One of the most difficult, and in my opinion most annoying tasks is when you have already sketched some ideas, then you start the digital process and you have to cut a person, or tree from the background. Doing that can sometimes take hours until you achieve a good result. There are many ways extract people and objects from the background. Photoshop has some nice built in features such as the Extract or the Background Eraser Tool. However, if you really need a professional result and don’t have much time to spend on it, you have to check out a plugin called Fluid Mask 3. Fluid Mask 3 is the professionals’ choice. Fluid Mask 2 established itself as the market leader in still image cutting-out – Fluid Mask 3 takes masking to the next level. Quick to pick up and intuitive to use, Fluid Mask 3 gets professional results fast. I have been using it for a few days and I’m really surprised with the quality of this plugin. You can get a fantastic result in a no more than a few minutes. Even for the most complex images. Here are some features of version 3: Faster initial image processing - For multi-core machines, Fluid Mask 3 runs its initial image processing up to 40% faster. With ever growing image file sizes our everyday image editing tools need to catch up – Fluid Mask 3 runs faster than ever. Localised edge detection and blending - It’s a true-ism when cutting out objects from their backgrounds that often 90% of the time is spent on 10% of the image – getting a difficult edge “just right”. Fluid Mask 3 now has a set of easy to use tools to isolate a difficult area (in a Patch) and apply alternative edge finding and blending techniques - making easy the tricky parts of image cutting. Intelligent Edge Blending - Fluid Mask 3 not only finds edges but also understands the width and character of an edge. On edges which are largely free of noise and where there is some contrast between foreground and background, Fluid Mask 3's intelligent blending is the only blending around to automatically extract the morphology (character) of an edge - remember there is no such thing as a 6 pixel feather on all edges in real life! Use feather blending where there is no contrast or lots of noise in an edge. Fluid Mask 3 will still find the correct edge width. I highly recommend that you check this tool out. If you deal with this kind of task on a daily basis it’s a must have plugin for your tool box. Below some example For Tutorials: http://www.vertustech.com/fm_tutorials.htm For Live Training: http://www.vertustech.com/fm_webcast.htm Also we have a copy to give away; so as usual we will pick a reader that drops a comment, but this reader must have an abduzeedo account ;)
The program formerly known as "Project Wukong" has been released a few days ago as Essential HDR. I've no idea why they would drop an awesome code name like Wukong, maybe the guys from Imaging Luminary aren't real Ninjas after all... But they are certainly nice people: You can download the demo version for free (called community version), which is essentially a demo with a bottom frame watermark and 1 megapixel size restriction. Even better, the first 1000 copies are on sale for 30% off ($48.99 instead of $69.99). Essential HDR is an HDR generator and tonemapper. It has a global and a local tonemapping operator. The local TMO (Detail Revealer) is the big selling point. According to the developers it is a new algorithm that produces less artifacts (halos, over-saturation) and runs at a decent speed (multicore support). I can wholeheartedly agree: this is indeed a very powerful tonemapper. Without much fuzz I got a very natural images, the preview is pretty accurate, and it is super-easy to use. For control freaks there might be too few sliders, but I find it very intuitive. Update: Due to a bad misunderstanding, I've used Christian Bloch's review on Essential HDR. I did actually use the software, and I did enjoy it. These are my comparisons. Side-by-side comparison. The overall interface is kept simple and it blends right in with other Windows Vista applications. There is no Mac version, but it runs fine on Boot Camp or VMWare Fusion. My test image #1. My test image #2. My test image #3. We have 2 copies to give away, so just leave a comment and we will announce the winner next week.
It's been more than a year that I write tutorials almost every week. Even though I got used to the process of capturing screenshots and then organize and save them with the right names for the right steps, it was still very time consuming task. Now, I've found a software that really helps the process of writing tutorials. Screensteps is as the documentation tool for people who don't want to do documentation. Basically Screensteps allows you to capture the screens directly to a document. Then you can add title, description, and export it in many different ways: PDF, HTML, straight to your blog, or even to Screensteps live blog system. But it's not just that. You can edit steps, replace and resize images, add sequences of numbers, graphic elements such as rectangles, ellipses, and arrows. Also you can format the text with bold, italic, and different text colors. However the coolest thing is that you can create templates and export your tutorial the way you want. In my case, I write tutorials for 2 blogs, Abduzeedo and PSDTUTS, so I have 2 templates and just choose the one I will export it. That simple. Screensteps really helps the process of creating tutorials, although, I think, there are some features missing that would be very important, like add more than one image per a step for example I highly recommend you to download the demo and check it out. Besides that we have a copy of Screensteps to giveaway, so just leave a comment and next Tuesday we will announce the lucky winner. Quick Intro Video More Screenshots
This week I had the chance to test the new Flashloaded component, called 3D Wall. It’s a really cool component that allows us to create 3D walls with pictures and you can navigate through the photos in a 3D space, very Apple TV style. 3D Wall displays images on an engaging interactive 3D wall using the Papervision3D engine. The wall can be flat or set at any curvature to create a truly unique look. The viewer can also scroll, tilt and zoom the wall freely. Includes a built-in preloader for seemless transitions between thumbs and large images. Over 60 parameters to customize your wall ensures unlimited number of looks and an enticing viewer experience. Available for ActionScript 3.0 (Flash CS3) only. I’ve done some experiments here with the component and I have to say, it’s awesome. There are a lot of parameters but it’s easy to understand, and if you want to create a simple and stunning portfolio site, this is a good option. Give it a try. Some Features: Flat or curved wall Double sided thumbnails Interactive wall tilting Adjustable number of rows and spacing Customizable animation settings Mouse and keyboard interactivity Swivel camera External XML file Glow & reflection XML or Component Inspector Depth of field Mouse events Built-in skinnable scrollbar and preloader We have two copies of 3D Wall to give away, so just leave a comment and next week, May 1st we will announce the winners. For more information visit Flashloaded.com UPDATE: The winners are: Anjana Giackop