QA Graphic
May 24, 2024

Pixelmator Super Resolution

Supersize Your Videos!

I recently stumbled on the Super Resolution functionality that's available in Pixelmator Pro. Apparently this has been in Pixelmator Pro since 2019.

I guess I don't use Pixelmator Pro that much to notice it.

Feature Description

The Super Resolution tool harnesses the power and intelligence of machine learning to upscale photos while preserving and even recreating visually important details. Super Resolution algorithm is trained to analyze the patterns and textures in a photo instead of interpolating the values of pixels mathematically as done by the regular scaling algorithms.

Not Just Images!

Did you know that you can Super Resolution Video files?

Yes!

Simply open a video file from Pixelmator Pro, and then Command - Option - U to supersize the video!

Here's a screenshot of what one of the videos looked like when I Supersized it:

Super Resolution

Five Things I Learned

The shortcut to execute the Super Resolution to any layer is Command - Option - U.

You can find the Super Resolution in the Image > Super Resolution. In addition, it's available in the window header in the three dots in the circle - next to the "Share Image" icon.

After you apply the Super Resolution you get a before/after preview. You may have to zoom in to see any image improvements. Click Done to apply your changes.

I decided to export the changes so that I don't loose the original video file. To Export, simply type in ( Command - E )

You can also use the "ML Enhance" to fix any lighting issues with your video.

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May 17, 2024

Final Cut Pro for YouTube Shorts

Some things I have learned

YouTube Shorts are the platform's answer to the bite-sized video craze, offering a dynamic way to engage viewers with short, catchy content. But even with short videos, editing is key to a polished and impactful final product. Here's where Final Cut Pro comes in, with its powerful tools to help you create captivating YouTube Shorts.

Setting the Stage: Project Creation

  • Vertical is Key: YouTube Shorts are vertical videos, so make sure your Final Cut Pro project reflects that. When creating a new project, click "Use Custom Settings" and choose "Vertical" under Video Format. Alternatively, duplicate an existing project, change the format to "Vertical," and use the "Smart Conform" feature to automatically adjust your clips.

  • Time is of the Essence: Remember, YouTube Shorts have a maximum duration of 60 seconds. To keep yourself on track, add a 58-second gap clip (Option + W) at the beginning of your timeline as a reference point.

Editing Magic: Building Your Short

  • Embrace the Speed: Final Cut Pro offers fantastic keyboard shortcuts to streamline your workflow. Use "Q" to connect clips to the gap clip, and "Command + G" to create a connected timeline for smooth editing.

  • Taming Landscape Footage: If you're using horizontally shot clips, select them and go to the Video Inspector. Under "Spatial Conform," choose "Fill" to ensure your content fills the vertical frame. You can further refine the framing using the Transform tool.

  • Short and Sweet Transitions: Cuts are your friend in YouTube Shorts. Quick cuts keep the pace high and maintain viewer engagement. Experiment with different cut placements to find the rhythm that best suits your video.

Adding Polish: Sound and Text

  • Music Makes the Moment: A catchy tune can elevate your Short. Explore Final Cut Pro's sound library or import your own music. Remember to adjust the audio levels to avoid overpowering your video content.

  • Text for Impact: Titles, captions, and call-to-actions add clarity and interactivity. Final Cut Pro provides a variety of text templates to choose from.

Ready for Takeoff: Exporting and Uploading

  • Exporting for Success: When exporting your Short, choose H.264 video format and ensure the resolution matches your project settings (typically 1080x1920).

  • Uploading to Shine: Head over to YouTube and upload your masterpiece! Don't forget to add a catchy title, description, and relevant tags to boost discoverability.

Bonus Tip: Embrace the Overlay

While YouTube Shorts themselves don't have on-screen elements like likes and comments, you can use Final Cut Pro to add a custom YouTube Shorts UI overlay (available online) during editing. This gives your viewers a more familiar Shorts experience within your video.

With these tips and Final Cut Pro's powerful tools, you're well on your way to creating captivating YouTube Shorts that will keep your audience hooked. So grab your footage, unleash your creativity, and get ready to take the Shorts world by storm!

