I’ve been doing a lot of headshots this year and I often have to do a few things to a lot of images over and over. Mostly it involves culling through images, making a few tweaks in Camera Raw, and then bringing the shots into Photoshop for the final post work. This involves a lot of clicking and dragging of on screen sliders as well as some keyboard shortcuts that are less than ideal at times for speed. Enter the ShuttleExpress.

The ShuttleXpress is a small round controller that looks like a small flying saucer has landed on your desk. In the center is a spinning dial or “jog wheel” and it is surrounded by a rubberized “shuttle wheel”. Across the top half of the circular controller are five buttons. At the top of the base (at the 12 o'clock position) is a 20 inch (51cm) usb cable.

The central dial has a small indentation that lets one spin the dial with just a fingertip. This dial has no stopping point and will spin either direction endlessly as long as it is turned. The shuttle wheel that surrounds this dial is spring loaded and provides increased resistance as it is turned further to either side. It does not spin around entirely and snaps back into its original position when released.

These types of jog/shuttle arrangements are quite common on video editing control surfaces with the wheels providing playback control of the video footage. They work equally well for audio transport controls and the ShuttleXpress software comes with configurations already set up for many audio and video editing applications. 

Of course my primary use would be for Adobe Bridge / Camera Raw / Photoshop so I wanted to see what how this could integrate into the applications and hopefully improve my efficiency. Let's see how that worked out.

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scrubbysliderOver the past year or so I have noticed an issue with using scrubby sliders when using Wacom pens in Windows 10. Trying to drag a scrubby slider will result in the pointer snapping back where it started depending on how much you move the scrubby slider. This behavior is very annoying and causes one to switch to the mouse or type in the values needed. Either way it slows down the workflow when using a pen.

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psEver since Adobe started offering up their Creative Cloud option for accessing their suite of applications I have been a full-on member. Many people were put off by the idea of the "cloud" versus having their own licensed copy sitting on a DVD in their desk drawer. Plus there were many misconceptions about how the new apps worked. Did they run off of the cloud? Would you not be able to use the applications unless you were connected to the internet? Are aliens going to read my mind through my Photoshop interface?

None of this was true. So yes, the CC apps would need to check with the Adobe servers every so often to validate you had a subscription but other than that they ran natively on your local machine just like the previous ones. They also updated themselves when needed, offered an online workspace for you to store your files, and also let you install two copies of the applications just like the old install from DVD option did.

All of this appealed to me and for $50.00 a month, I now had access to the whole suite of applications. No longer did I just have the latest Photoshop with a 4 year old version of InDesign or Premiere installed next to it. Everything was the current version and I didn't have to lay down hundreds (or more) of dollars in a lumps sum to get everything I needed. Very cool, for me anyway.

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imageresizeI was asked recently by the editor of a website I write for to please make sure the images I send him are saved at 72 DPI. As soon as I saw this I thought "uh-oh, here we go..". I politely agreed to make the change to the setting (it's easy enough) but asked what the reasoning behind this would be. I had a pretty good idea what the response would be, but I wanted to make sure. A few minutes later I received the response that I feared. He said it would help the images load faster when viewed on the web site. 

I was correct in my guess. The editor was under the impression that a reduced DPI setting would decrease the image file size which in turn would facilitate faster loading times for images from his web site. This is not an uncommon misconception but one I felt I would like to clarify. This editor is intelligent and a great guy to work with so I wanted to help him understand. This setting would not affect the images in the way he thought they would and while it would not harm anything being set differently, it adds an extra step in his workflow at times that he doesn't have to take. 

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