Archives for category: Tech

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Over the past 4 weeks I have noticed an issue with my WeTransfer account.

Mainly that my uploads would get to about 14% (5Mb) and then the transfer would suddenly drop to 0%

Not ideal. In fact the transfers would never make it out.

I have tried sending files via WeTransfer from 3 different Mac’s, 2 different service providers and using 2 different browsers (Safari & Chrome) and nothing seemed to solve the problem.

Having contacted WeTransfer support, they put me onto the possibility that there might be a problem with Sophos Anti-Virus software.

I did notice that Sophos recently updated their GUI and software and I sort of remembered that this was about the time that the WeTransfer problem started. So this morning I decided to play around and see if Sophos was causing my WeTransfer problem.

Hey presto! Sophos IS the culprit. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sophos. It is always catching ‘stuff’ in my emails and quarantining them, so I guess I’m just happy in the back of my mind that it is doing good in the background. But to kill my WeTransfer account so as to render it unusable… Well, that just isn’t good. SO here is the solution I have found.

I’m using the current version of Sophos Home Edition 9.4.0

Sophos1

WeTransfer support said to disable the Sophos software. Not entirely intuitive when the Sophos software just loads at startup and is already running when you login, so how do you ‘quit’ it?

You need to go into Sophos>Preferences and then into the ‘Web Protection’ tab. Here you need to switch OFF both of the options to Block.

Sophos2

WeTransfer now starts to work again immediately and uploads start to move along in 0.1Mb increments, just like it did before the update.

Problem solved!

For too long now a sense of paranoia has been propagated amongst the photographic community, in part by those within the community and mostly by those that stand to profit from selling ‘solutions’ to that community.

CMYK file delivery is something that every photographer can offer and should offer. It enables us as photographers to stay in touch with our images further down the supply chain. It is also a very useful skill to understand and equally is an exciting addition to our knowledge.

The days when huge mistakes were made when converting from RGB to CMYK are long gone. There really is not that much that you can do nowadays that is going to render your images irretrievably unusable. In the early days of digital file supply there were many a printer who – when waking up one day to realise that their revenue stream was suddenly no longer going to include scanning (which accounted for some 40% of the litho costs on a photographically heavy project) and the RGB to CMYK conversions (some 20% of the litho cost if done and supplied with Cromalin’s), tried to make life difficult for the poor photographers who dared to supply ‘press-ready’ files.

Not only was there no open-loop colour management control, just about all presses operated a closed loop (within the building of the printing press) system of judging colour and the stability of the press conditions.

So, for any photographer to deliver press-ready files in those days was only going to cause trouble. Not only were we unlikely to generate a useful CMYK conversion for the press, but the printers weren’t interested in giving us the chance. Consequently many horror stories of photographers making unforgivable mistakes which ended up printed on millions of items of packaging that were then stored in warehouses until blame could be attributed and a solution found, were rife.

The fact is, that with the release of Photoshop 6.0 in September 2000, colour management came to the fore and started to allow us to dabble with it. This single event gave photographers the power to test, predict and control their images through various colour spaces – namely CMYK conversion and hugely accurate proofing using inkjet printers.

This was the beginning of the demise of C-type and R-type printing as we could now print our own images quicker, better and cheaper than using a lab.

So back to CMYK.

There are 2 proviso’s regarding anyone who ventures along this path.

1. The majority of photoshop installations that I have come across in this industry are set-up as North American + Web default.

This is obviously wrong, but is unfortunately how Photoshop chose to install itself by default for too long. No one realised that once you got Photoshop onto your computer you then had to look in the settings and set it up according to the jobs that you required Photoshop to perform. An obvious mistake which has been rectified in the recent releases of Photoshop where the application will ask you what settings you want to use for the application before installing.

This is how your Photoshop Color Settings should look:

2. You do not make your RGB to CMYK conversions in Photoshop by using IMAGE>MODE>CMYK color…

This is a ‘blind’ conversion. You cannot see what RGB Colour Space you are coming from NOR what CMYK Colour Space you are converting to OR how the conversion is being made. That is bad.

To convert to CMYK you need to use EDIT>CONVERT TO PROFILE
Check your RGB space is correct
Select the CMYK space you want
Use the Adobe ACE engine
Use Relative Colorimetric intent
Use Black Point Compensation
Use Dither

and here is what that should look like:

Done.

So long as you select a Fogra CMYK profile for Coated / Uncoated stock as necessary for the printing of the document, you will get a very useable result. This method will work for 90% of all images that relate to ‘normal’ photography.

The problems only start when you have images with particularly ‘difficult’ colours (out of CMYK gamut) or ‘extreme’ RGB photographs (i.e. over saturated, over contrasty, over retouched).

Nowadays, printers are more interested in getting paid by their clients than making photographers look like amateurs. They have also adopted a more forgiving file delivery method whereby they can receive a diverse range of image data and control the variance in house on their systems.

So, where does that leave us?

We can do an RGB to CMYK conversion with a high degree of confidence, but we would still like to ‘proof’ it.

Easy. All you need is an Epson.

For years Epson printers have been more than capable of reproducing the full gamut of CMYK. SO all we need is a way to get the Epson to ’emulate’ a CMYK press.

I’ll deal with this in a separate post.

So here’s the discussion… Klaus came to me the other day and asked if I knew anything about Quato monitors. To be honest, I’d never heard of them. They are a German outfit who apparently specialise in high end monitors for graphics / photography / video applications. Now there was something about his question that rang true with me. For years now, everyone in the photographic community would shout Eizo when asked what the best monitor for retouching was for photographers. So could there be another competitor out there who could compete – or better the Eizo ColorEdge range of displays?

