Tag Archives: corel

Hibiscus cube

Digital photo editing software

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach, CaliforniaDisclaimer: All of the photos in this blog post have been significantly “photoshopped.”

I got my start with Photoshop with version 1.0 way back in February 1990. I was already entrenched into the PC world by then but my business had customers using the Macintosh, so I had a Macintosh in the office just in case a Client needed me to do some work in that computer environment.Silver Strand Training Complex

The Big Four software programs in my office were Word, Excel, Photoshop, and CorelDraw. With those four programs, I could do anything. In September 1994 (finally), Photoshop hit the PC environment and that was the end of any association for me with Apple computers. Word, Excel, Photoshop, and CorelDraw still are the Big Four on my computers, and CorelDraw isn’t even available for Apple computers.

Public art in Palm Springs, CaliforniaI know that Photoshop can do anything that CorelDraw can do, and it’s been my goal since April 2007 (Photoshop CS3) to force myself to use Photoshop for all the things that I’ve been doing in CorelDraw, which I have been using since version 1.0 hit the market in January 1989.

Adobe, however, made that difficult to do in one sense because Photoshop CS3 was a whopping $649.  The price for CS4 went to $699 where it stayed for CS5 and CS6. Unreasonable for anyone other than the extraordinarily rich, the über wealthy, and people like me who were willing to alter the family budget and do without 175 happy hour margaritas at On The Border.

African lioin at the San Diego ZooRecently Adobe has made Photoshop and its sister program, Lightroom, available on a subscription basis, which seems to be where the software market is moving. If you own Photoshop CS3 or later, you can get both Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 (the latest versions) for just $9.99 a month. How great is that? Well, let me put it into numbers.

For people who bought Photoshop and then upgraded when a new version was released, which was every 15-18 months, here’s the cost for CS3, CS4, CS5, and CS6:

CS3, April 2007 – $649
CS4 upgrade, October 2008 – $199
CS5 upgrade, April 2010 – $199
CS6 upgrade, May 2012 – $199
Total over 61 months: $946

Happy ThanksgivingThe subscription cost for Photoshop and Lightroom for 61 months at $9.99 a month is $609.39. Quite a savings. There are arguments for upgrading every other time, which would save $398, and you could always buy the software at Amazon or Fry’s Electronics and sometimes get a discount. So there have been ways to save money over the Adobe retail price.

HibiscusA cool advantage of the subscription method of having software is that you get updates instantaneously. No more waiting 18 months for the latest and the greatest because you always have the latest and the greatest, providing that you let your software upgrade itself. You can turn that feature off, and there might be an argument for doing so. We all know that software has bugs in it, even upgrades and updates. Sometimes the upgrade/update fixes a bug but introduces a new bug.

Zoey the Cool Cat soccer ballA real life example that happened to me:

A couple of months ago I had lot of Actions and keyboard shortcuts set up in Photoshop CC (the latest version, available only by subscription, but you can still buy CS6 from Adobe). I had Photoshop set to automatically install updates. One update totally deleted every Action and keyboard shortcut, basically resetting it to the factory defaults. That was not cool, and I let Adobe know on their Facebook page. Within a couple of days they had another update that fixed that problem. Too late, of course, since all my Actions and customization had already been deleted, causing me to spend several hours re-recording the Actions and setting my keyboard shortcuts again.

Lonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust HDR collection dynamic brightness filterAfter that experience I set Photoshop NOT to do automatic updates. I would decide when to do updates, usually on weekends or holidays when the world’s not busy demanding my time. In writing this post, I went looking for all the ways that I could set Photoshop to update, and the ways that I used to use are completely gone, including Adobe Updater and the preferences from within Photoshop. Maybe they learned….

Many people seem to be upset at the subscription method but I think it’s brilliant. My Microsoft Office software is also via subscription; it’s called Office 365. With two very large companies going the subscription route, I think you’ll see more and more of it within the next five years.

