Exporting for Web in Photoshop Elements (Podcast 524)

Exporting for Web in Photoshop Elements (Podcast 524)

I’m dedicating this week’s episode to answering a listener question about adding copyright information, resizing images for the Web and adding watermarks etc. to your images using Photoshop Elements.

Listener Michelle D Salati sent me a voicemail via the widget on our site, about resizing images. I would normally just play you the message, but Michelle left the TV on as she recorded, and I’m not sure she meant for me to insert the audio, so I’ll just read out the gist of her message myself. Michelle said…

Hi Martin, I think your web site’s fantastic, your photographs are amazing. You’re inspirational. I’ve also read Tim Ferris’ book and you reinforce that help, so it’s not only about you, it’s about everybody, and I love that.

One question I have to ask is what is the best way to resize my photos so they are sharp and crisp (I’ve got Photoshop Elements) and the best way to add my name and copyright? Should I put a frame around them and add a watermark to the images?

So firstly, thanks for the kind words Michelle. I really appreciate it. I’ll go on to explain a little bit about resizing and exporting for Web, and we’ll cover adding your copyright information to the file and the dilemma of whether or not to add a frame or watermark. I don’t own Photoshop Elements so I’ve downloaded the trial version to help me explain this. Next week I’ll go on to explain how I export my images with one click, including a watermark, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Before I talk about resizing and exporting, let’s look at the part about adding your name and copyright to your images. I want to talk about this first, because with pretty much everything in the digital workflow, the earlier you do things, the more time you will save. If you add your name and copyright information only as you export your images for web, you have to do this every single time you export an image. There are a number of ways to get this information into your images early in your workflow, but the absolute earliest is to save your details into your camera, so it’s added to your photographs in camera as you make them.

For example, on my Canon camera, there is an item in the menu called Copyright information, and under that menu I have options to Display copyright info, Enter author’s name and Enter copyright details. You can go ahead and enter your details right there in the camera, and it will be appended to the EXIF data of every image you shoot from that point on. I usually enter my name, and then under the Copyright information, I add my name along with the words “All rights reserved”.

This can be a pain to enter via the in-camera menus though, so I install Canon’s EOS Utilities application, that comes with my camera, and then connect the camera to a computer using the USB cable provided, and then in EOS Utilities I click Camera Settings, which then gives me an option to edit the Owner’s name/Author/Copyright information, as you can see in this screenshot (below).

Canon EOS Utilities - Copyright Information

Canon EOS Utilities – Copyright Information

If you do this, all images you shoot will be tagged, but you cannot add a copyright symbol © to this information, either in camera, or via the EOS Utilities, and I like to add a more complete copyright statement, so I actually apply a metadata preset to my images as I import them in Lightroom, which I’ll show you next week. Also, unlike Photoshop Elements, once I’ve set up Lightroom to apply my preset, it just keeps doing it for every import until I change the settings again, so I don’t have to do this every time I import images.

For now though, if you are using Photoshop Elements as Michelle is, here’s what you’d need to do. When you import media from a camera or memory card, click on the Advanced Dialog button at the button of the Photo Downloader screen, and you’ll see something like this screenshot (below).

Photoshop Elements Import - Advanced Dialog

Photoshop Elements Import – Advanced Dialog

You’ll notice that I added my name as the Creator and in the Copyright field I entered “Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved”. You might want to add your name to this as well, although it will usually be displayed with the creator name. By the way, to enter the copyright symbol on a Mac, hold down the alt/option key and type a “g” on the keyboard. On Windows, hold down the alt key and type the number 0168.

The beauty of adding this information to your images as you import them, is that now, from this point on, they are all tagged with your copyright information, so you don’t have to add this each time you export them.

Note that I was not able to find a way to do this when importing from a folder, so if you already have your images on your hard disk, you’d need to import your images into the Organizer first and use to the method I’ll cover shortly to apply this information to images after that.

Adding Copyright Information to Individual Images

Adding copyright information on import is going to save you the most time, but if you haven’t been doing this so far, it is best to add this information to your original image files. That way the information will stay with the image in all future exports.

In Photoshop Elements, you can do this by opening the File Info dialog from the Edit menu. You’ll see a dialog like this (below) into which you can enter your details. If you have a web page that explains your copyright policy, you can enter the URL to that page at the bottom of the dialog as well.

Photoshop Elements - File Information Dialog

Photoshop Elements – File Information Dialog

We obviously don’t want to have to type this in for all images though, so before you click OK, select Export from the Template button at the bottom of this dialog. Because I added the year to my Copyright statement, I called my template Martin Bailey Copyright 2016. I will need to update this at the start of 2017. If you think you’ll forget to do that, leave the year out of the copyright statement, or a much better option would be to leave the year in and set a reminder in your calendar.

