360-Degree Panoramas Webpage


If you have followed my blog, you know that a lot of my posts deal with 360-degree panoramas, either taken with my drone, or more recently my Insta360 One X camera. My posts have often dealt with my efforts to stitch the individual images together and then effectively project them to be able to use the mouse to scroll and zoom.

About a month ago I added a dedicated webpage to focus on both my efforts and some of the results. Currently most of the examples were created using Momento360.com projections. The link to the webpage is shown at the top of this page. Later I will highlight other sites and software.

Stay tuned.

Until next time, stay safe.

Tired of Watching Netflix – Cast your Own


Hopefully, we are all doing our part and are sheltering-in-place as we continue our fight to control the spread of COVID-19. That probably means we are watching a lot of television.

Personally, I am growing tired of watching what my cable provider, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and other commercial sites have to offer. It’s not that I have run out of things to watch from their offerings. It is just I would like to watch or listen to content that is stored on my computer.

Sure I can watch videos, listen to music, and look at slide shows or groups of photos sitting at my computer. But there is not room for more than a couple of people (for now family members) to crowd around my computer monitor. And my speaker is OK for speech, but not for music.

What I really want to do is watch and listen to the content I have on my computer from the comfort of my family room on my flat screen TV. I even have a sound bar that provides much improved audio than my television.

Luckily, since my PC is running on Windows 10, there is an easy way to do this. For those of you who use Macs, I am sure there is a way that is equally simple that allows you to do the same.

All you need besides you PC to do this is either a smart TV or, as in my case, a smart DVD player. What follows are the steps required to view photo images, listen to recorded music, or watch videos stored on your PC or one of its hard drives on your television.

Step 1   Turn on and Prepare Your Smart Device

This needs to be done before you do anything on your PC. The figure below shows the Home screen on my Samsung DVD player. The arrow points to the mode that is used to mirror what is playing or being displayed on my PC in another room.

DVD Home Screen

Not described here, but I have also set my sound bar to the right source.

Step 2   Set Up Your PC for Streaming

Click on the Start button > Settings.

Select PC Settings

Click Settings > Devices.

Settings Devices

Select Bluetooth > UBP-X700 (my DVD Player’s system name)

UBP-X700 is the system name or ID for my DVD player. This can be found in your DVD’s System Settings screen. Note the figure below was captured while setting up to play audio files. That is why the XBP-X700 video icon is not connected.

Buetooth Devices

Step 3   Select the Media to be Streamed

Using File Explorer, select the files to be streamed. This example is for casting an audio file. At this point it could also be video files. In the figure below, only a single file was selected. Multiple files (songs in this case) could have also been selected.

Right click on the selected file or files and then click on Cast to Device > XBP-X700 as shown below.

Cast to Device

Step 4   Click on the Play/Pause Button

Play Audio

 Step 5    Return to your Easy Chair and Enjoy

A couple final tips:

    • You can select one folder at a time for music. All of the songs in that folder will play and then repeat when the last song has played.

    • For videos and photo images, you can select multiple folders in Step 3, and they will all play.

    • Once the files begin streaming you can Pause etc. from the devices remote – in my case, my DVD’s remote.

    • This last one is strictly for my benefit, and most likely is not applicable in many/most cases. I keep my cable box/DVR on and select the applicable input of my DVD player on my TV to begin the steps.

There you have it. Let me know if you found this post helpful.

Until next time…

Scott Kelby’s Latest Webinar


This morning Scott Kelby presented his latest free webinar on backing up your photos. I tuned in a bit late, but the webinar is still available at the following link.

Scott Kelby Webinar – Backing Up Your Photos

In fact, you can also view previous webinars here as well.

The webinar is focused on those who use Adobe’s Lightroom Classic. For those of you are are Lightroom users, who are familar with Scott Kelby, you may already be familar with his SLIM – Simplified Lightroom Image Management system.

There is a complete updated course on Slim on KelbyOne.com

But even if you do not you will probably get multiple tips by watching the webinar.

Some of the key points discussed in the webinar include:

  • Put all of your photos on one external hard drive.

  • Backup up your photos to a second external hard drive.

  • Also, back up your photos to cloud Storage.

  • Put all of your photos on your external drive into a single super folder. Your existing folders are then sub-folders of this super folder.

