Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

With just a little bit of searching about this movie, I saw quite a few sites pointing to the full length HD movie online. I haven’t watched it because it requires a (free) registration to a site which, let’s be honest, is not a legal movie site. The only reason I even share it is that I came across it searching for the trailer on YouTube and they have the link right there.

One of the many versions of the movie poster is below.

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

The evil Adobe empire

Evil Adobe Empire

I came across this article the other day and paused for a few moments to think about the Adobe empire. The discussion in the article is all-too-familiar, and becoming a real trend. Even I have a difficult time defending Adobe.

I’ve spent years defending Adobe’s business model and applications. I still feel they’re the best tools on the market for content creators. And I don’t feel like $50 per month is the outrageous amount people make it out to be.

But I’m done defending Adobe. Because I can’t anymore.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, the logos and images for the last three freelance jobs I’ve worked on, and the graphics for this site’s last several posts were edited with an app not named Photoshop or Illustrator.

I guess what I’m saying is, the little things I mentioned a few days ago are piling up. And there are finally real options out there. By the end of this year, they’ll be a competitive alternative to Adobe’s print-related suite of apps. All of them. And I’m going to give them a serious consideration.

OS X El Capitan beta display brightness fix

If you installed Apple’s latest beta of OS X, El Capitan, you may have noticed the LCD appears to be a bit brighter with less contrast. I didn’t notice a problem until I launched Diablo III and found that it was almost unplayable due to the screen brightness.

El Capitan ambient light

After tinkering, I realized that El Capitan has added an option in the Display preferences that allows your Mac to automatically adjust the display based on ambient light. Turning this option off (unchecking) fixed my screen brightness issue.

Because this is an iMac, in an office where I control the lighting, this is probably optimal. However, I haven’t installed the beta on my MacBook Pro, so I’m not sure if the new feature offers benefits to mobile users.

Adobe’s unwelcome Welcome screen

Adobe welcome screen

Hey Adobe, see that button down there in the lower right corner of your highly-annoying Welcome screen that pops up every time I launch InDesign CC 2015—the one that says “Don’t Show Welcome Screen Again?” How about you fix whatever bug that tells the app to ignore the fact that I clicked that button the last time I launched the app, EVERY TIME I LAUNCH THE APP!!!

When you do manage to fix the bug, please share your findings with the Illustrator team, because it happens every time I launch that app as well.

To be fair, this only happens on two out of the three Macs I use on a regular basis. But all three Macs have exactly the same software installed, and are running the same OS versions.

Are you using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries?

Creative Cloud Libraries

Adobe Creative Cloud’s Libraries feature allows you to access, organize and share assets between your desktop and mobile apps, as well as other Creative Cloud users.

Libraries allows you to collect Character Styles, Color Swatches, Brushes, Graphics, Text, and other objects in one or multiple libraries (see the Illustrator Libraries panel in the image above). The Panel is accessed under the Window menu in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. The assets you collect are synced via the cloud, and made available not only to your other apps, but you can share them with other members of your creative team, or make them publicly available via a link.

That alone would be really handy, but Adobe went a step further by offering the option of placing graphics in your Library as a linked file. That means when you update the original graphic, it gets updated in your Library, as well as any document you’ve placed the graphic in via the Libraries panel.

For the most part, you simply drag items into and out of the Libraries panel. Some icons across the bottom of the panel also allow you to add items.

Using the Libraries feature can save you a lot of time, especially if you use the same graphics, text styles and colors in most of your design work. In particular, publication designers will find Libraries to be a real game changer, especially if you share the design duties with other graphic artists on the staff.

Steve Jobs – Official movie trailer

The movie itself looks good, but Michael Fassbender just doesn’t fit. I don’t care how good he is as an actor, he doesn’t look anything like Steve Jobs. And that would be ok were it not for the fact that Jobs only passed away a few years ago. He’s too fresh in our mind.

Create a quick video montage with Glimpses

I don’t do a whole lot of video work, but I do throw together quick videos for friends and family. Sometimes editing in iMovie, as simple as it is, is overkill for my needs. That’s why I appreciate simple little apps like Glimpses (formerly known as Briefly) from Eternal Storms Software.

Glimpses’ sole purpose is to quickly and easily create high-quality video montages—dozens, or even hundreds of photos flashing by for fractions of a second, set to music—like the one you see above. Now keep in mind that I paid no attention to the size, shape or resolution of the photos I chose—so don’t judge Glimpses by what you see in the video.

Working with Glimpses

Glimpses couldn’t be easier to use. You simply add a whole bunch of photos to the main window by selecting them from your Photos app collection, dragging from the Finder, or importing them from Flickr or Instagram. Once the photos are in the editing window, you can re-order them any way you wish, including: manually, by date, title or color (a very slick feature).

Glimpses main window

Once your photos are in order, you choose a soundtrack and set the duration you wish your photos to appear. You can choose anywhere from 0.1 to 4 seconds, or you can let Glimpses figure it out based on the length of your soundtrack. If you set the duration yourself, the soundtrack will fade out when all the photos have been displayed (like the video above). If your soundtrack is too short for the number of photos you have, you can add additional soundtracks, or loop it.

When you’re done, you simply export the video at the resolution you want, ranging from 240p all the way up to 4K. You can also have Glimpses remove any pillars and letter-boxing. But the coolest thing is that Glimpses recognizes faces, and moves the photos to keep them in the frame.

Shortcomings

I almost hesitate to call it shortcoming, but the one thing that bothered me was the inability to set any particular photo duration independently of the rest of them. For instance, it would be cool to have the first photo stay up for a second or two while leaving the rest of them set to half a second (or whatever).

You can get around this by placing duplicate photos in the editing window. So if you have your photo duration set to half a second, but you want the first one to stay on screen for five seconds, you simply have to have 10 copies of the photo set to appear in a row. It’s a bit of a pain, but not too difficult to work with. I’ve been in touch with Matthias Gansrigler at Eternal Storms and he tells me that he’s well aware of this limitation, and hopes to address it in a future release if possible.

In conclusion

I really love this little app, it works as advertised and doesn’t try to do too much. I’ve already used Glimpses to create a video greeting card for family, and a product intro video for a client. They were extremely pleased with the quality and speed with which I was able to put it together.

Glimpses requires Mac OS X Yosemite and costs just $24.99 (Mac App Store link). A 15-day demo version is available on the Glimpses product page. If you find iMovie to be overkill for producing montage videos, I highly recommend you give Glimpses a try.