Several years ago, Apple had a professional-grade, server-based media asset management system (MAM). Unfortunately, Apple decided to kill Final Cut Server and instead incorporate some of its management functionality into Final Cut Pro X. Managing your media files from within an editor is not quite the same as managing them in a MAM, so the door was wide open to third party developers. One of them developed a nice alternative under the name KeyFlow Pro. It targets individual users as well as small workgroups.
I wasn’t aware it was that time of the year again: a new version of Painter. This venerable creative app is now officially called Painter 2016. If you thought after experiencing the last version it would be hard to come up with some new and exciting stuff… well, you were wrong. Painter 2016 has received some much needed interface improvements, but also new brushes and capabilities that once again will enable artists to have more fun and get closer to the analogue experience.
If you take photography seriously, even if you’re a camera RAW shooter out of principle, you won’t leave the house without a white balancing tool. Over the past ten years or so, I have reviewed a complete collection. I kept most of these contraptions, even the weirdest ones. Michael Tapes Design’s WhiBal white balance reference cards are amongst the most simple ones to work with. They don’t look weird either.
It’s always a good idea to carry extra battery capacity with you when you’re going out to shoot pictures or video. An extra battery pack may make the difference between bringing home that one unique shot, or running out of juice moments before it unfolds in front of your eyes. While they may not look elegant and won’t match luxury handbags, Solarmonkeys are excellent for the job. These solar panels have a 3500mAh battery built-in and come with daisy-chaining power capabilities: while you charge your camera, you can have the sun simultaneously charge the battery.
Are you one hundred percent sure the Auto-Focus of your expensive lens/body is accurate? No improvement possible? I was surprised to find the opposite. Heck, I was surprised to see my expensive Zeiss Variogon 24-70 deviate from 100% sharpness even when I’m manually focussing. I wouldn’t have known without the tools I’m reviewing today: LensAlign and FocusTune 4 from Michael Tapes Design. The combination of these tools allows you to check and correct for all types of focus errors. To benefit from it, you’ll need a camera that at the very least has a lens you can focus. This includes dSLRs, system cameras, and video cameras capable of still images even.
Creating music for a movie or a soundscape is not a matter of buying a few samples and adding them to your sequence or timeline. Doing it right requires imagination and inspiration. Inspiration may come by experimenting with plugins in your music app or DAW. I had the privilege of trying out BIAS FX Desktop, a complete guitar effects modeller or processor that I tried in Logic Pro X. It’s the guitar effects system, but I discovered it can be even more.
Photoshop is a workhorse of which the first versions were released as early as the mid-eighties of the past century. Affinity Photo is brand new. So, would it be fair to compare them? If there would be any logic in software development, I’d answer that question with a “No”. But there isn’t — logic, I mean. Affinity Photo may well blow Photoshop out of the water. It’s faster, has no historically grown rubbish the developer needs to keep in there and is just plain powerful. And best of all: its licence model is customer-friendly.