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

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

Nik Collection Filters for free

Nik SoftwareIf this sounds too good to be true, you can be assured that such an unbelievable offer is indeed real. Such a steal, and at the most attractive price of FOC!

If you have not already downloaded it, you can download it here.

This popular & powerful suite of Post Processing Filters was once commercially sold for $500. Nik Software was acquired by Google in 2012. More about it here. Google is therefore very generous to make it available for free in March this year.

You can edit the full image (Global edit) or any part of an image that you choose (Local edit) using Control Points. There is no need for masking. It is a rather cool way to post process your image.

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YouTube Video Intro – Viveza  2: Using Levels and Curves and Control Points

 

I recommend reading this article for a good overview of each component in the collection. It will give you a good idea of the features & tools to use to enhance your image for the specific look & feel that you desire >>>  Digital Photography School – An Overview of Google’s Nik Collection Filters for Post-Processing

By now, if you have not downloaded Google’s Nik Collection, at the very least you have heard that this once $500 software, was made free for download in March 2016. The Nik Collection, as it has been known for over a decade, is a set of photographic filter plug-ins, and image enhancement tools, that delivers another look and feel to your photo.

The Nik Collection is comprised of Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Dfine, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, Silver Efex Pro and Viveza.

View the short 2m 13s video pictured above here.

Photofunia Fun

If  you have some time to kill, you will find messing around with Photofunia fun, entertaining & even rewarding.

With just a single picture, it was super easy to have my face superimposed over various images to assume the fantasy roles.

My friends & family know very well that I am a very reluctant model but what the heck. For the sake of good fun, I shall make an exception this time. LOL, I can always delete this post if I change my mind, ya?  At the risk of making a fool of myself, here’s the Picture Gallery with me as the main leading character WHOAMI TODAY. One could say that I had so much fun that I got quite carried away.

Before I am reminded, I know that I should lose my glasses in some of them.  🙂

My Android smartphone provided the entertainment. Photofunia’s also on the web.

What are you waiting for?  Choose your preferred device. Time to transform yourself!

Good LUCK!!

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. 😉

 

 

How to Create a Real Drop Shadow in Photoshop with Layer Styles

Shadows have always fascinated me. We are inseparable. We can never run away from it.

So let’s have some Photoshop fun with shadows.

In this 4m 23s YouTube video (under 5 mins), A.J. Wood takes us through the simple steps.

 

The tutorial starts at 45s. If you already know how to cut out the figure using Magic Wand & Refine Edge, skip to 1:53.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SKILL LEVEL    Easy

TOOLS

  • Magic Wand selection  / Refine Edge
  • fx / Drop Shadow
  • Free Transform & Warp

 

Steps summarised for the busy person

  1. Cut out the figure to a New layer with Magic wand & Refine Edge
  2. Select the New layer.
  3. Click on fx (at bottom of Layer Panel) / Drop Shadow to create the shadow
  4. Set Opacity to 100% and Size to 10 to soften the shadow.
  5. Separate the Drop Shadow from the actual layer (Right click on Drop Shadow / Create Layer)
  6. Select the Shadow layer
  7. Do Free Transform (Ctrl+T) & Warp the shadow
  8. Soften the shadow by setting layer opacity to 50%

 

If you are compositing images & need to recreate shadows, this method will come in handy.

There are many ways to create a shadow. Sometimes, it is just painted on with a brush but you need to understand light very well before you attempt to do so.

If you are just beginning to learn Photoshop, try this for a quick fun project.

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. Sharing is caring. 😉