I just took delivery of Adobe Photoshop CS5. I had recently got CS4, and decided that I’d like to keep up-to-date with the latest version, especially with all the rave reviews of the new “Content-Aware Fill” feature that everybody is going on about. Having played with it in the trial version, I decided it was worth the upgrade. I haven’t tried it for real yet, only on some test images, but the results of the Content-Aware Fill look nothing short of magic. I was working on an image of the Dolmen in Poulnabrone, and used this feature to remove those damn ropes that surround it. Not only did it do a nice job of removing the ropes and rope-stands, it filled in what it removed with rocks, shadows, highlights, etc, which all made for a retouch that is very hard to tell from the real thing. Much better (and faster) than the older patch tool in CS4.
I was very pleased to get a text a couple of weeks ago informing me that I’d won the colour section of the 2010 end-of-year competition in Limerick Camera club….
I was very pleased to get a text a couple of weeks ago informing me that I’d won the colour section of the 2010 end-of-year competition in Limerick Camera club. This is a competition where all the images that place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the monthly competitions can be entered in the end-of year. There’s a colour and a monochrome section, and each person who qualifies can enter one other image of their own chosing. I chose the following image.
This image was entered previously in another club competitoin , but did not place in the top 3. I chose it as my “other image” along with two images that did place during the year. Imagine my surprise when I got a text (I was in India at the time) saying that I’d won the colour print section. An external “guest” judge had picked it as the winner. The judge was Paul Dorrell, a respected local professional photgrapher who used to be a club member, but his workload has kept him busy recently, so no time for regular visits to the club.
Another image of mine got a commendation…
I was disappointed that I couldn’t be there, but it really cheered up an otherwise dull day in India. 🙂
I just subscribed to www.GuyGowan.com. He’s a photo retoucher and Adobe Photoshop Trainer, and I happened to see a couple of his seminars at Photofest in Dublin in April 2010. The stuff he does with channels in photoshop is nothing short of amazing.
I just subscribed to www.GuyGowan.com. He’s a photo retoucher and Adobe Photoshop Trainer, and I happened to see a couple of his seminars at Photofest in Dublin in April 2010. The stuff he does with channels in photoshop is nothing short of amazing. It really does speed up workflow. Also the emphasis is on non-destructive methods, and natural-looking retouches, so using a combination of curves and channel masks, all the retouches work with the image, making the changes as natural looking as possible. There’s also a method of doing HDR withouth any 3rd party program or the HDR action in photoshop. The result is a very dramatic, natural looking image with all the dynamic range of a HDR, but without the halo’s and other negative effects you usually associate with HDR. If you get a change to catch Guy in a seminar near you, he’s defintely worth a look.
I just embarked on an project to make backing up photos easier, and decided I wanted to get myself set up with a RAID array.
I just embarked on an project to make backing up photos easier, and decided I wanted to get myself set up with a RAID array. This would allow me to copy my photos once to the array, and it would then automatically create a mirror of each file on the disks, so I’d be backing up twice without even thinking about it.
I’ve known about RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) for quite a while now, and also use them at work, but those types start at $15,000, and go up from there. I’m on a much more modest budget, and even the €350 upwards models on the internet seemed a bit steep, so I decided to build my own. Initially, I thought I’d use a motherboard with built-in RAID, or get a RAID controller for the PC, then stick in a few disks. After researching a bit, I found that RAID controllers can be got for as little as $30 on E–Bay, but there’s limitations in the size of disk you can use with the older ones, and the more recent ones cost a good bit more, maybe $70 upwards to $600 for the top-of-the-range cards.
Being even stingier than that, I then looked at the motherboards I had lying around the house. My desktop was full, the kids PC had RAID on the motherboard, but it’s reputation when it comes to RAID was awful. I then checked my media centre PC, and sure enough, there were 4 SATA connectors, and 2 IDE connectors. Enough for 8 drives. But the motherboard didnt seem to have any hardware RAID. So, if it wasnt there, could I do it in software? Seeing as it’s already got Linux (Ubuntu), I looked up software raid solutions for linux, and there it was in the form of ‘mdadm’. This magical command allows setting up of all types of RAID arrays with a few quick commands. To test this out, I salvaged a couple of old 80Gig SATA drives from my garage, and stuck them in the box. An hour later, I had a new 80Gig volume mounted in the linux box, and accessible over the network via Samba. The two drives were set up as a mirror, so I lose half the capacity of the combined drives, but it’s redundancy I want for this setup, not speed.
The next step is to replace the 80Gig drives with a few 1-2TB drives. Who know, I might even go the whole hog and use 3 or more drives in a RAID 4 or RAID 5 array. That should give me faster access, as well as the redundancy that is an essential part of this project.
Another thing is that I need to know when there’s a problem with the array. The array should still function when one of the drives fail, and will re-build the array when I replace that failed drive. But how do I know when a drive has failed? I don’t want to have to check it every week (or day). Well, there’s very handy feature of the Linux Software RAID solution that monitors the disks in the array and can be set up to automatically send an email when there’s a problem. Nice.
Once I actually get the drives, I’ll then have to upgrade the link between the desktop and the media centre PC upgraded to gigabit ethernet so I have nice fast access to the array. I’ll keep ye posted…
That’s it for now.