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Photoshop Piglets and Droplets, Oh My!

Cross-posted from my photog blog - for the photo geeks using Photoshop and Lightroom....

Yes, this post sounds like I've taken on children's storytelling with Pooh bear, but not so (though no diss on Pooh bear, as I love Pooh! Though Piglet is indeed my very favorite. He is a Very Small Animal, you know).

I've learned something and figured out something and just all around came to a revelation of sheer post-production joy.

1. Lightroom's sharpening kind of sucks. (*gasp!*) I know, I know. I had heard that Photoshop's Unsharp Mask was the way to go, but I just hadn't gotten around to really playing with it. Now that I have, I want to cry, because Photoshop does SUCH a better job at sharpening, and Lightroom's is SO lukewarm at best in comparison. The torment I've been putting my photos through! The tragedy! Thou shalt never be lazy about learning a new trick ever again.

2. You can automate the running of Photoshop actions on export in Lightroom via Photoshop CS3's "Droplets." I learned this from Scott Kelby's awesome book, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers. I just got around to finishing it last night. This can be used, for example, to run a sharpening action in Photoshop before exporting photos from Lightroom.

3. Using the "Run Any Command" piglet from Jeffrey Friedl's Lightroom plugin collection, in conjunction with his Lightroom - to - Flickr upload plugin, you can execute a Photoshop Droplet upon Lightroom export, then automatically upload the resulting photos to Flickr. (Note: Jeffrey's also got upload plugins for Zenfolio, SmugMug, and Picasa Web, and I'm betting this process would work the same on any of them).

So, all of that is just too cool for words.

Here's how I got #3 working under Mac OS X Leopard:

In Photoshop CS3, record your Sharpening action (or any other action - noise reduction, etc). My sharpening action is based on Scott Kelby's advice, which is to create a Luminosity Sharpening action. There's actually an excerpt from his book on how to create his Luminosity Sharpening action. Don't forget to include the File - Save and File - Close commands in your recorded action.

Then, create a Droplet in CS3 (File - Automate - Create Droplet). Save the Droplet in your Applications folder. I called mine UnsharpMask.

Then, choose a photo in Lightroom to export. Do a File - Export and choose the Flickr export (or destination of your choice using Jeffrey's plugins). Enable the Run Any Command piglet in the Lightroom Export dialog (you may have to restart Lightroom). Type into the Run Any Command box:
open -a UnsharpMask

where UnsharpMask is the name of the Droplet  you created in Photoshop. 

The -a tells OS X to look in your Applications folder for the application to open.


I am the happiest camper alive a) to see how wickedly good Photoshop's unsharp mask works, and b) to be able to not only automate the sharpening action, but to automate it in a way that fits right into my existing Lightroom workflow, including the use of Jeffrey's uploading plugins. This is seriously just way, way cool.

For the Windows users out there, a previous poster on Jeffrey's blog left instructions on how to do the same in Windows. That's what inspired me to figure out how to do it on my Mac. I haven't tested this, but here are the Windows instructions (credit to Mark Alston):

Make a .bat file that contained the following:

C:\path\to\droplet_name.exe %1
exit /b 0

And then to use this batch file as the command to run in runanycommand.

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Writer's Strike

sterno posted this first - definitely worth the watch (even though I already sided with the writers before watching it). Its value is two-fold: it makes their point, and in a damn amusing way (a fine display of their talents).


I'm upright!

That's right folks. I can stand upright, and walk even (albeit at a snail's pace). Ironically, now I can't bend over.

But you didn't come here to read my whining. How about a cute cat picture?

This is where I found Goose this morning. People have often wondered about him. Looks like he's still in the closet.

Goose is in the closet.



still working on the dave matthews weekend write-up...

i totally have a black eye. crazy!

i am in love with the macbook pro laptop i got from school. it makes me want to buy one of my own.

i caught a cold at the children's hospital yesterday. yuck.

morgan is doing better! all are now home from the hospital.

i think i'm gonna go play cards tonight, sniffles and all.

i booked my flight for my vegas trip! july 6-11. hells yeah!

that's about it. it's been a pretty shitty week, with the disaster at work, then the cat-on-my-head incident, then morgan being in the hospital, and now my kleenex box dependence. a good poker session would make me feel better! heh.

next week (a week from tomorrow) i leave for springfield for my annual week-long IT training bootcamp. this year i'm taking a session on game programming with python. springfield is an armpit of a city, and there are no poker rooms nearby, but at least the hotel has broadband, and since the trip is work-related, i can bring the macbook pro. i have some geek-out stuff to do on the macbook. i want to install this beta of some virtualization software called parallels that would allow me to boot windows right inside the mac. if it works well (which i''m reading it does) then there's absolutely no reason for me to stay tied to my windows boxes... except for the fact that i can build a top of the line windows box myself for under a grand, and these macbook pro's cost closer to 3 grand. hmmm. minor detail.

anyway ... this computer is rotting my brain... must go rot my brain in the poker room instead :) yes, i'm making the trek out to indiana. ugh. i-80 sucks ass over by the state line. luckily i'm behind on listening to my podcasts...


