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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PhotoShop Part 3

This is the third in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out.

"Merging Two or More Images in Photoshop First Things First"

Have you ever noticed how magazines, newspapers and some web designers are able to combine multiple photographs together to create cool collages of merged images?

Merging two or more images into one image has become the standard. Everywhere you look you will see examples. Whether you are a web designer, graphic artists, or photographer you can benefit from the ability to merge photographs.

Photo merging techniques will allow you to create original logos, advertisements, backgrounds for web sites, and much more.

If you have Adobe Photoshop then you already have everything you need to create amazing digital collages from multiple photos. Photoshop is the professional’s choice for digital photographic editing and manipulation.

Before you start merging two or more photographs to make a digital collage it is important that you spend a little time planning your final image.

While technical knowledge in how to use Adobe Photoshop to merge photographs is essential don’t downplay the importance of planning your final image before you even start working in Photoshop.

With that being said, the layers function in Photoshop is perfect for allowing you to experiment with different options.

The following are areas to consider when planning a photo collage image.

Choosing Photographs

The most important part of merging multiple photographs is as simple as choosing the right photographs for your photo collage. The photographs you choose can compliment each other in terms of a general theme or color scheme. Try using the eyedropper in Photoshop to check colors and look for complimentary colors.

Composition

Once you have chosen the right photographs for your photo collage it is time to think about your composition. Browse the Internet and look for example of digital photo collages and look for images that you feel are particularly effective in relaying the message intended by the advertiser or artist. Pay attention to the composition of the images. Consider what makes the images blend well together.

The great thing about Adobe Photoshop is that you can work in multiple layers which will allow you to play around with your composition before permanent placement.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Photoshop Tutorial - File Formats

This is the next in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out.

"A File Format for Every Occasion"

As you learn and become more familiar with Adobe Photoshop you will likely notice that Photoshop allows you to save images in many different formats or file types.

Having a working knowledge and understanding of these different image formats is essential to making the most of your digital photo projects.

While they are many different image types the following is a description of the most common file types you will use when working in Photoshop.

Digital Image File Formats

PSD

If you use Photoshop for your digital photo editing then PSD is probably the most important file format that you need to know. A PSD file is a Photoshop file format and is your best option when working on digital photos for two main reasons. First of all, PSD files allow the user to work in layers and channels and save work being done without compressing the layers. This of course usually results in a large file size. Secondly, PSD files do not lose image quality as you work on images because there is no compression when the file is saved resulting in lost data. It is always best to save your work as a PSD file until your image is finished and then you can save into the format most appropriate for your project.

JPEG

JPEG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, is one of the most common and well known file formats. JPEG files are good for web use as well as a variety of applications due to their small file size. Due to compression JPEG images loss data (image quality) each time change the file is saved.

GIF

GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a popular file format for web use and other Internet applications. These files are typically small in size and load quickly in Internet browsers. GIF files are limited to a maximum of 256 colors. 


PNG 
PNG is the new replacement for GIF that is popular for web use and is actually the preferred format in the TriCaster and VT systems. They can contain up to 16 million colors and include an alpha or transparency channel.

TIFF

TIFF, or Tagged Image File Format, are high quality images but are not really used that often and are not good for Internet use.

Although there are more file formats than we have listed here these are the formats you will want to use in your Photoshop photo editing projects.

For the most part, the only formats you will use on a regular basis are PSD, JPEG, and GIF or PNG.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another TriCaster 2.0 Update

  • Flash Audio Quality Enhancements
    Flash audio now supports higher sampling rates and includes improved fidelity in PAL Flash streaming.
  • Flash Audio Quality Enhancements
    Higher bandwidth profiles have been added for PAL Flash streaming.
  • Multiple CG Pages Load in Edit Text Module
    Import multiple CG pages from separate files using multiple selection.
  • Improved Video File Compatibility
    Video recorded to the hard drive is now compatible with a wider variety of applications, with MPEG Layer 2 audio now encoded into the MPG file. MPEG Layer 3 (MP3) audio is also recorded as a separate file that can be used within non linear editors that do not support embedded audio in MPEG files. Apple Mac users that cannot play files written by the TriCaster, may require a QuickTime update, or a third party MPEG decoder. For more information on the former, please visit : http://apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2
  • Improved Video Recording Quality
    Video files captured and rendered to disk have improved encoded chroma quality. Additional improvements have been made to the quality of files recorded in PAL.
  • Improved Quality of Text Scrolls and Crawls in Edit Media
    The motion is now much smoother with CG pages using scrolls and crawls at slower speeds.
  • iVGA Output Quality
    The quality of the scaling and de-fielding performed for iVGA when displayed on a SD resolution video output monitor has been significantly improved.
  • LiveSet™ Update
    The collection of LiveSet™ virtual sets that are included with TriCaster™ products has recently been updated. This update features three new LiveSets entitled MiddayReport™, WorldUpdate™ and NewsLine™. All three of the new LiveSets will also include Double Box effects to complement each new set design. 

NewTek HD Rumors

Check out the updates at the end  of this post.

I was going through my logs yesterday and found that a bunch of people have been searching Google for "NewTek HD Rumors". I thought that was a pretty good topic for a post so here it is.

It's actually no rumor. NewTek's first High Def product will be shipping in the near future. It's called the 3Play and is a three channel instant replay box. It will do both HD and SD and is based on NewTek's new HD hardware. I've actually seen a prototype being waved around at last April's dealer meeting but not actually operating.

