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Photoscape 4.2.1 Update

It has been a while since I posted an update of all the features in PhotoScape X. This week's post is look at some of the features added since my .PhotosScape Update in November 2020.

Version 4.2 shipped in January 2022. This is the release note on the new features:

  • New Object Effects: Inner Glow, Inner Shadow, Emboss
  • New Image Effects: Outline
  • Added Background, Fill, Color, Masks options to Image and Sticker Objects
  • Added Mask option to Color and Film Effects
  • Added Close menu to Collage tab
  • Added 'Merge Selected Layers' to Editor tab
  • Added 'Font Favorites'
  • Added 'WEB Quality option'
  • Added 32 Camouflage Patterns
  • Added 180 Flower Stickers
  • Added 469 more Pixel Stickers
  • Selecting and Editing Multiple Objects
  • Improved Object Effects: Long Shadow, Overlays & Masks
  • Improved Shadows/Highlights Filter
  • Improved Ul
  • Fixed bugs

PhotoScape 4.2.1 Update
Quick Sample of some the the features in this update

Six Things I Learned from the New update

This update was a month late! In the past, PhotoScape did their major updates in Oct/Dec. I am not complaining, I just like to see what cool things that the PhotoScape team comes up with.

The Inner Glow, Inner Shadow are great ways to add make text objects stand out more.

Webp capability - Now I can save files in Webp format and see the savings using that format. (For example, the image used in this Blog post is 40 KB had I used Jpeg format it would have been 76 KB)

WebP is an image file format that Google has developed as a replacement for JPEG, PNG, and GIF file formats. WebP yields files that are smaller for the same quality, or of higher quality for the same size. It supports both lossy and lossless compression, as well as animation and alpha transparency.

Note: Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Graphic Converter don't offer support for Webp. Pixelmator Pro does allow users to save in Webp format but PhotoScape is the only app that I have that shows the preview of the saved image.

Font Favorites are a great addition! Now I can quickly switch between fonts and not have to scroll the long menu just to get to a font that I want.

The flower stickers and pixel stickers are nice, but I don't think that I'll ever use them. I guess its a good way to create a comic graphic? There's a lot of variety in the Pixel stickers, certainly worth a scroll through to get ideas.

The Camouflage Patterns are a nice addition to the large pattern library. They add a nice touch as a background color in text. I didn't realize that there were 32 different camouflage patterns.

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Luminar Neo

This week, Skylum finally shipped version 1 of Luminar Neo. In this release users get the Core Luminar features, Remove Dust Spots, Relight, Remove Powerlines, Luminar Share, Presets and Layers.

In a later release the Mask and Portrait Background removal will be available - there is no date on when that release will occur. It will be a free update.

Product Description

Luminar Neo is a creative image editor driven by AI technologies of the future. It empowers creators to bring their boldest ideas to life. And enjoy it.

With leading-edge AI technologies and a flexible workflow, Luminar Neo allows users to accomplish creative tasks and achieve professional editing results. The new engine in Luminar Neo is based on all the best solutions from our experience at Skylum for maximum performance and flexibility, allowing you to achieve complex creative results.

Before/After

Check out how Luminar Neo transformed a boring church photo into something awesome:

This photo was taken using the GoPro Hero 9.

Key Features of Luminar Neo

Features not available in other Luminar products

Luminar Neo's goal is to make a single image look awesome. Luminar AI is designed more for batch editing, like Lightroom

Specific features not found in Luminar AI: Relight, Develop and Crop.

Relight is the ability to change the lighting in a photo. You can add or darken an image with a simple click. The cool thing is that Neo produces a 3D map so the light spreads naturally in the photo.

Develop is you opportunity to change the Exposure, Smart Contrast, Highlights, and shadows.

Crop is very similar to the Composition tool in Luminar AI. Clicking on Crop gives you the best crop image - making sure that the portrait's eyes are in the center of the image. Luminar AI adds Persecution and Image 3D Transform.

Argumented Sky Removal. It's interesting to note that Luminar decided to remove Argumented Sky in Luminar Neo. Argumented Sky is where you can place objects in the photo such as the moon or a rainbow. I recall seeing it in early versions but that feature is now gone.

You can get advice and tips from the Luminar Insider Form. The form is an active place of die-hard photo users. They frequently run contests for the best photos or styles.

Luminar Neo has Presets just like Luminar AI. When I ran the same image, the preset suggestions were the same. However, I rarely use these and would rather spend a few minutes in the editor fine-tuning the image using the awesome tools.

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ForkLift 3

ForkLift by BinaryNights is a very popular dual file manager. In 2012, I did a quick review of the application and things have changed a lot over the years, so I thought it would be good to review it again.

My go-to FTP file manager is Panic Transmit, so this review is based on the things that ForkLift does well and some things where Transmit does a better job.

Fork Lift Preview

Five Things I Like about ForkLift 3

Commands - The Command menu option allows you to send various server commands without having to open up a separate terminal window. You can make symlinks, alias, sync, compress, copy, and delete to name a few.