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May 10, 2024

Five Reasons Why Microsoft Edge Belongs in Your macOS Dock

Great Browser

This post dives into some of the features that make Microsoft Edge a compelling choice for Mac users.

1. Unleash the Power of AI with Built-in Tools:

  • Copilot: Get help crafting creative text formats or writing different kinds of content directly within the browser.
  • Microsoft Designer: Effortlessly generate stunning visuals for your projects with the help of AI-powered design assistance.

2. Smarter Shopping:

  • Microsoft Shopping: Ensure you're getting the best deals while shopping online. Find coupons and compare prices effortlessly.

3. Enhanced Multitasking:

  • Split Screen: View two websites side-by-side within a single browser window. This is ideal for tasks like comparing QA and production environments.

4. Organize Your Web Discoveries:

  • Collections: Effortlessly save interesting web content, including images, text, or entire web pages. Group your collections for easy organization. Perfect for trip planning ? gather potential restaurants and attractions to explore.

By leveraging these features and more, Microsoft Edge can become a valuable addition to your macOS workflow.

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May 3, 2024

Pixelmator Features: Bento Grid and EPS Support

Cool things in Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro Bento Box

Pixelmator Pro recently had some new updates, including Bento Box. This design is famously used by Apple Computer to highlight features of a newly announced product. There's design for Landscape and Story. (I think the story designs needs some work - there appears to be too much white.)

Bento Grid Pixelmator Pro
All the new Bento Grid Designs.

Four Things I Learned

The iPhone image is a mockup feature and you can easily replace the inside image by clicking on the '+'. It's a good way to showcase a website or App.

You can easily replace the colors by double clicking on the shape.

The Landscape version is 1920 x 1080 and the Story version is 1080 x 1920.

There's no video version of the Bento Box template, maybe that's something to come in a future update? In the meantime you can check out some designs on Envato.com.

Illustrator EPS File Support

Pixelmator Pro also introduced Illustrator EPS File Support. This feature allows users to Open and edit Illustrator EPS files in Pixelmator Pro or batchconvert them to other formats using the Convert Image action in Shortcuts.

Pixel Mator Pro E P S

Four Things I Learned

It takes a long time to open and use a file that is pretty complications - such as the image above.

The layer previews are good to help identify the various objects in the layer group. Its much easier to navigate than Affinity Designer.

I have some AI files that contain a group of quotes, and it was impossible to select the quotes in the image. In Affinity Designer, I can hold down the Command key to select the region that I want to copy.

While it was neat to play around with EPS and AI files in Pixelmator, I think I stay using Affinity Designer for now.

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April 26, 2024

Snagit for Quick Video Editing

Simple Edits in Snagit is the way to go.

In today?s fast-paced digital world, the ability to quickly edit and share videos is invaluable, especially when the content comes straight from your iPhone. Snagit 2024 emerges as a game-changer in this space, offering a suite of editing tools that streamline the video editing process, making it a breeze compared to more complex software like Final Cut Pro or Filmora.

Video Quick Edit Snagit

Why Choose Snagit 2024 for Video Editing?

Speed and Simplicity: Snagit 2024 is designed for efficiency. With its intuitive interface, you can perform quick edits without the steep learning curve associated with professional-grade software. This makes it perfect for users who need to make edits on the fly and share content without delay.

Seamless Integration with iPhone Videos: For iPhone users, Snagit 2024 is a match made in heaven. The software effortlessly handles videos shot on your iPhone, allowing you to basic edit your footage without compatibility issues.

Direct Upload to YouTube: Sharing your videos with the world has never been easier. Snagit 2024 allows you to save your edited videos directly to YouTube, streamlining the process of publishing content and reaching your audience faster.

Instant Shareable Links: Need to share your video quickly? Snagit 2024 generates shareable links instantly, enabling you to distribute your content with just a few clicks. Whether it?s for work collaboration or social sharing, you get your message out there without any hassle.

