Reviews and tips regarding graphics, photography and social media

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Some very interesting tips on fixing your images and why you should. Canva is a great website for on the fly fixes.


Photoshop is definitely the gold standard of photo editing but not the only excellent program on the market today. People are somewhat frustrated with its difficulty of use, expense, and now, the need for a monthly cloud subscription fee. There are alternatives. Before you decide to download or buy another editing alternative, I’d suggest a few things you need to consider:

  • What are the program’s specifications and system requirements?
    • Compatibility: Determine if it is MAC, PC based, or both
  • Editing apps generally require/recommend the following space and memory…do you have it?
    • 128MB to 4GB of available hard-disk space
    • 100MB to 4GB of RAM for installation and use
  • Hard Drive:
    • If you don’t have enough space, or if your drive almost reached its capacity, the program won’t run properly
    • Solution: Empty files/programs from your drive

Editing programs should offer some form of technical support be it via email, phone assistance, FAQs, video tutorials—some type of  online tech support. Most also offer plug-ins either from the manufacturer or from third parties. Plug-ins can take your software to an even higher level of editing. There are many products available and this site gives some great ideas as to some of the better ones on the market:

Photo Editing Applications generally contain the following options:

  • Photo editor
  • Photo viewer
  • Organizer type database
  • File sharing ability  (importing from various devices and exporting)
  • Ability to read different types of data files
  • Save in a variety of file formats
  • Advanced image search tools
  • Ability to create albums/slideshows
  • Access to EXIF data
  • Automatic keyword tagging
  • Facial recognition
  • Color management– to adjust color and tone for all or part of a photo
  • Red-eye removal
  • Resizing
  • Cropping
  • Text (multiple font types)
  • Drawing
  • Layers
  • Zooming
  • Auto straightening
  • Object removal/cloning/patch type tool
  • Touch-up
  • Border and frame designs
  • Batch processing
  • Skin touch-up tools
  • Blemish & wrinkle removal tools
  • Teeth whitening tool


affinity photo program

One program for MACs to check out is Affinity Photo.  It is fully compatible with all Photoshop formats and has unlimited un-dos, edits RAW photos, works in RGBW, CMYK, LAB and Grayscale color space. It has filters for lighting, distortions, shadows, glows, blurs, etc. and you see results in real time preview. There’s also 28 layer blend modes, a great selection refinement tools, and supports unlimited layers.

Editing is easy and you have a step by step process to get the perfect image. You can Adjust exposure, blackpoint, clarity, vibrance, white balance, shadows, highlights and much more, and accomplish the task quickly. For more info, check out the site:

Another sure winner for MACs is  Pixelmator. You can enhance and touch up photos, sketch, draw and paint, add text and shapes, apply effects and– it is very easy to use. It has a great repair tool called Dynamic Touch and you can export your finished images to both Facebook and Flickr. Templates include:

  • Six different collages
  • seven frame effects
  • seven card designs
  • six posters
  • 12 popular photo treatments ranging from super-slick lighting effects to various vintage looks

Another old but much improved standby for your Windows 10 PC is Corel PaintShop Pro:

If you are looking for some free editing apps you won’t be disappointed with Picasa for on the fly editing or organizing of your photos.  It does lack in depth editing tools but it does have speed and simplicity.

GIMP is free and can be used on Linux, Windows, and MACs. It works with all file formats,  tools include painting tools, color correction, cloning, selection, and enhancements as well as paint and drawing tools, a photo re-touch tool, and  batch processing and conversion tools–plus features like layers, filters, and effects.

IRFANVIEW has been around for some time but it is a  compact image viewer and converter which allows you to create slideshows, batch edit and convert images, scan both single photos and batch, cut, crop, capture and perform many special effects. It has a watermark image option, countless plug-ins, and ability to do IPTC edits on your images.


Next month’s Graphics Meeting will discuss editing apps for your device.  Mark it on your calendar :  Thurs., Dec 10, 3 pm, Maricopa Room, Adobe Center.




Join us on Thursday, 11-12-15 @ 3 PM in the Maricopa (Grand Learning Room)  Adobe Center for our monthly Graphics Group Meeting.  This month’s discussion answers the Question:  

What are the editing app alternatives to Photoshop? 


Besides Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, there are many photo editing applications you can use on your PC or MAC. We will explore several highly rated programs that can make your photos look better. The discussion will review both free apps, shareware, as well as commercial editing software. If you have a smartphone, tablet, or IPad, the second half of this two part program will occur on Thursday, December 10, 3:00 PM in the Maricopa Room, Adobe Center. We will review some simple, free and for pay, new and not so new apps that can turn your image into a work of art right on your device. 

