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How to set up and get started with Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark makes it possible to make great graphics in just moments.

The Adobe Creative Suite is growing and Adobe's aim is to make it as easy as possible for you to create stunning images that you can feel proud of. Adobe Spark, the graphics creation content for Creative Suite, is great for creating graphics, adding text overlays to pictures (for the perfect meme), photo journals, and more. Here's how to set up and get started using Adobe Spark.

What is Adobe Spark?

In May of 2017 Adobe rebranded three of its content creation apps under a new umbrella called Spark. It rebranded Adobe Post, Slate and Voice as Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video. Each one of these apps is available on iOS, or from the web, and their aim is to make it accessible for anyone to create eye-popping graphics without having the technical know-how required for programs in the Adobe Creative Suite.

Spark Post

Spark Post is aimed at helping you make posters, memes, infographics, and more. It gives you the control to add pictures, change text, adjust the color palette of your project, and even resize your project for a specific social media platform. Everything here is laid out for you, and can be tweaked with the click of your mouse — or a tap on your phone.

This app is specifically aimed toward creating a single great image that pops with color, photos, and text, making it ideal for social media sharing.

Spark Page

Spark Page is better suited for larger projects. These include portfolios, photo journals and even event recaps. You're able to add photos, text, captions, videos, buttons and more. You can also change the look of your entire project using themes, which are the templates for Spark Pages.

This means if you want to share photos and information — like a wedding album online, complete with captions and links — then Spark Page is definitely the app that you want to use. You can even preview what your project will look like before sharing it so you know it's perfect!

Spark Video

Spark Video is the app built for sharing video, and includes audio overlay. This makes it great for presentations at work, lesson plans, or seasonal greetings. There are templates to help you get started, along with the ability to add audio, text, photos, video, and even icons. When you are creating your Spark Video project, it looks a bit like a slideshow, giving you control over how every frame looks.

For folks who need to relay information in video format, or who have a presentation at work coming up, this app can be a real boon. Just like Spark Pages you can preview your project before sharing, allowing you to tweak everything before the big day. You can also play with the layout quite a bit, giving you the ability to have text show up next to your video so that everyone gets all the information they need.

How to set up Spark

  1. Navigate to spark.adobe.com
  2. Click start new for free (it's in a yellow bubble on the upper right of your screen).

  3. Click and enter your information to sign in using your Adobe account, Google account, Facebook account, email account, or create a new account.

How to start a project

  1. Click on the yellow button with a plus sign to start a new project.
  2. Click on the type of project you want to create (remember Spark Post is for single graphics, Spark Page is for large projects, and Spark Video is for video presentations).

How to choose a template

  1. Click on the yellow button with a plus sign to start a new project.
  2. Click on the icon above type of post you want to create.

  3. Scroll to view template options and click to choose a template.

How to view projects

  1. Click the menu button (it looks like three stacked lines).
  2. Click My Projects.

How to download a project

  1. Navigate to https://spark.adobe.com/sp/projects
  2. Hover over the project you want to download

  3. Click on the ellipsis (it looks like three dots)
  4. Click download.

Questions?

Have you used Adobe Spark yet? Do you have questions about getting started? Let us know in the comments below!

Which iPad storage size should you get?

The iPad line now has storage capacity akin to that of an entry-level MacBook. Which amount is right for you? Let's take a look.

Gone are the days of 16GB iPads — and thank goodness for that. When you consider buying an iPad nowadays, you have options ranging from 32GB on the base model 9.7-inch iPad all the way up to half a terabyte of solid state storage on the highest-end iPad Pro. With this storage increase, space concerns are becoming less and less of an issue. Instead, you get to ask yourself what kind of space you need for your tasks.

When should you shell out extra for space? When should you stick with the base model? Here's our guide to picking the perfect storage size for your iPad needs.

