Posts Tagged ‘Adobe Photoshop’

CS5 – as useful as a ‘Chocolate Teapot’?

February 3, 2010
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Image via Wikipedia

Later this year Adobe will be releasing their latest incarnation of the Creative Suite in the form of CS5. For the avid followers of Adobe development news and those who are registered beta testers you will have seen some of the wonders that this new version will bring.

For the rest of us, we are left wondering what the cost of upgrading will be and whether we are going to save anything by doing it… Let’s face it when we shell out of upgrades we usually do it for 3 reasons:

  1. There are new features we must have or have been waiting for….
  2. Someone is supplying us files that we need to manipulate in the new version of the software
  3. Or we have somehow justified the expense to get the upgrade for absolutely no reason…

There are those of us who have been sensible enough to maintain their maintenance agreements and thus get the upgrades for free anyway. Well not exactly free, but cheaper than buying them at retail cost (with your given CLP agreement discount level) you’ll enjoy these new features without a second thought. Unfortunately these lucky people are the ones that will ultimately force upgrades on others they supply their files to.

Adobe is again focusing on the ability to streamline the creative process by enabling cross application graphics usage that allows for fast pre-media channel outputs, along with their crusade to make everything Flash enabled (well apart from anything Apple that is – that bitter war continues!)

Adobes flagship product – Photoshop – has a whole host of new features that have been touted about the internet. These include:

  • New Digital Photography Features
  • 64 bit processing for Apple Mac computers
  • Porting Photoshop CS5 from Carbon to Cocoa
  • Support for Multiple GPU’s
  • New Brush technologies
  • New Paint technologies
  • New on-the-fly multi-point Warping technologies
  • New Content Aware Technology
  • GPU Video Acceleration Technologies

But I must ask how many of these with have any economical impact on our day to day business? Sure, multi GPU support would be nice for all those with multi GPU graphic cards and new paint technology is great for those artists out there have haven’t already discovered what Paintshop Pro does for them. And what about the long awaited 64bit support – I mean 64bit in desktop machines has only been around for 6 years!? Also, what about the content aware scaling; we’ve already seen their first attempt of this in CS4 which was pretty awesone, but how much does it really get used….?

Although, like most others I will rush out and get CS5, I do question if the expense is really going to be worth it and whether the new features, tools and underlying archecture is going to benefit me to the tune of the upgrade cost – or will be be “as useful as a chocolate tea pot”!? Wouldn’t it be more useful if Adobe placed more analytical tools under the bonnet so we can see the most frequently used tools and the effect our system setup has? Also, how about some Adobe ‘statistics gathering’ on what they really need to improve? Now that would bring true benefit to the endusers and businesses alike.

Author: Gary George

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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Jack of all trades?

December 23, 2009

You know what, with all this talk about pre-media and the diverse channels of media that need to be addressed that fall into it’s scope, I thought we ought to look at the types of skills a ‘pre-media specialist’ should hold… This has really come about after a discussion and then one of those lovely google alerts coming in for a ‘pre-media specialist’ job in London.

Firstly lets take a quick look at what this job wanted the candidates to be able to do:

To be considered for this role, you will ideally have:
Commercial experience in professional graphics software applications including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXpress and Dreamweaver
Sound working knowledge of HTML and CSS
Data processing experience, preferably gained in MS Excel or Access
A demonstrable track record of working to client briefs and interpreting requirements.
Knowledge of variable data mark-up for digital print and knowledge of digital workflow in a print or online production environment
Any experience gained in XMPie, DirectSmile or Yours Truly designer VDP extensions is highly desirable, but not strictly essential as full training can be provided.

My god they should have thrown in Video Editing in Final Cut Pro just for good measure!… I’ve just exaggerated the keywords there for them to jump out at you, this is a pretty good job spec and to be honest if anyone could demonstrate commercial experience in just Photoshop they would probably be in for a 25k a year job, but these guys seem to want you to be a jack of all trades here, and to top that their owning willing to pay between 20-30k a year… Now hold on, I know we’re living in desperate times, but to me there is 4 distinct jobs outlined in this spec…. An Artworker capable of page markup and image composition. A web designer building pages in HTML and CSS. A data processing/VDP person and last but not least a workflow guy. Now, I’ve been around for some 20 years in this trade and met some pretty clever people, but none of them have that sort of diversity and if they did know a little of each, they were by no means a specialist.

So are we now expecting too much for our money?

http://www.sillydaddy.net

Cartoon by Joe Chiapetta http://www.sillydaddy.net

I know so many companies that struggle to get good Quark, Indesign & Photoshop operators and the good ones they do get are paid over 35k, the to add Illustrator to that, good Illustrator people are worth their weight in gold. As the cartoon displays the skills gap that UPS identified in Illinois, we tend to hire just on the basis that the potential employee writes it on their CV.

(thanks to Joe Chiappetta for allowing the use of this cartoon picture, check out all his great work at http://www.sillydaddy.net)

But if you were a brand owner and knew your pre-media company employed pre-media specialists who, well, specialized in everything rather than any one of the given disciplines of pre-media, how confident would you be in the specialist services you were getting?

In fact each of the Adobe application have a certified expert program were a user can take an exam based on one of the applications (in the UK they are provided through a series of authorized training centers) if you pass you are provided a certificate to say you are a certified expert in that version of the application…. Have you ever even asked your pre-media supplier if they have any certified experts employed and if so what versions of the applications they are experts in…. Or in fact if you are an employee have you asked your company to sponsor you to become an expert? I mean it would benefit them as much as it benefits your own career, and lastly as an employer do you encourage and support your staff to become experts?

On the whole most of you will answer no to the above, yet if we are to really and truly benchmark the skills and salaries of the people we employ we need to start encouraging accreditation in the applications we employ them to use, unfortunately for me, years of experience doesn’t mean the person is actually any good in the applications, and I can tell you from experience I’ve employed some youngsters in my time that are worth 10 times their peers.

While I understand that there is a need to employ people with multiple skills, companies are constantly running the risk employing people who aren’t particularly skilled in anything, I mean, I could say that I am fluent in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, yet I only really know 5% of what Corel is capable of doing and that’s where the problem is when a person states they can use a graphic application.

So where does this leave our modern pre-media companies who need to deliver services across multiple disciplines and deliver those services at rates that are competitive against the other pre-media companies in the market. Well better pre-employment screening can only help you employ the right people, there’s plenty of great people out there, I hope you can find them and have a good performance rating program to assist the weaker ones in becoming a true asset to the company.

Author: Gary George

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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