Adobe launches Lightroom mobile

Today (April 8th) Adobe has launched Lightroom mobile, an iPad app which allows you to sync and edit images with the desktop version of Lightroom. According to Adobe, Lightroom mobile will allow you to:

  • Edit and organize images anywhere, anytime on your iPad
  • Enhance everything from smartphone photos to raw images from DLSRs using powerful and familiar tools
  • Automatically sync all of your mobile edits with Lightroom 5 on your desktop
  • Easily share your photos

The app is completely free however it only works in conjunction with a subscription to Lightroom via Creative Cloud. An update to the desktop version of Lightroom is now available to allow syncing with the app. I’ve had a quick look at Lightroom mobile and it certainly offers a wide range of useful image adjustment and organisation tools. I’m looking forward to testing it some more.

Posted in InDesign, Lightroom, Photoshop | Leave a comment

Publishing Scotland Digital Skills Project

mountains_bannerI’m delighted to say that I’m going to be working with Publishing Scotland on the forthcoming Digital Skills pProject. It’s a follow on to Publishing Scotland’s recent Company Development Project and we’ll be working with some of Scotland’s top publishing companies to identify and develop the digital skills required to operate in the modern publishing industry.

We’ll be running workshops combining industry specialists and sharing the experience of publishers from the first project.  As well as assisting with running the project, I’ll be supplying some expertise on InDesign, Photoshop, developing iPad apps etc but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing from other experts in digital production, marketing and development.

This is an unique opportunity for the whole Scottish Publishing industry to exchange experiences and develop new skills and I’m very happy to be part of it.

Posted in Digital publishing, Print, Production, Publishing, Software, srps, Workshops | Leave a comment

Scotrail develop app with Adobe DPS

My friends at Scotrail have just launched their first Adobe generated iPad app. It’s called Discover Scotland by Rail and is completely free. The app was created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite and I’m pleased to have played a small part in its’ creation through one of my DPS training courses.

SCreenshot of cover of Discover Scotland by Rail app

Discover Scotland by Rail

The app illustrates the locations accessible via the Scotrail network and the Scotrail design team have really grasped the possibilities of the app format by making good use of images as well as music, slideshows, movies and other interactive content.  The app is clearly and logically organised with sections on each route. Usefully the route maps are interactive so you can simply click a location to display specific content. There are plenty of great photos to check out and the app makes use of various kinds of slideshows and scrolling content to let the reader really engage with it.

Screenshot of West Highland Line page

West Highland Line

My favourite aspect of the app is the small touches that show the design team have really thought about what the app is for. I particularly like the use of animated slideshows on the contents page and the inclusion of sliding overlays on some of the pages. All of this provides a really imaginative and engaging experience for the reader and demonstrates very well what can be done with some good content and imagination.

Screenshot of Interactive contents page

Interactive contents page


Screenshot of Sliding overlay

Sliding overlay

Like my own app, Borderlines, the content for Discover Scotland by Rail was developed entirely with Adobe applications (aside from the obvious video and audio) emphasising just how straightforward it is to develop your own interactive apps. Adobe Creative Cloud users have everything they need at their fingertips to create great mobile apps quickly and effectively. If you’re interested in finding out how to develop your own apps using Digital Publishing Suite or have content you’d like to be developed into an app, contact me via any of the methods at the top of the page.

Screenshot of Borderlines Cover

Borderlines Cover

I’m really pleased with the app Scotrail have created and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Posted in Adobe, Adobe DPS, Apple, apps, Creative Cloud, Creative Suite, Illustrator, InDesign, interactivity, iPad, Photoshop, Software, srps, transmedia | Leave a comment

Blend modes & Sharpening presentation



Tonight (Monday 24 March), I’m giving a presentation at Edinburgh Photographic Society on Blend modes and sharpening with Adobe Photoshop. Since these are two of the more arcane aspects of Photoshop, preparing for this presentation has reminded me of a few interesting techniques for image adjustment and optimisation.

Many people use blend modes randomly to achieve visual effects but with very little knowledge of what blend modes actually do. This is perfectly fine but, with a little knowledge, it’s possible to use blend modes for a host of other functions such as selectively adjusting tonal range, dodging and burning, error correction and even sharpening.

Sharpening is often considered something of a black art and, though most agree that images are better with sharpening, it can be hard to understand exactly what sharpening filters actually do. In this talk I’ll be explaining more about what Unsharp mask does and discussing some of the many other ways to apply sharpening including with blend modes, by using Adobe Camera Raw and selective sharpening with the Sharpen tool.

This presentation is open only to members of Edinburgh Photographic Society but I’ll post some of the techniques here at a later date.

Posted in Adobe, Photography, Photoshop, Workshops | Leave a comment

Solving the cash-flow issue

As a small business owner, monitoring cash flow is a continuous and sometimes painful activity. It seems that, no matter what payment period you specify in Ts & Cs, some clients just pay whenever they want. I was interested to hear about Urica, a forthcoming initiative from the government which will allow small businesses to get paid up front, with no delay at all.

The idea of business credit is in desperate need of reform. Many companies  use it as a means to hang on to their own cash-flow with harsh effects on their suppliers. Credit should be an earned benefit of a good customer/supplier relationship, not an assumed right. I’m in the creative services industry not the financial sector so why do I have to get involved in 30, 60 or 90 day credit?