  • In Lightroom Classic, use only one Catalog.

The webinar goes on to discuss additional Lightroom topics. Even if you do not use Lightroom, the above practices are worth doing.

Until next time…

 

How Photoshop Elements has Changed Throughout the Years


As I read the discussions in various forums and Facebook groups, it is apparent that many users continue to use older versions of Photoshop Elements. Many users are even using older versions than PSE 11, released in the Fall of 2012. This version is significant, because Adobe changed the complete look and feel of the program in that version.

One of the most commonly asked questions from users of older versions is whether or not it is worthwhile to upgrade to the then current version. The answer for a given user depends upon their circumstances. It is often driven by changes in the computer they use, its operating system, and/or the camera they use.

Today, we are probably about half way through the product life cycle of PSE 2020. If history repeats itself, PSE 2021 will be released sometime this Fall. So the question many users ask is should I upgrade to the latest version. Adobe has a excellent table that compares PSE 2020 features with previous ones going back to PSE 15. You can access it at the link below:

PSE 2020 Logo

For several years now I have maintained my own table. It is more detailed than the one in the above link and goes back to PSE 11. The link below is to my current version. It is an Excel spreadsheet. 

Feature Comparison PSE 11 Through PSE 2020

If you have been struggling to decide whether to upgrade or not, I hope you found this information helpful. If so please star-rate it or Like/Share the post. Also, I am always open to comments.

Until next time…

Addendum: Some were not able to open my spreadsheet. I have converted it to a PDF file. The link to it is below.

Photoshop Elements Feature Comparison PSE 11 through PSE 2020 PDF File.

 

Creating High Contrast Landscapes Images Using Photoshop


In this post, I am going to demonstrate how to bring out detail in landscape photos using traditional/legacy commands in Photoshop.

In more recent versions of Photoshop, we have new commands such as Clarity and Texture that essentially do this. But sometimes it is fun to revert to the old way. Besides, there is always that potential to better control the final result.

In this demo, I will be using Photoshop 2020, but the same techniques can be used using Photoshop Elements as well. I learned this technique from Dave Seeram in a magazine article he wrote several years ago.

Click on the figure below to view the tutorial.

hi contrast

If you found this AppTip Sheet to be helpful, please give it a star rating, or click on the Like or Share buttons at the bottom.

Until next time…

Lightroom Classic Can Adjust Tone and Color of Video


Lightroom Classic can be used to edit your video clips. Editing video is not the first thing that comes to mind when using Lightroom. It is its advanced digital image management capabilities and ever expanding photo editing features.

It can also be used to trim your video, as well as removing sections in the middle of the clip.

The tone and color editing features are under Quick Develop in the Library module.

Quick Edit LR

Timeline editing tools are also readily accessible. Using these tools along with those in the Slide Show module, you can assemble a multimedia presentation with simple transitions, text overlays, and background music, all within Lightroom Classic.

I used Lightroom Classic to edit the color and tone of the video I shot recently at the beach from my Mavic Pro drone. I find that it often works better for me. I did choose to use PRE 2020 to do the timeline trimming, since it has a Smart Trim tool that I often use to get started.  For this video, I also chose PRE 2020 to add the title text.

But the fact remains, I could have stayed in Lightroom Classic to do the entire project, including producing the final 1920x1080p video.

The link below shows my final video. By the way, to see the best quality, switch YouTube options to play 1080p HD. Its default is 720p HD.

I plan to use Lightroom Classic more in the future to edit the tone and color of my videos.

If you like this video, please Share it and give it a Like. Thanks.

Until next time…

Using Photoshop CC’s Color Range to Make a Selection


Well now that the Holidays have been over for a few weeks, I should post another AppTip Sheet. The Color Range command is often used to change the color of a garment or other object in a photo.

This tip is how to use Photoshop CC’s Color Range command to select the sky or other background to enhance it in some way. Although this example does not deal with this tip of image, the technique is often used to enhance or replace the sky shining through tree branches, which often present a significant challenge using other selection techniques.

Click on the figure below to view or download the AppTip Sheet.

2020-01-24_11-09-21

If you found this AppTip Sheet helpful, please Share it and/or give it a Like below.

Until next time…