Archive for December, 2009

Photoshop Top 40 Countdown with Deke McClelland: #18 – Smart Objects

Published by | Monday, December 14th, 2009

Smart objects aren’t all that smart, and they aren’t objects. What they are is envelopes or containers—the kind that hold things and keep them safe so that you can apply transformations and filters and protect the image from harm. This is Photoshop at its best.

New Cinema 4D R11.5 course covers the essentials of 3D design

Published by | Monday, December 14th, 2009

Cinema 4D R11.5 Essential Training covers all the important steps to get up and running with this easy-to-use 3D application. Designer and author Ian Robinson covers the essentials of 3D design, including modeling, animation, and integration with other design tools. Ian explores how to build objects with Cinema 4Ds basic primitives, and how to use light, shadow, and texture to give depth to a scene. He shows the proper use of the powerful animation tools, including MoGraph, to push 3D designs to the limit. Finally, Ian covers how to combine Cinema 4D with other applications like After Effects and Motion, manipulating particles, and collecting and archiving a project. author Derrick Story in the booth, on location, and on film

Published by | Friday, December 11th, 2009

The talented Derrick Story has been recording in and around Ventura this week working on a new course about getting professional results from a compact camera. Here are a few snapshots I took of him while hard at work on his project:


A few stills of "author booth life" taken with a Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S.

Yesterday Derrick shared an inside look at his work with and how recording live on location can keep you on your toes on his site Get the scoop on his experience with us, as well as all sorts of cool camera reviews, photography tips, and more.

If you have missed any of Derrick’s courses, now is a great time to log in and catch up. And we encourage you to join the Flickr groups, peruse the existing photos, and add your own shots to the groups that accompany his photo assignment courses here: Natural Light Portrait Photo AssignmentBacklit Portrait Photo AssignmentFill Flash Portrait Photo Assignment. Let us know what you think!

Premiere Pro CS4 course shows how to tell better stories with creative editing

Published by | Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Images from Chapter 4, The Art of Video Editing

Several examples from Chapter 4, The Art of Video Editing. Clockwise from top, two clips from "House on Haunted Hill" with Vincent Price, Kuleshov's Effect, from "Amar el Cine," music video for the Zen Chemists, scene from "Ninja Death 3."

Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics with Chad Perkins is an exciting release for video editors, but I’d argue that there could be something for everyone in this course.

In Chapters 2 and 4 for instance, (Tips for Shooting Video, and The Art of Video Editing), Chad touches on key tips that anyone with a camera and a story to tell can use. From telling better stories through suggestive editing, to setting a mood using emotional cutaways, the importance of pacing, and thankfully, how to avoid bad edits.

A few other highlights that caught my eye were the chapter on Editing a Music Video, the advanced video concept of getting video to look like film (in Chapter 14), and the awesome creating a day-for-night shot in Chapter 7. (So that’s how they shoot all those night shots in movies!)

Chad also covers special effects, color correction, and keying and compositing, integrating all these concepts as he builds a music video project from scratch. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Photoshop Top 40 Countdown with Deke McClelland: #19 – Luminance Blending

Published by | Tuesday, December 8th, 2009


Buried deep inside the Layer Style dialog box are two slider bars, This Layer and Underlying Layer, that let you blend pixels according to their brightness. Despite their prosaic names, these sliders rank among the most powerful features in all of Photoshop.

Focus on business and Microsoft courses

Published by | Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Many of you know as a great place for creative training, but did you also know we are as good at business training? We’ve taken our successful approach with video instructional films and applied the same teaching approaches to Microsoft Office 2007, with the release of a number of courses for Excel 2007, including:

Excel 2007 Power Shortcuts is filled with useful tips for anyone who uses Excel to track projects, create spreadsheets, or build forms.
Excel 2007: Introduction to Formulas and Functions: This is a great course to take if you aren’t comfortable working with formulas, but want to expand what you can do in Excel.
Excel 2007: Advanced Formulas and Functions (intro above): Demystifies some of the most challenging of the 300+ formulas and functions in Excel and shows how to put them to their best use.
Excel 2007: Pivot Tables for Data Analysis: If Pivot Tables make you nervous, this course will help you conquer this fear quickly and painlessly.

We’ve got our Office 2008 for Mac users covered, too:
Excel 2008 for Mac: Pivot Tables for Data Analysis: See how to create Pivot Table reports from internal Excel data and outside data sources.
Office 2008 for Mac: Small Business Projects: Create documents that every business needs: business cards, letterhead, contact records, and invoices.

We hope these courses help you get your job done faster and better than before. And stay tuned for more – we have big plans to grow our business content. And as always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for courses!

Photoshop Top 40 Countdown with Deke McClelland: #20 – Free Transform

Published by | Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


p>As powerful as Photoshop is, there is little about the program that is obvious. Case in point: How do you rotate a layer? Right-click on it and select Rotate? Choose Rotate from the Layer menu? Click on the Rotate tool? The answer is no, no, and no. Fortunately, there’s the Free Transform command, which rotates the active layer and much, much more. This week’s Photoshop Top 40 Countdown video takes us through features of the Free Transform tool step by step.