JPEG Image Animator Brings Your Photos To Life

Animate JPG photos using Plotagraph Pro and Aurora HDR.

From a Single JPEG, create impressive animated images.

Platograph is a web based sofware that allows you to easily create amazing images with animated parts.

Yep, you can now turn your beautiful images edited using Aurora HDR, into animated images using the amazing Plotagraph – all from a single JPEG.

Plotagraph typically cost around $30 USD per month for membership. There are no minimum contracts and you can cancel at any time.

If you hurry now, you may still be in time to get a special Aurora and Plotagraph bundle deal.


Your Shortcut to Prime Apps for Mac.

Aurora HDR 1.2.2

What is Aurora HDR?

Aurora HDR is a joint project by Macphun and Trey Ratcliff,

The latest release of Aurora HDR, now comes with added RAW file support for updated and newer cameras, plus a few other welcoming tweaks and additions. You can learn more about the new release here.

For those of you that may be curious as to what exactly is Aurora HDR? Well, the clue is in the HDR, High Dynamic Range imaging or photography. You can just see the difference!


Aurora High Dynamic Range allows you to edit your images beyond the typical dynamic range of luminosity possible with standard digital imaging. And you can even use the software alongside other applications such as Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom and Photos for Mac.

Learn How to Get:  Aurora Pro + Bonuses

Okay, so here’s something cool. You know how you may use the method of ‘bracketing’ as a way of ensuring that you’ve captured a good range of differently exposed shots. By taking a photograph of the same composition a few times, whilst varying your camera settings for each shot.

Read More About:  Aurora Pro Update

Now, use Aurora HDR to merge each shot… d’you get the picture? Without getting into the technical detail, it is easy to gather from the example image below, the range of colour you’ll now  have to play with…


Now, just before you head off and download your free trial copy of Aurora HDR, allow me to let you in on some very, very handy related resource. Starting with the tutorials available at Photoserge, there are tons of videos on related topics and software.

Start Aurora HDR

Mac requirements:

  • Processor Core 2 Duo from late 2009 or newer
  • Minimum 4 GB RAM
  • OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks or newer
  • 2 GB free space on hard drive
  • Display resolution 1280 x 800 or higher
  • Retina displays supported

Other points of interest:


Start Aurora HDR

Affinity Designer – Graphic Design Software

Affinity Designer sneaks into the No1 Spot?

It has been a while now that freelancers and other individuals that work in the world of creating images and other visual material have been anticipating an affordable alternative to Adobe’s although excellent, but costly suite of graphic design and photography software.

For me at least, it looks like a true alternative has finally arrived!


Affinity – Imagined by designers, created for Mac.

I know I may have said this somewhere before, but once you have used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, you will find it very hard to accept any other software. Because of the relative ease of use, flexibility and intuitiveness, you will become spoilt, anything else will need to be special.

Over the years my interpretation of the term ‘ease of use’ has come to mean; ‘ease of use’ – relative to basic knowledge or experience with a specific product or tool.

Now, when you read the words “Imagined by designers, created for Mac.” you hope, or at least you expect that this offering from Serif, the company responsible for Affinity Designer to fit into your armoury of software, accommodating nuances and all, and all with minimal fuss.

And it does…

To begin with, the look and feel of the software has a familiar Mac ‘flavour’, or should I say…(take a look for yourself – you’ll know what I mean).

affinity screen

Unlike the previous Adobe alternative software I have tried out, Affinity Designer does not suffer that  ‘jittery’, temperamental experience found with the other design software contenders for the smaller budget. Of course I will need to take it through a more thorough trial –  perhaps to avoid any bias, explore how Affinity Designer naturally fits into a workflow and copes with daily demands over a period of time.

This will be for another post.

Now, in terms of vector graphic design software Affinity Designer works and feels, in a way familiar to most designers that use digital technology. But the thing I found about Affinity Designer is the way in which it so readily handles both vector and raster images.

“Straight Out The Box – It’s fast. Really fast”

In an ‘on-the-spot’ real live situation, I was able to use Affinity to perform various tasks with little fuss, and that is using it for the very first time. Of course there were a few hang ups working out where certain tools and features were placed – however, the resolve was always close at hand and easily found in the appropriate menu tab.

So, without burdening your decision with the pros, why not take this for a spin yourself. You can try it out for free and if it fits, its one-time purchase will not hurt your pockets.

Now I am going to let you in on something a little more ‘underground’, another software contender for the smaller budget. Although I haven’t taken it for spin myself, at least not as yet, the reviews and demonstration I have seen look very promising. Take a look here: Designer Software for the smaller budget.

Image Editor Alternative for Mac and PC?

Stick with your CS6 boxed version ? Do I subscribe or upgrade now or wait ?Will I find something a little more affordable ?