Lonely day on the seawallIf you don’t like the idea of a subscription, buy Photoshop CS6 before it’s no longer offered for sale; currently $699 at the Adobe web site. There are other options, too:

      • Corel PaintShop Pro X6—This program can do 95% of everything that Photoshop can do and is its main competitor. The 5% difference is stuff that is unique to Photoshop, like some of its filters. Don’t worry, though, because PaintShop Pro has things that are unique to it that Photoshop doesn’t have, like a set of different filters. PsintShop Pro X6 is selling for $59.99 right now direct from Corel’s web site. This was my go-to program from May 1993 to April 2007. I still have it because I like many of its filters and frames, and I’m much more skilled at it than I am Photoshop.
      • St Andrew Catholic Church in PasadenaGIMP—GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is an open-source, freely distributed program. I have heard good things about it but have not tried it, mainly because all my time right now is dedicated to Photoshop, the de facto standard. However, GIMP doesn’t cost anything, so that’s a big advantage. I use two open-source programs: Audacity for recording and audio manipulation, and, of course, WordPress. Both Audacity and WordPress remind me of a comedian whose name I do not remember. He was talking about Wikipedia: “The great thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute. The worst thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute.” That pretty much sums up open source programs, including, in my opinion, Audacity and WordPress.
      • Ocean Beach, CaliforniaPicasa—This is a Google program. I tried to use it once and it literally took over my computer for several hours looking for digital images; there was no way to stop it. Imagine what happened when it finally found my six external hard drives with 175,000 digital images on them. Yep, hours and hours and hours of cataloging. As soon as it finished, I uninstalled it. That was a couple of years ago. Maybe newer versions are better.
      • The Gear CatsAdobe Lightroom—If you’re looking for a great program at a reasonable cost, Lightroom is for you. This program is for photographers and doesn’t do the advanced graphics and image manipulation (such as compositing) that Photoshop does. It sells for $119 through January 11 at the Adobe web site. I also have this program but I’m not using it currently because of my time bias in favor of Photoshop.
      • U.S. Route 80Adobe Photoshop Elements—This program has “elements” of Photoshop. I call it “Photoshop Lite” because it can do all of the stuff that Lightroom does and some of the stuff that Photoshop does. I consider this a more powerful program than Lightroom but, interestingly, it costs less than Lightroom; $69.99 through December 28 from the Adobe web site.
      • For some other options, check out Photo Editing Software Review 2014.

Hibiscus cube

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ferris Wheel at Irvine Spectrum Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer,
Realtor Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Find Photoshop expensive? Consider leasing.

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Currently on my computer I have these digital photo editing programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe Lightroom 4.1
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X4
  • Corel Photo-Paint X6
  • CorelDRAW! X6
  • Word 2010 (don’t underestimate it!)

I have had Photoshop, Photo-Paint, CorelDRAW!, and Word since their initial releases decades ago.

When I went to upgrade Photoshop, I discovered the steep price. I also discovered Lightroom, so rather than the steep price for a Photoshop upgrade, I opted to continue using my very old version of Photoshop and learn Lightroom.

When I went to upgrade my very old versions of Photo-Paint and DRAW!, I discovered PaintShop Pro. The price was very reasonable, so I bought it.

I use all of those programs for various purposes, but my current goal is to see if I can get Photoshop to do everything. If I can, then ultimately I’ll be migrating my skills in all the other programs over to Photoshop.

I think that Photoshop is the most powerful individual programs, but if I combine DRAW! X6 and either Photo-Paint X6 or Paintshop Pro X4, I can do in them anything that Photoshop can do. The question is, “How easily?” or “How much time is involved?”

For example, I use CorelDRAW! X6 to do the Zoey the Cool Cat approval stamp at the end of each post. It takes me about 15 seconds. To do it is Photoshop would take several layers and lots of time, and I haven’t found that Photoshop Actions can really automate everything for me yet.

I use Word 2010 to create quick frames, like the one I use for my wise old grandmother:

My wise old grandmother

That took about 15 seconds in Word 2010.