Key Features That Stand Out in Snagit 2024:

  • Combine Videos: Merge multiple clips with ease, allowing for flexible editing and rearrangement without the pressure of a perfect single take1.
  • Cursor Effects: Highlight cursor movements and visualize clicks with animations, making your instructional videos easy to follow1.
  • Blur Webcam Background (Mac): Keep the focus on you by blurring the background during webcam recordings1.
  • Microsoft Teams Integration: Share your content directly to Microsoft Teams, facilitating better collaboration and faster decision-making1.

A Tool for Everyone:

Whether you?re a content creator, educator, or business professional, Snagit 2024 caters to all your quick video editing needs. It?s not just about cutting down on editing time; it?s about enhancing the way we communicate and share visual content in our daily lives.

In conclusion, Snagit 2024 is the go-to tool for anyone looking for a quick, easy, and efficient way to edit and share videos. Its compatibility with iPhone videos and direct sharing options make it an essential tool for modern content creation. Say goodbye to the cumbersome processes of traditional video editing software and embrace the simplicity of Snagit 2024.

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April 19, 2024

Image Conversion Shortcut

Quickly resize convert HEIC image to JPG and

This week, I conducted offline testing, which required me to send pictures illustrating the issues I encountered. I transferred the photos via Airdrop and then used Photoscape X to change the image size and convert the format from HEIC to JPG. Although this method worked, I believe there might be a more efficient process.

Apple Short Cuts

I decided to utilize Apple's ShortCuts application to create a new Services command to perform the action. Here's the quick action that I came up with:

Quick Action Rename

Why this is Practical

In macOS Monterey (version 12), there was a new shortcut added to the Services menu called "Convert Image." This makes it easy to convert an image to JPEG format. I tried that but it didn't resize the image and the file extension became JPEG which I didn't like.

Photoscape has a batch process but I would need to run the application every time, it's so much quicker to just right click and convert the image.

Using the Apple Short Cut makes the process so simple and easy. I am just uploading the files to Teams/Slack so I don't really care about the quality. If quality did mater to a particular photo, I know to go to another app to better convert the image.

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April 12, 2024

Five Finder Search Attributes

Fun Ways to Search in the Finder

Finder's search bar is like a superhero for finding files! It lets you ditch the endless scrolling and jump straight to what you need.

Forget just searching by file name. We're going to explore some hidden superpowers built right into Finder search. These are like secret filters that help you narrow down your search and snag those files in a flash.

Finder Search Attributes

Five Finder Search Attributes You May Have Not Know Existed

We'll crack open the top five of these super-search options, turning you from a file-finding fumble into a Finder search master!

Is Junk - Whether the file is likely to be considered a junk file.

Pro Tip: I didn't find any junk on my computer - maybe I keep a clean shop? This could also be an easter egg put in by a developer to see if anyone actually looks at the search attribute menu.

Duration - Duration of this item in Seconds. This attribute works great when your looking for video or audio files of a certain length. You can use this to find videos downloaded from TikTok or YouTube Shorts.

Pro Tip: Really useful to find YouTube Shorts that I have created that I may want to upload to other platforms.

Resolution height - Find image files that are particular height. This is useful if your looking for images to use as a wallpaper. (There's also Resolution Width too.)

Pro Tip: Great way to find files that I have blogged about. Also good to find 1080p images that I might have used as YouTube templates.

Altitude - The altitude of the item in meters above sea level, expressed using the WGS84 datum. Negative values lie below sea level. This is a fun way to find images that you might have taken on that hiking trip or down Death Valley. More Fun: Use this to find out what photo you taken from the highest Altitude, start with 800 then keep moving the height. (Obviously not all photos will have Altitude info, but this is a fun thing to use on things that do.)

Pro Tip: I found a lot of high altitude files were created by other people. I didn't have anything below sea leve.

Stationary - Whether the file is stationery. Stationery files are documents that can be used as templates to create similar documents. This means that you can open and modify the template to suit their needs. The Stationery setting in OS X Finder tells an app to open a copy of the file when it opens the file. This means that the user won't accidentally change the original file.

