PDF fun with Automator

Automator can do things with pdfs

On the Mac, Automator is one of the utilities that I hadn’t done anything with at all. Which is a shame, because once I opened it up, I discovered a bunch of actions all devoted to doing things with PDFs. Doing some research, I found this video showing how to batch combine jpegs into pdfs using it. I gave it a try and was surprised how fast it was (faster than trying to do the same thing in Acrobat).

Design Currency: Understand, define, and promote the value of your design work By Jenn Visocky O’Grady, Ken Visocky O’Grady

Picture Perfect Practice

Designers are sometimes seen as ephemeral beings concerned about fonts, pixels, and pretty colors (and like to use phrases like “the emotional brand experience.”) Things that, to the rest of an organization, may seem like trivial matters when compared to the things they have to deal with in their cold, harsh world.
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Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual


Photoshop CC The Missing Manual is an amazingly information-dense manual. So much, that it’s almost intimidating. However, the author does such a wonderful job at guiding the reader through the underworld of Photoshop, that you’ll find yourself standing there reading intently even though you only intended to quickly peruse it while standing at the bookstore. You’ll quickly find yourself getting drawn in and reaching for the post-it note pad to mark off something you’ll want to try soon.
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The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers


I had first heard of this book via the American Society of Media Photographers’ Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow (dpBestflow®) project -a Congressionally-funded project through the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program designed “To create guidelines for refined production workflows, archiving methods, and best practices for digital photography based on a variety of capture methods and intended image use.” Much of the information found on the dpBestflow® site is based mainly on Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow Handbook by Patricia Russotti and Richard Anderson and The DAM Book by Peter Krogh.

Overview

This is a very dense book geared towards the professional photographer, though graphic designers, studio managers and anyone who has to manage and curate an image collection would benefit from a thorough reading. With the rise of affordable storage media with larger and larger capacity, even hobbyists with only a casual interest in photography would do well from being familiar with some of the concepts and practices outlined in this book. They, too, will one day be the proud owner of a collection of images spilling over into the range of terabytes. As that collection grows, good asset management becomes even more crucial. This book outlines what you need to do and why.

Digital asset management means how you work with your collection of digital files (whether photos or other kinds of files.) It includes storage, backup, metadata, workflow practices, cataloguing, software used to process and interact with files, storage media, etc.

After explaining many of the reasons behind good digital asset management, the author goes into the nitty-gritty details of many fascinating topics: non-destructive  (parametric) image editing, metadata, hardware options for image storage, Adobe Lightroom workflow, Adobe Bridge/ACR Workflow, et. al. Some chapters make you groan when you realize you’ve been overlooking some essential area of your own collection for a long time (especially the chapter on metadata.)

There are some things you may think you already know how to do effectively -like have a decent file directory structure with coherent file names. Chances are, even the most organized and far-sighted amongst us will learn more than a few things from the chapter on naming and organizing files and folders (and the rest of us will be amazed at the number of things we could be doing better.) Creating a system that is future-compatible, yet can be quickly scanned, added to and easily restored takes thought and planning. Luckily the author has done the deep research, so you can admire the pretty screenshots of what a real image folder workflow looks like and then get to work adapting it to your needs.

Chapter six is devoted to data backup and validation. While it may seem kind of long and dry (especially to those of us more interested in the Lightroom screenshots and workflow), it is one of the more essential sections of the book. If you don’t care about losing your images to fire, theft, flood, Godzilla, spilling coffee on your laptop, then you can probably skip it. But more than likely, there will come a day when bad things happen and your hard drive will be dead or damaged for whatever reason. Then you’ll have wished you read this part of the book and invested some money in a backup system.

Chapter seven details best practices of downloading images from camera to computer and processing them (image ingestion.)  This includes downloading files, renaming them uniquely, applying metadata and backing up (among other steps.) The author explores specific image ingestion workflow options for both Lightroom and ImageIngesterPro (respectively.) While I’ve only used Lightroom in the past, ImageIngesterPro <url here> looks to be an excellent software package for those who need more control and automation during image ingestion than Lightroom can currently provide.