Update Copyright Info for Multiple Images

Using this template, you could then import the same settings to other images in the future. The problem with this method though, is that you have to do it for every image individually, and that’s too time consuming.

Alternatively, you can go to the Adobe Elements Organizer, and select all of your images by pressing COMMAND or CTRL  and the A key on your keyboard, then right click your selected files and select Show File Info, or hit the Keyword/Info button in the bottom right corner of the screen, then click the “Information” label at the top right. After that, click the Edit IPTC Information button in the middle of the right sidebar. You can then enter your details into the Author and Copyright fields in this dialog and apply them to all of the selected photos, as you can see in this screenshot (below).

Photoshop Elements - Edit File Information

Photoshop Elements – Edit File Information

Notice how I chose to Overwrite the IPTC Contact, Author information. This is to stop the field being populate with “Martin Bailey; Martin Bailey” or similar, as it would be if I simply Appended the new information.

Resizing and Adding a Watermark in Photoshop Elements

Michelle also asked about resizing images for the Web and adding a watermark in Photoshop Elements, so let’s walk through this. Shortly we’ll use an option to process multiple files, both resizing and adding a watermark at the same time, but to do that, we need to either open all of these files, or copy them to a new folder. If you only have a few files to export, then just opening them and then proceeding to the next step is fine. If you have more than a handful of files to export though, it’s best to make a copy of them first.

Select all of the files that you want to resize and watermark in Elements Organizer. Then from the File menu select Export as New Files. Select Use Original Format as the File Type, then Under Location click the Browse button and create a folder called Temp or something like that on your Desktop, then click the Export button.

Photoshop Elements - Export Originals

Photoshop Elements – Export Originals

Then in Photoshop Elements Editor, not the Organizer, select Process Multiple Files from the Edit menu. You’ll then see a dialog box like this one (below) into which you can enter the size of the images you want to export, and add a watermark at the same time. Under the “Process Files From” pull-down you can select Folder, Import or Open files. If you already have the files that you want to export open in Elements, that will work. Otherwise, click the Browse button next to the Source field, and navigate to the Temp folder that you just exported your Original Files to, as you can see here (below).

Photoshop Elements - Resize and Watermark

Photoshop Elements – Resize and Watermark

For the Destination folder, click Browse again and create a folder called Web on your Desktop. Under the Image Size section, turn on the Resize Images checkbox. For the size, you need to decide how big you want your images to be. If you make your images too small, people won’t be able to appreciate them, but if you make them too big, it would be easier for people to use them for their own purposes without your permission.

For a number of years now, I’ve resized my images to 1440 pixels wide, and 960 pixels high for portrait oriented images, which is a good size for the Web. Not quite big enough for people to do much with, but plenty big enough to appreciate the photographs. Whatever you chose,  select Pixels from the pull-down, and enter that number into the Width field. Also, change the Resolution to 72, which is still pretty much the standard resolution for Web use.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I could find to handle exporting vertical orientation images at a smaller height when selecting 1440 pixels as the width. From Lightroom, I can automatically resized horizontal orientation images at 1440 pixels, and vertical orientation images at 960 pixels high. In Elements if I select 1440 pixels wide then portrait orientation images are exported at 2160 pixels wide, which I obviously don’t want. To overcome this, you’d need to batch process your horizontal images separately from your vertical images, and enter 640 pixel width for your vertical images, which would make them 960 pixels high.

When you’ve done that, under File Type, turn on the “Convert Files to” checkbox, and select JPEG High Quality, and under the Quick Fix box turn on Sharpen. This will ensure that your images are sharpened a little during the export. Even if your images are sharp full size, you need to turn this on, or they will look soft after they have been resized.

Then under the Labels section, select Watermark, then under Custom Text type what you’d like to add as a watermark, and select the position, font and font size. You also need to select a color for the text. If you just leave this as black, then it won’t show up against a dark photograph, so it’s perhaps best to select a mid-gray or even a brighter color if you really want it to stand out, and then make the Opacity between 30 and 50 percent.

Once you have done all that, click the OK button and wait for your images to be resized, sharpened, watermarked and exported all in one go.

Disclaimer

Before we move on, I’ve got to tell you that at this point in time, May, 2016, this process actually doesn’t work for me. It should, but I can only assume that there is a bug in Photoshop Elements that is preventing the watermarks from being applied during this process. I spent a couple of hours troubleshooting it today, but I’m out of time, and frankly I’ll never actually buy Photoshop Elements, so I’m going to give up on this for now.

