Link

Hey, this is quite a secret & trick for Windows 10.

If you need to capture a video clip of your desktop activity, this tool is really useful because it is already built-in. Cool!

Here’s the neat trick. You trick the XBox Apps (activate with WIN+G) into thinking that you are recording a game session. The software is designed for this purpose. Just click on the “Yes, this is a game” checkbox and you are good to go.

It is really that simple.

Windows 10 has a secret, built-in tool that will help you record video clips of screen activity.

Source: How to Capture Video Clips in Windows 10 | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

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Link

sharelink-app

The smartphone is really a very powerful computer in your pocket.

It is now very easy to copy & share files between your gadgets (mobile devices) & PC.

The easiest method would be to store everything you want to share / backup online. This would be ideal if you have unlimited cloud storage and easy access to high speed broadband connections.

Alternatively, you can copy the files on your smartphone to your desktop PC wirelessly using WiFi instead of Bluetooth. It is certainly much more convenient than a transfer by a USB drive. If you don’t have a USB OTG (On The Go) cable, this option is a “NO Go”.

This is how I set it up for my ASUS Zenfone 2.  Your phone will come packaged with its own software.

If you happen to be a Zenfone user, just dive right in.     🙂

 

“Hello Zentalkers, today we will look at a very innovative app called share link which is one of the core apps of Zen UI. Share link allows you to share content between your mobile & PC or mobile & any other mobile.”

Source: How to transfer files between Phone & PC using Share link app.-Fan Share

Making Levitation Photo Manipulation Effect In Photoshop

Let’s create Levitation magic again! This time it will be even more magical as it is an elaborate piece with more elements to composite. Shadows come into play too.

RafyA’s tutorial is fast paced so remember to replay the video for a review of the lesson. The video is at a nice length of 15m 21s.

You will need Intermediate skills to follow along. Links to the work files are provided for practice & effective learning.

If you are wanting to have a quick start, check out the other post.

 

Skill Level: Intermediate

Tools

  • Quick Selection tool
  • Refine Edge
  • Layer Defringe
  • Clipping Mask
  • Levels & Curves
  • Dodge & Burn
  • Transform
  • Eraser
  • Clone Stamp
  • Smudge
  • Brush
  • Selective Color
  • Gaussian Blur
  • High Pass Filter

 

Summarised for the busy people

  1. Extract the Model from the background with Quick Selection Tool & Refine Edge.  Top Tip: Use Layer Defringe for clean edges.
  2. Blend Model (2:00)   > Add S-Curve contrast, Brighten and Dodge & Burn midtones at lower exposures
  3. Add Chair (3:48)
  4. Blend Chair   > Levels Adjustment layer to Darken, Desaturate, Dodge & Burn
  5. Add Shadows (5:15)   > Paint with Black Brush, Transform, adjust layer Opacity
  6. Add Vase. Touchup Vase (7:39)    > Erase unwanted parts. Clone Stamp & smudge to construct Vase mouth
  7. Add Flower (9:38)   >  Erase unwanted parts. Shorten the stem. Erase middle part. Cut top to another layer. Move to join with bottom part. Merge Down layer.
  8. Blend Flower   > Dodge bright areas.
  9. Add Water (11:08)   > Use special Brush. Shape with Transform & Warp.
  10. Add Background Texture & Scene Lighting (12:12)   > Paint Orange #ff8711, Transform, Screen Blending Mode. Do this in several layers. Adjust Opacity to match. Top Tip: Group the Layers to organise your work
  11. Color Toning the Image (13:45)   > Levels (Blue & Red channels) & Selective colors
  12. Finishing Touches (14:20)

 

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring.  🙂

 

Dramatic Black & White Sepia Photo Effect

RafyA shows you how to convert your color photo into a dramatic B&W sepia photo in a few quick simple steps. But you do need to know how to work with curves, layers & masks. Its a nice technique to pick up if you are wanting to create a moody pix.

A Texture is also used for a dark grungy effect.

Links to the work files are provided for practice & effective learning.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Tools: Gaussian Blur, Transform, Brush, Gradient Map, Photo Filter, High Pass Filter

SUMMARISED FOR THE BUSY PERSON

There is no voice or text narration. This summary will help explain the process & technique.

  1. On a Duplicate Layer, apply Gaussian Blur of 7.0. Mask this layer to hide the effect on the face & front body – paint on the mask with black Opacity 50%, Flow 63%. This creates a Bokeh effect to isolate the girl from the background.
  2. Add a Black Solid Color layer, Opacity 83%. Mask this layer (similar to step 2) but paint further out to the background as this creates the scene lighting
  3. Add the Texture. Transform & Position. Change Blending Mode to Soft Light, Opacity 83%. Mask this layer to hide the effect on the face & skin of front body – paint on the mask with black Opacity 22%, Flow 63%
  4. Add a Levels adjustment layer & tweak the Black levels as shown
  5. Add a Black & White Gradient Map, Opacity 75%
  6. Add a Warming Photo Filter, Density 19%
  7. Create a Composite layer (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E) to merge everything into a single layer / copy
  8. Duplicate the Composite layer. Apply High Pass filter, Radius 4.5 (you may omit the Smart Object step). Change Blending Mode to Overlay to see the Image Sharpening effect.

