Photoshop Now Subscription Only – Impact and Reactions

download

I recently stumbled onto this article entitled Picture This: Is There Life After Photoshop  by Ian Hardy, on BBC news and thought it was a great piece that touches upon an important segment of the production community. Over the past 23 years Photoshop has become a cornerstone of the graphic design world. Some estimate that nine out of ten images have been touched up by the software. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Adobe’s recent announcement of Photoshop becoming subscription only has ruffled more than few feathers. In June, all boxed versions were pulled from retail outlets and the online store became the only access for consumers.

Adverse Reactions

Among those that protest such a move, people feel that Adobe is trying to squeeze their customers and get even more money out of dedicated users. Critics argue that Creative Cloud, the cloud based platform for Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere is an ultimately unfair program to the consumer. Their primary concern is that users don’t own the software, they are merely renting it while they subscribe to the service.  Users lose all access, along with any work saved on the cloud, if they stop paying the subscription. Some skeptics have a more tempered outlook on the matter, saying there are some things you can’t really fight. If you want to keep using Photoshop, you simply have to suck it up and pay.

Finding Alternative Software

While larger studios will most likely continue to use Photoshop and the Cloud, the choice for small businesses and freelancers is not as clear cut. A monthly subscription can add up quickly, compared to paying once for a traditional boxed product. Fortunately, there has been a steady proliferation of new photo manipulation software, some of which costs less than one month of the Adobe subscription. Some of these include affordable and stable products like Fotor which can be downloaded for free, and Pixelmator which can downloaded for $14.99. While neither of these were much competition to Adobe in the past, the recent Photoshop announcement has spurred an increased interest in both, as well as other cheaper alternatives to Photoshop.

Filling A Niche

According to Patricia Tietgens, the spokesperson for Fotor, their goal is not to really challenge Photoshop’s place in the market, but to make things easier for small business. While both Fotor and Pixelmator are not the powerhouse that Photoshop has become, they offer a degree of simplicity that makes them viable alternatives. A prime example is a software called “Perfectly Clear” that promises to perform several auto correct’s on a photo with a single click. As the founder Brad Malcom explains, this software is very much meant to a better answer to Photoshop’s own auto correct feature which can actually damage photos. The goal of these new software solutions is to provide a way for digital graphics professionals that are simple to use and easy in the budget in the long run.




Word Wizards Salutes Richard Harrington, A Wizard of Digital Video

headshot_rich_02

Every once in a while Word Wizards likes to shine the spotlight on some of our fellow video professionals in the DC media community to showcase some of the truly talented individuals we have around us. Today we’re going to be taking a look at Richard Harrington, CEO of RHED Pixel, editing expert, producer, prolific writer and podcast master. His personal philosophy to communicate, motivate, create is a great indicator of Richard’s strong desire to create media with the power to truly inspire and impact others.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Richard’s first experience in the realm of media occurred when he used magnets to rearrange the picture tube on his family’s tv at the age of seven. After graduating from college with a dual degree in production and reporting  Richard starting out working in the newsroom but after a few years grew tired of the grind. He and his soon to be wife moved to the Washington D.C area where he received his masters in project management. Richard decided to strike out on his own in 1999 and opened Richard Harrington Video which later became RHED Pixel as it grew.

Unknown

The goal that Richard founded the company with and still continues to do today is utilizing the latest digital video tools to bring the best quality media production to the largest possible audience. RHED Pixel does an amazingly varied portfolio of work which includes graphic design, video production for all types of projects, interactive multimedia, quick time virtual reality and 3D Motion work. Always on the forefront of technology, RHED Pixel has made podcasting the latest addition to their arsenal of products. Podcasting is the art of making a form of video, usually episodic content, that people subscribe to and download often through web syndication or stream via the web to a computer or mobile device. A prime example would be the program Mommycast which began life as an audio only series in 2005 and soon was getting over one million downloads a week.  Seeing a great opportunity, RHED Pixel stepped “in to” help make it a fully video podcast.

ShowCover.aspx

Aside from founding and running RHED Pixel, Richard has a number of other impressive feats under his belt. He is an accomplished author, having written a number of guides and training books for  photoshop, aftereffects, final cut pro, producing video podcasts and apple training. His friendly attitude, passion for multi media and video work as well as his renowned expertise have also made him a popular speaker on the digital video circuit. As an avid tech, gadget and sci-fi fan Richard loves to know about the next big thing and firmly believes these technologies are the key to bringing important messages to the masses. In his spare time, he loves to travel, share his love of comic books with his kids and volunteer with different media production organizations such as the Television, Internet and Video Association or TIVA.

 

Be sure to check out his blog at: http://www.richardharringtonblog.com/ 

Also check out RHED Pixel at: http://www.rhedpixel.com/

 

 

 

 




Software Upgrade – Adobe Acrobat XI: Product Review

It works, finally!

When Acrobat Pro X was released, we bought it without a second thought. Acrobat Pro 9 was such a nice improvement over Pro 8 we thought X would bring even further refinement of Acrobat Pro’s features, and hoped that the accessibility components, in particular, would be improved. We were disappointed on both fronts.

On the accessibility side, Acrobat Pro X arrived fundamentally broken and couldn’t be used effectively.

Acrobat X Pro

Features the art department needs (basically, an easy way to re-save a PDF so that clients can use Adobe Reader’s commenting features) were moved from the now-removed Advanced menu into the File menu and buried into a sub-submenu, turning what was once a simple task into something onerous. And to add insult to injury, viewing a comment list became even slower and checkbox filtering just didn’t work. We banished this defective software from our hard drives and went back to using Acrobat Pro 9.

