lordomat

gothick_matt

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Random ramblings of a programmer, photographer, journalist and runner


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lordomat
gothick_matt

Plan for today

Right. Have had nice hot bath and followed my lemsip with an espresso chaser. Now feeling ready to do stuff. I'm not going to plan to do too much today, as I'm guessing my energy levels won't be high, so:

  • Go through one of the GIMP tutorials from the Meet the Gimp podcast. I'm trying to get good with the GIMP because it's so handy for both web design and photography (and because I can't afford Photoshop.)

  • Research HDTV for the last article in this second batch of ten I'm writing. This is an interesting one, because I've never seen an HDTV, as far as I know. I've still got a big ol' tube TV, and I'm not even planning on advancing to a flat screen unless this one dies.

  • Design a nice menu for a WordPress theme I'm working on (both for my own use and also because it would be good to know how to customise WordPress themes.)

  • Get all the laundry done.


That'll probably be enough goals for a day of illness.

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By all accounts, only get/watch a HDTV if you're getting HD content - for watching SD content, LCD's aren't that great. I have one of these: Samsung LE37M87BDX, and whilst removing the behemoth that was my 35" CRT from the lounge has made a big difference to the lounge, the LCD is sub-par on SD content. It's OK for movies, but I have to turn the smoothing engine way up. Pixelation is evident on SD cartoons during display of a key frame, though the smoothing engine removes it quickly enough on display of subsequent frames. For HD, it rocks, though.

I've never been wholly convinced by the Gimp as a viable PS replacement, as Paint Shop Pro and PS Elements (v3 onwards) have always felt superior and cheap. The Gimp has always felt clunky and hard to use in comparison.

If you haven't yet tried Photoshop Elements, I'd urge you to do so - you can get a number of plugins for it that negate some of the features that have been removed, such as layer masks; and it's less than a hundred quid. These days, I try and do as much as possible in Lightroom (around a hundred quid), which has the bonus of having many ways to organise your photos, plus all your mods, categories and keywords are stored in XML, which makes moving to another tool in the future much easier.

I look at the cost of Photoshop as part of the cost of doing professional photography as an amateur - it's about the same price as a decent lens and is a seriously powerful tool in your digital toolbox.

Ta for the TV info. Mind you, it'll be a good long time before I look into getting into HD (I probably won't bother upgrading until this one breaks, and it seems failry indestructible so far.) I just don't watch that much telly.

As for t'Gimp, I get along okay with it, and I'm prepared to sacrifice a bit of usability for the "free" element. The only thing that I'm really still waiting for is tablet pressure sensitivity, and that seems like it might not be too far off being supported.

Later versions of Paint Shop Pro irritated me a great deal when I used to use them, and it's Windows-only anyway (and the free Paint.Net is a good alternative for quick image editing under Windows, so I don't tend to use it even at work these days.)

There was a reason I didn't try Elements; I think the last time I looked it was lagging behind a version on the Mac, and it was only a PowerPC binary. I'll pop it on my list to have another look at. There are similar and funkier cut-down image editors for the Mac (the promising new Pixelmator uses the GPU for its processing, and is impressively fast at doing all sorts of thing.)

My other main reason for going for the GIMP is that there are vast amounts of tutorials out there for it which don't need any translation or hacking about to work through -- unlike the way you'd probably have to figure out what to do in Elements when a Photoshop tutorial used a feature it hadn't got.

Also, I think you're probably a fair bit further down the photography route than I am, too, which may make Photoshop seem cheaper in comparison. Bear in mind I've never bought a lens, and that Photoshop is more than twice the price of the most expensive camera I've ever bought!

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