3rd… only eight more days until the 8th anniversary of 9/11/01. Every September since that day, I turn to photographs to remember—to never forget—what happened at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and in the air above Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I think its because the photographs and video taken on that day are such tangible reminders, along with the memories burned into the psyches of anyone who remembers viewing the events of that day. For days afterward, all I could do was turn on the TV and watch and re-watch the news footage over and over.

So many photographers were on hand that day, and for days and weeks afterwards, recording what they saw—to share with the world. The New York Times, LIFE magazine, and others all published collections of photographs from 9/11.

I thought I would share some of the books I am drawn to each September.

We must never forget…

— Diane Berkenfeld

Here is New York

Here is New York was an impromptu collection of images taken by photojournalists, witnesses and everyday New Yorkers who were affected in some way. Originally hung in a Soho gallery, the collection of images were eventually made into a book and traveling exhibition. The website still houses an extensive collection of gallery of photos and audio recordings. Website: hereisnewyork.org

Faces of Ground Zero

Faces of Ground Zero, Portraits of the Heroes of September 11, 2001 is a book of images by professional photographer Joe McNally. The portraits were photographed by the one-of-a-kind Polaroid McNally had access to. The camera measured 12-feet by 16-feet. McNally photographed survivors, policemen, firemen, volunteers, doctors, nurses, and children.

New York September 11

New York September 11 is a collection of photographs by 11 Magnum Photographers. Those 11 pros were in New York City that day, in the middle of a routine monthly meeting. In addition to images captured after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the book includes some images of the Twin Towers that Magnum photographers had taken over the last quarter century. Website: magnumphotos.com


Brotherhood

Brotherhood edited by Tony Hendra, came from the shrines and monuments that New Yorkers created to honor the fallen firefighters. These impromptu creations arose outside many of the city’s firehouses on 9/11 and continued to grow for some time. The names of each firefighter who lost his life on 9/11 is listed at the bottom of each page of the book; so that the list is repeated three times.

Above Hallowed Ground

Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 by the photographers of the New York Police Department, is a unique book in that the images were taken by members of the NYPD who had access most news photographers did not. Images include arial photographs, photos taken inside the Twin Towers before the collapse, as well as the aftermath.

The September 11 Photo Project

The September 11 Photo Project was put together by Michael Feldschuh, who was moved to do something to honor those who lost their lives. Feldschuh was able to garner a donated space to exhibit the images of thousands of everyday New Yorkers who found themselves recording the events of 9/11 and the days following. Along with the photographs, some contributors included text. The book is a collection of some of those images and texts. A traveling exhibition was also put together.