Free Photo and Color Management Webinars from X-Rite

Lee Varis PhotographyX-Rite Photo Marketing announces its schedule of free October 2013 webinars that have been developed to address specific photography and color management topics and are designed to appeal to both professional and serious amateur photographers….

Fantastic Photo-Illustration: Retouching, Masking & Compositing with Lee Varis, 1-2 p.m. ET and 3-4 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Oct. 16: Mastery of Adobe Photoshop is an essential step in developing skills for photo-illustration and is a foundation for exploring the outer limits of fantasy, surrealism, and visual symbolism.

X-Rite Coloratti Lee Varis will examine photo-retouching and illustration techniques in this webinar and emphasize the necessity of working on a calibrated and profiled monitor. Webinar attendees will see how Lee assembles different photo-illustration projects and be guided, step-by-step, to learn more advanced techniques including:  Masking and transparency effects; smoke and fire effects; glows, halos, and light beams; and other image compositing secrets.

Along the way, attendees will also learn about specific features of Photoshop like:  Layer masks, Groups, and Blending Modes; the Refine Edge dialog; editing masks with the Dodge & Burn, plus Blur tools; displacement maps & distortion effects; and more.

To register for the free 1 p.m. ET webinar, visit:

To register for the free 3 p.m. ET webinar, visit:

The Complete Digital Photography Process with Jim DiVitale, 1-2 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 21: In this program, Jim will demonstrate problem-solving techniques using digital capture and Photoshop to streamline both the creative and production of the digital imaging workflow to improve quality and save time.

Topics will include calibration and custom profiling of the camera, monitor and printer to achieve a closed loop of controlled color management. Webinar attendees will also learn how to use Wacom products to streamline the work, and a start to finish approach to digital photography, using several photographic elements to create multi-image photographs for commercial photo-illustrations.

Jim’s portfolio and digital imaging Blog can be viewed at

To register for the free webinar, visit:

Free Webinars on Color Calibration and the Digital Photo Process

X-Rite Photo Marketing just announced its schedule of free June 2013 Webinars developed to address specific color management topics that are designed to appeal to both Jim DiVitale Photographyprofessional and serious amateur photographers and videographers…

The Complete Digital Photography Process with Jim DiVitale, co-sponsored by Wacom, presented by Jim DiVitale, Noon ET, June 12: Presenter Jim DiVitale is a commercial advertising photographer and world-renowned photo instructor with more than 30 years of experience. Topics will include calibration and custom profiling of a camera, monitor and printer to achieve a closed loop of controlled color management, using Wacom products to streamline the workflow, and provide a start to finish approach to digital photography using several photographic elements to create multi-image photographs for commercial photo-illustrations. In this program, Jim will demonstrate problem-solving techniques using digital capture and Photoshop to streamline both the creative and production of the digital imaging workflow to improve quality and save time.

To register for this free webinar, visit:

Professional Monitor Calibration for Still & Video, presented by Brenda Hipsher, Noon ET, June 26: This webinar will review how to access and utilize the video presets in i1Profiler software and will briefly look at use of ColorCheckers in the video footage as a visual reference. For photographers shooting, editing, and preparing video for output, this webinar will give them the insight into X-Rite color management solutions that can streamline their color control in video.

To register for this free webinar, visit:

X-Rite Announces June Slate of Color Management Webinars

X-Rite Photo Marketing announced its schedule of June 2012 webinars developed to address specific color management topics and designed to appeal to both professional and serious amateur photographers. Webinar attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions to the live trainers. The webinars kick off this Thursday, June 7. Here’s the scoop…

Color management webinarsThursday, June 7, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Beyond Monitor Calibration – Get Prints That Match Your Display!: Perfect for wedding, portrait and landscape photographers, as well as photo lab professionals and photo enthusiasts doing their own printing, this webinar, featuring the award-winning X-Rite ColorMunki Photo, will teach attendees how to put a color-managed workflow in place from image capture through printer output, including creating custom profiles and learning how to use them correctly to produce prints that match a display every time.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Monitor to print matching (calibration and profiling)
  • Obtaining consistent color in camera
  • Benefits of creating and using custom printer profiles
  • Soft-proofing in Adobe Photoshop
  • Applying printer profiles in Photoshop
  • Digital projector profiling

To register for this webinar, visit:

