posts tagged with the keyword ‘photoshop’


Hey, we got a Nikon D3200 in the studio… how does it work? Just fine. I mean, there hasn’t been a ton of evaluation time with it yet, but I’ll mention one thing.

When we got in a Nikon D3x a few years back the biggest pain point was that we could not open the NEF files without using Nikon’s ViewNX software. (At least not until some software updates.) My workflow is built around using the Adobe Camera RAW converter in Photoshop, so that sort of sucked. Things got solved over time, but right now with the NEF files created by the Nikon D3200, I’m out of my simple NEF -> Photoshop workflow.

DNG 7.1 Converter

The solution for now is to grab the Adobe DNG Converter “Release Candidate” software, which lets you convert NEF files to DNG files so you can open as RAW in Photoshop. (And yeah, I’m still running Photoshop CS 5, btw.)

The version I got says “ beta” and when you launch it you see that it will expire in June. (We assume a new release, or worse-case a new beta, will be out by then.)

DNG Expires

The Camera Raw plugin you see listed on that page? It didn’t work for me. In fact, before I could install it I had to install the Adobe Application Manager, and then it told me it couldn’t install again. I dug through the install files, and while I did find support files for the Nikon D800 (which we’ll get in soon… I hope!) there are no files for the Nikon D3200.


So for now I’ll just stick with converting NEF files to DNG files, and then opening those in Photoshop. It’s another step, and it’s a PITA, but it could be worse. And while Nikon’s new ViewNX2 is a big improvement to the crash-worthy ViewNX, I still don’t care for it as part of my preferred workflow.

So here’s hoping Adobe gets that RAW plugin updated soon, and that it’ll work with Photoshop CS 5.


Convert all the files!
Thanks Tom!

It seemed like a simple enough request… While at Milwaukee Makerspace we were discussing creating snowflakes on the Laser Cutter, and I mentioned that there should be some existing art on, but it was down that night, so I jumped over to Thingiverse and found this snowflake.

As a bit of background, I’ve been pretty damn good at file conversions in the past. Audio, video, markup, raster images, anything 2D has been pretty simple. I mean, I’ve been using Photoshop since version 1.0.7. I know how to deal with that stuff… but 3D? It’s a whole new nightmare world!


The file was an STL, which is meant for 3D printing, but we needed more of a 2D vector file. I know how to load a DXF file into the Laser Cutter, so I figured I’m import this STL into Google Sketchup (via a plugin) and then export as a DXF (via another plugin) and that would be it.

Well, that didn’t work. (Oh, and by “didn’t work” I mean I was unable to open the DXF file in Inkscape. At this point I was still waiting to use the Laser Cutter so I didn’t get to try importing it on that machine. I figured that as long as I was waiting, I’d try to get a format I knew would work.) On to the next idea.

I exported the STL from Google Sketchup as a DAE file, and was able to open that in MeshLab. Once again I tried a DXF export, but that one wouldn’t open in Inkscape either. Argh!


So I made a radical decision… Since I could view the file in MeshLab, I just did a screen shot so I could get a nice, clean 2D version of it.


Of course if I had known I was going to do this, I probably could have just done it in Google Sketchup by altering the view… Still, the MeshLab method seemed solid.


I then took the screen shot and opened it in Photoshop, did a little editing, and converted it to black and white. (I considered creating paths, and exporting them, but at this point I wanted to go with what I knew (or thought) would work, and that meant getting a clean PNG file into Inkscape to convert it from a raster to a vector file via trace bitmap.


So finally, I had my SVG file! A vector file I could open in Inkscape and export as a clean DXF file that I was reasonable sure would open and work on the Laser Cutter…


Oh wait, at some point along the way I had created an OpenSCAD file, to test the other DXF files. They wouldn’t render due to some weirdness, but the new one I exported from Inkscape did. This made me feel a little more secure that this file would work.

So how did it turn out? I don’t know!

The Laser Cutter was in use making ornaments, and I couldn’t stay late enough to get a chance to use it.

And just to be clear… while there were many steps in the process above, the whole thing took about 20 minutes from the first file export to getting what seemed to be a good DXF file.

I’ve converted a lot of files in my time, but doing so for these CNC machine is proving to be a new challenge.

Of course half the fun is seeing if it will work, you know, on the machine… which I hope to test at some point. :)


HDR Photos

It’s been a while since I posted anything about HDR imaging, and I realized that I never put Adobe Photoshop CS5 to the test. I did try creating an HDR image with CS4, but was disappointed with the results…

In the image above you can see my final output of an image. On the left side is all Photoshop, and on the right side is Luminance HDR (formerly “Qtpfsgui” for you old timers.)

Now for both of these images I did the HDR+ thing I talked about a while back, where I blend an HDR image with a normal exposure. Personally, I like the way those turn out, so it’s pretty much how I do HDR.

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Photoshop. (View it large at Flickr.)

Pewaukee Lake

Here’s the image from Luminance HDR. (View it large at Flickr.)

I think the Photoshop image looks better in the sky… it looks a bit cleaner, while the Luminance HDR image has a little bit of banding going on. You can also see some differences in the trees, and the water, but I think the rocks in the foreground really show the difference, and I prefer what Luminance HDR did.

This is only my first attempt at comparing the two applications, so it’s not entirely scientific. I did go into each file and tweak it a bit to try to match them closely as far as the color balance, but the detail is where the difference is most apparent. I also didn’t see any way to adjust the tonemapping in Photoshop, while Luminance HDR has a ton of sliders and options to twiddle with.

I suppose next time I could combine the two final images into a ‘final final’ image that would be some sort of SUPER HDR+ image. (I’ll add that to the ‘to do’ list.)


Ringy Dinghy

This is a photo of the “Ringy Dinghy” taken at Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin…

I started with a single RAW image and created 3 different exposures by processing the NEF file in Photoshop. Once I had the 3 files, I loaded them into Luminance HDR (aka ‘qtpfsgui’) which combined them into an HDR image, and I then tonemapped the image.

This part won’t mean much to you unless you are familiar with qtpfsgui (aka ‘Luminance HDR’) but these are the tonemap settings for this particular image. (I tend to use Mantiuk the most.)


Once I created the tonemapped image, I saved that, and then combined it with the middle exposure shot in Photoshop, just slightly blending the layers. Then I saved that file as our final image.

This is pretty much the technique I described as HDR+ back in 2009, and the method I used for my Red Barn photo.


Chalk Look

(consider it cc:by)

While playing around with the brush settings in Photoshop I ended up with something that gave a chalk-like look. I decided to go with it and did this chalk drawing. I also captured these quick screen shots of the settings so I remember how to do it in the future. The “scattering” setting is the one to look at. Obviously I’m still enjoying drawing with the Wacom tablet, and have much more exploring to do.



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