Reviews image software

ICLONE PHYSICS TOOLBOX EFFORTLESSLY BUILD WORKING MACHINES FOR YOUR ANIMATIONS WITH THIS ICLONE PLUG-IN A great tool for Photoshop users to expand their animation skills, iClone produces quick and flexible 3D scenes. This software has a high degree of automation, for example dropping in a human figure, changing clothes and making them walk, talk and perform actions is all easily possible. Photoshop artists can bring in 3D props and scenery, which are all customisable through any texture that s painted in 2D or 3D right inside Photoshop. Now, with the new iClone Physics Toolbox plug-in, your animation is taken to unparalleled levels of automation in iClone5. This plug-in offers users the ability to simply drag-and-drop mechanical parts and drivers into your scenes. If you ve produced a model of a car, you can add a motor to drive the wheels as your automobile pulls away, following the contours of the road automatically. The plug-in s automated systems are split into two topic themes: Force and Structure. These include examples such as pistons, firearms, numbered wheel vehicles, air balloons and more. All these can be instantly dropped into a scene, bringing them to life without forcing you to painstakingly keyframe every motion. You can also plug different mechanisms together, creating far more complex machines and pre-built systems such as tanks, claws, and bulldozers. These are provided to solve common animation complications for new users. The system is just so easy and intuitive, since the mechanisms themselves are simply drivers rather than strict 3D objects. What s more, Photoshop animators will love the way they can continue to customise these new objects repeatedly, giving vehicles, robots and automations whatever look and style that s required. ONONE SOFTWARE PERFECT MASK 5 OnOne Software s Perfect Mask 5 promises high-quality masks in just a few clicks that work great on tough subjects like hair and glass. However, from our own experience we found many of these failed to materialise first time. The new Keep and Erase brush tools are designed for loosely brushing areas you want to remove and to automatically clean edges. Results with these weren t awful, but hardly brilliant and certainly no better than native Selection and Refine Edges tools in Photoshop. We found that the application of legacy Keep and Drop Color Dropper options, kept from the previous Mask Pro 4 version, are still essential in implementing more precise results. In fact we discovered that applying these, double-clicking the Magic Brush tool and applying automated masking worked far better. We did however find the new Flexible Preview options were useful and similar to the View options in PhotoshopRefine Edges. These options made adjusting and judging quality much more definite, especially when setting to Segments. We were able to correct effects with the Segment Size slider, simplifying and improving Keep and Drop Color Dropper selections. The latest Refine tool was also helpful in picking up left-behind artefacts and colour fringes. Deactivating the Use Color Dropper option had mixed reactions, sometimes more conclusive, other times a bit destructive, but on the whole another triumph. Is Perfect Mask 5 better than native Photoshop tools? With the plug-in now fully compatible with Photoshop CS6, we re not wholly convinced that it complements the software s intuitive functionality. VERDICT: 6/10 This is a suitable plug-in for those without knowledge of or interest in advanced masking, but Photoshop users may find effects protracted and frustrating HONESTECH NSCREEN DELUXE WIRELESSLY STREAM AND SHARE PHOTOS OR ARTWORK TO YOUR HD DISPLAYS The new Honestech nScreen Deluxe is a wireless device that s great for sharing your Photoshop imagery from numerous devices, streamed to HD displays. The benefit of such a device is apparent for those who share or even present their projects in-studio on a daily basis. The nScreen handles multiple devices effortlessly, with the most recent device to connect heading to the front of the queue and taking over the stream. Project sharing is further reinforced with the nScreen Deluxe s associate Honestech nScreen Doc app, which lets you stream and annotate live PDF files. Setting up the nScreen is a breeze. All you need to do is hook it up to your TV or projector using the supplied cables, give it some juice via the included power adapter and turn it all on. The device automatically transmits its own Wi-Fi network for you to connect your devices to. The wireless feature is especially useful when running from your iPad or Android tablet. These quickly stream photos, art and animation to the nScreen, playing out perfectly on a HD TV or projector, with the included HDMI cable. Unfortunately 720p HD videos were smoother than the more lagging 1,080p examples. VERDICT: 8/10 An intuitive way to present Photoshop project work and share ideas with creative studio teams ADOBE MUSE WEB DESIGN MADE EASY WITH A HOST OF PRESET AND AUTOMATED OPTIONS Adobe Muse is a new program for Creative Cloud users, designed to help you make portfolio websites quickly