Price per gigabyte

The iPad's main price differentiator — aside from whether or not you want a cellular antenna — has been its storage tiers, and the latest generation of iPads is no different. Apple could choose to segment on any spec, but storage size is easy for everyone to understand. More buys you more.

First, the iPad mini 4. Apple's smallest tablet has been constrained to just one storage size: 128GB at $399. It's not technically the company's most affordable iPad — that honor goes to the $329 32GB 9.7-inch iPad — but if you break down the per-gigabyte price, it blows the 9.7-inch iPad out of the water. You'll only pay $3.12 per gigabyte for the iPad mini 4 versus $10.28 per gigabyte for the base-model 9.7-inch iPad.

Add $100, however, and you get a lot more for your money: The 128GB 9.7-inch iPad is $429, or roughly $3.35 per gigabyte. It's still not as good a deal as the iPad mini 4, but it's close.

On the iPad Pro side, the 10.5-inch model offers the most affordable pricing per gigabyte we've ever seen on Apple's iPad line:

  • 64 GB - $649 or $10.14 per gigabyte
  • 256 GB - $749 or $2.93 per gigabyte
  • 512 GB - $949 or $1.85 per gigabyte

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro isn't quite as good a deal but still quite favorable:

  • 64 GB - $799 or $12.48 per gigabyte
  • 256 GB - $899 or $3.51 per gigabyte
  • 512 GB - $1099 or $2.15 per gigabyte

If you wanted the absolute best storage deal for your cash, the $399 128GB iPad is pretty great at $3.12/GB — the next iPad up with a lower price per GB is Apple's $749 256GB iPad Pro ($2.93/GB).

Do you need local or cloud storage?

You may be able to skimp on your on-device storage if you plan to stay connected. Apple offers plenty of integration with cloud services, including Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, and its own iCloud option; with iOS 11, the Files app will even let you natively manage all of those files in one place.

Apple's iCloud gives you free unlimited storage for all your iTunes-purchased content. That includes iBooks; iTunes music, movies, and TV shows; and apps from the App Store. Beyond this, Apple allots all customers 5GB of free storage for backups, data, iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Music Library, and iCloud Drive. You can also purchase more iCloud storage if you need it, at prices ranging from $0.99 for 50GB to $9.99 for a whopping 2TB.

iCloud integrates with iOS, macOS, and the web; it keeps all your stuff connected and collected. Thanks to some really intelligent nearline management, iCloud can help make sure frequently accessed content is instantly available, and your older and infrequently accessed content is only a tap and a download away when you need it.

The cloud still can't take the place of lots of on-device storage — you can't shoot 4K video straight to the cloud, for example — but it should help you get the most of what you have.

  • If you're a regular cloud services user, 64GB of local space should be just fine for your daily needs.
  • If you plan to travel or otherwise be offline, consider 128GB or 256GB.
  • If your iPad is your primary work machine and you do a lot with images, video, and vectors, 512GB is the option you'll want to pick up.

Photos and videos

The current iPad lineup offers cameras that can shoot photos ranging from 8 megapixels to 12MP in size, up to 63MP panoramas, and video up to 4k & 30FPS. Even with iOS 11's upcoming HEIF and HEVC image and video compression format — which claims to halve storage needs for multimedia content — if you take a lot of photos, you're probably going to need more local storage.

iCloud Photo Library can help offload your content to the cloud, but you'll have to pay for the iCloud storage necessary to store your full Photo Library. And even then, depending how much you capture and how often, it still might not be ideal.

  • If you hardly ever shoot or store photos and video on your iPad, you should be good with 64GB.
  • If you plan to edit and store photos or videos — especially 4K video — consider one of the larger storage sizes.

Media

iTunes movies can be 1 to 3GB in size for a standard definition file; change that to HD, and they can easily eat up 3 to 6GB of storage. TV shows are usually a quarter to half the size of movies, but they more than make up for it by the number of episodes typically available. In contrast, music files are generally quite small, but if you have lots and lots of albums you want to jam to, they can add up as well.