Cat story

WARNING: Don't read if you don't like stories with blood. Don't worry - it was my blood, not the cat's.

Last night, I went to bed and decided to watch a little TV before going to sleep. My house is now empty, as Randy moved out day before yesterday. So I'm laying there, when all of a sudden, one of my my cats jumps up on the bed and over me. No big deal, except that he did the jumping ON MY HEAD.

One paw had pushed off my eyeball, and I immediately put my hand to my face. Before I could even process what had happened, I felt like a bucket of water had been splashed on me: wetness. I was bleeding, and bleeding bad. I sat up and looked at my hand in the glow of the TV light, and my entire palm was full of blood. It ran down my arm all the way to my elbow, and was streaming down my face and all over my chest (I was wearing a tank top/camisole). I ran to the bathroom, which is no more than 5 steps from my bedroom, and grabbed the closest towel I could (unfortunately, one of the new orange towels my mom got me). I pressed it to my head and stared at myself in the mirror in horror. I was literally covered in blood. It must have been squirting somehow, because the mirror was splattered with blood droplets that were now dripping down the mirror. Blood was pooled on the counter and in the sink.

I was terrified to take the towel off my head. I had no idea what was bleeding - if it was my forehead (which I could feel was scratched), or my eye (which was already throbbing). I figured it was probably my forehead, because if I punctured my eyeball I think it would hurt more than it did. I kept pressure on my head, thinking that if I took the towel off and I was still bleeding this profusely, I'd have to call somebody, or maybe a somebody plus an ambulance.

But who would I call? My first thought was Randy (old habits die hard), since he is closeby and is off work tomorrow, but there's something about breaking up that indicates that you shouldn't be calling that person when you find yourself bleeding out of your eyeball. Kevin and Tracy are closeby, but they've got a kid so they couldn't really help without it being a huge inconvenience. So, I figured if I was still bleeding badly, I'd have to call my mom.

I looked in the mirror and prepared for the worst. I pulled the towel off of my head, half expecting to squirt blood out of my head like a horror movie. To my relief, the bleeding had slowed to a trickle. I looked at the towel; it was definitely ruined. Since there was no saving it, I ran some water and used it to clean myself up. Blood was all over my face, all over my neck, all over my chest. I don't think I've ever bled so much from injury in my life. I cleaned myself up and inspected my wounds more closely.

I had one puncture wound at my hairline on my scalp. I had another on my forehead. The third wound was in the inner corner of my left eye, literally millimeters from my actual eye. Ya know when you go to wipe the morning eye boogers out of your eye? It's right there. I can't imagine if the damn cat had jumped even a half inch closer to my eye. What happens when an eyeball gets punctured? Does it bleed? I don't even know. I'm thinking of the story my cousin, justoneofmylies, told the other day about a dog that was brought into her vet office after losing its eye in a fight. Cringe. As I went back to the bedroom, I saw that there was even more blood to clean up. Blood was smeared all over the bathroom wall where I had turned the light switch on. There was a trail of blood all the way to my bed, and a nice pool of blood on my pillow.

I don't know which of the wounds was responsible for all of the blood. My eye was throbbing though, and I felt like I'd been punched in the nose. The bridge of my nose hurt so bad that it was making my jaw hurt. (I have no idea what the connection is there). My head was pounding. So I went and took some Advil, and filled a ziplock with ice. I laid back down and tried to keep ice on my head, but my eye felt like it needed it the most, and it's really hard to hold an ice cube in the corner of your eye without freezing the eyeball. The ice on my eyeball made it hurt MORE, and I'm not sure that ice is even good for eyeballs. So I kept the ice on my forehead, putting it in the corner of my eye whenever i could tolerate it.

I took my contacts out, fearing that my eye would swell shut or something overnight. Turns out, nothing swelled shut, but my left eye has been watering all morning. The dark circle under that eye is a bit more purple than usual, so I will probably end up with a black eye over this. I still have a splitting headache, but there isn't much visual evidence of my cat attack. The puncture wounds just look like little dots. The one in the corner of my eye is the worst, especially since my eye is watering, because I can't use my finger to clear my eye like I would normally do.

I don't even know which cat did this, because I didn't see it happen. Maverick was the only one in the room when I got back after cleaning myself up, but then again, I screamed when it happened, which would have sent any cats running anyway.

