Tag Archive for 'design'

Atomic Feather Launches Kickstarter for a Unique Portable Camera Dolly.


Our sister company Atomic Feather Design just launched a new project that has been in the planning stages for about 9 months. It finally launched on Kickstarter. The SPEEDCinema is a versatile camera motion tool for video and time lapse work.

SPEEDCinema is a portable 3 in 1 Slider/Rail/Dolly system for video & time lapse work that features an EXPANDABLE rail system and unique a reconfigurable design.

Check it out on Kickstarter – Watch the video, get on board and help spread the word.

A portable SPEEDTube kit starts at $159 for Kickstarter backers and complete dolly kits with wheels and mounts start at just $298. The project needs to raise 25k in funding to go into production.

This is a system that’s been a long time and coming and it does something nothing we’ve seen has offered. It can be as long or short as you want, travels anywhere and configures for nearly any situation.

Worth a look.

500px Review – A new photo sharing site worth a look?

The profile interface on 500px.com. Really nice and clean.

See update to review below original article…

by Gavin Seim. So I’m pretty jaded to photo sharing sites. They all seem about the same. But 500px.com has caught my eye. I just setup a profile and here’s what it looks like… http://500px.com/gavinseim

500px is a photo sharing/portfolio/social network site all rolled into one. It’s not exactly the same as other photo sites, but it’s compelling. One, because it’s clean. The opposite of Flickr and many others. But the main feature to me was the rating system. People can like and  dislike images and that controls how they rank on the site. Finally, a site that based recognition on how good your image is, rather than how many groups you add it to. Could there be problems with a rating system? Maybe, but it seems they’ve designed it pretty well, with vote effect varying by age of the image, how many previous votes etc. At least they have one.

Not that other similar sites are bad, but as a Flickr user I’ve become tired. It’s filled with clutter, never really improves, and the interaction is way down. FB is great for reaching out to the masses and having a presence, but in truth it’s pretty lousy for presenting art. 500px is a little like a portfolio and a ongoing photo competition all in one. The challenge is ON.

Now my main space is my own website, but social sites like this can be a great way to interact and gain new eyeballs. 500px even allows users to sell images, and make a nice website. Both are things I’d rather do on my site for now, but these are cool tools for someone looking to make a clean simple space on the web.

500px definitely looks interesting. I plan to take a break from Flickr for awhile and see what I think. There’s a free and a paid membership and even the free version seems fairly feature rich. Not that it’s perfect. 500px lacks a lot of the exploring features, maps and beyond that we may be used to on other sites. But bear in mind it’s a newer project. Hopefully they can keep the features rolling out and not mess it up while doing so.

So go join for free and post a few of your best. And you’re welcome to follow me too… http://500px.com/gavinseim

UPDATE, 07/18. A deeper look.

Here’s an update on 500px, including the negatives I’ve discovered, as I’ve hung out on the site over the past week.

First, it’s the rating system that makes 500px look good. Just like any other photo site, there’s lots of poor quality photos being posted. You simply don’t see them because they don’t rank. Fair enough. It keeps to quality stuff on top which is a good things. The site is pretty much a ongoing photo contest where the prize, if you win, is a pat of the back from your peers. This can be very satisfying. Though it’s easy to get overly consumed with your latest scores and spend the day refreshing your page in anxious desire.

However! To filter up high to the top you need a LOT of likes. In principal the system is great, but there seems to be a ripple effect. It seems that someone who gets a high ranked photo or two (particularly early adopters) have gotten a lot of attention and a lot of followers. At that point they will tend to get more likes by simple nature of the fact that anything they post gets so many eyeballs right out of the gate. For the rest of users, it looks like most images will get a few views and then sit. Even if they’re really great.

Next is the comments. They feel good, but there’s very little critique. I get the sense that many comments are made in hopes of making a new connections. Not a terrible thing, and it happens everywhere. But it means comments are usually simple praise rather than thought out feedback. The other issue is the fear of negative comments. There’s a “dislike” button on images. This could be a good thing, but I’m not sure it’s needed and I think people may be refraining from constructive criticism, in fear that the receivers of such comments could dislike their own images in retaliation because they didn’t like what was said. It may be silly, but it will happen.

Also the site is filled with nudes. They tend to rank high (no surprise). Now I’m not saying they should not allow such content. Only that some users are uncomfortable with it. While those users can check a box to hide these images, they still show as image tiles that say NUDE CONTENT in glaring letters. Most the people that for whatever reason don’t want to see nudes, want them totally gone. 500px should be allowed simply be able to turn it completely off in their settings and not see anything related to it.

Lastly, the sad part is that no matter how much attention an image gets, it loses score. This seems like a real dower. The 1-100 Scores fade in time using an algorithm and that allows fresh images sift up (not sure how far down a score will go). In a way this algorithm makes sense. Problem is it’s frustrating to lose your rank for any reason and I think this will be a negative for everyone. You can have the top image on the site scored at 96, but soon it will drop and ranked with images that are just so so as if it never happened. This could be easily corrected by having each image marked with a banner of highest score achieved, sort of trophy that represented how well it did. But alas I see so such feature.

