Signs of the Times - January 2013 - (Page 14)

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE By Darek Johnson Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst. Email him at Adobe’s Lightroom 4 Software Guru Scott Kelby loves it. No surprise, but I have a few gripes. Softwarebut obviously, theydesign designers nicely software, don’t use it in everyday life – otherwise, they’d include some pure-logic automation and, even better, onscreen data boxes that show you exactly what your project comprises at any given moment. Lightroom, for example, is a favored program for many designers and photographers, but, frankly, I think it should have been incorporated into Photoshop rather than offered as a stand-alone product. Essentially, Lightroom is an imagecontrol and management photography software that incorporates an ever-expanding list of editing tools which, regretfully, persuades some high-volume users to ignore Photoshop and, instead, do all their edits in Lightroom. Truth is, most of us would rather skip lunch than change from one software to another. It’s like a surrender. To be fair, however, the Photoshop/Lightoom transition is seamless. Lightroom has great batch features and, sure, it now has perspective control and myriad tools… but it isn’t Photoshop. In Photoshop, confirming your final image size, in inches, is a threeclick task. It’s a bitch in Lightroom. You’d think the image size and pixel count would always appear onscreen – up there, in an offside box, so you’d know you were editing the image in your preferred size, one that matches the final print requirement. Think Artboard, in Illustrator. It represents the area that can contain printable artwork and – no guesswork – you get to name the size. In Lightroom, theoretically, the camera-raw print size remains as imported (from the camera or a file source) and, Adobe says, the only time to resize the photo is during the export or print process. In Neanderthal times, this may have been an acceptable practice, but, as Lightroom’s tools list increases, so does the hazards’ minefield acreage. Think about it: Any software that offers a crop, perspective or distortion tool (each trims pixels) should also allow you to easily confirm your “real” image size. In relation to the final print, the edited image size is the most critical data point. Digital Appearance Clout Fronts X-Rite’s Sensible Graphics Buy X-Rite Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI) has acquired Sensible Graphics (Weissenburg, Germany), a company that creates and markets digital-appearance technology that produces realistic, virtual, color renderings of such surfaces as pearlescent-painted vehicle bodies, upholstery surfaced with patterned textiles and leathers, fashion fabrics and other complex-texture items. Essentially, Sensible Graphics’ camera/software system provides both a design tool for surface-material developers and a sales tool that helps present a final (virtual) product image to buyers. Think online ads. Sensible Graphics’ chief, Dr. Gero Mueller, has developed technologies that process and compress data, captured by digital cameras and light sources, to create virtual prototypes with a realistic look almost indistinguishable from a real object. A measurement-based process, the technology produces virtual, physically correct and realistic material 14 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JANUARY 2013 / images. Essentially, Sensible Graphics’ staff places a physical object in the middle of a hemisphere of multiple cameras (they’re tightly arrayed in an inverted dome) and LED light sources; the system then rotates the object to record its colors and any reflected light intensities, based on angle of rotation. Once the camera work is complete, the recorded data is assimilated, compressed, manipulated and stored so that it can be recreated on a computer monitor to produce a photorealistic image that can be viewed from all sides. The firm has used its technology to create digital 3-D files of cultural artifacts that provide virtual, photorealistic images. An X-Rite corporate press release said the process involves modeling of light-matter physics and “gives a significant competitive advantage to designers who need high-quality, surface-rendering information.” Simultaneously, X-Rite has created a long-term relationship with the University of Bonn (Germany)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - January 2013

Signs of the Times - January 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Scenes from the Global Village
Crane Truck Safety Advice
Supreme Wrap
The Value of Signs
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - January 2013