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Adobe Photoshop 6 Beta

Published: Mar 24, 2012 by admin Filed under: Press Coverages
Adobe Photoshop 6 Beta

Adobe Photoshop is the head software of the company, it is what makes them most of their money. It is also what they are best known for amongst the world besides flash and their pdf readers / editors. So it is big news when a new version of Photoshop is released to the general public, there is always much excitement and speculation. The 6th edition of adobe Photoshop is being pre-released to the public in a beta testing stage. This means that the software has been developed internally and tested within the company, but they are releasing it for the public to test. This allows to company to gain free feedback on glitches and improvements, whilst consumers get to trial the software.

So what is new in this next version of Photoshop? Well the first thing users will notice is the dark skin that the developers have added. It has more of a corporate feel to it, and actually helps to highlight the colors that you are using in photos. However it is not just all superficial, much thought and development has been put into making the software more user friendly. Many commonly used functions that were harder to locate before have been moved into the main editing frame. This way the software is being geared more towards WYSIWYG users as well as in depth photo editors.

In addition to the layout changing and tools being placed in an easier to find location there have been performance improvements. The graphics processing engine has been updated to allow more depth and higher pixel processing capabilities. This is via the company’s mercury graphics engine, which performs complex numerical calculation in real time to your editing. There is no delay and the process feels completely naturalistic. However obviously this requires the right system specifications. Users need to have a pretty high spec computer to be able to run this software. That is one of the drawbacks of its capability advancements.

The improvements can be visibly seen in many of the tools used in Photoshop. Some of the most commonly used will be the use of brushes and gradients, allowing faster rendering and bigger areas to be covered. There are also specific improvements to the ability to vary temperature and tint across images. There are too many other features to name individually, but other main areas of improvement are to do with blurring and image bending/manipulation. For example the new full screen adaptive wide angle dialog is aimed at helping the user with the job of straightening undesirable distorts and bumps in images. Where possible this deep set feature will analyze and identify the lenses focal point in the image. When this has been done then the image can be straightened without distorting the rest of the picture. This is a really cool and useful feature.

Overall the developments in Photoshop 6 look to be very exciting and deep. This is not just a makeover it is a redesigning and improvement of the core software

Diablo III

Published: Mar 19, 2012 by admin Filed under: Press Coverages
Diablo III
The release date for the long awaited Diablo game has been announced as may 15th 2012.The announcement for the game was almost four years away and fans have been eagerly following updates and speculations ever since. For those that do not know the Diablo franchise is a game that falls under the categories of hack and slash and dungeon crawler. These are game types that involve navigating labyrinth type maps, collecting items and battling computer opponents. The genre has seen somewhat of a revival recently since its height of popularity in the 80s and 90s. Diablo III is a welcome addition to the field and shows that big developers are still willing to invest money and confidence in the hack and slash + dungeon crawl genres.
The plot of the game takes places in a world called Sanctuary. In the previous game of Diablo II the world was saved from the armies of the Burning Hells. However from the torment and post war psychological stress the warriors have gone mad. It is therefore up to a new generation of warriors to protect and serve the world of Sanctuary. That is where this game takes off with players controlling a new range of scenarios and players 20 years forward from where the franchise last left off.
There have been some interesting developments in the production of Diablo III. For example the game engine has been completely developed in house by the owning company Blizzard. Previous versions of the game have used and external physics engine developed by the company Havok. The new engine features a destructible environment via an in game damage effect. The game will use a 3D engine which adds more depth and complication to the gameplay. For example the 3D environment can be utilized by enemies as well as the player allowing them to move up and along walls and attacks in this way.
As in the previous version multiple player games are possible via the online service provided by Blizzard. The quest system in the game has also been created with random quest generation and random level generation. This ensures that the game can provide different experiences to players when replayed. This has a large advantage in that the lifespan of the game is greatly increased. In addition to this there is class specific levels and quests which accompany the main storyline quests. This means that players are rewarded with unique levels for reaching certain classes. This gives an actual reward other than just advanced capabilities within the standard game.
Another new feature in Diablo III is the skill runes feature. Skill runes are items that modify the characters skill as the player goes up through the levels. This differs from Diablo II where players changed items that can be equipped, they are attached to skills giving the game a whole new dimension. The game play will change drastically as each skill is unlocked.
Keep an eye out for Diablo III which is released both physically and digitally on May 15th 2012.

Lytro light field camera

Published: Mar 12, 2012 by admin Filed under: Press Coverages
The Lytro light field camera is something that is very new and exciting in the world of photography. Nowadays it is very rare to encounter something that is truly unique and uses initiative to create something original. The photography market has been relatively unchanging for a long time. This is simply because the process works, the light is captured and transformed into a single still image or moving image. However the Lytro light field camera puts a new twist on that old method of capturing life.  The camera captures not just one uniform plane of light, but multiple layers of light from all directions. In other words it captures everything instantly and simultaneously. One might ask what the relevance or point of this is. The answer is that the post capture editing possibilities are huge, it gives the photographer multiple points of focus. The focal point of the picture can be set retrospectively. This means that the photographer or editor has ultimate control over the best possible picture outcome. There will never again be that moment of saying “I wish I had focused a bit further away”.
In addition to being able to focus after the picture has been taken there is also the added advantage of timing. The reason a lot of quick pictures are missed is because the camera cannot focus in time, or the focus is not adjusted correctly. This is not a problem with the Lytro light field camera, pictures can be taken instantly and the focus can be adjusted after. Meaning quick snaps are not a problem anymore – just point and shoot.
The camera itself has a unique and interesting design, as one might expect from such a revolutionary piece. They are colourfully designed and do not follow the conventional camera shape. They are like a rectangular prism that has the light capturing lense at one side and a screen at the other. The screen is interactive and has touch controls, allowing for easy navigation. The outer shell is constructed of aluminium for strength and lightness. There is a quick power on feature that takes pics instantly, meaning there is no delay in capturing special moments. The whole thing weighs less than eight ounces and so really is a portable yet dependable little camera.
In terms of technical abilities the camera has a 8x optical zoom with a constant F/2 apeture. Also as mentioned before the light is captured across the entire zoom range in each photograph taken.
Overall it can be said that this launch is a very interesting development in the world of photography. Whether it will make any real impact or remain a novelty is to be left for time to reveal. It can be said though that it is commendable to take a fresh approach to development in what is a crowded and standardised market. Perhaps this will be the start of a new trend, or perhaps it will be lost in the annals of history.