I use Lightroom 4.1 to give me quick JPGs from RAW files and to do quick adjustments for exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, and clarity (sharpness). Five sliders takes about 30 seconds. The same tasks in Photoshop takes several minutes due to having to go through Adobe Camera Raw first and then into Photoshop. Minimum of five layers in Photoshop.

I use Photo-Paint to create GIFs. It’s the easiest program I’ve found for that:

You could learn a lot by paying attention here

PaintShop Pro X4 is very similar to Photoshop, and I’ve found it much easier to use. However, simply because Photoshop is the defacto standard throughout the world, Photoshop is where I’m dedicating my time. When you have a defacto standard, you have a lot of people doing tutorials and creating plugins and such. So Photoshop it is.

One you have created certain effects that you like in any of the programs, you can either save the file as a template and then just replace the picture as needed (that’s what I do in CorelDRAW! and Word) or you can create actions, scripts, or macros in the other programs to automate tasks. As with anything, it takes time to set it up initially but then the ROI on your time is returned each succeeding time you do the same thing.

If you’re considering Photoshop and find the price too steep, consider leasing it, which is what I do. I have a one-year lease with Adobe that costs me $19.99 a month. Considering that the full program is $699, it would take me 35 months of leasing to pay for the program. That’s three years. During those three years, Adobe will come out with two upgrades, costing you $199 each, another $400. You’ll never be able to stay up to date with the latest and the greatest. With a lease, you can.

Twenty dollars a month is less than any of my other individual bills — gas, phone, cable, mortgage, electricity, etc., and something I can easily afford. Coming up with $699 all at one time, and then $199 every 18 months, can often be difficult for the 99%.

If you’re considering a Photoshop lease, when you go to buy the product, in the dropdown box, select “Subscription” instead of “Upgrade” or “Full.”

Once you have any of these programs, if you have a question about how to do something, ask me. If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find out. It helps me learn, and real-world examples are always much more fun than reading through a book or watching a tutorial.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Panorama of downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I Did It

 

I have taken a lot of pictures of downtown San Diego but none of them include all of downtown San Diego. When I use a super wide angle lens, it just looks weird.

Today, my daily 30-minute Corel PaintShop Pro X4 study was how to stitch pictures together to create a panorama. I took the following three pictures and tried to do it.

Downtown San Diego, north end

Downtown San Diego, north end


 

Downtown San Diego, middle

Downtown San Diego, middle


 

Downtown San Diego, south end

Downtown San Diego, south end


 

I made no adjustments to the three pictures because I wanted them to be as close as possible to each other in terms of brightness, contrast, etc.

I followed the steps on pp. 346-352 of Diane Koers’ book, Picture Yourself Learning Corel PaintShop Pro X4, which, by the way, might be the best How-To book I’ve ever read about anything.

In about five minutes, I came up with this:

Panorama of downtown San Diego

Panorama of downtown San Diego


 

I made some brightness and contrast adjustments after stitching. Look very closely and you can see where the three pictures were stitched. However, with the quality that I got here in only five minutes with three not-meant-for-panorama-stitching pictures, oh how my mind is wandering…………………. like a 360° panorama from the same spot where those pictures were taken.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Giant hibiscus

A rose by any other name is still a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I Did It

 

My apologies to the literariasts (!) for bastardizing a great Shakespeare quote in Romeo and Juliet (“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would  smell as sweet”), but I just discovered that in many software programs you can define black, white, and gray.

I started having a little fun by telling CorelDRAW X6 that a deep dark red was actually black. I took this picture of a giant hibiscus at the San Diego Zoo yesterday:

Giant hibiscus

 

I clicked on the color definition eyedropper for black and then clicked a dark red. CorelDRAW then reprocessed the image in just a couple of seconds. Then I clicked on “Auto adjust” and got this:

Reprocessed hibiscus picture

 

I was trying to analyze just exactly what CorelDRAW did and determined that if red is black, then there is a lot of the picture that is underexposed. Thus, when CorelDRAW went to auto adjust the picture, all those black (red) areas were brighted up a wee bit.