Streaming services like Apple Music, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Spotify also offer local offline storage options for traveling, while cloud services also offer offline storage space if you have personal movies or music you want to enjoy.

  • If you do a lot of streaming and very little offline watching, 32GB to 64GB is acceptable.
  • If you want to be able to save a few movies and shows without having to delete other items on your iPad, 128GB is the better bet.
  • Want to store a bunch of content offline? 256GB or 512GB is the size you want.

Apps and games

Apple and developers can do a lot these days to keep apps slim and trim, but as programs increase in complexity, you may find your iPad slowly filling up on 600MB updates and 2GB game packs. This is especially true if you plan to use an iPad for any graphics-intensive process — whether that involves artwork creation or rocking out to the latest version of Monument Valley.

  • If you don't have a ton of apps or games on your iPad, 32GB or 64GB can work.
  • If you have a fair number of apps and games, consider 128GB or 256GB.
  • If you plan to do any graphics-heavy design work, get a 512GB model.

Who should get a 32GB iPad or 64GB iPad Pro?

Very few buyers should consider a 32GB iPad. Though its $329 price can look appealing to first-time buyers, the $10.28/GB storage cost is one of the worst deals Apple offers — comparable only to the 64GB iPad Pro models, which rate at $10.14/GB and $12.48/GB, respectively.

If you're buying hundreds of iPads for education or enterprise and only need them to access B2B apps and web portals, this may be the iPad for you and your legions. And if you absolutely can't or don't want to pay a dime more, get a 32GB iPad or 64GB iPad Pro. Otherwise, shoot for 128GB or 256GB.

Who should get a 128GB iPad mini or iPad?

If you don't want or need a Pro model but still want to keep a good amount of content available, consider the 128GB iPad mini or standard iPad. At under $3.50/GB, both the mini and 9.7-inch iPad give you excellent bang for your buck; at that point, it just depends on what screen size you prefer.

Who should get a 256GB iPad Pro?

If you're interested in the iPad Pro, the 256GB model offers that perfect sweet spot. It's just under $3/GB for the 10.5-inch model and $3.51/GB for the 12.9-inch and should give you more than enough space for documents, audiovisual content, artistic canvases, and whatever else you'd like to store — all at a lower price than an entry-level MacBook.

Who should get a 512GB iPad Pro?

Let's be frank: unless you plan to use an iPad Pro as a stuffed-full content portfolio or daily audiovisual work machine, it's going to be mighty difficult to stuff it full of 512GB of content. It's possible — but highly unlikely. Between that prospect and the 512GB's starting $949 price tag, we can't recommend it to anyone but the heavy duty user; 256GB will be more than enough for most pros (especially if combined with cloud storage) at a far more reasonable price.

But as with the 32GB model, there are those few who need 512GB. For you, Apple offers this highest end of high-end iPads. Go forth and use it to its maximum potential.

Still undecided?

If you're still not sure which storage size to get, jump into our iPad discussion forums and the best community in mobile will happily help you out!

Also, remember that Apple offers a great 14-day return policy for any product purchased from an Apple online or retail store. When you get your new iPad, put it through its paces. Add all the apps and games you want with you, load up your movies and TV shows, go out and take some photos and shoot some video. Give it a complete and thorough workout. If it feels like you got too much storage — or too little — take your iPad back and exchange it for one that better suits your needs.

CrumplePop VideoDenoise review: Plugin cleans up noisy videos with ease

High-definition video allows creators to capture image details that weren’t possible in the past. However, the increased resolution also magnifies imperfections such as digital noise and grain, particularly with footage shot under low-light conditions. Anomalies like these can largely be eradicated with the right tools in post-production, but modern software-based solutions tend to be time-consuming and overly complicated.