Whilst I’m currently trying out PhotoLine…. Adobe Cloud reaches half a million subscribers. Now, before you decide on committing your soul to the Adobe Cloud, if your main software usage is Photoshop you might want to take a look at this possible alternative, well, at least for the meanwhile…
My earlier attempt at exploring Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator alternatives would suggest that there isn’t anything comparable on the market, especially if you are the skilled type of user who combines both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for creating illustrations, page layouts, visuals, ready-artwork, or even packaging templates. Turn away now, unless of course you’re open to suggestions of inexpensive answers to whether there are any real alternatives for mac.

But wait….
What’s this ? Haven’t heard of this one before, on the other hand maybe I have, but its unsuspecting appearance and name had me ignore it. Anyway, it seems to do the job far better than all the others I have tried so far.

Its name…PhotoLine (not to be mistaken for the small print run service)


unsupecting pl-logo


Compared to the other vector and image editing software I recently checked out in my search for real Adobe Cloud software alternatives (Pro image editor alternatives). PhotoLine has a no-fuss interface and is a doddle to use. If you are an avid user of Adobe Photoshop then you will probably find this fairly intuitive. Hey, I am not saying ditch Photoshop, but this has been the best affordable alternative I have found to date.

…It has to be said though, that there are a few irritations which interrupt the flow as you work, the “step-one, step two, kind of way of selecting and resizing, and other task seems a little weird, but that might have something to do with familiarity

I wanted to see how quickly and easily I could perform the simple task of combining two different images to create this portrait.




Although bearable, the irritations which interrupt your usual flow as you work, will add a few extra minutes to what you would normally perform in seconds and often involve using your selected tool in combination with the ‘Tool Settings’ panel (kinda reminds me of Freehand), but again familiarity may introduce quicker ways of doing things.


You also may find navigating around the dashboard or art-board and locating various tools and options is a little awkward, or the options oddly placed. For example, when intending on resizing part or a composite of an overall image, you need to visit the top menu Layers, and go to resize layer. But like I may have mentioned before, it is all about familiarity. Although it makes sense, it is not the typical way in which you may have already been accustomed to working.

So, How much does PhotoLine cost?

Wait for it…(wow do I sound like an advert ), but seriously, PhotoLine is Shareware, you can use it for 30 Days free of charge before being asked to register. Whilst there are no heavy limitations on the free 30 Day trial version, registration is a mere 59 Euros, that’s about $77USD or £50.34. Wow, and you don’t have to commit your soul.

So who is behind this PhotoLine ?

PhotoLine is a Photo-editing alternative from the German based business Computer Island and was originally developed for the Atari Falcon 030th. The software also supports ICC colour management and can be used alongside Photoshop. PhotoLine works is available for both Windows and Mac and combines both raster and vector graphics – not bad huh ?

PhotoLine specs and features

PhotoLine is available for both Windows and Mac
16 bits of colour depth / full color management,
support of RGB, CMYK and Lab color models,
layer support, and non-destructive image manipulation.
Vector graphics editor.
Handles all common raster graphics formats. Including: camera raw image formats, Photoshop PSD files, PDF and Adobe Flash.


Still not quite there as a real alternative but well worth considering. It opens and allows you to save files in PSD format, so maybe a companion for Photoshop and Illustrator. And it does perform well for minimal or basic image editing and preparation tasks ( I will ‘take it to task’ over the next few weeks and see if I feel the same about it then).

There is one thing I need to add to my overall opinion of PhotoLine and that is based on the premise that the software’s ease of use and capability complies with the attitude of someone who hates having to read manuals to get started and prefers the “jump-in and get started” approach.

Maybe its just me, but it would interesting to hear from you as to what your thoughts are regarding  alternative in-expensive software to Adobe (Cloud) Creative Suite and whether there are any real inexpensive alternatives for the independent and freelance creative.




Download :


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Do You Have An Inkling for Drawing?

Wacom’s Inkling for the Digital Artist


 Compared to my accustomed urban lifestyle, living in moderately remote surroundings can be quite therapeutic, at least when you also have access to the internet.

With the internet the world is definitely smaller and news on trending topics are so within reach, oh and there are ‘Podcasts!’

Here’s how I came to learn about this great way of digitising your sketches…


inkling connect to laptop

It All Started From A Podcasts?

Well, let me tell you over the past few years podcasts have been my companion and link to what’s going on in the world (well sort of). You’d be surprised by the number of different subjects you can find.

Anyways, this particular podcast I was listening to, the one that triggered this post, was about comic artists; Make It Then Tell Everybody presented by Dan Berry – you can find it on iTunes or at the Make It Then Tell Everybody website.

So, whilst absorbing this candidly delivered podcast all about, comics, drawing and illustrators. I observed that there was a certain commonality between most of the artists and the journey they take whilst doing there work.