 

Course Review: Camtasia 8 – UDEMY – Alexandra Krieger

UDEMY COURSE REVIEW

Camtasia 8 – Harness the Power of Video to Grow Your Sales

CAMTASIA 8 UDEMY Course - Training Screen Capture

Camtasia from TechSmith, is a very popular software for anyone (probably everyone?) wanting to produce professional quality videos. TechSmith is also the developer of SnagIt, another industry standard for screen capture software.

While it is possible to learn Camtasia by following their downloadable tutorials, this course teaches you the whole film-making process including video shooting. You will obviously need the right equipment (audio & video) and a proper lighting setup if you are to harness the Power of Video. Alexandra shows you the equipment that she uses and how to light and shoot a talking head video with a green screen. This means that you can replace the green screen with a background (with anything you wish) later in Camtasia, just like making a movie. Just don’t be carried away, LOL!

There are some good tips for getting good Audio recording. It can be as simple as recording it together with the video or having it recorded separately if you must absolutely have the best quality audio. Best quality will however require more work setting up your equipment and in Post Processing as there will be an additional file to work with. It has to be synced with your video of course. You will also learn how to clean up your audio using Audacity, a handy freeware tool, prior to Post Processing work in Camtasia.

The real action and magic begins in Camtasia where you put your video clips & audio tracks together to produce your polished & final cut video. But have no fear, Alexandra is here! She guides you step-by-step, module-by-module with clear examples, instructions & demos. You won’t be overwhelmed by the technical jargons.

You will pick up these essential Camtasia skills:

  • Video & Audio clip (multi-track) editing on the Timeline
  • Transitions / Zoom & Pan
  • Callouts / Animation effects
  • Replacing your static background with a video

This course gets a DO*DID*DONE recommendation. A comprehensive course which is well designed & structured, the training is delivered in digestible packages and tackles the topics immediately. It provides a good learning experience and at the end of the course you will have new skills to create your own videos which should wow & impress your audience.

I have done video editing for quite many years but have only been using other software like Windows Movie Maker, MuVee, ProShow Gold and Adobe Premiere.

Camtasia is another option I will be adding to my Toolkit.

Here’s some quick info about the course. For full details, click on the Course link at the beginning.

 

CAMTASIA 8 UDEMY CourseCAMTASIA 8 UDEMY Course - AboutCAMTASIA 8 UDEMY Course - Instructor

Macro Photography – The Ultimate DPS Tutorial list

Macro Photography is amazing. It can transport you into another world that is weird, exciting and fascinating.

This list by Digital Photography School could well be the Ultimate Tutorial list for beginners. It contains 9 newest tutorials and 15 of the most popular ones over the last few years.

There is a whole new world out there waiting for you.  Have fun!   😉

DPS Macro Photography

 

Magic Forest Photoshop Tutorial

Here’s a great Photoshop tutorial if you are interested to learn Digital Image compositing. A fantasy theme is always appealing with its mystical charm.

A beautiful lady, a lone white wolf and dancing fireflies in a magical forest. So many fascinating stories to be told!

It gets a DO-DID-DONE Top recommendation for its great learning & entertainment value.

You will like:

  1. The great fantasy theme as mentioned
  2. Clear instructions in text. No voice but it has a nice background music.
  3. The good steady pace which makes it is easy to follow
  4. The many techniques & tricks to learn, especially to blend everything together in a realistic scene & environment
  5. It is not too lengthy (18m 27s) for a tutorial that covers so much
  6. The stock images used are provided (Hint: the link is in the video description)
  7. You can do magic and the final result is a work of art
  8. A fun project for your artistic creations

No surprise that it ranks among my favourite tutorials.

Let’s create some magic!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Skill level: Intermediate

Tools: Pen, Smudge tool, Eraser, Lasso, Brush, Transform, Filter (Distort / Twirl)

