Adobe CS Moves to the Creative Cloud for Good

Today at its Adobe Max creative conference event, the company announced that when its new software hits—well, not shelves—this June, they will be available as cloud based subscriptions only. Along with the cloud-based subscription model, Creative Suite is also being rebranded Creative Cloud.

For the subscription fee, users will be given full access to the entire set of Adobe’s creative tools, with updates; as well as cloud storage services and collaboration tools.

What does this mean for photographers, illustrators, web designers and others in the creative field? If you normally purchase and use up to date versions, the only way you will be able to do so going forward is by subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

There have been a great deal of rumblings (which will likely grow louder as more and more people hear the news) in the creative community since this announcement by Adobe, and the company has put a FAQ on their website regarding the many questions that everyone’s got.

Here’s the low down:

  • For a monthly subscription fee to the entire Creative Cloud, you’ll have access to all of the Adobe applications that were part of the Creative Suite (Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Dreamweaver CC, After Effects CC, Premier Pro CC, Muse CC, as well as Acrobat XI Pro, Audition CC, Bridge CC, Encore, Fireworks, Flash Builder Premium, Flash Professional CC, InCopy CC, Lightroom, Media Encoder CC, Prelude CC and SpeedGrade CC), Edge tools and services (Edge Animate CC, Edge Inspect CC, Edge Web Fonts, PhoneGap Build, Edge Code CC, Edge Reflow CC, and Typekit); other services (including Creative Cloud storage, Story CC Plus, Kuler, Business Catalyst, Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition, Behance and ProSite); Lightroom and Acrobat will continue to be available outside of the cloud;
  • As downloadable software that runs on your computer, not from a web browser or living in the cloud only, however, you will only have access to this desktop Creative Cloud (CC) software so long as your subscription is current. Canceling your subscription does not do anything to your files, you can still access them, and if you own an older version of the Creative Suite software, you can open and work on your files with those programs.
  • Individual, team and enterprise subscriptions are available.
  • You can purchase single app subscriptions;
  • Creative Cloud subscribers will get 20 Gigs of storage for their files. If you cancel your subscription, the capacity will drop to the 2 Gig free level of storage;
  • There is a free trial membership available that will give you 2 Gigs of cloud storage for files, and access to 30 days of trial use of the CC apps, as well as Lightroom and Acrobat.
  • Adobe is still selling Creative Suite 6 but the company says it won’t be updating the CS versions in the future.

Pricing: $49.99 a month for new CC members; $29.99 a month for people who are existing CS3 or later users; student and teacher pricing is $19.99 a month; full version of one of the desktop apps such as Photoshop is also $19.99 a month; team pricing is $69.99 and $39.99 a month for new CC subscriptions and businesses using CS3 or later respectively (and teams get more cloud file storage).

For more information, read the FAQ at or follow Adobe’s Creative Cloud blog at


Adobe Releases Creative Suite 6

Adobe Inc. announced the immediate availability of Adobe Creative Suite 6 today. The CS6 product line includes new releases of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Flash Professional and additional titles. Four suite versions: Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium; Creative Suite 6 Design Standard; Creative Suite 6 Production Premium; and Creative Suite 6 Master Collection are available.

Announced last month and widely expected by photographers, Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended are major releases of the image editing software. Added to increased speed and performance, the latest version of Photoshop will also offer photographers a host of new and improved features. New features include Content-Aware Patch, offering greater control than in the previous version; intuitive video tools, for the multimedia creator; improved type styles, and a new blur gallery that will let photographers imitate their favorite lenses’ attributes on any image. For the creative looking for 3D improvements, Photoshop CS6 Extended is optimized for 3D imaging.

For the digital designer comes the Illustrator CS6 upgrade as well as InDesign; the web designer sees new features and improvements in Dreamweaver CS6, Flash Professional; and the video-centric user will find enhancements within After Effects and Premiere Pro CS6 among other titles.

As always, we’ll have reviews of the new version of Photoshop as soon as we’ve put it through our testing.