Chapter eight is about managing your working files (files not ready to be archived.) Raw file workflow, reworking archived images and file folder structures are explored. Chapter nine is an overview for working in one of the best cataloging PIEwares -Adobe Lightroom. Lots of juicy tips, pointers and a sample workflow. Chapter ten is all about an Adobe Bridge with Adobe Camera Raw workflow (with Expression Media included for cataloguing purposes.) This workflow can be an extremely good one, especially if you are working cross-platform. All three programs work with XMP data, so are very compatible with each other. They allow you to create work that is accessible in a variety of other programs and offer a good chance that you’ll have an image archive that’s accessible to whatever software you may be using in the future.

Chapter eleven is about cataloguing strategies. This includes what factors to consider when choosing your cataloguing software, managing your catalogs, basics and best practices of using Expression Media (cataloguing software), archive restoration and validation.

Chapter twelve closes on the subject of data migration (which is important in order to adapt your workflow and system to the technologies of the future.) Data migration principles, migrating from hard drive to hard drive, migrating from different metadata fields, migrating disorganized files to an organized archive structure and other important subjects are tackled.

All-in-all, The DAM Book is invaluable for the professional photographer or studio manager and is recommended by the American Society of Media Photographers.

This book, and all O’Reilly books, are available at a discounted rate for IDUG members

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Get 40% off on O’Reilly, Microsoft Press, No Starch, PC Publishing, Pragmatic Bookshelf, Rocky Nook, SitePoint, or YounJin products purchased directly from O’Reilly (and 50% on eBooks). Members are also entitled to a discount on O’Reilly conferences and tutorials.

Place an order online at www.oreilly.com/store or by calling (800) 998-9938.
Members should use discount code DSUG.

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Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs By Roberto Valenzuela

Picture Perfect Practice

Photography isn’t reality. Taking a photo that truly captures the moment unfolding in front of you is different than simply seeing it. Oftentimes the results you get are disappointing. Roberto Valenzuela’s Picture Perfect Practice provides a much-needed set of guidelines that enable you to make art in your camera everywhere you go. [Read more…]

Vector Basic Training

Vector Basic Training

I had the good fortune of attending Von Glitschka’s Drawsigner Lecture over a year ago. In person, Von is warm, witty and informative. In addition to being an incredibly creative designer, his mastery of drawing in Adobe Illustrator is second to none. I remember watching a 10-second clip of a promo of the dvd that accompanies this book at that lecture. No joke -merely from watching that clip, my use of Adobe Illustrator improved. His work has won many design and illustration awards and has appeared in publications such as HOW Design, Print, Graphis, American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts and LogoLounge II, III, IV, V and VI. He has spoken nationally at many forums (including Adobe MAX Conference among others.)  In short, time spent with this book and accompanying DVD is time well spent. [Read more…]

Book Review: The Moment it Clicks

OverviewThe Moment It Clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world's top shooters

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably seen Joe McNally’s photos. His work has been in Time Magazine, National Geographic, Entertainment Weekly, Life, Sports Illustrated and many others. His most well-known series is “Faces of Ground Zero — Portraits of the Heroes of September 11th” -a collection of portraits taken shortly after 9/11. Awards and accolades go to him the way other people accumulate coffee cups. American Photo magazine has listed him as one of the hundred most important people in photography. Blending high-level photo philosophy with technical how-to knowledge, The Moment It Clicks is one of the best books on photography that I’ve come across. [Read more…]

Book Review: Adobe InDesign Styles by Michael Murphy

OverviewAdobe InDesign CS4 Styles: How to Create Better, Faster Text and Layouts

If you’ve ever spent any time in InDesign, you’ve realized that one of its biggest strengths is the ability to format massive amounts of text and other objects with very little effort. That is, if you’ve taken the time to get to know the various styling palettes. When you first start using InDesign, you may not bother using styles. Even after discovering the styles palettes, you may still be wasting time and effort using them incorrectly. If you’re looking to potentially save hours, if not fortnights, by streamlining your workflow and increasing your InDesign styles knowledge, then Adobe InDesign Styles by Michael Murphy is a fantastic place to start. [Read more…]