Techniques: Layer Grouping, Gradient Map, Layer FX, Clipping Mask

Summarised for the busy person

  1. Extract the model from the background with the Pen Tool. You can use any selection tool that you are comfortable with. The Pen is chosen for its accuracy though it will need more work. If you are already a Pro, skip to 4:15.
  2. Tidy up the hair with the Eraser using a soft Brush.
  3. Create  a flowing  hair effect with the Smudge tool (Brush 13px, Strength about 75%)
  4. Drag the model onto the forest background (6:53). Resize & Position.
  5. Add some leaves in front of model for some realism. Select & copy from the foreground. Resize, Rotate & Position as necessary. Use the Eraser tool to blend in the leaves. Top Tip: Use a Group named leaves to manage other copies in subsequent steps as we progress.
  6.  Create a Gradient map (10:03) to create the Global lighting effect. Choose Black to White gradient. First color Purple 7e00ff, second color Dark grey 1e1e1e. Change Blending mode to Soft light, 70% opacity.
  7. Create the fireflies in a layer named Sparks above the model (10:53). You will use a Brush which is part of the download.
    1. Reset the brush colors.
    2. The larger the brush size, the better.
    3. After applying, head to FX / Blending options (Outer Glow, +Opacity to 90%, Change color to Orange ff6c00, +Elements Size: 28px )
  8. Add a tombstone to the background – Drag, Drop, Transform, Position (12:20). Move it below Sparks layer. Top Tips: Ctrl+T shortcut to Transform & Shift + Alt while dragging corners to resize from center.
  9. Add moss to the tombstone (12:43). Same steps as step 8 with the moss above tombstone layer. Match the tombstone with Transform by  Ctrl + dragging a corner to angle it (12:58). Create a Clipping mask & change the Blending mode to Soft Light. Next, add a layer mask and go around the edges of the moss with a black soft brush.
  10. Add leaves. Opacity 80%  & use Eraser for any touch-ups
  11. Add an Old Lantern on the tombstone – Drag, Drop, Transform, Position (14:53).
  12. Add the Lantern light. Create a new layer above the lantern.Change Foreground color to Orange FFae00. With a soft edge brush, paint the light. Change the layer Blending mode to Screen, Opacity 85%. Set Brush opacity to 25% & paint around the tombstone to add some light.
  13. Add a wolf – Drag, Drop, Transform, Position (16:09). Add leaves. Eraser for touchups.
  14. Select Sparks layer, re: Step 7 (17:35). Apply Filter / Distort / Twirl, Angle 50.
  15. Zoom out & enjoy!

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

Get started with Pivot Tables

As an EXCEL user, if you have been creating a lot of tables and have not yet been introduced to Pivot Tables, you are missing out on EXCEL’s most advanced & powerful business intelligence (BI) solution for data analysis. It comes with EXCEL and there is no need to pay for a plug-in.

Pivot Tables empowers you to visually & interactively slice & dice (BI’s jargon for filtering & segmenting your data repeatedly) your data to get to the level of data you require for reporting & analysis. And to further aid your analysis, present your results graphically as Pivot Charts which are linked to your Pivot Tables. They are dynamically updated as you work with the tables.

While this sounds rather complex, EXCEL’s implementation of this business intelligence solution is excellent while keeping it elegantly simple. You don’t have to spend too much time to master it. Once you have understood the concept & learnt Pivot Tables, you get to focus on the data analysis work at hand. Its intuitive software user interface is certainly appreciated. No longer will you be bothered & distracted by a badly designed user interface that encumbers your productivity.

Head on to this free tutorial by GCF (specially selected by yours truly to aid in your noble effort) to equip yourself with this new skill. It gets straight to the point and takes you through step-by-step. Watch the videos first. Then download the work file to practice as your learn.

Click here for the GCF free Pivot Tables tutorial.

You now have a new weapon. Your boss will be impressed. It will change your life. Promise!

If you want to know more about the history of Spreadsheet softwares, let me know. I would be more than happy to oblige. I have been using them since the introduction of PCs to the world.

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

gcflearnfree_org-excel2013

Fear not the Pen Tool

The mere mention of the pen tool is enough to intimidate Photoshop beginners. It has a formidable reputation of being a very difficult & challenging tool to learn.

Why should you learn this tool? This is the most powerful & advanced tool available to you to make precise & accurate selections to extract the image of a person / object from the background.

Fear no more. It’s time to unleash the power of this awesome tool.

You can actually learn it without being too overwhelmed by watching the following video training tutorials.

Glyn Dewis gets you started in this 11:34s video.

 

If it is now too easy for you, then you are ready for Aaron Nace who covers the topic in under 18 mins.

 

It’s awesome cool, yeah? Have fun! Make sure you practice to familiarise and you will have  a new powerful tool in your toolkit.

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉

 

5 Awesome Layer Mask Tricks

Joshua Cripps will reveal or shall we say unmask, the awesome tricks in this 12m 28s tutorial video.

Layers Masks are awesome. They should be quite easy to learn.

Just remember the mantra  “White reveals, Black conceals”.

But Just when you think you know everything about Layer Masks …..

This will be a good checklist to see if you have mastered the tricks. It will be worth your time.

5 Awesome Layer Masks Tricks

Summarised for the busy person

  1. Apply Image (0:15)
  2. Layer Mask density which gives you opacity control (2:41)
  3. Fine tune masks with Curves or Levels (4:23)
  4. Applying the same mask to another layer adjustment – 3 ways.
    1. Clipping mask (6.03)
    2. Control clicking on mask to be duplicated (selection) before creating a new layer mask (8:05)
    3. Alt + Click & drag the layer mask to copy (8:36)
  5. Create a group even for a single layer for an extra layer mask for even more precise control (9:07)

As always, if you find this tip useful & helpful, do click Like and let me have your feedback in the comments.

Feel free to share if it will help others. Sharing is caring. 😉