Then, I get a call from my brother and sis in law that they're bringing my niece to the hospital! The doctor wants to observe her in case she has pneumonia. She's been sick with the same sickness that my mom, Eric, and Manda all had. Poor baby Morgan! I will meet them up there today once they have a room.

What a day this has been...

penguins rule


my pet!

24% Dixie. You are a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Are you a Yankee or a Rebel?

Courtesy of maigrey

All of my answers were either midwest/great lakes, or atlantic seaboard/"Centered heavily on New York City and New Jersey."

I'm forever scarred by my time out east!! (Actually, I think it is the midwest that has scarred me!) :)


Whew.... awesome shows. Dave Matthews Band from the front row is an experience I don't think could ever be duplicated - at least not the first time, because I think my eternal goal in life will now be to score front row seats at least once a year.

I need a few days to unwind and process the weekend. The front row was so indescribably amazing. I had a million thoughts last night that I wanted to blog, but they're all a blur now. I'll post some details once I sort it all out :) Until then, I put up some pics of me and Tracy on MySpace.


DMB Night #1

holy shit.... last night's show was awesome! we had to do a bit of crazy rushing to get to the theater though. i forgot that indiana is now an hour ahead of us on eastern time, so we hadn't planned for that. then, we got caught in rush hour traffic heading through indianapolis. we had to check into the hotel and rush to change and get out to the show. we left the hotel at 6:30pm - the show started at 7pm! (the opening act anyway). i was pleasantly surprised to see that they've constructed actual ROADS into the theater now, so you don't have to drive around all of these wacky winding country roads to get in. it's now a direct road straight into the theater off of the interstate exit. so - we got right into the theater without waiting in line at all. so - we still had time to drink a bit before going inside.

soooo much fun! i gotta go cuz it's time to leave. front row tonight!!!

here's last night's set list. EXCELLENT.

The Stone *
Best of Whats Around *
Raven *
Crush *
Pig *
The Idea Of You [Live Debut] *
Bartender *
When The World Ends *
Hunger For The Great Light *
What Would You Say
Lie In Our Graves *
Too Much *
Pantala Naga Pampa *
Rapunzel *


Sister +
#40[Tease] *
Ants Marching

Making friends

I'm making friends with my new Mac (well, the college's new Mac). Dare I say... I like it. I've gotten the hang of installing applications - which is a bit of a different process compared to Windows, but not a whole lot different conceptually than a Linux app install (though much simpler).

There doesn't seem to be any fans in this thing. It makes no noise at all. I wonder how it keeps cool?

Right now I'm running off the battery, doing it's first-time calibration. I have to run the battery down to zilch in order to get it to charge to capacity. It is taking FOREVER! This thing obviously has a really good battery life. I'm down to 31% of my battery. I've been sitting here watching the new Celebrity Poker Showdown, with Phil Hellmuth. Oh, how I miss Phil Gordon! Hellmuth hasn't been as annoying as I'd thought he would be, but he isn't amusing me like PG does.

I'm somewhat frustrated by the lack of right-click-ability. I'm not sure where to find some of the actions that I usually access by the context-sensitive pop-up right-click menus in Windows. I looked up a list of common keyboard shortcuts for Macs, but none were really what I'm looking for. And, I keep hitting CTRL-___ combos instead of COMMAND-___. If you're not supposed to use the CTRL key on a Mac, WHY do they have it on the keyboard??? Just get rid of it, so I don't keep trying to use it!

Really, though, I'm liking the MacBook Pro so far. The screen is nice and crisp, and they colors seem to pop a lot nicer than they do on my PC laptop. I was playing with the built-in mini camera, which amused me for a while. I need to find the cable for connecting my digital camera to this thing so I can try out iPhoto. It looks like it can do all the cool things that I currently use a crapload of different programs to do. And for my podcasting aspirations, I can finally check out GarageBand. We'll see - one thing at a time :) It was very easy to get this thing on my wireless network, encryption and all. Even my mom could have figured it out - pretty amazing, considering what a pain in the nuts it is to configure wireless networking on a Windows box.

I have an eye exam at 10:20am tomorrow in Orland. Hopefully Lenscrafters will have my contacts in stock. Shooooot I just remembered, I have clothes in the washer... bah! I hate doing laundry. Sigh. Now I'm gonna be waiting forever for the dryer. Oh well. It's almost DAVE time, so all is well!

Temps finally cooled off around here - we're back down to the upper-70's. That's the forecast for the Dave shows, and that's just perfect. :)

Ahh well I'd better go throw the laundry in the dryer. I'm down to 26% battery....

Latest Month

June 2008


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