Cleanup, aisle one

CrumplePop VideoDenoise ($99) tackles unwanted visual noise, and it’s one of the fastest and easiest to use so far. Available exclusively from the excellent FxFactory marketplace, this plugin works inside of host apps Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Adobe Premiere Pro 7 or higher, where editors drag and drop the filter onto an individual clip in your timeline.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Improve Your Shots With SANDMARC’s New Filters For The iPhone

SANDMARC’s new filters aim to bring high-quality, professional filtering to the iPhone camera; by giving you three filters to help enhance your photos and videos to the next level.

With these lenses, you will no longer settle with a picture that looks plain and dull; because it adds such a rich and vibrant color to your photos, that will bring them to a whole new world. These lenses were designed to give you natural but quality filters that help reduce light intensity, grain, blurriness and other things that normally occur when you’re taking photos or videos; since it was made to improve the standard smartphone lens and make it better.

You can also stack either two or three of the lenses that they give you onto your iPhone’s camera, since they made it where you can attach them on top of each other to create a certain look to your shots. Another interesting feature that it comes with, is that it’s also made out of industrial-grade, multi-coated glass, with frames that are made out of lightweight aluminum, that are perfect for taking on or off your iPhone, since it’s so tiny and small.

Now the SANDMARC filters are currently over at Kickstarter.com. So if you would like to learn more about it or help back it to its goal, then you can always check out the lenses at their official Kickstarter page for more information.

Source: Digital Journal


Come comment on this article: Improve Your Shots With SANDMARC’s New Filters For The iPhone

Samsung Gear 360 review: The best starter camera for VR photography

A new kind of photography requires a new kind of camera.

As awesome as the cameras on our phones are, they only capture in one direction by design. With a global push towards Virtual and Augmented Reality, it is occasionally important to capture everything around you. A whole sphere as a single image, where every angle is captured. This raises a lot of questions, especially as traditional photographers figure out how to craft a scene without that helpful "frame" to assemble things in.

Before you get too ahead of yourself with how to take the best 360-degree photos, you first need a camera that will work well to capture the scene in the first place. It needs to be relatively inexpensive but not so cheap that image quality is sacrificed, and above all, it needs to be easy to use.

For a lot of people, the Samsung Gear 360 is that camera. Here's a closer look.

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About this review

I've been using the Samsung Gear 360 for 2.5 months, starting first with a pre-release model on beta software connected to a Samsung Galaxy S8 and then a retail model with final software connected to an iPhone 7 Plus. Both versions of the camera were provided by Samsung for review.

The wand holds the power

Samsung Gear 360 Hardware

Like most 360-degree cameras, the Samsung Gear 360 is basically a pair of fisheye lenses at the end of a small shaft. There is a single large button on the shaft for taking a photo while the camera is in your hand, a small display for keeping an eye on the photo mode you have enabled and how many photos you can take with the renaming storage, and of course the USB-C charging port on the side, but that's about it.

The main event is at the top, the small orb with a pair of 8-megapixel sensors behind fixed-focus lenses which work together to create a 15MP sphere. In between those sensors are buttons for power, pairing to a phone, and switching the camera mode. All together, there's not a lot to this little camera on the outside.

The Gear 360 comes with a safety pouch to keep the lenses from being scratched while traveling with it, as well as a little rubber donut you can attach to the bottom to ensure the camera isn't accidentally knocked over when trying to take a photo remotely. Both of these accessories are incredibly important, as the Gear 360 isn't quite thin enough to be pocketable for most, and because the cameras are at the top of the shaft, the camera is a little top-heavy. This makes the camera a little inconvenient to carry around when compared to the camera on your phone, but it makes up for this by being able to take photos and video your phone is simply incapable of conveniently capturing.

At the base of the camera, you'll find a simple camera screw, the same mount you'll find in just about every other camera on the planet. This means the Gear 360 can be quickly mounted to most normal camera mounts, including GoPro and Drone mounts for unique perspectives on the world around you. And it's well worth giving those things a shot if you are so inclined, since the MicroSD card slot on this camera means storage is limited only by your wallet and the battery is able to keep you recording in 4K for at least an hour on a single charge.