There seemed to be a common psychological train of thought that takes place, one that only as an individual who actively engages in drawing would know about. It was at that point the thought came to me; what is required, is to have the ability to draw directly onto paper, capturing all the subtle ‘nuancing marks’ made when drawing by hand, and instantly converting it to a digital document.

Well guess what ?

To my surprise, there is a Wacom that does just that. In spite of the dedicated technology that a Wacom Tablet can offer, features like; touch sensitivity…  A number of artist still find the move from physical pen and paper drawing, to drawing with a stylus and Tablet, somewhat challenging and unnatural. This is where the Wacom Inkling steps in…

inkling wacom kit

So, What is Wacom Inkling ?

Wacom Inkling is a digital sketch pen that allows you to draw with real pen and paper, whilst electronically recording your strokes. Your recorded sketches may then be imported as raster or vector artwork. You can even create separate layers for each stage of your drawing – from preparatory to final artwork. BUY

Finally, is the Wacom Inkling the ultimate and most intuitive solution for illustrators ? What experience do you have using this digital sketch pen ?
Please comment below:

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inkling illustration


Adobe Creative Cloud or NOT?

Professional Software for Designers and Artists


the exploration continues…


Illustrator CC One-on-One: Mastery
Now, back to my IIlustrator dilemma and ‘betsy’…
Betsy, as I may have hinted in my last post , is my ‘travelling, work laptop’ that decided to ‘conk-out’ on me recently…
Anyway, after not finding any satisfactory alternatives, my exploration continues…

Now, After having not used the most up-to-date  versions of Adobe Illustrator since around 2005, one of my first thoughts when trying this particular version of Adobe Illustrator was; bet there will be so many changes that it would seem like learning the application from scratch.


 Somebody obviously listens to their customers…

Yes, there were many changes, but fortunately this did not hinder my usual interaction with the software. Mostly all the usual short cut-commands and use of the keys for quickly navigating within the dashboard were basically the same as the previous versions, allowing me to jump straight in, and work more or less as fluid as always.

So, lets explore Adobe Creative Cloud and whether its worth signing up.

Firstly let me say this, currently you can gain access to all the applications included with the Adobe Creative Cloud for a free 30 day trial. This will allow you the chance to really give the system a bash and discover whether it is worth it or not.


Here is a list of just some of the major software you will have access to;

  • Adobe Illustrator…….Vector graphics, Illustration and basic page layout. 
  • Adobe PhotoShop….…Professional image manipulation,
  • Adobe InDesign…….…Professional page layout and design
  • Adobe Dreamweaver…Web design
  • Adobe FireWorks…….Image Editing for website and apps
  • Adobe Premier……….Video Production
  • Adobe Effects ……….Cinematic Effects
  • Adobe LightRoom….Digital photo processing and editing
  • Adobe Flash Pro…….Interactive, game design & mobile device packaging

These are just some of the more popular applications, there are more available, some obscure but well worth exploring such as; Adobe Muse (website design without coding), Adobe Audition (audio restoration, mixing and recording)

 Does it sound like it is worth it so far ?

I suppose that really depends on how much all this will cost, right!

For demonstration purposes, lets say that the typical packages a graphic designer would need are; 1. Adobe Illustrator, 2. Adobe Photoshop and 3. Adobe InDesign.

So, if your were to buy each application individually and without the educational concessions and all the other bumf, you will probably spend something in the region of £2,200 plus. Hey, thats a liberal estimate, have you tried finding the actual cost for these applications online – its a nightmare.

Now, with a monthly Creative Cloud membership however you can make things a little easier and affordable.

For a monthly pay-as-you-go plan, access to the creative cloud will cost you $74.99 per month or $49.99 for a year, that’s $599.88 a year.

So, lets do the math. If it would cost you something in the region of $2,200 to buy Adobe Illustrator CS6, Adobe Photoshop CS6, and Adobe InDesign CS6 outright, for the casual pay-as-you-go plan, if you so happened to end up renewing your subscription each month for a whole year, this would cost $899.88, where-as the standard yearly subscription would cost $599.88, bearing in mind that if you are upgrading to the complete plan you save 40% at $27.34 per month. Oh and dont forget, all this plus VAT (these prices are correct at time of writing).

adobe choose your plan



Hey the times are changing and that ‘preciousness attitude’ of owning things is evolving. Look at the music industry for example. When you think about it, for half the price of a monthly subscription that allows access to almost any song or type of music you care to listen to, you can instead just buy one album of say 10 tracks and that’s your lot!. In other words, with the subscription model you have access to everything, yet own nothing. This certainly seems to be what our youngsters are being introduced to and as the generations move on, this may well become the accepted norm.


It would be great to hear what you think about Adobe’s new subscription pricing model. Do you think it helps the independent creative ?

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