Polarr 2.0 for Mac by Adrian Galli

Polarr 2.0

Polarr 2.0

One of my favorite photo editing applications for both iOS and OS X recently received major upgrades. Today, Polarr 2.0 for Mac is available and ready to download. With a new interface, adjustments to filters, and extension support for Photos, it is one of my most recommended applications.

My review of Polarr 1.0 shared some of its power but new powerful and easy to use features are hear. Check it out on the App Store for Mac (and iOS).


WWDC 2016 by Adrian Galli

Apple's twenty-seventh year of the famous World Wide Developers Concerence and this years was no disappointment.

Not only have I worked for Apple for thirteen years, the technology that Apple innovates drives my business and personal life in ways I could not begin to communicate in a blog post. WWDC is always an exciting time of year for us in the technology industry and with Apple's four pillars of software development, iOS, macOS (formerly OS X [ten]), watchOS, and tvOS, there is more engagement than ever.

iOS 10 Today View

iOS 10 Today View

iOS 10 is the biggest advancement in the most advanced mobile operating system since the dawn of iOS. With rich notifications and widgets right from the lock screen, raise to wake, and more interactions using 3D Touch, iPhones and iPads are becoming even more powerful and this opens huge doors to developers.

The biggest announcement, I think, is the availability of Siri api. Third party applications can be designed to integrate with Siri like those built by Apple. Image: "Hey Siri, I need a Lyft to Midway Airport." Or: "Hey Siri, I'd like a flight on Delta to London, departing August 17th, in business class." With Apple Pay, one can then pay in moments after Siri find the appropriate response to the query. I can't wait to see what developers do with Siri.

macOS has been the core of the Mac for 15 years. It is an incredibly powerful, intuitive, and secure operating system that runs every Mac. Sierra, the name for macOS 10.12, has great power behind it. Siri, again, is no doubt my favorite feature with integration with the desktop operating system.

Siri, at its core function, powers a voice interface for all of Apple's major products now and can be access from all of these devices: Apple Watch, Mac, iPhone, iPad, AppleTV. If you don't use Siri, you're missing out on the power, ease of use, and fun.

With a longer list of great features like Picture in Picture, an upgraded Photos app, Apple Pay for web, Universal Clipboard (also part of iOS), Tabs for all [multi-window] applications, and advances in the integration with iCloud Drive, macOS will power the next generations of Macs.

Apple Watch was released a little over a year ago. It rarely leaves my wrist and has quickly become one of my favorite tools. Not to be relegated to "gadget status," I find I'm free from my iPhone. I used to drag my iPhone from room to room in anticipation of a message or a call or needing to know some piece of data like weather. But with Apple Watch, my iPhone rests nicely on the coffee table or night stand for hours while I'm at home and Apple Watch fills in while I'm free to move about and not taking my most valuable computer with me. 

watchOS 3 Dock, Breathe, Activity Watch Face

watchOS 3 Dock, Breathe, Activity Watch Face

watchOS 3 builds on a powerful and ever tiny computer for your wrist. The speed, up seven fold, the interface tweaked to allow quicker access to you most used apps, and new input methods for text that give freedom when Dictation isn't a viable option. Securely unlock your Mac while wearing your Apple Watch or use Apple Pay for the web to buy things quickly and securely online. Apple brings a whole new set of features to watchOS just for people who utilize wheelchairs and stress a relieving app to help lower said stress. The evolution of Apple Watch is just at the beginning. 

Lastly, Apple TV, the device that let me cut a major expense (cable) out of my life. Video on demand, iTunes purchases, Apple Music, Siri, games, and more, make the AppleTV a favorite TV and gaming console. Now supporting four controllers, developers have new opportunities for gaming and users have more opportunities for fun with friends and family. 

Check out all the new features in the online previews and be ready for the free upgrades in the fall. This is sure to be an awesome year for Apple technology.

Images courtesy of Apple PR

Photos Tips and Tricks: Using Black and White Controls by Adrian Galli

Black and white photography is the original; classic, striking, moody, and reduces the photo to a more fundamental state. It is one of my favorite forms of photography and from some of the most famous photographers, there is nothing quite like it. Ansel Adams, Mary Ellen Mark, Yusuf Karsh, amount many others, are renown for their use of black and white.

In today's digital world, there are very few actual black and white cameras; the Leica Monochrom, Red Epic-M Dragon (monochrome) are a few notable examples that come to mind but, generally, if you're using a digital camera, even with a black and white mode, you're shooting color (RGB — red, green, blue) and it is converted to black and white. In other words, if you're making or seeing black and white digital photography, chances are you're look it was originally color.