Exporting for Web – Photoshop Elements

If you are not going to watermark your images, you can also simply use the Save for Web option in Photoshop Elements, after you have opened your file for editing, by selecting Save for Web from the File menu. Select JPEG High from the Preset pull-down, then type in 92 for the Quality. This will approximately halve the size of the image file, but show absolutely no digital artifacts in the image. Ensure that Embed Color Profile is checked too, and then click Save to save a resized copy of your file.

Photoshop Elements - Save for Web

Photoshop Elements – Save for Web

Want More Control?

If you want to export with a watermark, but you want more control over process, or maybe want to place it manually over your image, there’s a relatively easy way to do this too. First, let’s create your watermark and save it as a brush. Click create a New Blank File from the File menu, and let’s use a size of around 7 x 1 centimeters, and a resolution of 72. Select RGB Color for the Color Mode and Transparent for the Background Contents, as you see here (below).

Photoshop Element New File for Watermark

Photoshop Elements – New File for Watermark

Then, select the Type Tool in Photoshop Elements, and type in the text that you want to use as your watermark. Make the color of your text black as you will be able to change it with the color palette each time you use it. You can also add a logo or other graphic by selecting Place from the File menu if you want to. If necessary, use the Crop tool to crop down the image so that it only leaves a little bit of space around your new watermark text or logo, then select Define Brush from the Edit menu, and press OK.

Photoshop Elements - Create Watermark Brush

Photoshop Elements – Create Watermark Brush

Save your brush in PSD format to a location that you’ll remember, so that you can reload it to the brushes list later if you have to reinstall Elements, or to load on a different computer.

Photoshop Elements - Image Size

Photoshop Elements – Image Size

Then, open the file that you want to save for Web with your watermark, and let’s resize it right now, because we also need to change the bit depth to 8 bits, and it’s probably better resize your image while you still have more image information.

Select Resize > Image Size from the Image menu, then turn on the Resample Image checkbox, and type in 72 under the Resolution and type the new width that you want under Pixel Dimensions. I’ll use 1440 pixels wide again. Select Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction) from the pull-down at the bottom of the dialog box, and click OK.

The Bicubic sharpening there is plenty to cover the softness introduced during resizing, so you won’t need to do this again when you save the image later.

Before we can apply the watermark as a brush, the image has to be converted to 8 Bits/Channel, so select this option from the Image > Mode menu. Then select the Brush tool from the Photoshop Elements toolbar or by pressing COMMAND/CTRL + B, and you should now be able to select your watermark from the bottom of the Brush pulldown at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see an outline of the brush as you place your mouse over your image, and you can make it bigger or smaller with the Size slider or the square bracket keys [  ] on your keyboard.

Give it a try by stamping somewhere on your photo, and adjust the opacity and color as well if necessary. Here you can see I went a bit crazy trying this out, but this screenshot will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Open up your browser window and click on the image to see it larger.

Photoshop Elements - Applying Watermark with Brush

Photoshop Elements – Applying Watermark with Brush

As we’ve already resized this image, and it’s been sharpened as we reduced the size, all you need to do now is save a copy for the Web. Make sure you don’t accidentally over-write your original image, especially if it was a JPEG, as you need to keep your full sized master copy. If you select Save As from the File menu, you can then select JPEG as the format, and ensure that you turn on the check box to Embed the Color Profile, which should be sRGB, then a string of letters and numbers. This helps browsers to accurately display your image.

Photoshop Elements - Save As JPEG

Photoshop Elements – Save As JPEG

Once you click Save, you’ll see another dialog to select the compression for your image. I’d recommend between 8 and 10 for the compression, although you can try smaller if you need the image to download quickly from the web. Just check for artifacts in gradations etc. as you increase the compression.

OK, to that’s given you a number of different ways to resize and watermark your images, so I hope that was useful.

A Word on Watermarks

Before we start to wrap up this episode, I did want to quickly discuss watermarking images in general. If you want to watermark your images, and you want people to still enjoy your images, it is best not to plaster your watermark all over them. Some people hate watermarks, and will leave your site or page the moment they see one. Even though I watermark my images, when I look at a photo that has a huge copyright symbol and the photographers name or logo all across the image, I generally stop looking too.

Sure, a huge watermark will stop someone from stealing your photo, but you are not likely to win any fans of your work in the process, so keep it discrete and tasteful. I use a small graphic file logo that I add as I export images from Lightroom, and like I said, we’ll cover that process in a follow-up episode next week. Does it stop people from stealing my images? Not in the least, but I’d rather people enjoy my images.