It was tentatively expected to be released by the end of the year according to NewTek insiders at NAB last April but that's definitely not a firm or even verified ship date. Retail price has not been announced but the 3Play will probably be the most expensive product in NewTek's history, I'm guessing between $12k and $14k but don't come yelling at me if I'm wrong. This may seem expensive but best as I can tell the next cheapest solution is north of $100,000.

I suspect that the only real difference between the 3Play and a TriCaster HD is the software so we'll probably see a TriCaster HD sometime next year, Hopefully by NAB.

2/2/09 Update: I was way off on the MSRP. It's $21,995. Still a good great deal for what it does.

2/12/09 update: More details here: http://newteknews.blogspot.com/2009/02/newtek-announces-3play.html and you can preorder and see pictures here. Or call 1-800-692-6442 to arrange a demo.

4/16/09 Update: TriCaster XD300 leaked: http://newteknews.blogspot.com/2009/04/hd-tricaster-news-leaked-xd300.html

4/24/09 Update: TriCaster XD300 Preview 
8/19/09 Update 3Play Hands On Review

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guest Blogger - PhotoShop Tutorials

I'm going to start a new feature here and let Dan Peters post some brief PhotoShop tutorials. As a long time Aura user I'm a complete novice at PhotoShop so I would be little use but Dan is the author of Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop In Under 2 Hours  video tutorials so he knows what he is talking about.

"Understanding Photoshop’s Color Modes and How to Use Them"

The color modes and color models of digital imaging seem to be a mystery to many first learning to use Photoshop.

Many are so intimidated by the various color modes that they simply ignore the issue because they do not understand the impact color modes can have on the final printed image.

Color modes determine the color model that should be used to display and print digital pictures.

Anyone serious about professional quality digital imaging should learn about the color modes and models and how to apply them in Photoshop.

Certain color modes are best for particular applications and so on. Most good Photoshop tutorials and training aids will teach user how and when to use which color modes for the best results depending on the particular project.

Before you even begin working with the color modes in Photoshop it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what the color modes are and why there are different models.

Digital images are displayed using several different color modes. The following are the main basic color modes you will encounter when working with digital images.

RGB

RGB stands re Red Green and Blue. In the RGB color mode colors are created by mixing these three primary colors. You are basically working in three color channels in RBG mode and you can adjust the intensity of each channel to obtain various degrees of colors. White is made by combining all of
the three colors.

CMYK

CMYK is for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. While RGB creates colors by mixing colors CMYK essentially creates color by subtracting varying degrees of each color. For example, if white is needed all colors would be reduced to zero.

Learning about the color modes will result in big improvements in your digital imaging work. Printers use CMYK color while monitors use RGB.

This is why there is sometimes a difference in what you see on your PC monitor and what you see on paper. Fortunately there is now software
that you can install which will calibrate your monitor colors with your printer so what you see on your monitor is what you get when you print.
 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The ol' Burrito Bump

A guy in South Dakota says to me that he was in the control room at an Iowa Hawkeyes football game and they have a promo called Bump The Burrito that plays on the jumbotron where someone on the crew can bounce the image of a burrito keyed over a shot of fans in the stands giving the appearance that the fans were bumping the burrito up and down. Then he asks how can I do this with my TriCaster Pro.

Well, I like a challenge so I came up with three ways that you might be able to pull off something like this on a TriCaster.

  1. Completely canned animation with an alpha channel of the burrito bouncing up and down in time with music and the fans can just sync themselves to the animation using the driving burrito beat as a guide. Just route the DDR to the Overlay.
  2. Same animation, no music this time, but shuttled back and forth in the DDR for manual bumping control. Again route the DDR to the overlay.
  3. Burrito picture in paint program on another computer. Burrito picked up as brush (attached to the mouse pointer) solid color background for chroma key. Then use iVGA to grab screen from secondary computer, use LiveMatte to chroma key and crop then put the Ext (iVGA) input on Live bus, shot of fans on Effects Bus. Burrito operator bounces burrito as desired.
Use this information wisely.

A few Interesting Links

Brand new tutorial site by long time user: Jose Burgos of BurgosFX
Not much there now but I expect great things

NewTek centric podcasts by Rich Lawrence and Bill Panagouleas.
Episode 4 with an interview of Leo Laporte was just released.

Speaking of Leo the video on his site Twit TV is streamed using a TriCaster Studio.

Those should keep you occupied for a while!

Friday, September 5, 2008

MVT Video Music Awards and TriCaster

Right this second you can watch them set up tents or something. This is waaay behind the scenes stuff!

This year, TriCaster is being used to stream the MTV Tr3s Party, this pre-party takes place on Thursday, September 4. To view the coverage being posted on Friday, September 5, 2008 visit: http://www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2008/.

Philip Nelson will once again be taking one for the NewTek team. and again  here and again here

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

All New Lightwave Web Site

Tomorrow (Thursday) NewTek will unveil an all new LightWave site and wans that the site might experience periodic outages as they make the change over. So head over and check it out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More NFL Streaming with TriCaster

Philip Nelson's job sucks:
http://www.philipnelson.org/2008/08/giants-webcast-went-great/

Light Blogging - So Busy

Sorry about the light posting but we've been running flat out at the store for the last two months. NewTek has had three or four record months in a row now and we are certainly doing our part! TriCasters and the VT are both selling well and the future looks bright. A VT[5] update should be happening soon* so keep an eye out for a VT[5].2 hands-on as soon as it's released.

*Should not be construed to mean any particular time period.