There has always been hot competition between users of the NEC spectraview series, some LaCie offerings and the Eizo stalwarts. I have for years complained about the Apple monitors both the stand alone and the all-in-one screens with the iMacs, which is a shame as using the iMac i7 as your main ‘shooting’ machine is currently the fastest solution for both shooting in the studio or on location – so long as you have access to the mains. I like how portable they are and the fact that there is only one ‘bit’ to cart around.

I guess that stand alone monitors only really have a place in the lives of retouchers or photographers who are working in exceptionally stringent colour environments. For me it is not so much about incredibly accurate colour, but more to do with the uniformity of the screen – no blotching and no hue changes across the display.

With that in mind, Klaus’ question took me back to the early days of when I was retailing Eizo monitors. They were still hard to get hold of and everyone wanted to see one to see what all the fuss was about – and that was the old CG-21.

So here we are again, a new kid on the block and I want to see it. So I guess I have to wait for Klaus to invite me over to gaze at it’s beauty. In the meantime I do have these early reports to dwell on –

By the way I’ve received my new Quato monitor and the first impressions are very, very good. The software iColorDisplay is a lot more professional than eyeone match or color navigator and you can actually calibrate all kinds of devices. Most calibrators are supported so my old Gretag iOne Display 2 works well with it.

I think in general the Quato has a slight edge over the Eizo range which you can also see on the prices. A very stunning monitor with a lovely german note to it. It’s a very slick piece of techology.

Only downside in my purchase is that I didn’t do enough research on the net. Instead of buying from the only UK supplier I should have ordered it directly from Europe in Euros as it would have been quite a bit cheaper.

It’s too late now and at least I get good support from native digital where I bought it from.

Well that’s a start. Then he sent this –

with this proviso –

I haven’t had an awful time to spend more time profiling and testing different software but that’s a kind of first result that’s even clearer than expected.

to be fair though, my CG211 definitely is coming to and end of it’s life. It’s been running for years now!

The grey graph is the new quato

So this is getting interesting now. I’ll be reporting back on the Quato as soon as I’ve seen it in the flesh, but it sure looks like an interesting contender.

Profiled monitors are good right?

Think again.

Sure we all need a profiled monitor to do colour critical work, but how often is that. First thing in the morning when you turn on your computer to check your emails – does it need to be profiled? Not really. How about last thing at night? Got a DVD to watch, pop it into the computer and off you go… Does that need to be profiled?

At this time of year as you walk home in the dark, look up at the flats and the buildings around you. Remember that harsh blue glare you get oozing out of some of the windows. TV, yes? Who’s to say that we all need to watch our DVD’s on a D65 calibrated screen?

Just as ambient lighting can be a concern in your working environment when doing colour critical work, what’s to say that we shouldn’t match our screens to our environment for the ease of our eyes?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for profiling monitors for our colour critical workflow, but when was the last time you went to see a printer and the daylight balanced fluorescent strips just end up giving you a headache after 10 minutes? In fact headaches are a real concern for the majority of people working at computer screens nowadays. More so if you work at a D65 colour balanced high resolution monitor.

So this idea of allowing your screen to wonder in colour to suit your environment, or more specifically the time of day, was a paradigm change for the way I considered my working environment. That was when I heard about f.lux

You set your geographical location and the ambient lighting you use at night and hey presto, f.lux tailors your screen to reflect your ambient environment during the day. Sure you can switch it off in the drop-down control bar menu for all your colour critical needs, but if like me you end up waking up at 4am and fancy a bit of night surfing, you’ll no longer be blinded by your screen as it wakes up and lets the whole road know that you can’t sleep!

I’ve been trying it for a couple of weeks and all I can say is it takes the edge off a colour managed screen when you’re using it for general use. Oh, and no headaches. Oh, and it’s totally free. Thanks to Jeff Ngan who brought this gem to my attention.

so everyone has an opinion… here’s his…

Got a Canon 5D-mk2? Using it for filming? Got your picture styles set to Faithful? Using HTP (Highlight Tone Priority)?

DON’T

So we all know that the Canon has ISO safe speeds for stills and filming, but should you use HTP?

Here’s why you shouldn’t… an interesting discussion from the Cinema5D.com forum.


We have a fleet of ageing MacBook Pro’s (3 years old) which have worked really hard for us. To be honest they have never given us any problems. So I was surprised to find that on the last day of my job in Dubai, the darn thing wouldn’t start. Now I’m always the one who has to sort out the hardware problems and it’s not often that I get a ‘dead’ computer that I can’t resuscitate in some way (cmd-S etc).

This was strange. Press the power button and hey presto NO CHIME. NO SCREEN.But the little white light on the button to open the MacBook would glow white. Tried with the power supply plugged in… No better.

So I booked an appointment down at the Apple Store in Covent Garden and popped in last night.

‘Strange’ said the genius. Quick check on the serial number (inside the battery compartment) and hey presto – ‘Yes sir, we can repair this for you free of charge!’

So Apple had a problem, but they didn’t tell us…

There is an unofficial ‘re-call’ for 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro’s that are about 2-3 years old now and have the NVIDIA graphics cards. See this link here.
Even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty, Apple will change your mother board (the graphics card is integral to the mother board) FREE!

Now that’s what I call a New for Old policy! Good Apple.

Mine’s ready next week. Can’t wait to go and collect it!

btw. Thanks to Emma Tunbridge who originally brought this to my attention!