Ichinuma in the Mist (Panorama #2)

Ichinuma in the Mist (Panorama #2)

In fact, although I’m concerned about image theft, and do chase it up when necessary, I actually watermark my images more for the marketing value. When someone sees my images on line, either on my own site, or where someone has stolen the image, if the watermark is still in tact, they see my name, and the more times people see your name, the more likely they are to remember you.

Play with the Frames

Michelle had also asked about adding frames, and there is a Frames option in under the Quick screen in Photoshop Elements, and there are a couple, like the black border or white border which might be useful, so have a play with these if you are interested, just don’t attach them to your master copy of your images and save them. I think it’s best to keep frames as an artistic option added for specific purposes, and not to your original files.

For the Web, I actually really don’t recommend adding a frame directly to your images at all. There are lots of ways of adding frames on the fly with CSS and other tools, and that makes it much easier to change the look later if you change your site theme, but this is not within the scope of this episode, so we won’t get into that today.

Anyway, I hope that has been useful, and thanks to Michelle for the great question. We’ll follow up next week with how I deal with these things in Adobe Lightroom, and believe me, it’s a lot easier!

Have a Question?

If you have a photography related question that you’d like me to answer in a future episode, you can either record an audio message using the voicemail app in the sidebar for each blog post and at mbp.ac/voicemail or drop me a line using our contact form.

 


Show Notes

Ask a question yourself at: https://mbp.ac/voicemail

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.


Focus Stacking Tutorial Video (Podcast 439)

Focus Stacking Tutorial Video (Podcast 439)

This week I share a video tutorial showing how to shoot for and create a focus stacked image in Photoshop using a focusing rail. Focus stacking can be a lot of fun, and is often the only way to get everything in focus in macro photography due to the extremely shallow depth-of-field at when focusing at such close distances.

Note that there is currently a bug in Photoshop 15.1 (CC 2014.1) that prevents this feature from working properly. If you want to give this a try, you might have to downgrade Photoshop (with great difficulty) or wait for Photoshop 15.2 (CC 2014.2) which will hopefully fix the issue.

The focussing rail I use in this video is the Really Right Stuff Macro Focusing Rail B150B-LMT-Pkg: For collared macro lenses

Here’s the video in Full HD, so go full screen to view.

Here is the resulting photograph. Note a great shot, but you can see how the entire flower head is now in crisp focus because we merged all of the sharp areas from each image in Photoshop.

Sunflower Focus Stack

Sunflower Focus Stack


Show Notes

Really Right Stuff Macro Focusing Rail B150B-LMT-Pkg: For collared macro lenses


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in small iPhone video format. Note that you can download the full sized video from Vimeo.


An Introduction to Adobe Lightroom Mobile (Podcast 430)

An Introduction to Adobe Lightroom Mobile (Podcast 430)

This week I walk you through everything you need to know to get started with Adobe Lightroom Mobile on the iPad and iPhone. At first glace, you might think that Lightroom Mobile is a bit gimmicky, but it’s actually quite powerful, and is an excellent tool for showcasing your work for friends and family, and clients alike. I think Adobe have really hit it out of the park with this excellent addition to their Creative Cloud suits.

The video says it all, so I won’t go into detail on Lightroom Mobile here, but I do just want to say that it’s impressive, and I hope you take the time to watch the video. I’m always looking for great ways to showcase my work, and this is definitely one of them. As I say towards the end of the video, the only things this product leaves me wanting for, is the ability to sync and play videos, and the ability to customize a splash screen, with a photo and my logo, so that I can basically implement a bit of branding.

The Lightroom mobile app is free from the iTunes App Store, but to use it you will require one of the following Creative Cloud membership plans (from the Adobe Web site as of July 2014).

  • Creative Cloud Photography plan
  • Photoshop Photography Program
  • Creative Cloud complete plan
  • Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition
  • Creative Cloud for teams complete plan

Adobe says, if you have access to Lightroom 5 via your Creative Cloud membership, then you have access to Lightroom mobile. See details of on the Adobe Web site, or download the apps from the iTunes App Store here.

Don’t forget to hit the fullscreen button so that you can see all the details!

Here are a few screenshots from the video too.