Pro Tip: Apparently labels are throwing off the search results. I got a lot of files returned but when I checked the file info the Stationary Pad checkbox wasn't enabled. I did find a few actual files, so this was pretty cool.

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April 5, 2024

Xcode Simulator

Great Tool to Test Mobile Devices

Simulator

As a seasoned Macintosh enthusiast with a decade of experience, I'm thrilled to share some insights about a powerful tool that every app developer should have in their arsenal: Xcode Simulator. Whether you're building apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Apple TV, the Simulator is your trusty companion for rapid prototyping and testing during the development process.

What Is Xcode Simulator?

Xcode Simulator is an integral part of the Xcode development environment. It allows you to simulate various Apple devices right on your Mac, providing a realistic environment for testing your app without needing physical hardware. Here's why it's a game-changer:

  1. Device Simulation: You can choose from a wide range of simulated devices, including different iPhone models, iPads, Apple Watches, and even Apple TVs. This flexibility ensures that your app looks and behaves correctly across various screen sizes and resolutions.

  2. Speedy Iteration: With Simulator, you can iterate quickly. No need to deploy your app to a physical device every time you make a change. Just hit "Run" in Xcode, and the Simulator launches instantly.

  3. Debugging and Profiling: Simulator provides powerful debugging tools, including breakpoints, console logs, and performance profiling. You can catch issues early and optimize your app's performance.

Tips for Effective Use of Xcode Simulator

1. Testing Different Devices

When testing your app, switch between different simulated devices. Pay attention to layout, font sizes, and touch interactions. Remember that what looks great on an iPhone 12 might not translate well to an older iPhone SE.

2. Simulating Real-World Scenarios

Simulator allows you to simulate various scenarios, such as changing the device orientation, enabling dark mode, or triggering notifications. Test how your app responds to these changes.

3. Performance Monitoring

Use the built-in performance tools to monitor CPU usage, memory consumption, and frame rates. Identify bottlenecks and optimize your code accordingly.

4. Network Testing

Simulator lets you simulate different network conditions (e.g., Wi-Fi, cellular, slow connections). Test how your app handles data fetching, image loading, and API requests.

5. Safari Rendering Issues

Now, let's address your observation about Safari rendering discrepancies. You're absolutely right?Simulator doesn't always perfectly mimic real devices. Here's what you can do:

  • Double-Check: When you encounter rendering issues, double-check on an actual device. Sometimes, Safari behaves differently due to subtle differences in rendering engines or hardware acceleration.

  • Color Overlays: Use Simulator's color overlays to identify graphics and animation issues. For example:

    • Blended Layers: Views drawn on top of each other with transparency may cause blending issues. These appear in red overlays.
    • Copied Images: Core Animation sometimes copies images instead of using the original. These appear in blue overlays.
    • Misaligned Images: Images not aligned to destination pixels may be blurry or mispositioned (magenta overlays).
    • Off-screen Rendering: Content rendered offscreen appears in yellow overlays.
  • Slow Down Animations: When debugging animations, slow them down in Simulator. Examine them closely to pinpoint any unexpected behavior.

Remember, Simulator is a fantastic tool, but it's not a perfect replica of real devices. Always validate issues on physical hardware when in doubt.

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March 29, 2024

Wondershare Filmora's Auto Reframe

Best Way to Convert videos to TikTok Format

The rise of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels has made vertical video a must-have for any content creator. But repurposing horizontal footage for these spaces can be a tedious task. Thankfully, video editing software is stepping up with intelligent cropping tools. In this post, we'll be diving into Wondershare Filmora's Auto Reframe and comparing it to Final Cut Pro's Smart Conform, highlighting why Filmora reigns supreme for vertical video reframing.

Auto Reframe Window

Auto Reframe: Smart Cropping Made Simple

Filmora's Auto Reframe is a breeze to use. With a dedicated workspace, you simply import your video, choose your desired aspect ratio (including popular options like 9:16 for Instagram Reels), and click analyze. Filmora's AI takes care of the rest, intelligently cropping your video to keep the most important subjects in frame throughout, even during scene changes. This is a massive time-saver compared to manual cropping, which can be finicky and error-prone, especially for longer videos.