For more information, go to Adobe’s website at


Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta Now Available

Adobe Labs logo for article on Photoshop CS6 BetaAdobe Systems Inc. just announced that the beta version of Photoshop CS6 is available in both Mac and PC versions as a free download from Adobe Labs. The Beta version includes all of the features of Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended, including the new 3D editing features. You can download the beta, try it out and even provide feedback on the beta forum.

This latest version of Photoshop includes enhancements to the software’s performance and new additions to the popular Content-Aware tools. You now have greater control using the Content-Aware Patch, while Content-Aware move lets you select and magically move an object to a new place in the image.

According to the company, the new Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine will enable near-instant results when using such tools as Liquify, Puppet Warp, Transform and Lighting Effects. Improvements have also been made to layers and type.

Look for Adobe to release the final version of CS6 by mid-year. Download Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta software from Adobe Labs:



Photodex Releases ProShow Web Plug-in for Adobe Lightroom

Plug-in lets Mac users create ProShow slideshows with ProShow Web service

Photodex has just released a new version of its ProShow Plug-in for Adobe Lightroom. The plug-in helps photographers quickly create video slideshows by removing all the busy-work involved with preparing photos and importing them into a show. The plug-in is completely free and supports both Mac and PC. It also supports ProShow Web, the company’s web based slideshow creation service.

Users can export images from Lightroom to ProShow Producer, Photodex’s professional slideshow creation software. Export support for ProShow Producer is PC only.

When exporting to ProShow Producer, the ProShow Plug-in for Lightroom offers additional built-in features that jumpstart show creation and make creating a slideshow easier than ever. The plug-in automatically prepares and exports photos to a folder, creates a basic show containing the photos, and opens the show in Producer. Users can set a number of parameters in the plug-in to help set up the basics of their slideshow. Options for selecting transitions, motions effects, photo borders and adding captions from metadata are all supported in the plug-in. Users can also select from presets that automatically create shows that can be fine-tuned in Producer.

The ProShow Plug-in for Lightroom is free and can be downloaded directly from the Adobe Lightroom Exchange website. The plug-in is Mac and PC compatible and works with Lightroom 2.0 or newer versions.

What is ProShow Web?

ProShow Web, is Photodex’s all-new service for creating instant video slideshows online. The service works by intelligently mixing photos, videos and music together into a unique video slideshow. Users can create free, 15-photo slideshows or opt for a Plus or Premium account. Once created, shows can be customized with over 600 built-in, drag and drop effects and easily shared online or downloaded to a computer.

ProShow Web expands Photodex’s ProShow product line to the web, providing a new platform for slideshow creation. Its quick, and easy since the service does most of the hard work. Mac (that’s right, I said Mac) users or PC users simply pick a theme, upload their content, choose a song from the royalty-free music library and ProShow Web instantly creates a polished video slideshow, ready to share or fine-tune further.

ProShow Web provides a robust collection of themes as well as over 600 drag and drop effects that can be mixed and matched to create a truly unique video. In addition, you can add even more effects through StylePacks and Transitions Packs, bringing the number of available effects up to over 1,000.

Finished shows stream as Flash video directly from ProShow Web and can be shared in a number of formats. Built-in social networking tools post videos to Facebook and upload directly to Youtube. Videos can be embedded or linked to directly from and played back on the latest smart phones and devices as HTML5 video. Downloads let users save videos to their computer as an HD video file (up to 1080p for Premium accounts) or grab ready-to-burn disc images for DVD and Blu-ray.

A unique element exclusive to ProShow Web is the ability to download and edit any video created online into Photodex’s ProShow Producer. In Producer, users can trim video clips, crop and retouch photos, trim and fade audio tracks, set text formatting and fonts, create their own custom effects, layouts and much more.

