Friday, April 11, 2008

From Digital Photography to Adobe Express -- Part I

I just returned from Photoshop World and four days of valuable and intensive sessions on Adobe products (Photoshop CS, Elements, Lightroom, and so on) as well as digital photography. Over the coming days, I’ll share some of the information I gathered.

First, Adobe has released Photoshop Express (see, a totally online consumer product for storing, editing and sharing your digital photos. Without charge you obtain 2GB of storage space. You also get access to a variety of Photoshop tools that enable you to crop, correct and even “deform” your images. If you wish, you can then create a gallery of images to share on the web. The gallery feature requires Adobe Flash Player 9, but that’s installed automatically with a single click. You also have built-in features to enable you to post/integrate your photos with Facebook, PhotoBucket or Picasa; or to post to your blog.

When editing a photo, you have access to some pretty advanced features (though not with the fine control available in Photoshop) such as white balance, sharpening, cropping, rotating, red-eye removal, saturation, and adding fill light (to name only a few of the 17 controls). When you select a tool, you’re given several visual thumbnails to use to determine the exact settings (e.g. if you add Fill Light, you can select one of the thumbnails to determine how much fill light you want applied). You can also click and hold the View Original button at anytime to see the original version of the image and compare to the changes you’ve made. Express also enables you to drop any changes by deselecting the check box next to the tool/adjustment made. Or, you can click the Reset All button to revert to the original.

It’s probably wise to mention a few caveats.
  1. Depending on your connection speed and network traffic, you’ll just need to go get a cup of coffee each time you open an image.
  2. Photoshop Express is a beta project (if that scares you, don’t go further). This beta seems fully functional and Adobe is asking for feedback before they finalize Photoshop Express.
  3. Keep in mind that you can add captions to your gallery and technically show any image you want; but discretion suggests you should make public only images that do not give away personal information or which could be misused against you or by others.
  4. As always, be aware of college/company policies regarding the disclosure of student/employee, medical and other restricted information (e.g. don’t post an image with a caption disclosing information about someone’s medical condition, student/employment status, and so on).
  5. Be aware of copyright issues. Just because someone posts an image in an Express Gallery (or anywhere on the web) that you like does not give you or anyone else the right to copy, reproduce, distribute or to make a derivative works without permission. Any creative works (photographs are included) are copyright when created, with or without a copyright notice.
  6. Finally, from what I’ve discovered, you can share your “Albums” in your Gallery but you cannot restrict access to only specific users. Once shared, your images are available to anyone on the web.

If you’d like to see a small example of a Gallery, check out, hover your mouse over the Album icon and click to play the slideshow. When finished, click the Browse button at the top of the screen to view other albums.

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