The Olympus OMD EM5

Published: Mar 4, 2012 by admin Filed under: Press Coverages
Olympus OMD EM5

The Olympus camera brand has long been associated with precision and quality, this association is continued with the Olympus OMD EM5. This new camera is one of the latest releases from Olympus, and is definitely a revolutionary piece of kit that has to be observed. Photography enthusiasts should take a look into the features that the Olympus OMD EM5 has to offer. This stunning piece of kit offers new mirrorless technology as part of its design. The camera uses an electronic viewfinder, which allows smarter control of environmental variables. The camera’s features, their advantages and the cameras design will all be covered in this short article.

First off let’s look at how the electronic viewfinder helps the photographer in taking pictures. The digital viewfinder on the Olympus OMD EM5 allows the photographer to understand and adjust to environmental variables. These include the air filter effect, color temperature and levels for exposure. All of these settings can now be adjusted in real time thanks to the new electronic viewfinder installed in this model. Some people have concerns about the quality of an LCD electronic viewfinder. However the integrated electronic viewfinder in the Olympus camera range is extremely high in definition. It boasts a 1.44 million dot LCD viewing panel; this screen has a 100% field of view range and allows full focal coverage. The photographer can really immerse him/herself in the environment, whilst knowing exactly what their results will be. This is a unique feature of an electronic viewfinder in comparison with a manual viewfinder.

The Olympus OMD EM5 also uses a fast auto focus system. This allows for quick capture of fast moving subjects. This is especially useful for action shots, or unexpected shots that need to be taken quickly. The fast auto focus relies on an improved 3D tracking AF, so this ensures that the shot won’t be missed even if the focal point is moving away or towards the photographer.

In addition to the fast auto focus feature the Olympus OMD EM5 also includes 5-axis image stabilisation. This provides greater resistance to shocks and shakes than other cameras which have a 2-axis system. Having a camera that can take good pictures in all conditions is becoming increasingly more important. Many photographers are going into more extreme conditions and taking quicker, more unexpected pictures. If this is the case for you then you will want to invest in a camera that deals with shocks and shakes. Otherwise a great photo opportunity could be a blurry mess.

Following on from this design, which aims to allow photography in more extreme conditions, this camera is also dust and splash proof. This means that the camera can handle conditions such as rainfall and sand blasts. So taking pictures at beach locations is not an issue, the more adventurous of you may even capture some desert or dune shots.

Overall this is a pretty nice camera with a lightweight and sleek design. The visual appeal of the camera is pretty modest and it does not try to be anything more than what it is. Olympus have focused much more on making this a feature packed and reliable camera,

Classic Vintage Polaroid

Published: Mar 2, 2012 by admin Filed under: Press Coverages
Vintage classic Polaroid
Polaroid cameras and film are a great part of the heritage and heyday of analogue photography. It was a much loved and much used instant format of producing photographs. The Polaroid movement took away the need for development and produced photographs that were viewable within minutes. This was what led to the format being so popular and widely used.
Sadly due to the advances in digital photography and industry wide format shifts the format has become almost obsolete. Finding film for normal analogue cameras has become a specialist area and most stores do not stock it any more. Therefore a niche within this market like Polaroid blanks and film are even less commonly found.  Official production of Polaroid film ended in 2008, this was due to a lack of demand from the market and sustained losses on production. The three factories and 450 workers that produced the vintage classic Polaroid instant film were made redundant.
However since the closure of the Polaroid film production plants there have been small specialist movements to bring back the format. The most notable and admirable being The Impossible Project. The impossible project was set up to try and produce instant films and keep the format alive. It started in 2008 after the closure of the Polaroid film factories, it actually set up in the last running Polaroid production plant in Enschede  in the Netherlands. The project spawned out of a need to keep the 300 million Polaroid cameras in the world active, otherwise it would be an obsolete format. The founding members were 10 former expert Polaroid employees with a passion and commitment to the format. Without this expert knowledge there would be no chance of the format ever being revived in any variant.
The impossible project had to start operations from scratch and develop a completely new technology for instant film. The dye used for the original Polaroid classic films was unavailable and there was no chance of reproducing it. After thousands of experiments and man hours the impossible project managed to develop the new impossible film system. There are now silver shade films and color shade films. A far cry from what was thought could be developed from scratch, especially with the budget and resources of the impossible project. The project is now in production and has a 25 strong work force. It provides film which allows enthusiasts, artists and regular people to continue using and enjoying Polaroid instant camera technology.   
What does the future hold for vintage classic Polaroid and the impossible project? Well the format still survives and it can only get better from the 2008 halt of production. The impossible project is looking at developing films for different sizes and even developing their own camera. The development of an impossible camera would mean that they could work to their own specification and develop film for it easier. This would make the instant film market more open, and working with renowned photographers could give this industry a real revival.

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