Editing Images in Lightroom Mobile

Editing Images in Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile on iPad

Lightroom Mobile on iPad

Adobe Lightroom Mobile on iPad and iPhone

Lightroom Mobile on iPad and iPhone

Lightroom Mobile on iPad

Lightroom Mobile on iPad

 


Show Notes

See details on the Adobe Web site: http://www.adobe.com/products/lightroom-mobile.html

Download the app from the iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-lightroom/id804177739?mt=8


Video & Subscription

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast as a small MP4 Video for iPhone.


All Marketers Really Are Liars! (Podcast 345)

All Marketers Really Are Liars! (Podcast 345)

It’s been a busy week, hence the late Podcast. Sorry about that! This week was made a lot busier though by a few unfortunate (to say the least) events involving lack of clarity, and sometimes total opacity, in the marketing of big name companies, so here goes, with a rare but very much needed MBP Rant-Fest!

The main reason I’ve been busy this week is that I’m working hard on the planning for the Pixels 2 Pigment seminars, which are now open for booking, so if you are thinking of joining us to learn how to take full control of your digital workflow and color management, remove the stress from printing and free up mountains of time to enjoy your photographic life to the full, sign-up today, while there are still seats available!

Leadoff Hitter – Canon

Canon EOS 1D X

Canon EOS 1D X

OK, so I am going to put our good friends at Canon in the batter’s box first, although this is something that I already mentioned in our recent Canon EOS 1D X DSLR review. You might remember that pretty much the only negative comment I had about the 1D X was not about the camera, but about the software, specifically EOS Utility’s lack of support on the Mac OS X 10.7 platform, for tethered shooting with the newly added Ethernet port.

I have since been to the Canon Inc. offices for a different reason, but while I was there, I was able to meet with someone from the camera product team and I couldn’t help but mentioned this. I was told that they do of course understand the importance of supporting the Mac Platform and seemed somewhat embarrassed about the situation, but they said there was nothing they could do about this on this occasion.

Just Give Us a Heads-Up!

My main point to Canon was that I understand the complexity of software R&D processes. I worked in Software Development for 15 years. But when you can’t provide support for something, especially a new flagship feature, it is common courtesy to let your valued customers know. It didn’t need to go into the more permanent User Manuals, especially as an updated EOS Utility will be made available at some point, but a little bit of paper in the first few batches of boxes out of the factory, telling people that EOS Utilities does not yet support Ethernet Tethering would have been enough. They could have apologized, softening the blow somewhat, and guided people to a Web page to check for updates or even sign up for an email notification when the support was made available.

I also know that it’s policy with many large companies to not give out firm dates as to when software updates will be available, and of course it’s against corporate policies to promise something that you possibly cannot deliver, but I doubt very much that Canon will not be able to develop the necessary software to support Ethernet tethering on the Mac OS X. If they weren’t confident that they’d fix this with an update, they would have a much, much bigger problem on their hands with false representation, as it clearly states in the manual that all of the tethering features that you have when using a USB cable, are supported over Ethernet.

Next Batter — Adobe!

OK, so next to the plate is Adobe. If you follow my blog, and not just the Podcast feed, you might have seen a post that I couldn’t help but throw out there earlier this week, about why I have to dump the Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ll paraphrase a little here, as it was quite a lengthy post, which I suggest you read if you are using the Creative Cloud and could possible be away from the Internet for more than 7 days.

Creative Cloud Web Interface

Creative Cloud Web Interface

Basically, I noticed that my Creative Cloud subscription payments were being taken from my credit card on the 10th of each month, and this triggered a connection to my leaving Ushuaia in Argentina on a ship down into Antarctica on November 10 this year. I started to wonder what would happen if I had no Internet connection on that morning to authenticate my Creative Cloud license. I couldn’t see any way to force the authentication, or even tell if it had been carried out or not, so I called Adobe Support.

Well, I was told that basically there is no way to force the authentication process, and if it didn’t happen before I left Ushuaia the software would stop working. I’d literally be dead in the water. Having discussed this in the comments of my blog post and on Google+ it turns out that although the guy I spoke to was wrong about the grace period, I would have probably up to seven days using the software, it would then stop working until I could get an Internet connection again.

There is no way to pay in advance and set a longer license period. Hell, they sell 3 month prepaid licenses off the shelf in computer stores! Why can’t they do the same online! Or even just do a yearly subscription! I would stick with the Cloud if it wasn’t for this problem, so signing up for a year in advance would be fine!

Just Buy a New License!

Oh no though, the guy on the phone’s first bit of sage advice was for me to buy an additional standard Photoshop license (because that is the one application from the suite that I can’t live without)! When I told him that I owned a full CS5.5 Master Suite license, his advice changed to cancelling my Creative Cloud subscription, and buying a new upgrade license for the Master Collection instead.