Local File Size - You can quickly tell how much space you have on your local devices, if you are run low on disk space, the 'pill' color will be red.

Sidebar - You can have the sidebar visible whenever you need it. This makes it easy to navigate between favorites and local devices while still having a two-panel window visible. This would be useful when migrating a site from one cloud service to another.

Custom Shortcuts - You can set or change any Forklift preferences. This means that I can quickly navigate through the application using shortcuts that I am familiar with.

Forklift Mini - This puts some features of ForkLift in the menu bar. For each favorite, you can mount it as a disk, open it as a droplet or open the location in Forklift. To mount it as a disk you need to install 'FUSE for macOS' a free third-party framework,

Two Things That Panic Transmit Did Better

Apple iCloud Drive - When viewing iCloud folders, Forklift doesn't show files that haven't been downloaded. Panic Transmit does show non-downloaded files.

Connecting Servers - I spent way too much time looking at how to connect a server. In Transmit, the connection location is easy to find and the interface is much better.

Recommendation?

Overall, I think Transmit is a great application and won't be switching to ForkLift anytime soon. However, if I fund that ForkLift is running a sale, I may consider purchasing as a secondary FTP tool.

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Smart Folders

In this short entry, we are going to explore Smart Folders in the Finder - a way to quickly find common files at a click.

New Smart Folder

Smart Folders

Apple's description of Smart Folders:

Smart Folders automatically gather files by type and subject matter. Smart Folders are updated as you change, add, and remove files on your Mac.

Creating a Smart Folder

To create a smart folder: In the finder select the New menu then "New Smart Folder."

Tips and Tricks

Here are four useful Smart Folders to have:

Template Files

Motion Search Template

Template files - Are their files that you like to use on a frequent bases? Create a template so you can find them. (Apple Motion files in this example.)

Recent Apps

Recent Apps

Recent Apps - Highlight applications that you use on a regular bases. The cool thing is that you can decide on the last open date.

Recent Files

Last7 Days

Recent Files -Do you work with a lot of files and want quick access to the most recent ones? Set up a recent

Media Search

Go Pro Search

Specific Video Files - Do you frequently look for videos taken with a certain camera? Create a Smart Folder.

Full List of Search Attribute

There are 144 Spotlight Criteria and Attributes.

You can get the full list of all the available Spotlight search attributes on https://simonbarnett.co.za/ website.

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Pixelmator Remove Background

In November, Pixelmator Pro added a AI-powered background removal tool. This is a very powerful feature that makes it easy to remove background from any image.

Pixelmator Pro was certain that you'll be using this feature all the time, that they built in a Finder Quick Action so you can remove a background from any image without having to open up the application.

Pixelmator Quick Action

Three Reasons Why This is Great!

You can quickly remove the background of any image. Pixelmator Pro creates a new image so the original image isn't impacted. There's no harm to use this to any image that you have.

This works anyplace in the finder. So you can be looking at an image on a flash drive and apply this tool.

The whole process takes place in the background. Pixelmator won't open up and disrupt your desktop view or flow.

Not Enabled by Default

Here's the steps to enable this.

  • Open up System Preferences. Apple Menu -> System Preferences
  • Search or Click Extensions. (Tip: The icon is a puzzle piece.)
  • Click Finder on the Left navigation.
  • Click check box next to "Remove Background,"

If you don't see "Remove Background" you will need to update Pixelmator Pro to the latest version.

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Setting up new MacBook Pro

This week I got a new MacBook Pro laptop at work. This means that I had to set up the computer to the way I link to use it.

Here are three things that I had to get done. I created this blog post for future reference.

Apple Screen Capture

I use Apple Screen capture all the time. However, I don't like the drop shadow and I don't want the PNG format since it's usually larger than the JPG format.

Remove Drop Shadow

The drop shadow is so 2010. Remove the default drop shadow on all screen captures.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

Save as JPG

Save disk space and make your captures JPEG files. Why did Apple make the default screen capture as PNG format?

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

Restart the System Server

killall SystemUIServer

All together now

Simple Cut/Paste of the three commands mentioned above:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
killall SystemUIServer


Fix BBEdit Settings

Removed the dreaded return after applying a paragraph tag:

defaults write com.barebones.bbedit HTMLParagraphMarkup_ParagraphsOnSeparateLines -bool NO

BBEdit Default Preferences

Make the following adjustments:

Appearance

  • Application appearance should be set to dark.
  • Editor color scheme should be Haunted Mansion (cryan.com)
  • Turn off Page guide at [90] characters.

Application

  • When BBEdit becomes active set it to "Do Nothing"

Completion

  • Enable "Include system text replacements in completion list"

Editor Default

  • Enable "Soft wrap text to" and select the Window Width.

Applications Install

These are my helper applications - outside of anything specific that my work provides.