Besides just editing your photo, these new apps combine additional software for adding overlays, text, frames, and stickers; for creating collages, memes, posters, cards and more. Learn about the best programs to edit as well as share your images with others via message, mail, and social media. Find out the hardware and software specifications and system requirements, editing tools and terminology (EXIF, color space, chromatic aberration, and more). Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer or graphics designer, you are sure to learn some new tips and tricks.  


Those of you who are interested in creating live video feeds to broadcast to your group, friends, family or the world…here are the pros and cons of the two most recently launched smartphone apps. The possibilities are endless but more on that later.  Check out this link to get the latest info on both.  You can also follow what’s happening as it’s happening and sometimes nothing out there is happening. It’s new, it’s exciting and another creative outlet for those with an artistic bent.









Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet

Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet

This might be a tablet (that’s not an iPad)  you might find interesting and fun to own.  One negative comment I have– that is somewhat  typical of Android products, is the OS is not the latest and there is no exact information when the new OS will be available…so it’s like buying last year’s model or realizing your new car has lost its value once you drive it out of the showroom. However, the product review makes me want to check out this tablet up close and personal and  do a hands on review of my own. It looks like a graphics/photographer gadget that’s worth having:  it’s light and thin (.067 pound, 8.4 x 4.9 inches,  .26 inch depth),  plus…the best part… it has  a RealSense camera where you can choose your focal point AFTER you take the shot. It also has  in depth editing software.

This quick post is in response to all who use their iPad  for fixing photos and doing graphics. Got numerous inquiries as to whether they should  purchase the newest iPad Air 2 or Mini. This video pretty much explains the pros and cons so, rather then reinventing the wheel, check this out:


Welcome back to another season in Grand! We will be focusing on a variety of topics in the coming months which we hope will be of great interest to you. In today’s digital/graphic world there is an emphasis on cloud storage and cloud computing. We will be posting about  several popular  storage options and discuss how to use  them efficiently.  Backup your photos and graphics regularly. While online storage is the “in” thing to do today, don’t forget about utilizing external hard drives, jump drives, and even DVD/CD options.   Use various forms of backup and store those treasured memories in various physical locations (lock box, family member’s home, storage locker,etc.) in the event of flood, fire, natural disaster, etc.


One of the simplest, most efficient, easiest to install cloud storage options is Dropbox. You can access it from anywhere and from any device to find or share a photo (or any file for that matter) you stored there. Once you install the Dropbox app on your PC, smartphone, IPad and/or tablet, whatever you place in the Dropbox folder will be synced to everyone of your devices which you added the app. You can also access your Dropbox account from the internet and add files that way as well. You can set it up to automatically  sync any photo you take with your smartphone to  be placed in Dropbox. The downside: it only allows 2  gig of space in the free version but you can get additional space by inviting your friends to use it, or by paying $99 per year or $9.99 a month for 100 GB.

Sign up for a free account by going to

If you already have Dropbox or just started using it,  I would suggest you change your password frequently and for even further protection, enable two step verification security on your account. Never use the same password for different sites. To change your password in Dropbox, follow these steps after logging into your account:

  • Click the link for your name in the upper right corner and click  Settings.
  • At the Settings screen, click Security tab.
  • In the Security section, click the link to Change password.
  • In the Change password window, type your current (old) password and then type your new password. Click the Change password button. Dropbox then flashes the following message at the top of the screen: “Password changed successfully.”

For 2 step verification you will need to  enter your password and a security code that is sent to your mobile phone each time you wish to log into Dropbox.

To enable two-step verification:

  • Go to the Settings page  and click the Security tab. Under Two-step verification, click the Enable.
  • In the Enable two-step verification window, click the Get started button.
  • Enter your password and click Next.
  • At the next screen, Dropbox gives you a choice of using text messages or a mobile app to generate the security codes. The text message option is  the one selected. Click Next.
  • Enter your mobile phone number and click Next.
  • Dropbox sends a security code to your mobile phone.
  • Check your phone and enter that code into the appropriate field on the Dropbox page. Click Next.
  • On the next screen, you can enter a backup mobile phone number if you wish and Click Next.
  • Then Dropbox displays an emergency backup code that you should write down in case you need to disable two-step verification to access your account.
  • Click the button to Enable two-step verification.

You will now need to enter a security code sent to your mobile phone whenever you log into Dropbox or link to it from a new device. Take note that if you select the Remember Me option when you log in, the security code process doesn’t take effect.





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