ProShow Web is available in Free, Plus and Premium accounts. For more information and pricing, go to


Spider Holster’s Black Widow Now Available

Spider Holster, the maker and namesake of one of my favorite accessories is now shipping its Black Widow Camera Holster, which is designed for smaller DSLRs, EVILs and P&S cameras. The Black Widow will let owners of these lighter-weight cameras shoot from the hip the way pros using the Spider Pro have been doing. What makes the Spider Pro and Black Widow great is that they let you keep your camera on you, but at your hip. This is an ideal way to carry your camera, because it eliminates the neck, shoulder and back strain that carrying a camera by its strap can cause. And, trust me, it works well. Now that I’ve begun shooting with the Spider Holster system, I won’t ever photograph another event or portrait session without it.

Combining the strength of stainless steel and heavy-duty resin, the lightweight and durable Black Widow was designed to take cameras from hip to hand in a flash. When the camera is slid into the holster, the Black Widow locks it in place. An audible click from the built-in locking mechanism provides users with peace-of-mind that the camera is secure for hands-free carrying and protected from a snatch-and-grab threat.

The Black Widow Camera Holster comes with the Spider Pin which attaches directly to the camera’s tripod mount or to the accessory Black Widow Plate, and is the key to the Black Widow’s quick access. Designed primarily for photographers using quick-release tripod plates, the Black Widow Plate lets you carry your camera and fluidly bring it to your eye to shoot.

“Too often photographers miss the perfect shot because they’re rooting through bags for their point & shoot or they didn’t pack their DSLR because it was too cumbersome,” said Shai Eynav, president of Spider Holster. “With the Black Widow Camera Holster, the camera stays put at the photographer’s hip, providing maximum comfort while ensuring that the user is in the best possible position to capture life’s memorable moments. The success of the SpiderPro proved the merits of our design concept and the Black Widow will allow a new audience of casual shooters and photography enthusiasts to comfortably carry their camera to places they never would have thought possible before.” Eynav is a professional photographer who designed the Spider Holster out of necessity.

Along with the Black Widow, several accessories were also announced. The Black Widow threads onto any leather belt, but the company also offers its own Black Widow Belt, ideal for photographers who don’t normally wear clothing that can accept a belt. Also available is the Black Widow Pad, a cushioned extension of the belt that provides a resting place for the camera against the user’s body. The Black Widow Pad can attach to a standard leather belt, and be used with that way instead.

The Black Widow Camera Holster will sell for $49.99, the Black Widow Belt for $15.99 and the Black Widow Plate for $15.99. Additional Black Widow Pins are $7.99 and the Black Widow Pad sells for $8.99.  Go to for more information.

— D.B.


Phase One Launches 80MP Digital Back

Digital camera megapixel counts are continuing to increase, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Phase One has upped the ante in the megapixel game with the announcement of its new generation of medium format digital camera backs. The Phase One IQ180, IQ160 and IQ140 digital camera backs feature maximum resolutions of 80MP, 60.5MP and 40MP respectively.

According to the press release distributed by Phase One, the IQ180 captures at full-frame 80 megapixel resolution, with a dynamic range of 12.5 f/stops. It is the first camera back to also feature a USB 3 connection, in addition to a FireWire 800 connection. For untethered shooting, the IQ180 digital back’s new memory card interface is said to be so fast that it eliminates buffering delays, supporting continuous shooting until a card is filled.

The digital backs utilize a newly-designed 3.2-inch retina type, multi touch screen with a resolution of 1.15 megapixels. Using Phase One’s unique Focus Mask and instant zoom function, you will be able to instantly check focus and details on the digital back’s LCD during a shoot. The digital back’s Context-sensitive controls let you use the instant zoom function to zoom into an image using only one finger. You can also enlarge small histograms and highlight warnings to full screen view by a simple touch. The new Focus Mask, which is accessible during preview helps validate depth-of-field and image focus. The wide format display allows for a full 4:3 aspect ratio VGA resolution image next to histogram, highlight warning, focus mask, EXIF data, and touch controls. This touch screen display is complemented by Phase One’s intuitive 4-button navigation.