This opens a whole new realm of creating something that is me, kind of like Rubicorno has defined himself. The difference is that I can create my own preset, a preset that no one else in the world has.

At the very least, I’ve found something to do with my 73,000 pictures in my old age. 🙂

If my wise old grandmother were here, she’d say, “Interesting….”

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Train tracks and protea double exposure

A digital double exposure

Bob Willis, real estate agent with Prudential California Realty in Whittier, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Bob Willis, a real estate agent with Prudential California Realty in Whittier, California. I have known Bob for about three years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend him for anyone needing real estate services in the Whittier, California, area.

Dedications are my way of trying to provide a little extra Google juice for people I have come to know and respect over the years.

Picture of the moment

A few decades ago I had a Canon A1. I loved that camera even when I goofed and created a double exposure. Sometimes double exposures were pretty neat. Accidentally taking a double exposure with my Canon Rebel XSi or my Canon 550D is virtually impossible. I’ve tried. However….

I’ve been thinking that creating a double exposure with all of these wonderful digital photo editing programs should be relatively easy to do. Well, it’s not relatively easy to do, but ultimately I did succeed.

Using Adobe Photoshop CS5, I was able to take a picture of some train tracks and a picture of a beautiful protea flower and superimpose one on the other to give me this beautiful double exposure:

 Train tracks and protea double exposure

I have Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Lightroom 4, Corel PaintShop Pro X4, and Corel Photo-Paint X5. As with probably 80% of the population that has any one of those programs, I have never learned how to use layers. This evening I sat down with Photoshop CS5 with the sole purpose of being successful at doing something — anything! — with layers. That’s how I got my double exposure.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

Funky architecture at University of California San Diego

Andrea Swiedler, real estate agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty in New Milford, ConnecticutThis post is dedicated to Andrea Swiedler, a real estate agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty in New Milford, Connecticut. I have known Andrea for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend her for anyone needing real estate services in the New Milford, Connecticut, area.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out of the five or six hundred college and university campuses that I’ve been to, University of California San Diego (UCSD) ranks as #1 in terms of interesting architecture. I think most college campuses try to maintain a consistent architectural look to their campuses. Not UCSD!

Here are a few of the interesting buildings that I got pictures of yesterday before I ran out of daylight:

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

University of California San Diego

University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

University of California San Diego

University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

International House at the University of California San Diego

International House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

House on a building at the University of California San Diego

House on the School of Engineering building at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Geisel Library through the eucalyptus grove at the University of California San Diego

Geisel Library through the eucalyptus grove at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosAll pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Recent posts related to the University of California San Diego:
» The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego
» The Sun God of the University of California San Diego
» A challenge to all my real estate friends: List this house!

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

House at the University of California San Diego

A challenge to all my real estate friends: List this house!

Ron and Alexandra Seigel of Napa Consultants in Santa Barbara, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Ron and Alexandra Seigel, luxury real estate marketing consultants and owners of Napa Consultants in Santa Barbara, California. I have known Ron and Alexandra for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend them for anyone needing luxury real estate marketing services anywhere in the world, not just in Santa Barbara or California.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I did a post on March 2 about Dr. Seuss and the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), I was reminded that there are lots of picture-taking opportunities on the UCSD campus. It ranks probably as the quirkiest campus I’ve ever visited, and I’ve been to five or six hundred college and university campuses, maybe more.

An addition to campus late last year was a house. It seems to be a standard house, until you look at where it’s located. Is this an example of the old real estate adage: “Location, location, location.”

I want all my real estate friends to come up with their best listing presentation for this fine piece of Southern California real estate:

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That house sits on top of the Irwin & Joan Jacobs School of Engineering building, which I think is six stories tall. Irwin Jacobs is a founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, the company that makes much of the stuff that lets your mobile phone do what it does….. blame him.

I went over to the Geisel Library, sixth floor, to get one more picture:

House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Related posts:
» The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego
» The Sun God of the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat