Ben Long is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. He has written extensively on products for creative types for Macworld magazine, among myriad other publications, and has authored several books related to photography.
- Features: Written by Ben Long on October 21, 2009Pros: Accurately simulates shallow depth of field. Gives much greater control over highlight appearance and apparent depth than Photoshop alone. Plug-in's sliders are simple enough that moving beyond the presets is very easy. Con: $199 price is too high given how infrequently you'll be able to use it. Note that that limited use is not a deficiency in the product, but a reality of the difficulty in masking more complex images. Rating: 7.5
- Features: Written by Ben Long on May 4, 2009Score: 95 Pros: Beautiful design, great feel. New buttons, TouchRing, and Radial menu are useful additions that let you drive a huge number of functions from the tablet. Cons: No way to access menu items using the Mac driver; no way to share settings among multiple machines.
- Features: Written by Ben Long on March 16, 2009If your camera can shoot in the raw file format and you stick to the JPEG format, you're hamstringing your own photography. Similarly, if you shoot in raw but don't edit those files with an app that knows what to do what with all that extra information, you're missing out on many ways to improve your images. Many standalone applications and plug-ins manipulate raw data, but Adobe's Camera Raw is free -- always a plus.
- Features: Written by Ben Long on March 2, 2009It's been raining a lot here in San Francisco, and the fact that we need the moisture offsets only so much grey-sky depression. However, in addition to being annoying, persistent cloud cover is also a good reminder that, when it comes to lighting people, less is often more.
- Features: Written by Ben Long on February 12, 2009If you watch old movies, you've probably seen the moment where the camera cuts to a close-up of a famous leading lady, and everything on-screen gets a little soft and dreamy. This is because many of those leading ladies insisted on being shot in the most flattering manner possible, so cinematographers filmed through gauze or other diffusing material to smooth skin texture.
- Pros: Well-designed new interface; selective editing in Camera Raw; Collections in Bridge; improved dodge, burn and saturation tools; amazing content-aware scaling; interactive brush resizing. Cons: Bridge still not well-suited for refined comparisons of images; no histogram display in Bridge; Loupe in Bridge still has technical problems; no dedicated straightening tool in Photoshop; Camera Raw selective editing doesn’t let you selectively apply white balance. Score: 95 This is what a must-have upgrade looks like:
- Return to the main Photoshop CS4 review. The important addition to Camera Raw's Basic pane is the clarity slider, which debuted in Lightroom. Somewhat akin to sharpening, Clarity performs a lot of micro-contrast adjustments that refine an image's details. Camera Raw’s interface. Click the image to see a larger version.