Smart Conform: Designed for Different Workflows

Final Cut Pro's Smart Conform offers a more flexible approach. It allows you to choose specific crop regions within your frame and apply them throughout your video. While this offers greater control for experienced editors, it can be cumbersome for quick social media edits. Additionally, Smart Conform sometimes struggles with fast-moving content, occasionally cropping out crucial elements.

The Vertical Video Verdict

When it comes to specifically repurposing horizontal footage for vertical video, Wondershare Filmora's Auto Reframe shines. Its AI-powered approach ensures your subject stays in focus, even during scene changes, making it ideal for social media content creation. While Final Cut Pro's Smart Conform offers a more customizable workflow, it requires more user input and can be less effective for fast-paced vertical video reframing.

So, if you're looking for a user-friendly and efficient way to adapt your videos for the ever-growing world of vertical content, Wondershare Filmora's Auto Reframe is the clear winner.

Auto Reframe Aspect Ratio
AutoReframe Dialog box. Basically you set the ratio and let Filmora do the magic.

Additional Considerations

It's important to note that no automatic cropping tool is perfect. Depending on the complexity of your video, you might need to make minor adjustments after Auto Reframe does its work. However, Filmora offers intuitive manual cropping tools within the editing interface for these situations.

If you're a professional editor working with complex projects, Final Cut Pro's Smart Conform might be a better fit for its granular control. But for most creators looking to effortlessly repurpose footage for vertical platforms, Wondershare Filmora's Auto Reframe is the smarter choice.

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March 22, 2024

Art Text 4: Photo Colorize

Make an Ordinary Photo be Extraordinary

In the latest update, Art Text 4 included a new tool to make images look like art. This is done by using the Spray Tool to match the color of the image. It's a cool way to make an ordinary image to stand out.

BeLight Software includes 11 different Photo Colorized designs in the Typography Templates in Art Text 4 and in Letters. Simply select the style you like and then replace the image with your own.

Photo Colorize

How to Change the Colorize Image

  1. Select a Photo Colorize Template from the template gallery
  2. Select the Image and in the RIght Menu click on fill
  3. Scroll down and click on the Gear next to Colorize
  4. Click on the Placeholder Image
  5. Choose the folder that has the image you want to use, for example Desktop.
  6. In Art Text 4, you can may all sorts of changes to the Density, Size and Angle. Each change creates a different effect.

Boston Colorized
Boston's Back Bay in a nice Colorized image. This looks like something you would see on the wall at a T-station.

Five Things I Learned About the new Colorize Tool

  • Available in Letters and Art Text 4. Art Text 4 is better because there are a lot more configurations. Letters just has some basic setup.
  • There's not much documentation on how to use the Colorize fill to make your own design from scratch. I found that it's best to use the templates that are provided as a base.
  • After you replace the image, you can resize the Colorized image. This is useful if you have a landscape photo or wanted a smaller version of the portrait.
  • Once I was done with the image, I selected the image and copied the image to the clipboard and pasted it in Photoscape X to resize it and compress for the Internet.
  • Art Text tool is a tool to make text look awesome. This isn't a image editor, so the spray tools may look limited - but that's what I would expect from a Text Tool. I checked other applications, Affinity Photo, Photoscape X, Graphic Converter, and Inkscape and couldn't duplicated the functionality that Art tool provided.

Sample Image

Nixon_ Art Tool

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About

As someone who has worked on Macs since 1989, I will use my experience to share tips and tricks with you on Fridays. As a Mac user since 1989, I have seen the evolution of Mac software and hardware, and I know how Mac computers work. I also know how to troubleshoot and fix Mac problems that can arise.

Check out all the blog posts.

Schedule

MondayMedia Monday
TuesdayQA
WednesdayNew England
ThursdayGluten Free
FridayMacintosh
SaturdayInternet Tools
SundayOpen Topic