Without giving a long scientific explanation of why or how digital cameras work, a "general" digital camera have a sensor with pixels, each capturing its own color: red, green, or blue. The Leica M Monochrom uses a sensor where each pixel captures only luminance.

Many of us simply can't afford a Leica or we would really like the option of color photography. Sadly, we can't, or currently can't, have a camera that is "dual-action" color or mono. As such, we'll need to settle for one or the other but don't be discouraged, a color photo can be altered into a stunning black and white photography.

In OS X's Photos app, there are three filters for use to convert your images: Mono, Tonal, and Noir (my personal favorite). Having covered how to use filters in a previous post, we'll forego these and move into a more advanced technique for black and white conversions and more flexible.

Original image, enhanced, no black and white.

Original image, enhanced, no black and white.

Opening an image and entering the edit mode, one will click on Adjustments. Even with the default option for adjustments, black and white is a already visible. Using the adjustment is a simple using the slider until the desired black and white appearance is achieved. This adjustment mimics the effects of using a color filter on black and white film.

Red Filter (right) vs. Blue Filter (left)

Red Filter (right) vs. Blue Filter (left)

This alone will give you more flexibility than just the general black and white filters. However, opening the adjustments will bring more control and a finer look should the basic black and white slider.

Upon opening Black & White, four additional sliders are available: Intensity, Neutrals, Tone, and Grain.

These adjustments are the key to taking advantage of the black and white capabilities of Photos. While it is a simple toolset, there is a great amount of flexibility, like nothing found in iPhoto, and also found on the iOS version of Photos. It is far different from yours average black and white conversion tool found in other apps, I have come to enjoy the ease and power.

Intensity: The strength by which the effect is applied to the photo.
Neutrals: Lightens or darkens the gray areas (midtones) of the photo.
Tone: Adjusts the photo for a more high-contrast or low-contrast look.
Grain: Adjusts the amount of film grain that appears in the photo.

For the final version of Art Deco Mountain, I initially expected I would use the Noir built-in filter, however, I found it too intense. While I wanted a nearly black sky with high contract with the highlights, the shadow area of the building was too dark.  Applying the Black & White adjustment and fine tuning the Intensity, Neutrals, and Tone, the sky looked as I wished as did the building. 

Art Deco Mountain

Art Deco Mountain

Making good use of these four adjustments on can achieve many high quality black and white effects on a photograph. This is to say, we should not forget about the many other adjustments available in Photos as things like Color, Contrast, Definition, and many others will also impact your black and white photography.

Final Cut Pro X 10.2.3 by Adrian Galli

Final Cut Pro X has received a lot of criticism since its released over in 2011. I’m bold enough to call people out on all of it as Final Cut Pro X is coming upon five years old and, as a professional in the industry, I can safely say it is one of the best editing systems I’ve used. I’m not only certified in Final Cut Pro X, I’ve written curriculum for training in Final Cut Pro X, I’m one of the highest endorsed Final Cut Pro Editors in North America, I’ve spent hundreds of hours using it, and edited literally a hundred (perhaps more) projects using it.

Final Cut Pro X is a radical change in non-linear editing systems; trackless editing, outstanding multi-cam support, no rendering, multicore processes, 64-bit support, keyword organization, and so much more. Most other systems were designed in the early to mid 90’s still look and work pretty much the same way as they have for the past two decades. They feel like nonlinear editing systems designed by linear editors. Final Cut Pro 'classic' felt the same; FCP X took a bold stance against such antiquated standards and made something new.

But, that isn’t to say there haven’t been improvements, bugs, and other things popping up in such a complex application. The long awaited Final Cut Pro X 10.2.3 was released today with a great number of improvements and stability updates. Check out the list of updates below.

New in Final Cut Pro X 10.2.3:

  • Customizable Default Effect lets you choose both a video and audio effect that is assigned to a keyboard shortcut
  • 4K export preset to create video files for Apple devices
  • Improves speed when opening libraries on a SAN
  • Resolves an issue that could affect the timecode display in the Dashboard on OS X El Capitan
  • Import Canon XF-AVC including video files from the Canon C300 Mark II
  • Ability to share video to multiple YouTube accounts
  • Resolves an issue in which a disabled video effect could appear as Missing Effect when opening the project or when sharing to Compressor
  • Addresses an issue in which black frames could appear in imported iPhone video clips that were trimmed on iPhone
  • Fixes an issue that could cause the playhead to jump ahead when editing short titles
  • Fixes an issue that could cause the timeline to stop playback when switching views in the Browser
  • Fixes an issue in which points on a Bezier shape could incorrectly switch from Linear to Smooth
  • Fixes an issue in which some objects within Motion templates render with soft edges
  • Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list in the Share window

You can purchase or update Final Cut Pro X from here. Enjoy!