Tiny Planets and Bigger Perspectives

Samsung Gear 360 Software

This camera can be used in two different ways. You can either hold the camera in your hand and take the photo, or you can remotely control the camera from an app on your phone. Samsung's Gear 360 app currently supports all modern Samsung phones and any iPhone running iOS 10, with apps available in both the App store and Samsung store.

You connect to the camera over W-Fi, which gives you quite a bit of remote control range to play with if you're out in the open. If you want to capture a scene without you in the shot, you can step behind a tree or a wall and not have to be in the shot when you take the photo, which is nice.

Taking a 360-degree photo leaves you with a surprising number of options. You can capture the sphere of life around you, and share that sphere just as it is, or you can play with the perspective a bit. Samsung's app allows you to invert the perspective so everything looks like it lives on a tiny planet all its own, or you can choose to only use one half of the sphere for something a little closer to a normal fisheye image.

But you also have some traditional camera tools, like exposure controls and timers for taking the photo you want. The Gear 360 also includes an HDR landscape mode, which does the job of taking the photo at multiple exposures and combining the image into a single, more enjoyable sphere. It's labeled "landscape" because the camera takes some time to capture the individual exposures, so this mode doesn't work well when things are moving around. Like any camera, the Gear 360 takes some getting used to before you're taking some great images.

From the Gear 360 app, you have the ability to sort through photos and videos stored on the camera and choose which you'd like to save directly to your phone. This process is much faster than many 360-degree cameras because the photos are being transferred over a local wireless network instead of Bluetooth, but it's important to remember the negative impact on your battery life by maintaining this connection.

You can't be connected to the camera and a normal wireless network at the same time, so you're using mobile data if you're trying to share a photo or video while connected to the camera as well. It's a lot to keep in mind, especially since the app itself doesn't do a great job reminding you to disconnect all that often.

Probably the best "starter" 360-degree camera you can buy right now.

Samsung Gear 360 Experience

Once the novelty of a 360-degree camera wears off, three things become very important. And these aren't new or unique concerns; it's just a new medium with a slightly different perspective. You want to be able to grab a photo as quickly as possible, you want to be able to take photos in every lighting condition, and you want to know the camera will actually last you a day when you take it to a special event. For the most part, the Gear 360 does a good job providing a quality experience for each of these concerns.

If you want to take a photo quickly, the button on the side of the camera is as fast as it gets. This means your hand is in the shot, which means in VR someone is looking down at what appears to be your massive and slightly disfigured knuckles. These photos are fine for sharing on Facebook but not usually the quality photos you'd want to publish in full resolution to show off your skills.

IMG_0193

Like all other 360-degree cameras under $1,000, this is a fixed focus camera with no way to deal with complex exposures on a single side. That means if you have a lot of light on one side of the camera and not a lot of light on the other side, the image will appear blown out on one half most of the time. It's also limited when taking photos in low light, which can be frustrating if you're trying to grab something quick. Most of this can be dealt with as you learn to adjust the exposure manually, but this in particular is a challenge all starter 360-degree cameras have right now.

As for longevity, the Gear 360 will have no problem keeping up with you for a single day. I've had several outings with the camera where over 100 photos and up to 30 minutes of 4K video were recorded, and the camera still had 20% battery remaining at the end of the day. What this camera won't survive, at least with any amount of grace, is total submersion in water or a drop onto the lenses. There's no way to protect the glass outside of its cloth pouch, which is why the included wrist strap is so important.

Samsung's 360-degree camera is the best starter camera you could ask for right now, especially at the $250 asking price. It's an all-around quality experience that makes sharing quick memories to social networks fun but not quite capable enough to be something you use seriously when trying to record a professional-looking photo or video for a high-end VR headset. It's the quality point-and-shoot option, not the professional rig with lots of options. And for a lot of people, that's more than enough.

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