Welcome

I am a writer and editor with diverse interests that include technology, graphic arts, digital media and steampunk. This website is a home for news and commentary about these topics, as well as visual journeys to places where creative people roam.

To keep up with news in the creative world, be sure to visit my Facebook page and subscribe to The Explorer, my free weekly e-newsletter.

 

Adobe Launches Public Beta of Adobe Stock Contributor Site and Plugins

Creative Tools | Sep 21 2016
Welcome

When Adobe Systems introduced a stock content service in June 2015, it wasn't just a new source for images and other content. The company also touted Adobe Stock as a money-making opportunity for creative professionals. But until recently, you had to submit content through Adobe's Fotolia service. On Tuesday, Adobe announced a public beta of an Adobe Stock Contributor site, along with plugins for Bridge and Lightroom that allow users to submit content...

New Photoshop Plugin Lets You Browse Shutterstock's Enormous Stock Image Collection

Creative Tools | Sep 8 2016
Shutterstock Plugin

When Adobe introduced Adobe Stock last year, the big selling point was its seamless integration with the company's desktop apps. Now Shutterstock, one of the biggest players in the stock content market, has responded with a Photoshop plugin that provides access to its library of about 100 million images. I've been testing a beta version of the plugin, and though it has a few rough spots, it should be a boon for any Shutterstock customer who uses Photoshop.

Siggraph 2016: Virtual Reality, GPUs and New 3D Software

Creative Tools | Aug 27 2016
Maxon Cinema 4D

If you want to see the future of sci-fi and fantasy entertainment, you go to Comic-Con in San Diego. But if you want to preview the tools that enable the wild visual effects in those movies and TV shows, you go to Siggraph, the annual conference and exhibition on computer graphics and "interactive techniques." The conference is also a showcase for applications in digital art, scientific visualization, and — this year in particular — virtual reality. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

A Visual Tour of Shape Tech Expo

Innovation | Jul 21 2016
Pepper

It's no CES, but the Shape Tech Expo was nearby in San Francisco and offered me a chance to get a close-up look at futuristic technologies. They were grouped into five broad categories: Internet of Things, Emerging Technologies (including robotics), Smart Cities, Virtual Reality and Wearables. For me, the big draws were virtual reality and robots. It's another story best told in pictures (and video).

The Explorer: A New Alternative to Software Subscriptions

The Explorer | Jul 19 2016
Lightning

In this week's installment: The latest releases of Xara's graphics programs combine a perpetual software license with an update service that delivers new features throughout the year. Plus: Life After Photoshop and Monotype offers fonts by subscription.

From the Kitschy to the Sublime: Hobby Collections at Alameda County Fair

Creative People | Jul 9 2016
Camera

A wise person once said, "If something exists, somebody somewhere collects them." Many of those somebodies live in Northern California's East Bay region, and their passions are on display each year in the hobby collections exhibit at the Alameda County Fair. Here's a look at the highlights, from pop culture memorabilia to vintage cameras and radios, plus some other attractions at the fair.

A "Magic Eyedropper" Tool for Fonts? I Don't Think So

Creative Tools | Jul 8 2016
Font Eyedropper

This past week, Wired, Mashable and other outlets told us about a miraculous gizmo that promises salvation for graphic designers. It's called Spector, and it's been described as "Shazam for Fonts" and "The Ultimate Font Finder." All this based on a prototype capable of recognizing seven typefaces. None of the reporters actually tested the gadget. Color me skeptical.

The Explorer: Don't Be Surprised If Adobe Releases a Font-Matching App

The Explorer | Jul 7 2016
Font App

In this week's installment of The Explorer: The latest version of Photoshop can identify fonts in images (well, sort of). Can a font-matching app be far behind? Plus: Are you tired of reinstalling plugins whenever there's a Photoshop update? Adobe has a solution. Also: New directions for Mac hardware and a popular drawing program comes to Windows.

My New Twitter Handle: @CreativeGuide

Social Media | Jul 4 2016
Steampunk Twitter

When I entered the Twitterverse several years ago, I figured my tweets would focus largely on my day job as editor of Bulldog Reporter's Inside Health Media. The obvious Twitter handles—"SteveBeale," "StephenBeale," etc.—were taken, so I chose @SteveBealeIHM. Most of the people I followed were health journalists, and many of the folks who followed me had some involvement in health media, either as journalists or as public relations professionals. But over time, most of my tweeting has been related to my work in the creative sphere: My posts on this website, my articles for HOW, etc. So now I have a new Twitter handle: @CreativeGuide.

The Explorer: Photoshop Leads New Creative Cloud Release

The Explorer | Jun 28 2016
Steampunk Camera

Adobe has released a major update to Photoshop, including new typographic features, enhanced masking capabilities and a content-aware crop tool. Adobe Illustrator gets a smaller update that includes a nifty new export function. Read all about it in this week's installment of The Explorer...