I have to tell you I was flabbergasted! Other than telling me about a poxy 5% discount that they were already throwing out during the five minute wait time on their non-free dial support line, and making that sound like he was doing me a favor, there was no offer to discount the three months subscription fees that I’d already paid, or any assurance that this problem might be fixed in the coming months. There of course is that fear of a false representation law suit again, so I understand that part, but I couldn’t really believe what I was hearing.

My point here though, is the same as with Canon, there was no mention of this when I signed up for the Creative Cloud Subscription. As a cautious business owner, I sat down and did the math. I won’t go through the numbers again here, as they’re in the earlier blog post, but basically, if Adobe stays on their roughly 18 month upgrade cycle, along with the discount for the first year of the Creative Cloud subscription, I stood to pay a few dollars extra over 18 months for the Cloud subscription. I could live with that though as there was no lump sum payment up front, and I’d have the benefit of rolling updates and some Web services as a subscriber.

If I can’t get some way to authenticate my license in November though, and this will happen again possibly in February and May next year, on other lengthy tours, currently my only option is to dump the Creative Cloud, and go back to a standard license. If I have to do that, I will be asking for not only the poxy 5% discount, but also a refund of the subscription fees I’ve already paid.

And, I should reiterate that I love Adobe products, and generally like the Adobe experience, but on this occasion, I think they’ve failed. If not in the implementation of the cloud, they sure failed by not providing this information up front. I did think about this possibility when I signed up for the Creative Cloud, but foolishly expected that a great company like Adobe would have all of those bases covered, and if they didn’t, they’d have made it obvious on the subscription sign-up pages. I was wrong.

Apple on the Plate!

OK, so that’s two strikes, and now Apple are on the plate. Having read about the new AirPlay Mirroring feature that was released as part of the Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) release a couple of days ago, I decided to finally buy an AppleTV box. I often show visitors photos and videos on my large TV using an HDMI cable, which I have to draw across my living room to my MacBook Pro or iPad, which doesn’t look great. With AirPlay Mirroring though, you just hook up the AppleTV, turn on the MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion installed, click the little icon that will appear when an AppleTV is detected on the same network, and your desktop miraculously appears on the TV screen. Totally wireless. Totally smooth. Or so I thought.

I initially connected up my third generation iPad, which worked flawlessly. My iPhone 4 is one generation too old to support displaying the screen, but music and videos etc. play flawless too, over WiFi. But for the life of me I could not get my 18 month old MacBook Pro to work. I can use AirPlay from iTunes and the music comes out of the TV, along with Album Art etc. but I could not share my screen. After a few hours messing around with this, at 1am, I posted a quick comment on Google+ and went to bed.

When I got up this morning, there was a link from a kind Google Plusser, Daniel Yates, alerting me to the fact that my 18 month old MacBook Pro, was one generation too old. I bought it a few weeks before the Thunderbolt versions were released, and AirPlay Mirroring doesn’t work with my hardware. I’d read through all the blurb about AirPlay Mirroring on Apple’s Mountain Lion new features page, and all I’d seen was that enables you to mirror the screen of a MacBook Pro to an AppleTV. I keep my eye’s open for those little 1’s and 2’s next to words, and read footnotes when I notice them, but I’d noticed nothing.

Hurumph!

Hurumph!

Apple Steal a Base…

As I was preparing for this Podcast, I went back and triple checked, and finally noticed a little faint number 1 after the AirPlay title, and low and behold, at the bottom of the page there was a footnote pointing out that for AirPlay Mirroring to work, you need an early 2011 MacBook Pro or later. If I wasn’t aware that the MacBook Pro line was updated after I bought mine in early 2011, I would have still been flummoxed, I imagine most people know the difference though, so we’ll let that drop. This little “1” was probably there all along, and I just didn’t notice it, so I’ll give Apple credit for providing this information, but they certainly made it easy to overlook.

So, I guess I can forgive Apple, assuming that the little “1” was there all along, but it sure feels like a crafty little bunt giving them enough time to scramble their way to first base, or maybe more like a steal, while the pitcher was looking the other way.

It’s not all bad in this case though, as I’d wanted an AppleTV anyway. Since learning about the compatibility problem, I’d resigned myself to the fact that it’s not going to give me AirPlay Mirroring from my MacBook Pro, but at $99 it’s still a great little addition to my collection of Apple devices. It will enable my wife to rent movies easily even when I’m not around, and I can still show photos and videos with home sharing, because they’re stored on my MacMini that I have turned on all the time as a file server.

