Friday, January 16, 2009

Almost forgotten but oh so important

Sorry for the late post today everyone. I have a cold and I don't really feel all that good. I went to the doc earlier and then slept the rest of the day. Anyway enough about boring stuff, on to important stuff. There are a few things that often get overlooked by many people when it comes to digital photography. In my opinion next to the photographer, the camera, and photoshop, these are two of the most important things that determine the final quality of your image. Everyone that uses them will go on and on about how much they changed the quality of their finished photos. They are the Monitor calibrator and the digital tablet.

Lets talk about the tablet first. The one you see above is made by Wacom . They're not the only makers of tablets, but they are definitely the largest maker. They also have the most inexpensive version that I have found, the Bamboo . It is the one shown above, and the one that use. I could have spent $1000.00 plus on a 12X12 version but seriously, this one does the job just fine. I'm not a graphic artist and while I do use it pretty much on every image that I process, I don't digitally "draw" enough to justify the larger version.

Let me tell you why it's such an important piece of equipment for photo editing. First and foremost the Bamboo has 512 levels of pressure. What this means is when you are editing in photoshop with any tool, it will be as if you are actually drawing with that brush, or erasing with that eraser. A little bit at a time. Press harder the tip of the brush gets larger, press softer it gets softer. Not the bluntness of the mouse click. This tablet gives you the freedom to draw on your document, something that you couldn't even think about doing with a mouse. Want to use the lasso tool? I don't know about you, but I could never keep it steady when I was using a mouse. With the Bamboo I never have to worry about that. It really is a much better way to edit photos.

I'm not going to lie to you, it takes some getting used to. At first it's a weird feeling drawing and seeing it on your screen, but with a little practice you will wonder how you ever edited photos without it. A word of caution though, once you do get one and fall in love with it don't let your photo buddies barrow it. I made that mistake about a month and a half ago, and she still hasn't given it back. I think I'm going to just go buy another one... ;~)

The next thing that I want to talk about it monitor calibration. For those of you who haven't heard about it, take note. A monitor calibration unit like the
Spyder 3 is an ESSENTIAL piece of equipment if you want to get correct colors on final prints. Basically the monitor calibrator attaches to your monitor and is shown a pattern of colors. The unit determines what the colors are "supposed" to look like and adjust your monitor to make them correct. I will tell you the truth, this product is awesome. When it is done doing it's calibration, it will show you the before and after and it is an amazing difference. You will instantly see a difference in your final printed image. For those of you that do your printing on an ink jet at home, they have a printer calibration unit as well, but I don't do any printing at home, so I can't tell you how that product works. If I had to guess from the quality of the Spyder 3, I would say that it works as advertised. There are other manufacturers of calibrators, but the Spyder is the one that I have experience with so that's the one I focused on. The cheapest place I have found to buy one is . That's it for me today. I'm going to get some orange juice and go back to sleep. Have a good night everyone. Jason

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