Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wacom Intuos4 Tablet Review - The Photoletariat

Tablet Review: Wacom’s Wireless Intuos4

by Hannah Gal on June 7, 2011 ·

The benefits of swapping a rigid mouse for a sensitive stylus are clear when it comes to Photoshop, but do they apply elsewhere?
The answer is a resounding yes. A graphics tablet significantly improves, and even transforms, workflow within Lightroom and Aperture. In addition to the intuitive, pressure-sensitive pen, which offers accuracy and sensitivity when handling things such as Dodging and Burning, Selections and Masks, tablets let you customize the way you work and override many of the application’s panels and menus. You end up concentrating more on the task at hand and less on moving your mouse between palettes and tools.
There are several graphics tablets on the market but Wacom’s cutting edge technology and flawless integration with creative applications have made it a market leader. The professional Wireless Intuos4 tablet is a prime example of Wacom’s attention to detail.
To one side of the tablet are eight ExpressKeys and a finger-sensitive Touch Ring. You customise these by assigning frequently-used Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture functions to them (the assigning process is relatively quick, as the clear guidance videos on Wacom’s site and YouTube show).
Throughout the productive sorting and adjustment process, one hand operates the ExpressKeys and Touch Ring to quickly bring up needed tools, while the other uses the tablet’s pen to work on the image. On the tablet itself, there are handy OLED displays next to the ExpressKeys buttons. These clearly show the function, so you don’t have to remember which button you assigned to which feature.
The Touch Ring has a center button that allows you to choose between Scrolling/Zooming, Brush Size, Layers and canvas rotation. The feature you select is adjusted by clockwise or counterclockwise finger movement on the outer ring. For example, if you choose Brush Size, your finger movement on the outer ring increases and reduces brush size.
You can program the tablet to work differently in different applications, so you can have your ideal Photoshop set-up as well as your custom Lightroom and Aperture settings all ready to go within the same tablet. So if you prefer a firm pen in Photoshop and a soft pen in Lightroom, you can store both preferences.
The tablet also includes pressure- (2048 levels) and tilt-sensitive pen. The photographers who have abandoned Photoshop for Lightroom’s image editing will find it particularly useful in the Develop module, which has several pen-centric features like Spot Removal, Red Eye Correction and the Adjustment Brush. The pen provides accuracy and sensitivity that a mouse cannot easily deliver, along with countless fine tuning touches. You can adjust the opacity of an Adjustment brush effect by applying pressure to the pen, for example, or you can vary the brush size by moving your finger clockwise or counterclockwise on the Touch Ring.
Intuos4 Wireless pen tablet with Bluetooth® wireless technology is part of the Intuos range. See Wacom’s comparison of models to determine which size and price is right for you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Alternative Processes Revival Polaroid Liquid Emulsion - The Photoletariat

Alternative Processes Revival Polaroid Liquid Emulsion - The Photoletariat
To Find out more infomation on Hannah Gal

Three years after being discontinued, Polaroid’s iconic PX680 film is back in shops and selling fast.
The instantly recognizable film, described by Polaroid as “sorely missed by millions,” is part of a traditional photography renaissance happening worldwide. Photographers are discovering analog printing in general, and alternative processes in particular.
Often called historical or non-silver, most of these processes were used by early photographers over 100 years ago. Classic alternative processes such as Cyanotype, Bromoil, Salt, Gum Bichromate, Daguerreotype, Platinum, Carbon print, Kallitype and Van Dyke are once again starting to appeal to people all over the world. This is more than a bunch of trainspotting enthusiasts trading in unused relics from their attics. It’s a buzzing community that is sizable enough to justify the introduction of new printing papers such as Ilford’s Multigrade Art 300, and films like the recent high speed sheet film FOMAPAN 400 and new 35mm Kentmere film.
Many of these distinctive-looking processes have digital simulators, either in the form of a Photoshop plug-in or iPhone/iPad apps, with some more convincing than others. So why are photographers choosing to get their hands messy and practicing these often lengthy and laborious processes again?
To some, the unconvincing digital imitation acts as an incentive. The exceptional tonal range found in platinum prints like Edward Weston’s “Pepper”, for example, cannot be matched by digital simulators.
To others, the answer is the immense sense of achievement derived from holding a print that is the fruit of physical labour.  And far from requiring significant investments of time and space, many of these processes can be done very efficiently. Some, like Cyanotype, do not even require a darkroom or an enlarger. Some companies sell readymade kits for photographers who are curious about processes like kallitype, VanDyke, Platinum, Palladium, Gum Bichromate, Cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown or Argyrotype.
It is also worth noting that the term Alternative Processes refers not just to the historic ones but to any printing method that is not within the current mainstream. Liquid emulsion, where you dip a brush in developing emulsion and apply it to a surface, and Polaroid transfers, where you separate a developed print and join the image to another surface, are both relatively recent.
These beautiful processes are guaranteed to give your images a new lease on life and boost creativity. Even images of the most mundane objects can be imbued with substance, as shown by Olga Yakovleva’s tonally rich prints of plastic cups.
Digital may have once killed the analog star. But now it’s starting to come back.