The Bad News

Enter Acrobat Pro XI. Given how unfortunate Pro X’s release was, we were at once skeptical, but hopeful, that Adobe had fixed it. Our skepticism was not helped by the fact that Adobe insists users allow them and various unnamed companies with whom they say they work to send us commercial emails as a condition of downloading the trial version. Basically, that means if we end up buying the software, we’ve paid Adobe to spam us. Cute

The Good News

Once we resigned ourselves to the idea that we are going to have to re-train our junk mail filters to weed out all those additional emails we won’t want, we got down to the business of evaluating the software. Which was in fact pretty good.

Accessibility is its own complicated topic, and requires more space than we can give it here. Pro XI looks like it has some editing features that will make it less painful to make simple corrections to a file, something the accessibility people here are often faced with, as clients often ask for small changes before we tag their PDFs.

XI-Standard in Box

But we were thrilled to learn that the production-flow features the art department uses have been revisited and fixed, and now work great. While the Enable Commenting feature is still buried two levels deep in the File menu, Adobe has provided a convenient way to access it via a custom toolbar icon we were able to find pretty easily. It’s now slightly easier to save out a comment-enabled PDF than it was in Acrobat Pro 9.

Acrobat XI is here!

We also like the comment list layout—introduced in Pro X—to the side rather than on the bottom. On a Cinema Display monitor, this layout approach makes a lot of sense and it’s much easier to navigate down the list and make corrections to a document now. Nice that checkbox filtering works with this release, too.

Pulling the Trigger

Still, is it worth the price of an upgrade? If we’re talking about a print-production workflow, probably not. It’s nice and all, but Acrobat Pro 9 still does everything the art department needs it to do, although the comment list layout tempts us. But since Adobe increased its upgrade pricing by fifty dollars to $199 a couple of years back, the whole upgrade carousel thing gives us pause. (We’re also not too enamored with the so-called Creative Cloud subscription software scheme Adobe would love us to adopt, but that’s another article altogether.)

Upgrade or fall behind (silly meme)

To tip the scale in favor of the upgrade, our accessibility people will have to let us know what they think of the software. But given the new PDF editing features, my guess is we’ll be upgrading soon.

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter if you liked this article, we will be providing an in dept section 508 accessibility review of Acrobat XI in the near future!




5 Websites With Amazing Graphics

Word Wizards has provided graphic design services for over 20 years. The following is a list of some sites with amazing graphics that we want to share with you. These days graphic designers have better tools and technology than ever before. Thus, we present to our loyal bloggers and readers some amazing examples of graphic design on the cutting edge.

Amazing Tron Inspired Artwork by Graffiti Technica

Graphic Design Blog .Org

I first stumbled on to this blog because of an article they posted, Conceptual Digital Artwork by Top 5 Digital Artists. Some of these graphics really blew me away. GDB.org is a great place to catch some great examples of the cutting edge of graphic design, and hear from experts who want to showcase their graphic arts capabilities.

The Art Of Sam Farrand

Wow this graphic artist is inspirational to say the least. Specializing in sacred geometry and the power of digital fractal art, Sam is truly on the cutting edge of the graphic design spectrum. His website is not completely finished, which is why I have pointed you to his Facebook page, but Sam is most defiantly worth a look if your into some wild digital mastery.

Webitect – 40 Breathtaking Examples of Graphic Design Examples

It may only be one post on a much broader blog, but the graphics are stunning to say the least. This post explores several different categories of graphic design in the digital age including, Vector graphics, photo manipulations, and more!

Fotolia – Graphics, Stock Photos, and More

Looking for that perfect piece of clip art, photograph, or simple graphic? Look no further! Fotolia is one of our favorite resources for professional graphics and graphical elements. Check out their amazing library and enjoy!

Grafitti Technica

Wow, wow, wow, this site has some amazing examples of how talented and inspirational digital graphics can be. Attention, no buildings were vandalized in the making of this website, 100% digital, 100% legal.

A Word of Possibilities

Word Wizards is happy to share these examples of some far out graphic design work. We usually stay in the more practical realms with our graphic design services, but we take inspiration from all of these incredible, and free resources. Thanks to all the artists and designers who allow free browsing of their material on the web. Remember, always support your artists in any way you can, share their work with your network and make sure to support their art!




Graphic Design For The Web: Bridging The Gap

Graphic design has been a specialty of Word Wizards, Inc. since day one. Before we even had our own office, we were offering professional desktop publishing and graphics design for clients. Our team of graphic designers are experts in the latest graphic design technology. As the tools of graphic design have evolved, so has the pool of competition in the graphics design industry. With the dawn of the internet age, finding a good graphics artist is easier than ever, and the fine line between graphic designer and web designer is blurring.

Word Wizards Inc Home Page

Graphics for the Web

Composing graphics for the web is an entirely different animal than traditional graphics design. Graphic design for websites must covey a specific message to a non-specific audience. The balance between quality, detail and data size is always an issue, especially with page speed as a critical factor in modern SEO ratings. Graphic images must be tested for clarity and color in multiple browsers due to discrepancies in the way different software displays images. Possibly the most important factor is the layout and optimization constraints of a website, meaning, the way one organizes graphic information on the web makes all the difference when users are navigating through a website.

A synthesis between graphic arts and web design.
Click to see an example of the perfect fusion between graphic design and web design.

Bridge The Gap

With progress comes new challenges and new opportunities. The world of graphic design and web design is now forever intertwined. It is up to firms like ours to maintain the highest level of quality in our graphic design efforts as the capabilities of design software and the expectations of our clients continue to increase in complexity. Just remember, you always get what you pay for, especially when it comes to graphics. Yes, graphic designers and web designers are now overly common services offered cheaply and globally via the internet. However, an intimate knowledge of how to integrate graphic elements on the web only comes from years of experience and a deep understanding of how users work with the internet.