Thursday, June 14, 3 p.m. ET, Get to Know X-Rite, Wacom, and OnOne Software Webinar – Part II: This webinar is Part 2 of last month’s gear head webinar co-sponsored by X-Rite, Wacom and onOne. In this webinar X-Rite’s Brenda Hipsher will talk about some of the amazing advanced features in i1Profiler software for i1Display Pro and briefly talk about the enhancements to the new i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer. There will also be a brief look at the ColorChecker Passport as the webinar moves a bit more in-depth into X-Rite color management solutions for digital photographers and filmmakers. In an expanded review of the Intuos5 pen tablet, Wes Maggio and Joe Sliger of Wacom will share some tips for increasing productivity by customizing tablets for use in popular image editing apps, which apply to Cintiq users as well, Additionally, they’ll demonstrate the practical application of these tips in a creative workflow. Brian Matiash will finish things off by sharing how he uses the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport in the field, along with how he customizes his Wacom Intuos5 Tablet and onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 to give him the most effective imaging workflow both behind the camera and in front of the computer.

To register for this webinar, visit:

Wednesday, June 20, 1 p.m. ET, The New i1Photo Pro 2 | A New Standard for Color Management: Join X-Rite for an in depth look at the new i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer and the three new professional solutions, including the i1Photo Pro 2, featuring this new hardware device. This webinar will discuss how and why the new device is different and what makes it a more accurate instrument. Also discussed will be the new hardware/software configurations available to give photographers the most advanced options for color management in digital photography. Attendees will learn about upgrade options, new software features, and more.

To register for this webinar, visit:

For more information an all X-Rite Photo webinars visit the Webinar page found under the Learning section on All webinars are also archived for online viewing any time.

Born and Raised: Behind the Art that Brands the Music

Artwork for John Mayer's Born and Raised
John Mayer at The Reed Space in New York City promoting his new album, Born and Raised. David Smith of Torquay, England, a super-talented signwriter who combines traditional craftsmanship with digital technology, designed the cover artwork.

You might say David Adrian Smith is old-fashioned. After all, he’s a hand craftsman, fine artist and old-time signwriter who plies his gilded trade in south England – the seaside burg of Torquay, to be exact.

Sketching John Mayer's Born and Raised album cover
Here's the Born and Raised cover art in the hand-sketched stage.

All those descriptions of Mr. Smith are true, but while the mainstay of his work is of the Old English pub variety – gilded windows and mirrors glue-chipped and painted to perfection with inlays of Mother of Pearl and whatnot – he’s also an aficionado of all things digital.

And, lest you envision an aged man bent over a workbench, Smith is youthful 43 whose talent was a perfect match for his interest in the sign arts when he began his signwriting career some 20-odd years ago. Having collaborated with Mr. Smith on various articles for Sign Business magazine (now known as Sign & Digital Graphics magazine), I can vouch for the Renaissance, traditional-to-digital nature of his work, not to mention that he’s one of the finest chaps I’ve met in our industry.

Born and Raised cover art
David Smith's final artwork, from a hand-drawn sketch that was scanned in and finished digitally.

Case in point is the work Smith recently completed for John Mayer’s latest album, Born and Raised, the production of which combines Smith’s Old World sensibilities with all the New World gizmos. Mayer, who heard about Smith through the art world grapevine, felt that Smith’s style was a perfect match for the ambience of Born and Raised.

Smith sketched out three versions of the album cover before Mayer picked the one you see here. The final version is a testimony to Smith’s seamless use of analog and digital artistry. Smith explains the process:

Queen of California single artwork
David Smith also designed the artwork for John Mayer's single, Queen of California.

“I start by sketching the design using a mechanical pencil. Once completed I will take the sketch, which has been drawn at around two feet square, and scan it in at a size of A4 sections at around 600 dpi.  From here I clean it up using the automatic photo merge tools in Photoshop’s latest version; what a great job this does. I then drop the opacity to a light sketch and save as a jpeg. I open up Omega software, which is a bit like Illustrator, and import the artwork (jpeg) into Omega. Now with my drawing tools in Omega I vector all the elements individually. Once this is complete each element is numbered and transferred into Photoshop by placing the shapes individually into their own layers. Now the fun part of building the colours can begin: lithographic dots, blending using a Wacom tablet, shading and all the other neat stuff in Photoshop. The faces (band members) on the design for Born and Raised are all hand drawn at a large size and scanned in. I would say it’s 40 percent hand work, 60 percent digital, and what a great combination it is. I have always said if the Victorians had our technology, imagine what they would have done with it… Amazing!”