For the sake of this rant-fest though, the fact still remains that it was AirPlay Mirroring that tipped the scales on both the purchase of the AppleTV and the upgrade to Mountain Lion. It was this shiny new feature that pushed me that little bit further prompted me to buy that little black box, and the well camouflaged number 1 against the section header hadn’t been enough of a warning.

Happy Ending

AirParrotIt turns out though, again, a testament to the power of social networking, just as I was finishing up this post and ready to start recording, another kind GPlusser, Jeremy Hodges came to the rescue, with a link to an application called Air Parrot, that literally gives you the same, if not better desktop mirroring from Mac machines via the AppleTV, and yes, it works with my MacBook Pro. It’s $9.99 for a single license, so I tested it and bought it straight away. Brilliant! Thanks Jeremy!

The Crux of the Matter

So here’s the crux of the matter — I know that All Marketers are Liars, Seth Godin told us all about this. It’s the stories that they tell that make us want to buy things. But I for one am getting pretty tired of large corporations spouting about all the nice new bells and whistles, and often truly useful new features, that they are building into their products, but then hiding the conditions under which these new features will work, either behind a bit of a smoke screen, or on some support Web page that you have to be told about when looking for answers on long phone calls with support engineers.

In two of these three cases, these major players had failed to readily provide information to their “valued” customers ahead of the purchase. It took me a whole morning trying to get the Ethernet Tethering to work on the 1D X before I called support and heard that it didn’t work. Canon’s hands were tied in letting people know about this proactively. As someone with fifteen years in software product development, I feel for them, but that doesn’t help the customer that has just spend thousands of dollars on a flagship camera and lots of their valuable time trying to see what they’ve done wrong.

All Adobe can do when I ask them about the major flaws in their new baby, the Creative Cloud subscription model, is ask for more money! Do they think that photographers, you know, one of the major users of Photoshop, will always be within 7 days of an Internet connection? Sure, probably 99% or more of them will, but what about the other one percent? I don’t know the number of Photoshop users world wide, but I’m sure it’s got to be around 10 million, which would give you potentially 100,000 very annoyed users if we all jumped to the Creative Cloud and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, with no Photoshop.

Make Us Feel Good, Not Like We’ve Been Tricked

I market products myself, with my fine art prints, photography tours and workshops, and go to great lengths to ensure that people understand exactly what they are getting. I go to greater lengths to remove obstacles that would harm my customers impression of me and/or my products. No body ever asked me how easy it is to take my fine art prints out of their postage tubes. But you know what? If you just roll a print up, and put it in a tube, it expands to fill the tube, and it gets damned hard to take out.

So, all of my rolled prints get a little piece of paper rolled around them with the words “tear this away to unroll your print” printed all around it. This stops the print from unrolling inside the tube, so when the customer opens the tube, the print can be slipped out freely.

MBP Fine Art Print in Tube

MBP Fine Art Print in Tube

Sure, the above companies do great packaging too, especially Apple, who make un-boxing their products a major part of the generally excellent user experience, so I’m not saying that they do this stuff wrong. My point is, that even a little guy like me goes to great lengths to make my customers happy, even when they don’t expect it. I’d just like to see a little more transparency in these big companies marketing techniques, so I don’t have to feel as though I am being tricked into buying something from a company that I have decided to place my trust in.

I hope you could tell that parts of this week’s Podcast were a little tongue-in-cheek, but there sure is a good sized dollop of disdain at the root of all this.


Show Notes

Air Parrot for AirPlay Like Mirroring: http://airparrot.com/

Sign up for Pixels 2 Pigment: http://www.pixels2pigment.com/

Seth Godin’s Book – All Marketers Are Liars – on which the title of this week’s episode is based: https://mbp.ac/sgamal

Music by UniqueTracks


Audio

Subscribe in iTunesSubscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.


Why I Have to Dump the Adobe Creative Cloud!

Why I Have to Dump the Adobe Creative Cloud!

Excited by the release of Adobe Creative Suite 6 and the prospect of instant access to new versions of the products it contains as they are released, I jumped on the Creative Cloud subscription soon after it was possible to sign-up. I own a full CS5.5 Master Collection license, so I had the option to upgrade to a normal license for ¥64,500 ($825 as from Japan I am not able to buy from the US store for just $525). With the Creative Cloud discounted down to $30/month for the first year though, it made financial sense to use the subscription model, despite my knee-jerk reaction to want to own a license, and not rent one.