Phase One’s patent-pending Sensor+ technology, built into the Phase One IQ180 lets you capture images with the full 80 megapixels resolution or, using Sensor+ mode, switch instantly to capture images with 20 megapixels resolution at 4 times higher sensitivity, up to ISO 3200. This flexibility lets you use the Phase One IQ180 to shoot subjects that you’d normally capture with a 35mm camera, so there’s no need to swap cameras in the middle of a project. Simply change the resolution and you get a faster workflow at the 20MP resolution.

Compatibility has also been improved between the IQ digital backs and the Phase One 645DF camera body. The power state of the digital back can now be controlled directly from the 645DF camera body. And an integrated battery charger ensures that the battery is charged while shooting tethered, for more convenience.

Phase One has optimized its Capture One 6 software for shooting with the Phase One IQ digital backs.

Phase One is expected to ship the IQ180 at the end of April. The Phase One IQ160 and IQ140 are expected to ship at the end of May. Prices for new digital backs start at $21.990. For more information, visit


Nik Software Upgrades Silver Efex Pro

Version 2 Adds Features to Photoshop, Lightroom & Aperture Plug-In

Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2 boxshot for blogToday Nik Software announced the upgrade version of Silver Efex Pro 2. According to the press release, Silver Efex Pro is, “widely regarded by photographers as the leading black-and-white software solution on the market today.” Yours truly thinks it’s a great program so I guess I’m one of those photographers the release is talking about.
Silver Efex Pro 2 brings new features to the program that offer even more control over detail, contrast, and tonality, making it easier than ever to transform color photographs into stunning black-and-white images.
New features: History Browser, Dynamic Brightness, Amplify Blacks, Amplify Whites, Soft Contrast, Fine Structure, Image Borders, and selective colorization, in addition to speed and quality improvements.
Silver Efex Pro 2 also utilitzes Nik’s proprietary U Point technology, which makes selective editing easy, without the need for layer masks or complicated selections.
Silver Efex Pro 2 installs as a 32-bit and 64-bit plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop CS4 or later, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.6 or later (Windows and Macintosh) or Apple Aperture 2.1.4 or later (Macintosh). According to Nik Software, Silver Efex Pro 2 is the first program from the company to take advantage of the latest graphics processing units.
Silver Efex Pro 2 will be available next month. MSRP is $199.95. Upgrades from the first version are $99.95. For more information visit

— D.B.


Lensbaby Adds Scout – the First Non-Bendable Lensbaby Lens

Lensbaby has added a new lens to its line, the Lensbaby Scout, a manual focus SLR lens that utilizes the company’s Optic Swap System but does not bend like other Lensbaby lenses. The Scout ships with the Fisheye Optic, giving photographers the ability to shoot with a 12mm (160-degree) ultra-wide angle of view. And, because the Fisheye can focus from infinity to 1/2-inch from the front of the lens, the Fisheye Optic will allow users to create very unique images.

Due to the extremely wide angle of view of the Fisheye Optic, photographers using cameras that feature full frame image sensors will generally see a black circle around almost the entire image, and those with cameras using the APS-sized sensor will see black at the corners of their images. The Fisheye Optic can also create unique flare effects in an image, creating a light filled border when a strong light source is in the frame.

Although the Lensbaby Scout ships with the Fisheye Optic, the other Lensbaby Optic Swap System optics can also be used, including the Soft Focus, Pinhole/Zone Plate, Double Glass, Single Glass and Plastic. And because the Scout does not bend, the sweet spot of focus will always be centered in the middle of the photograph.

The Lensbaby Scout is available in lens mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Olympus Four/Thirds DSLR cameras.

The Scout with Fisheye retails for $249.95. For more information, go to

— D.B.


Nik Software Ships HDR Efex Pro

Nik Software has begun shipping HDR Efex Pro, a completely new High Dynamic Range (HDR) solution designed to help photographers quickly and easily achieve a full spectrum of HDR enhancements.

Nik Software’s proprietary U Point technology is also incorporated into HDR Efex Pro, providing precise selective fine-tuning of images without the need for complicated selections or layer masks.

