Not sure where to start in Photoshop? Here's a crash course on the basics
Photoshop is a powerful application that can be used for a variety of purposes, from editing photos or other images to graphic design and 3D art to light videography work. But Photoshop's power and versatility can also make it incredibly intimidating. The program’s main window is strewn with 20 different tools plus a ton of filter effects and image layers to top it all off. While Photoshop may be as understandable as Sanskrit to a novice, we’re going to show you how to get started with the basics.
When your images aren’t up to snuff, there’s always photo-editing software
Photography can be impenetrable from the gear to actually shooting and then the image editing software is a whole other uphill battle. Even with Adobe introducing Lightroom as a lightweight Photoshop alternative, it can be daunting to see a screen full of sliders as a complete novice. To help get you from serial Instagramer to amateur photographer, here’s a crash course to making your images look great with just a few steps in Lightroom.
Rocky Marciano never lost a bout during his professional career, and so far in our own sanctioned cage fights, neither has Spotify. The spunky streaming music service handily dispatched Rdio when we tossed the two in a ring two years ago, and more recently, Xbox Music took a beating, losing four out of five rounds. Google, however, has come out swinging with a promising music service of its own. Will there finally be a new champ?
Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
Windows 8.1: Another year in the oven makes for a tasty piece of meat
Reviewing an update to an operating system feels a little odd, doesn’t it? After all, if you already use Windows 8, it’s not like you’re not going to install Windows 8.1. Sure, there’s always the threat of compatibility issues, but Microsoft seems to have this one covered pretty well with the website (and scanning tool) that it’s dedicated to the Windows 8.1 update.
Like Photoshop and Word, CyberLink’s PowerDVD has the ability to give users upgrade fatigue. Sure, the new features are nice, but is the latest version really worth it? For many, the answer has been no, thus you find a lot of folks still rolling Word 2003, Photoshop 7, and, well, PowerDVD 9.
Note: This review was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Attention, would-be cord cutters: If you’re going to tell the cable man to shove it, you’re going to want a full-featured media center app to make browsing your digital movies, music, and pictures as pretty and painless as possible. Two of the top no-cost contenders are the open-source XBMC and Plex, a partly proprietary fork of XBMC that focuses on streaming media to multiple devices. Which is the blockbuster and which is the dud? Let’s find out.
Note: This article first appeared in the December issue of the magazine.
Adobe’s Lightroom has never been an easy application to explain to the uninitiated, but we’ll give it a shot. Lightroom 4 is, at its core, two things: a DAM (digital asset manager) and a raw-file developer. Sure, it also comes with new or updated modules for mapping and creating books, slide shows, and the like, but the key features are its Library and Develop modules.
Lightroom 4.0 allows you to bulk-edit images quickly so you don’t have to sit in one photo for hours.
The sheer power of video is well-known; we all remember what it did to radio back in the ’80s, after all. But what would happen if video picked a fight with video? Curious, we tossed two of the top video chat options into a cage to determine the superior specimen. Skype may be the big man on campus, but Google's scrappy video calling plugin delivers the same features from within the Google ecosystem. There can be only one!
Note: This article was taken from the September issue of the magazine.
Valve has released Steam Big Picture Mode, which provides PC gamers with a new, elegant TV-tailored experience of Steam. The problem is Big Picture Mode is currently only in open beta testing, and finding out how to opt into the beta can be tricky. Detailed below are steps to help you get Steam's new Big Picture Mode running smoothly on your big-screen TV.