and easily, with no coding knowledge. It offers a host of presets, automated options and easy-to-use tools to fashion webpages fast. The interface has been split into three distinct production areas —designed to tackle planning, design and interaction in turn. First, the Plan interface enables you to determine page counts and placement in your layout for both primary and supporting pages (below right). Creating continuity across your pages in terms of your backdrop, panels and type is simple when applying effects to the Master Page, at the foot of the Plan interface. And as you add more pages, these intuitively adopt all the same properties. If you suddenly want a change in theme, just create a new Master Page with the same Add Page options, then drag and drop to your Page thumbnails —it s that simple. This makes your initial planning a far more visual and organic process with no coding whatsoever. This drag-and-drop simplicity even extends to applying your buttons and panels from the Widget Library palette. Here users can add a host of styles, including lightbox displays, accordion and tab-action panels, thumbnail slideshows and more. Each addition applied from the Widget Library is also editable from fly-out options, and each is unique to the applicable style. With menus, for example, users can set uniform sizing, so all transform equally across the page. With slideshow elements users can set transition effects, establish directional prompts and easily upload images from a browser. With so many minor yet essential tweaks, exploration is key. Images can be applied outside of your Widget Library using editable shape tools such as the Rectangle tool. In the above Options menu, users can go for the Fill option to incorporate a solid or gradient colour or upload pre-saved images, which can be placed with Fitting options, acting much like a clipping mask in Photoshop. Shapes (images) are also editable through applicable styles, similar to Photoshop layer effects, including the ability to tweak opacity, round edges, set drop shadows and strokes. You can easily transform, move and rotate onscreen, but Muse enables you to do more than just clip images to shapes, as you can upload layered PSD files as buttons or interactive graphics. This can give your site a much more dynamic and intuitive feel. Want to go even further and show infographic cutaways, or before and after photo-retouch transitions? This is easy in Muse through the File>Place Photoshop Button command. In the Photoshop Import Options, users can set Before and After states through rollover transitions or simply by mouse clicking. Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg and weexcited to see the improved capabilities in coming updates and further editions. Muselayout is designed to be fluid and wholly accessible, while its similarity to the InDesign interface will mean regular users of the publishing software will find it even easier to navigate. Whatever your creative background, though, you won t have any trouble getting up and running. VERDICT: 9/10 Adobe Muse is great for Photoshop users looking for a cost-effective solution to creating and updating their own gallery sites NEC MULTISYNC EA223WM A CHEAP AND EFFECTIVE VIEWING DEVICE GREAT FOR DUAL DISPLAY The MultiSync EA223WM is a 22-inch entry-price monitor that pulls out all the stops. It presents a functionality and quality that wecome to be expect from the more expensive NEC devices. This monitor is securely placed with a weighted stand, yet it was by no means too heavy for us to easily reposition. Once secure, the monitor smoothly rotates a full 360 degrees back to front, extending and tilting to any comfortable viewing positions we attempted. These factors place the EA223WM perfectly as a secondary monitor, and can be easily integrated into any Photoshop artistworkflow. Users of Adobe Bridge, software palettes and the new Creative Cloud will benefit greatly from de-cluttering their primary monitor. We were thankful for the EA223WMability to easily switch between landscape and portrait orientations, while keeping an impressive degree of contrast handling. Again this is something we would expect of its more expensive competitors. At a ratio of 1,000:1, this LED display manages superb colour and consistent lighting across the full gamut of the screen, without a hint of saturated shadow or blown highlights from varying viewing angles. We feel this only enhances its optimisation as a sharing device. The EA223WM does only afford a top resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 pixels and this is at a deficit compared to other displays, but still impressive for an entry-point monitor. Essentially, you get what you pay for, but this does mean that the screen can seem a little noisy. This factor will deter those using Photoshop to produce modern Ul and web design work for HD devices. But for those working with photorelated digital imaging it becomes a cost-effective solution, due to the coupling of ergonomics and viewing angles that are outstanding. VERDICT: 7/10 The resolution reflects the entry price, but this display s automated