Display archivesTake pictures with depth of field using your iPhone 7 Plus

October 27th, 2016
The new Portrait mode in iOS 10 gives your pictures a depth of field that the regular Photo mode doesn’t. Like with a camera that has an adjustable aperture, Portrait mode focuses on the person or object in the foreground and slightly blurs out the background.


You’ll find this feature only on the iPhone 7 Plus because it requires both 12 megapixel cameras. One camera is a wide-angle ƒ/1.8 aperture and the other is a telephoto ƒ/2.8 aperture.


To use the feature, start up the Camera app and slide the mode selector on bottom to Portrait. The first time you do this, it will tell you that the feature is still in beta, so your results may vary.


An indicator on bottom will tell you if you need to move the phone closer or farther away from the subject, and will also tell you if you need more light. As with the regular camera modes, you can tap the subject on the screen and flick upwards to brighten it. When the depth effect turns on, you’ll see the indicator on bottom.




Here is the same shot using the regular Photo mode on the left, and the Portrait mode on the right.




When you go into the Photos app on your Mac, you’ll see a depth effect label on any picture that’s using it. You won’t see the labels in the Photos app on your iPhone.




So how does it work? The image you see on the screen is from the telephoto lens. Simultaneously, the wide angle lens measures the difference between what it sees and what the telephoto lens sees, and creates a 9-point depth map. The camera’s software uses that map to create an artificial depth of field, blurring the background. This is why Portrait mode doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out. If you pinch or spread your fingers on the screen, nothing happens.


If your eyes are sharp and you look closely, you’ll see the effect is a little less than the quality of the depth of field you’ll get with a good SLR. That’s because on a regular camera, you get this effect with one lens that’s bigger. The wider the aperture (lower numbers), the more pronounced the effect will be. But that isn’t to dismiss what Apple has done, and we can expect the feature to improve in later updates.



Display archivesNext Windows 10 edition will have 3D and VR capabilities built in

October 26th, 2016
The next edition of Windowsv10 will be called the Creator’s Update and have 3D and VR capabilities built in. Even Windows Paint will have the ability to convert a photo into 3D.





Display archivesCool nighttime iPhone photography tip

September 29th, 2016
Cool photography tip to take pictures of the night sky with your iPhone: cover the lens and hold your finger on the screen until you see the “AE/AF LOCK” message. Now remove your fingers and take the picture. The lock gets released after you take the picture, so you have to do the two-finger thing each time.





Display archivesMajor release of Camtasia looks great

September 20th, 2016
TechSmith just announced a major update of Camtasia screen recording and editing software. It now runs cross-platform nearly identically in Windows and Mac, has a modernized UI, big asset library, pre-made behaviors for objects, direct editing of text on screen and more. Will be available next month. This is the software I use to record most of my courses.





Display archivesUpdated: using the Shape Builder tool to combine shapes in Illustrator

September 7th, 2016
Video tutorial: how to combine and trim shapes in Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud interactively, using the Shape Builder tool. Works in Mac and Windows. To follow along with this video, download the file: http://www.flisser.com/classfiles/shape-builder-exercise.zip. This is an update to a tutorial from a few years ago, since Adobe enhanced the tool’s functionality.





Display archivesTwitter will soon slightly ease character counts

September 6th, 2016
Sometime in the next few months,Twitter will no longer count characters for media attachments and “@names” in replies. Also there will no longer be a need for .@ in message beginnings. All your followers will be able to see all your tweets. But URLs and quote tweets will continue to reserve 23 characters.