  • BBEdit - Essential text editor
  • Keyboard Maestro - #1 Productive App
  • LaunchBar - Launch Applications quicker
  • Panic's Transmit - Transer files between the computer and server
  • Magnet - I use Mosaic on my personal computer, but Magnet has the iCloud license. Keyboard shortcuts are essentially the same.
  • Photoscape X - Quick graphic editor.
  • iTerm2 - Essential Terminal App.
  • DBeaver - DB management tool
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Chrome Mouse Shortcuts

If you right-click on a link to Open a Link in a New Tab, or a Window. There is actually an easier way to get the task done.

Chrome Command Click

Here are three useful Chrome shortcuts that are worth using every day:

Open a link in new background tab ' + Click a link
Open a link, and jump to it ' + Shift + Click a link
Open a link in a new window Shift + Click a link

These tips work in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari - it seems to be a universal standard. So they are worth knowing and using. You can save some time and be more efficient.

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Most Used Macintosh Apps of 2021

Usually, I feature the top ten Macintosh blog posts of 2021. However, this year I decided to do something a bit different. This year the last Macintosh post will feature the top ten applications of the year.

Macintosh Apps 2021

Top Ten Apps of 2021

These applications were the ones that I used the most in 2021.

BBEdit - In late July, Bare Bones released BBEdit 14 and some cool new features - including notes. Now there's no excuse to not use BBedit as your go-to notes tool - especially for programming. Read my review of BBEdit 14.

Final Cut Pro - In October, Apple released Final Cut Pro 10.6 and some cool Object Tracking and Cinematic Mode features. I use Final Cut Pro for weekly video editing. Read the Final Cut Pro Blog posts.

Transmit - I did look into switching to Viper FTP Lite, but I kept going back to Transmit because of the easy to use functionality.

Luminar AI - I purchased Luminar Ai in October and I use it to touch up all my photos. The application does a great job with enhancement and adding some cool special effects. Read my initial review of Luminar Ai and a followup review a month later.

This is a great application to have if you're doing any photo work. The whole point of Luminar AI is to make enhancements as quickly as possible. If you are a Photoshop or Affinity Photo pro then you may not need this application. However, over the long run, I think the time saved is worth the cost.

Keyboard Maestro - According to Keyboard Maestro stats, the time saved using this application is 32 hours and that's just this year. Keyboard Maestro released version 10 in early November - read my review.

I created 404 macros and use a lot of them on a day-to-day bases. You can see some tips and tricks on my Keyboard Maestro Blog.

Day One - This is where I keep tabs on my day. It's a great way to track things that were important that day. I really like going to 'On This Day' and seeing what happened personally over the past years.

Affinity Designer - This is where I create all my graphics for work and this website. It's easy to use and offers a lot of power to create amazing images. I like Affinity Designer because it opens up EPS files for easy manipulation.

DBeaver - I started using this in July and have found it to be a great database tool. I can connect to various databases and perform similar tasks. Having one tool means I don't have to remember different shortcuts as I switch between database types.

Photoscape X - When I want to create collages this is an application that I turn to. In a matter of minutes, I can create a collage that looks awesome. PhotoScape has a lot of tools to help touch up files - such as screenshots and Memes.

An updated version of Photoscape X should be announced soon!

Drop Zone 3 - I use Drop Zone to transfer files to my webserver. There are separate actions for different projects. To copy a file to the remote server, I simply drag an image to the taskbar and then drop it on the icon that represents the final destination.

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Christmas Graphic

Happy Christmas Eve!

The main website graphic was created using Affinity Designer and a clip art that I had around.

Welcome to cryan.com
...

Some Notes

I used the "My Dear Santa" font from Creative Market. It was free during the first week of December.

The text background color was done using the 50 Glitter Texture Images. It's a great collection to have for background or for text masks.

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EPS Thumbnails

One of the bugs that macOS Monterey (12.0.1) has that the Finder isn't able to display EPS thumbnails and when you try to preview the images it doesn't work.

This is due to changes in macOS Monterey on how thumbnails are created.

Sample Issue

macOS Finder EPS Thumbnail

I have found other applications were having a problem with generating thumbnail images as document icons, such as Pathfinder and Commander One.

Quick Fix

The only application that I found useful is Graphic Converter. The Browse functionality let you get a real view of all your EPS files.

Here's the same directory using the Graphic Converter Browse functionality:

macOS Graphic Converter

Right click on the image and you can open it in Affinity Designer!

Until Apple fix the bug, this is a good solution to look at directories that have lots of EPS documents.

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About

My Friday Blog tips and tricks will be based on my experiences using a Macintosh computer since 1989. I have seen the evolution of the Macintosh software and hardware, and have a good understanding of the capabilities of a Macintosh computer. I also have experience in troubleshooting and fixing problems that can occur with a Mac.

Checkout all the Macintosh blog posts.

Schedule

ThursdayGluten Free
FridayMacintosh
SaturdayInternet Tools
SundayOpen Topic
MondayMedia Monday
TuesdayQA
WednesdayiPhone