Today, I was looking at my plans for the rest of the year, and noticed that I sail for Antarctica on Nov 10, for the first of three trips that will take me out of Internet reach for a total of six weeks. I wondered what would happen if I could not get online during the first month, and called Adobe Support here in Japan to ask them.

Creative Cloud Web Interface

Creative Cloud Web Interface

It turns out that because I sail on the 10th of November, even if I have internet access on the morning that I leave Ushuaia, if the authentication check to see if I’ve paid my subscription fee is not automatically processed while I’m online, the next time I start Photoshop, or any other Creative Suite application, they will stop working. [UPDATE: I have since received confirmation from Adobe that there is indeed a 7 day grace period before the software stops working.]

Even if I am able to authentic on that morning, I’m actually in Antarctica on Dec 10, when the next renewal will be due, so it the CS6 apps will stop working for the last week of my third expedition. After my chat with Adobe, I read online that some people believe there is a 7 day grace period if you don’t have an Internet connection, which would get me back to dry land on Dec 14, but only if I am able to authenticate on Nov 10. And, that assumes that the Adobe person I spoke with today is wrong, in that he clearly stated that there is no 7 day grace period.

I am the resident photographer on these three expeditions, giving presentations to the group on Color Management, Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Software, and of course I will be processing some of my own images in Photoshop too. Thankfully I own my license of LR and Nik Software’s plugins, so I’m OK there, but without Photoshop, I’m basically screwed.

Hurumph!

Hurumph!

I did wonder about this when I signed up, but honestly thought that Adobe would build in some way to pre-authenticate before longer trips, but I was wrong, foolish, a total idiot, to sign up without confirming this. Why can’t I just call Adobe and say “Hey, I’m going away for six weeks — bill me now for the next two months, and push a longer license to my computer before I leave”?

Hell, there isn’t even a way to force the authentication process on that morning before I leave Ushuaia to ensure that I get that month’s use of the software that I would have automatically paid for!

The support engineer’s advice was to buy a full license of Photoshop, the part of the Suite that I cannot live without, and cancel my Creative Cloud subscription. I told him that I also use most of the other suite products too on a regular basis and own a CS5.5 Master Collection license, so we came to the conclusion that my only realistic choice was to cancel my Creative Cloud subscription and upgrade my Master Collection to CS6.

Of course the other option is cancel my Creative Cloud subscription and NOT upgrade to the CS6 Master Collection. My CS5.5 license is still valid after all! The only problem with this, is that as an educator as well as photographer, I really have to present using the current version of the software.

I’m a bit quick of the mark sometimes, but I’m generally a prudent business owner when it comes to finances. I calculated that based on an 18 month upgrade schedule, which is what Adobe seems to be on, I would pay the discounted ¥3,000 for 12 months (¥36,000) and the full price of ¥5,000 for a further six months (¥30,000), a total of ¥66,000, by the time a CS7 or whatever was released. This is like $25 more than the price to upgrade my Master Collection, and I’d have the benefit of rolling upgrades, so it was going to be a win/win situation.

Lose/Lose

So far I’ve paid three installments of ¥3,000 in subscription fees. If I cancel that subscription right now and upgrade, I’ll have paid ¥73,500 to be essentially where I would have been three months ago had I simply upgraded and bought my license, not the subscription. This isn’t a huge amount of money but I resent paying that difference for such a stupid reason as a flawed subscription model.

My other options are to hope that the request I made today to ensure that this functionality get’s built into the system before I leave for Antarctica, but while waiting I’ll pay another ¥9,000 in subscription fees, and I honestly don’t think that will happen, at least not in the next three months, so I’ll end up upgrading my CS5.5 license anyway, taking the final price of the CS6 Master Collection to ¥82,500. Sheesh!

I have to make up my mind over the next couple of weeks before my next subscription payment, but I’m pretty sure my only realistic option is to cut my losses, dump the cloud, and go back to the original license model. Of course then what will happen is Adobe will fix the subscription model, and I’ll be stuck with my full license, and no rolling updates, cursing Adobe again until CS7 comes out. 🙁

Don’t get me wrong, I love Adobe products, and don’t like to feel this way, let alone air these negative views publicly, but Adobe’s handling of this relatively foreseeable and not uncommon use case is just not right. I hope someone from Adobe reads this and puts the gears in motion to fix this. Unfortunately, unless I get an email in the next week or so with good news, it will probably be too late for me.

June 20, 2013 – UPDATE: Adobe have just released their Creative Cloud, the next generation of the Creative Suite, and they have built in a grace period of up to 99 days before you need an Internet connect! Read more about this in my follow up post – Why I’m Back in Love with Adobe and the Creative Cloud!