and ergonomic functions make it a bargain ADOBE IDEAS EASILY CREATE VECTOR ILLUSTRATION AND MASTER COLOUR WITH THIS CROSS-PLATFORM ART APP The premise of Adobe Ideas is simple: it enables you to get straight down to illustrating with a set of comprehensive toolsets. Whether you re a professional or an enthusiastic hobbyist, both finished designs and production assets are possible with this intuitive app. Photoshop users will embrace Adobe Ideas straightforward interface, with many app tools comparable to those in previous editions of the desktop photo-editing software —including Pencil, Eraser and Layer options —all editable through Opacity sliders. The Pencil tool is unfortunately fixed, so there are no further brush styles, which makes the capacity for clean styles predetermined. However, we found that this seems to be the appprimary function, enabling us to create crisp visuals through applied vector graphics. Every other option is geared towards complementing the application tool, offering you a variable finish. We felt it was useful that Size and Opacity settings are easily activated, simply by holding your finger over the Tool icon, then scrolling up and down to affect the values in real-time. In-progress setting changes when working felt very comfortable and make Adobe Ideas one of the more productive creative apps weseen. The Tool palette is fixed to the left-hand side by default, but we discovered that this can be switched through the Preferences options, meaning left-handed users won t be left out. The pressure sensitivity of the Pencil tool is highly responsive, as we expected with latest iPad technologies, ensuring quality results with line and colour work. Furthermore we were easily able to tier individual image elements and lines on top of colour in the Layer Stack options. You can work with up to ten layers plus a photo layer for each sketch, which can be used to trace over. The Color options are extensive and make for rich colour content. Users can select with the magnified Eyedropper tool, then edit values with scrollable RGB and HSB gamut. It s also here that we see the killer cross-platform capabilities of Adobe Ideas, with the ability to import colour themes from the Adobe Kuler app. Adobe Ideas also becomes a valuable production asset, enabling users to upload designs straight to Creative Cloud, then into Illustrator, and finally into Photoshop (Export>PSD). This is slightly contrived but still a great way of using Photoshop as a postproduction tool to apply layer styles and textures to your illustrations. CREATIVE PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY INNOVATIVE DIGITAL PORTRAITURE LAID BARE IN I THIS USEFUL CREATIVE GUIDE Delivering a delectable portfolio of stirring imagery, Creative Portrait Photography delivers a thorough guide to expressive and surreal styles. The book is a great resource for Photoshop artists who have realised their skillset would be well suited to capturing images, and on opening the book the reasons become immediately apparent. Six chapters include key industry themes such as nature, urban and interior, as well as addressing how to construct your own shoots. This reveals how to develop your individual style, find models, communicate ideas on a shoot and more. Such advice and inspiration holds undeniable value for a Photoshop artist entertaining the notion of starting out down this career path. Chapters are littered with individual case studies as well as artist showcases, and working methods are laid bare through production and final images. How all this relates to Photoshop is more suggestive than direct, so this title is better suited for those with a prior aptitude for the software looking to expand their craft beyond tools and palettes. 8/10 This title will make a great keepsake that is likely to advance your interest in creative photography into something far more substantial ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS6 BIBLE THE PERFECT TITLE TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERY PHOTOSHOP TOOL This intensive tome includes over 1,000 pages of specific tool-based information, covering all new CS6 additions and basic information you need to get started. Wiley promises a book that helps readers to create stunning, eye-catching images like a Photoshop pro’, but we have to admit there is a lack of visual evidence for this. At first glance the book is decidedly lacklustre. Its central glossary, with rather rudimentary examples of Photoshop work, is the only evidence of colour images to be found. However, the booksaving grace is the fact that no stone is left unturned in terms of the program and all tools are analysed in overwhelming detail with thorough bullet-point information. Operation as well as application is fully explored through compliant thumbnails, contextualising every option set. When you consider this book more as a manual for new beginners, it has a brighter outlook. 6/10 Underwhelming in terms of artwork and inspiration, overwhelming in terms of technical information —a great resource for new starters

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