I appreciate that it’s not always feasible to pay on demand however extending credit exposes small businesses to a level of financial risk they cannot afford. The internet has proved, again and again, that old business models can be disrupted and replaced with smarter, fairer ones. Lets hope business credit is the next one.

I’ll be looking closely at Urica and reviewing how I work with credit in future.

Posted in Business, Finance | Leave a comment

What’s the point of Facebook likes?

Getting fed up with all those irrelevant ads in your Facebook timeline? Wonder why your Facebook business posts get hardly any likes? Have a look at the videos on this page and ask yourself if it’s really worth developing a Facebook audience? I’d be interested to hear what other people’s experience is with FB.

Posted in Facebook, Social Media, Social networking, Web | Leave a comment

Pixel Perfect Precision

Screen shot of Pixel Perfect Precision

Pixel Perfect Precision

Design studio Ustwo has produced the third edition of their design guide Pixel Perfect Precision. It’s a really excellent guide to design (principally for the web) and now includes some introductory techniques for software applications such as Illustrator and Photoshop. This is a great primer for students or anyone with an interest in design, it’s also an excellent example of design in it’s own right.  You can download it as a PDF or iBooks format ebook.

Posted in Design, Digital publishing | Leave a comment

Choosing numerical characters

Screenshot of Comparison of Lining and non-lining number characters

Comparison of Lining and non-lining number characters


Useful short guide to the different styles of numerical characters.

Posted in Design, Typography | Leave a comment

Video editing with Photoshop

Screenshot of Video editing in Photoshop

Video editing in Photoshop

Next Tuesday, March 4th, I’ll be hosting one of the break out session at Publishing Scotland’s Annual Conference.

I’m going to be demonstrating one of the most significant and useful additions to Photoshop in recent versions, video editing. I’ll be showing how to montage videos together, create fades and effects, add titles and audio and then export to high quality HD video for use in a variety of situations.

This is a fantastically useful feature and makes it possible for any Photoshop user to create their own movies using the skills they already have and by leveraging Photoshop’s existing tools. It really is one of my favourite new features and I’m also now offering full day training courses in video production using Photoshop.

The full day will also incorporate how to use video layers and masks, transformations, animation and working with moving typography. To find out more, please get in touch in any of the usual ways.

If you’re attending the conference, do catch up with me in person.

Posted in Adobe, Photoshop, Software | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Previewing colour accurately on an iPad

You may have noticed that some colours appear different when documents are viewed on iPads or iPhones. This is because the colour range of these devices is smaller than a typical monitor. When you view files such as images or PDFs, they are displayed using the device’s colour range not that originally set in the document. This can be important when you need to proof a job electronically. This is the same kind of colour management issue that causes colours to shift when a document is printed.

Viewing colour accurately on mobile devices is tricky with some mobile operating systems (such as Android) not honouring ICC profiles at all whilst others, (such as iOS) have a very different colour range from other RGB devices.

If your mobile device supports ICC profiles, you can predict and preview how the colours will change.

First you will need a profile for your mobile device. In this example I’m going to use an iPad. Bob Bringhurst at Adobe created an iPad profile for users of Digital Publishing Suite. After downloading it, Mac users can copy it to the /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/iPad.icc folder, Windows users should search for Color Management and use the All Profiles  tab to install.

The profile can be used by any application that honours ICC colour profiles. In this example I’m using InDesign. To preview possible colour shifts, go to View>Proof Setup>Custom. Choose iPad.icc from the drop down menu next to Device to Simulate.


Screen shot of InDesign Proof Setup

InDesign Proof Setup


ID select profile

Select iPad colour profile

This tells InDesign to use the iPad profile to display the document colours. By selecting the Proof Colours menu option, you should be able to detect colour shifts in the currently open document.

Screen shot of Indesign Proof colours

Proof colours

It’s a good idea to turn this on and off quickly to see the changes. If you need to do this a lot, it’s worth assigning a keyboard shortcut to the menu item.

To create a PDF with colours optimised for iPad, you can create a new PDF preset.

Go to File>Adobe PDF Presets>Create.

Screen shot of Adobe PDF Presets menu

Select Create form the Adobe PDF Presets menu

Select an existing preset that’s close to the output you require then click new.

Screen shot of creating a new PDF preset

Select an existing preset

This duplicates that profile and you can now customise it. Make any adjustments you need on any pane then go to Output. From the Color Conversion option choose Convert to Destination. Choose iPad.icc as the destination profile. All colour data in the document will be converted into the iPad colour range on output.

Screenshot of choosing a colour profile

Choose a colour profile

Name and save the preset. To output the file using the new preset, select File>Adobe PDF Presets> [newpresetname]. InDesign will generate the PDF as specified.


Screenshot of Select Adobe PDF Preset

Select Adobe PDF Preset

To see exactly the difference between the iPad colour profile and standard RGB (or between any colour profiles for that matter) you can use the ColorSync Utility found in the Applications>Utilities folder on a Mac.

Screenshot iPad colour profile viewed in ColorSYnc

iPad colour profile viewed in ColorSync


Screenshot Comparison of sRGB and iPad Colour profiles using ColorSync

Comparison of sRGB and iPad Colour profiles using ColorSync

Note that the iPad profile is smaller than sRGB but is also differently shaped so has a different colour range especially in the blue region of the spectrum.


Posted in Adobe, Apple, Colour Management, Design, InDesign, iPad, Software | Leave a comment