A major upgrade to Affinity Photo for macOS, Windows and iPad is now available. New versions of Designer and Publisher, including Publisher for iPad are also available. Affinity Photo 2 brings changes to the UI, improved RAW development and enhancements for working with masks and layers. Version 2 is a paid upgrade with a 30 day trial available and an introductory special on currently.
A program that I used in the past on my Mac was one called URL Manager Pro. It is a bookmark manager that allows you to collect bookmarks. They can be saved in separate files. It is an ideal tool if you work with or switch between web browsers. I recently came across a new update that that in addition to a Mac program there is also an iOS app with the ability to sync via iCloud or Dropbox. Definitely a great upgrade.
A while ago I installed Mac OS X Panther on a iBook G4 along with the “Classic” environment. I was interested in trying out some programs from the past. It came with software such as Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape browsers. I had some other software I was able to run: the first version of Photoshop Elements and Myst.
Cyan, the company behind MYST, continues to make it possible to purchase versions for modern computers. Playing on the iBook today is interesting for me as it involves a CD-ROM from 1993 on a 2004 computer while having an iPad for taking notes. For some more background ArsTechnica wrote a story recently with a video interview with Rand Miller, a co-creator of the game, looking back on its development.
With some of the news these days it sure seems like Back to the Future. With reports of flying hoverboards and flying cars what else could be happening? Today we have a blast from the past as Apple subsidiary Filemaker, Inc. now known for its database program of the same name is changing its name to Claris International which reminds many long time Mac users of the former company that made ClarisWorks. AppleInsider provides some more background into the history of Apple/Claris/Filemaker.
One of the benefits that can be appreciated about the world wide web is that it has provided to people is the ability to access information from wherever you are. While often there isn’t a replacement for learning something in person, online learning has its benefits. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where the best place to go. A few of the sites that provide a range of excellent instructional resources are:
- TED: videos of presentations by people on a wide range of topics exploring new ideas. i.e. Teach arts and sciences together
- Khan Academy provides free lessons on math, arts and sciences and includes content from partnered institutions.
- Lynda.com is a subscription based service that provides a wealth including computer, business and photography video based courses and also some documentaries. i.e. Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training
- iTunes U on iPad: Made to be used by classrooms there are courses from schools and universities that are available to be accessed free by anyone that has the app. Apple made some changes last year where it moved from a category in iTunes into the iPad app. There is still a section in iTunes for what Apple calls “Collections” while moving the main courses to the iPad app. After the change I looked at the iPad app and found it very well made in terms of organizing the information, ability to download content and adding your own notes. It would be good to see Apple make the app available on the Mac as well. i.e. Designing Interactive Systems WS 17/18” by RWTH Aachen University
A helpful way of organizing photos, in addition to your image catalogue, is to keep a photography journal. I find that it helps for identifying photo events: time and location. This can help for locating pictures elsewhere on the computer and any photographic details that may not be in the image data.
There are various ways of doing this. On a computer general journalling software is available that can be used as a place to enter a photo, comments and information. Another way for those that want a consistent manner of entering information is configure a database program to keep track of the details. The method I use is entering in a database program called Tap Forms, available for the Mac and iOS. In Tap Forms I have a form that provides a space for an image, date and a text entry field for comments. Syncing between devices means you can have the information wherever you are.
Looking for ways to present your images? If you have a series of pictures, slideshows are often created, but another method to consider is the photo collage. Collages are helpful to show images from a single event or location or that are made around a theme. There are a couple ways of doing this.
- Purchase a collage frame that allows you to place several photos within the frame.
- Use software to combine several photos within one image.
Frames accept different sized prints, number of prints and arrangement of images. The collage shown below is one I created with a couple photos spread across a couple frames.
Create a Collage in Software
There are a variety of programs that allow you to create one image combined from several different sources. There are programs that are dedicated to this purpose and others that have it as a component, i.e. Photoshop Elements or GraphicConverter (version 10 and up). Here I show some steps for creating one in GraphicConverter.
Procedure in GraphicConverter
- Select one or several photos from the browser, click the “Collage” button on the toolbar and they will appear in a dialog box.
- Add or remove images here and set options for the appearance. This includes margins and type of layout.
- Click “Done” to open the image in the image editor.
The collage and settings can be saved in a special format if you want to edit the settings or images later. Save from the “File” menu. Note as far as I can tell to open the file (.gccollagepkg extension) one needs to select the “Open with Finder” menu item.
Procedure in Photoshop Elements
Collages can be made in Photoshop Elements
- Select photos in the Project Bin in the editor.
- Select Photo Collage in the Create pane.
- Choose options. After the collage is presented there is an option to choose between Advanced and Basic modes for editing.
- Options are provided for further customizing, including backgrounds and layouts
(30/05/2017 updated with Photoshop Elements info, tested with Photoshop Elements 10)
GraphicConverter provides a great selection of features including browsing and image editing. For those occasions where you need to use another image editor it is easy to send the picture from the browser to open in your desired program. There are two different ways to do this.
- Right click and in the menu select “Open With”.
- Add the “Open With” button in the toolbar.
The external editors need to be set up initially to make them available. The editors are set in the preferences.
Opening from the menu
Preferences -> General -> External Editors
In the window add any photo editors you have available here using the + button. More than one program can be listed here. In the browser right click on the image, select “Open With” and the list of applications will be shown. It can also be accessed from the main menu Edit -> Edit With.
Opening from the toolbar
Preferences -> Browser -> Misc
For the option “Open With” Application set your preferred program.
Right click on the toolbar to customize it and add the “Open With” button to the toolbar.
Affinity Photo is the program chosen here, which means that clicking on the “Open With” button on the toolbar will open a selected image in Affinity Photo. The setting here will also affect when opening from the menu by placing the chosen program at the top of the list.
Feb. 1, 2021 update: In the latest version of GraphicConverter – v. 11.3.3 the “Open With” preference is found in:
Preferences -> Browser -> Open
Today the Internet Archive, an important resource documenting the world wide web, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. A key feature has been the scanning and archiving of websites over the years. Using the WayBackMachine you can type in a URL and see what the website looked like in the past.
The Internet Archive also provides access to a large number of contributed text and multimedia resources. Below are a couple links to some Apple related resources.