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09/25/12 Nik software has been purchased by Google…….Whats up with that?

Nik products HDR efxpro and colorefx pro

Nik products HDR efxpro and colorefx pro

Over the past weekend and during the big Photokina show in Cologne Germany, Nik software announced that they had been purchased by Google.  The assumption here is that Google is wanting to use the Nik control point technology in some of their apps.  As a huge Nik user in my work, this concerns me as what tends to happen in situations like this is that the company that makes the purchase will absorb the smaller one and then the products are taken off the market.

Nik has several really key products for photogrpahy:

Color Efex Pro, HDR Efex Vr. 2, Define,  Viveza, Silver Efex Pro are the main products that I use but there are more in the product suite.  I noticed today that Nik has the information on their website talking about the merger/takeover by Google.  My recommendation is that make sure that all of your products are current via the upgrade process.  Nik has been very good in the past in keeping their product set current with both enhancements and bug fixes.

Only time will tell what Google decides to do, but I would not bet on Nik staying in the mainstream very long.  This will give on-one a boost as they have several products that overlap the Nik product suite.


07/20/12 Panther Cloth from Kinetronics is amazing–for photos, cameras, and much more!!

I have been a photographic printer now for over 30 years, the first 15 with the traditional photographic paper/chemical process and the last 15 with inkjets and photoshop. One of the biggest problems that you will run into is the handling of a fine photo. If you are working to mount it either dry or wet mount, the cloth you use to help with the process has to be free of any type of material that will scratch a print. This is especially true with a glossy or semi-gloss print as it seem that just the slightest rub will sometimes scratch a perfect print and send it to the trash can. Over the years I have used the static free brushes from Kinetronics for cleaning my print before and after I mount them. I also use these same brushes to clean my printers as a lot of trash seems to build up in and around the platen area of my inkjets. This trash will eventually fall onto the print surface. When this happens, most times the printer will print over the trash and when you wipe the print the trash comes off and then the ink. Another one hits the trash! But even worse, after you get a good print, is finding a cloth that will not scratch the surface of the print when you are mounting it. Enter the Panther cloth from Kinetronics.

Kinetronics Panther cloth in package
Kinetronics Panther cloth in package

The panther cloth is made from  a black, very soft, anti-static material.  I believe it’s about 10″ x 10″ when fully unfolded.  A single cloth from the company is $6.95 and you can purchase a box of (10) for $41.00 which is a very good savings on the single price.  As good as these clothes are I would recommend purchasing the box.  I was able to work with a 25″ x 45″ glossy print for a dry mount and the process was smooth and generated no scratches.  You can actually use these clothes to press down on the print as you lay the print down (I don’t use a dry mount press)  When I dry mount I  use a spray adhesive and then lay the print down, applying pressure as I do this.  During the process you need one hand holding the print and other to apply slight pressure over the print to help keep bubbles from forming.  I tested the Panther cloth in my dry mounting and found no scratches at all. [Read more…]

05/25/12 Things always seem to fall apart when you need them the most!!

Do you ever have one of those days, where you think everything is in order, but when you start the job everything seems to line up for a problem. Today I had one of those type of days. I have been working an huge printing project for a local hospital. There are 8 total panels on canvas each is 35″ long and 70″ tall. I had proofed each panel and felt I was ready for the printing.  However as I started to print I ran to one problem after another, some being my fault, others out of my control.

  1. When printing large like this, you may miss some small imperfections, that will really not show up in a smaller version of a print.  One of these jobs was a long vertical waterfall coming down a series of boulders.  The image was created by using 2 vertical 35mm frames and combining them together to create one final image.  When I viewed the files, they seemed fine, however once printed large I did find some areas where the software I used to combine the files left some areas not blended very well.
  2. When printing out a large file always remember to view the preview screen.  For some reason the Epson print driver started to cut off my 70″ long prints at about 43″ but still ran out all the 70″ of canvas.  I finally was able to get around this by moving the printing to Lightroom 64 bit.
  3. UPS failures, during one print I had a power surge and it took out the UPS the printer was attached to.  At first I thought I might have lost the printer, but it returned with no problems.
  4. Canvas problems between lots of canvas.  If you are using a standard brand of canvas, I strongly recommend checking the lot numbers and making sure a shipment stays in one set of lot number.  I ran into a problem where I crossed two sets of lot numbers and most of the profiling and printer settings didn’t seem to work as well on the 2nd lot.

Overall the lesson learned here is you never really have everything under control.  It’s a rare day where everything swarms like it did today but it can happen.