The software also gives photographers the ability to create dramatic HDR images from a single exposure; which is ideal for subjects that don’t lend themselves to multiple exposures, or for reprocessing previously captured single images.

HDR Efex Pro installs as a 64-bit plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS4 (Windows only) and CS5 (Windows and Mac), and as a 32-bit and 64-bit plug-in for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 or later (Windows and Macintosh) or Apple Aperture 2.1 or later (Mac).

MSRP for HDR Efex Pro is $159.95.

Go to for more information.

For our original post on the product announcement, click here.

— D.B.


Epson adds Trio of New Professional Pigment-Based Inkjets to Line

Epson Stylus Pro 4900, 17-inch printer.

Earlier this month, Epson announced the addition of three new pigment-based printers to its line: the Stylus Pro 4900, Stylus Pro 7890 (wide-format) and Stylus Pro 9890 (wide-format).

The Stylus Pro 4900 is a 17-inch printer that utilizes Epson’s UltraChrome HDR ink and MicroPiezo TFP print head for fast print speeds and a very wide color gamut. The printer uses a 10-color ink set: orange, green, cyan, light cyan, vivid magenta, vivid light magenta, yellow, light black, light light black, and photo black or matte black. Both the matte and photo black inks are installed but depending upon the media type or driver setting, the printer will choose the best ink (matte or photo black) for the image. This is a great convenience over having to physically swap out ink cartridges depending on what you’re printing/media you’re using. The printer takes 200ml ink cartridges.

Print resolution is 2880×1440 dpi. The printer’s roll functionality can accept both two- and three-inch media cores; and cut sheets can also be used, up to 1.5mm thick. The cut media paper cassette can hold up to 200 sheets of paper, from 8.5×11 to 17×24 in size. Another convenience is the realtime automatic counter for the remaining amount of roll media. Its always nice to know how much you have left before a print has to stop in mid-printing. You can also print full-bleed prints with the Epson Stylus Pro 4900.

Epson Stylus Pro 7890, 24-inch printer.

Connectivity to computers is via USB 2.0 and 10/100 BaseT Ethernet. The printer fully supports third-party RIPs and workflows, and comes with drivers for Mac and Windows. Mac users need the Leopard 10.5 OS or higher (16-bit), and Windows users need to be running, XP, Vista or Windows 7 (32- or 64-bit).

An optional accessory is the SpectroProofer 17, a 17-inch wide spectrophotometer, developed with X-rite.

The printer is available in two configurations: the base model for photography, and a Graphic Design Edition that includes an EFI eXpress RIP. Both models will be available in December, for $2,495. and $2,995 MSRP respectively.

Two New Wide-Format Printers

The Stylus Pro 7890 is a 24-inch printer, and the 9890 is a 44-inch printer. Both utilize Epson’s eight color UltraChrome K3 inks, and the company’s MicroPiezo TFP print head for prints that are about twice as fast as both printers’ predecessors, the 7880 and 9880. The eight 150ml ink cartridges used are: cyan, vivid magenta, yellow, light cyan, vivid light magenta, light black, light light black, and matte black or photo black.

Epson Stylus Pro 9890 44-inch printer.

Features of these new printers include roll media tracking, 2880×1440 dpi resolution, and like the 4900, they can accept 2- and 3-inch core roll media, cut sheets up to 1.5mm thick, print full bleed, and utilize a built-in media cutter. Connectivity to computers is via USB 2.0 and 10/100 BaseT Ethernet. The printer fully supports third-party RIPs and workflows, and comes with drivers for Mac and Windows. The printers can be run with Mac or Windows-based PC computers. Mac OS needs to be Tiger (10.4.9 or higher), Leopard (10.5 or higher/16-bit) or Snow Leopard (10.6 or higher/16-bit); Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, 32- and 64-bit.

The printers can be purchased with an optional Epson/X-rite developed SpectroProofer (24- or 44-inch, depending on printer being used).

The Epson Stylus Pro 7890 and 9890 printers will also be available in December, with an MSRP of $2,995. and $4,995. respectively.

For more information, go to

— D.B.