So that’s some thoughts after a bit of use. Not all bad, but not all good. I’ve tried tweeting a few suggestions to the folks at 500PX, but sadly they seem to ignore them. We’ll see going forward had they fare. 500px is cool, but I get the sense that the glow is going to fade quickly if they don’t find a way to keep people excited once they realize that their image is not likely to ever reach the top unless they have a large following.

We’ll see what happens. Don’t get me wrong, I still like 500px. But they have a short window. If they don’t listen to users and keep improving, they won’t get attention for long. Your thoughts are welcome on the comments… Gav

3rd Annual Seim Effects/PPS Christmas Freebie Pack.

Wow another year almost gone. It was great having so many of you be a part of it. Not a ton of PPS episodes, but from your feedback I gather they were some of the best yet. I’ve been crazy busy and while I can’t say I made every goal for PPS this year, we came along nicely. The last show of the year is posting just after this and I think it’s gonna be a whiz bang.

Anyways on to the goods. Merry Christmas to all of you. This years freebie pack has some good stuff and I hope you’ll enjoy it. For the 3rd year running, Pro Photo Show and Seim Effects have teamed up to bring you the freebie pack. It’s got goodies for Lightroom and Aperture (you read right). And even an album template for InDesign.

To go along with all this, there’s also the PPS 2010 Christmas giveaway where you can pick up some of the $2000+ in prizes.

You can download the freebie pack and get all the details directly from the Seim Effects site where it’s hosted. Download 2010 Christmas Pack.

Enjoy. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Here’s to 2011… Gav

In Design CS4 Photographers Look. The Lightroom Of Album Design

by Gavin Seim Updated 11/09:

Images stuffed into mat pages, then an album covers is becoming less and less attractive to clients. If you’re designing wedding, event, or portrait albums you’ve probably played with making layouts in Photoshop or another program to then have printed as flush mount albums like Kiss or Asa Books, You might have also used press books like the ones from WHCC. Once you have a good design there’s loads of choices, but it’s the design that’s the challenge.

As many people know the service and support of Adobe has gone in the toilet in recent times and while they need some competition to slap them back on track, their software is still great. Today I want to talk about In Design CS4 and how it relates to album deisgn. I’ve tried various tools for album design, some of which worked really well. When it comes to crunch time however, I’m finding In Design is the king.

I learned the basics about using ID for albums from a video that Kevin Swan made. And now gives free on the Kiss books site. Not required but it was sure a great crash course and I use it often to hone up my knowledge. The bottom line is that it’s fast, easy and powerful. Once you get the hang of it.

In Design was not actually designed for photographers to make albums. Rather it’s the industry standard for designers doing layouts on magazines and other published material. It turns out however that it works a treat for doing albums. Bear in mind it’s not a photo editor. What ID rocks at, is laying out pages and doing it fast.

I cringe when I think of doing individual pages in Photoshop. It’s not a page design tool and it’s tedious to do layouts with. What I love about ID is that the entire project is contained in a single file. All images on the pages are referenced to the original files on your computer similar to when one makes a web page. You can edit and change you design in one place and when it’s finished just export the final file as a PDF of JPEG’s. Kinda like the way we use Lightroom.


Continue reading ‘In Design CS4 Photographers Look. The Lightroom Of Album Design’

Easy, Free, Multi Image Layouts For Lightroom:

Most of us know about print templates in Lightroom, but the cool secret is that you can make multi image page layouts too.

This article over on Seim Effects give the details, as well as a set of FREE layout presets to get you going. I’m pretty stoked about the new possibilities of making multi image layouts right from Lightroom. While it won’t replace In Design for my full scale albums, it’s so fast at making quick attractive layouts for things like Press Printed Books. Check it out.

Merry Christmas From The Seim’s & Pro Photo Show

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The blessings of Christ abound around us. I’m thankful for my family, my customers and my colleagues. Here’s a little collage of self portraits we made in the studio yesterday. It would be tough to send cards to everyone since I know so many people.

Since this is the Pro Photo Show edition, I’ll talk shop a little. I did these self portraits with the 5D MKII. I used a white paper backdrop and two Alien Bee’s strobes in the studio. One aimed low and behind us to totally whiten the paper and another in front aimed downwards and bouncing off the floor to fill the front.

The layout was done very simply using InDesign just like I would do a wedding album page, though on an 8×10 layout. That’s all there is too it. Nothing amazing, but I did have fun.

Lastly don’t forget about the PPS Christmas contest. It’s our gift to you, and even if you don’t win one of the big prizes, everyone who enter will receive a free effect goodie pack from PPS and Seim Effects early next year. You can’t lose, so if you haven’t already, go here to enter.

Again merry Christmas to you all… Gav