Large format poster printing
David Smith's artwork for Born and Raised writ large in New York City.

Amazing indeed, and the album cover was only the beginning, really. Here you see some of the related work Smith has done for various collateral materials and a single off the album, Queen of California. The problem with the digital aspect, however, is the potential for the loss of vital information. The globe design shown here with all of its multiple layers and hours of hard work, for instance, was lost in the virtual world. “By mistake in Photoshop I overwrote the existing file. This jpeg file is all I bloody well have,” sighs Smith.

Design work by David Adrian Smith
David Smith designed a variety of promotional artwork for John Mayer's Born and Raised.

Fortunately, everything else has been preserved, printed and sent through the various portals of cyberspace – from Facebook to iTunes – preserving, perhaps forever, Smith’s exquisite design work.

To learn more about David Smith and his work, check out the video embedded below:

Maxwell Dickson’s Nontraditional Approach to Art and Art Reproduction

Gallery exhibition of urban, modern art

Only little more than a year old, Los Angeles-based Maxwell Dickson is making quite the name for itself. The brainchild of entrepreneurs James Freeman and Bart Cooper, Maxwell Dickson is much more than an art reproduction studio.

Owners and founders of Maxwell Dickson, James Freeman and Bart Cooper
Maxwell Dickson founders James Freeman (left) and Bart Cooper at the Art, Libations & Sound Los Angeles exhibition of their work on Feb. 9.

The fledgling company has effectively blurred the lines of how art reaches the public, from creation to exhibition and print sales. Cooper provides the genius behind the Maxwell Dickson art brand, creating modern, urban artwork that is the mainstay of Maxwell Dickson’s line. Freeman is the brains behind the business, with a natural flair for marketing and finding the right avenues for Maxwell Dickson’s distinct style.

Freeman also prints Cooper’s paintings, which are actually “painted” on a Wacom digital tablet. Though Cooper can paint a physical canvas, his creations emerge instead on a computer screen. Freeman explains, “Digital creation allows us to work a lot faster than the traditional process of painting, scanning and printing. Plus, digital painting allows more color control and yields a piece of art that can be much more colorful. This method has also allowed us to quickly build up a large base of artwork to sell.”

Nicole Murphy hosts gallery exhibition of Maxwell Dickson art
Bart Cooper and Nicole Murphy, who hosted the Art, Libations and Sound exhibition.

The end result is a collection that is both accessible and unique. For instance, Maxwell Dickson art is sold at and is quite popular with a younger demographic. Overstock was not having a lot of success with in its art line with this younger demographic before the addition of Maxwell Dickson to the fold.

Freeman prints all the reproductions with a Canon iPF8300, which he bought from LexJet when he and Cooper first started the company. The primary print medium is Sunset Select Matte Canvas coated with Sunset Satin Coating, which Freeman has also been using since Maxwell Dickson opened for business.

“We install the profiles from LexJet, and that’s all we really have to do. I was amazed that it was so simple because I was under the impression that you would have to do all this color correction and buy all this software to get what you wanted out of the print,” says Freeman.

Maxwell Dickson does a smattering of inkjet reproduction work for photographers and digital artists on canvas, Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, Sunset Velvet Rag and Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper. However, the mainstay is the Maxwell Dickson art collection. Freeman likens the concept to Hallmark: “Someone designed the card, not under their name, but under Hallmark. This is not for traditional galleries, and they’re right because people going to art galleries are looking for originals. The market for art reproductions is massive. If you like the art, you can get the size you want in your room and it’s very affordable.”

Maxwell Dickson exhibition at Art, Libations & SoundThe Maxwell Dickson line was recently represented at a gala exhibition in Los Angeles on Feb. 9 hosted by Nicole Murphy – model, mother, designer and soon-to-be reality star who’s also Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife. Called Art, Libations & Sound, the exhibition drew throngs of people to the doors. “Supporting Los Angeles’ young art community is a must,” said Murphy. “I’m excited to be hosting this exhibition with such an eclectic body of work.”

Maxwell Dickson and its creative entrepreneurial pair of Freeman and Cooper are certainly going places and bringing their art to both the celebrity set and the public at large, so keep an eye on them for years to come. To get a better sense of the exhibition, beyond the photos published here, check out the video below…