Richard Sisk

I am a photographer, in particular since 1993 a full time photographer. I have specialized in landscapes and city skylines.

It has been an interesting journey that has taken me all around our great country. I have visited many historic sites and most of our magnificent cities. One thing that has struck me has been the kindness and helpful spirit of the many people I’ve met along the way.

It has been an opportunity to learn a great deal about many remarkable locations and people. I was able to travel a remote portion of the Oregon Trail in Idaho. I visited the source of the Missouri River in Montana, and reached down to taste the cold, crystal clear water, as Meriwether Lewis had done 200 years earlier. A few months later I found his final resting place along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee.

There have been many moving moments during this long journey. However, the wonderful and kind people of America have been the greatest source of inspiration throughout my travels.

LG Reveals Its First-ever 4K HDR, Compact and Affordable Home Cinema Projector

 Cinematography  Comments Off on LG Reveals Its First-ever 4K HDR, Compact and Affordable Home Cinema Projector
Jan 142018
 

At CES 2018, LG wants to hit the jackpot. Armed with its new invention to enhance the home cinema experience, LG has just announced the HU80KA projector, its first 4K UHD model designed to deliver ultra-sharp video in a compact, beautiful design.

As stated by Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA: “LG’s first-ever 4K UHD projector represents the pinnacle of innovation in the portable entertainment market… Offering superb brightness coupled with a design that offers true versatility, the new HU80KA will lead the way in changing how consumers enjoy 4K content in their home and on the go.”

150-inch screen, 2,500 lumens and HDR

The HU80KA projector has the potential to deliver a 150-inch screen projection with 2,500 lumens, making it LG’s brightest projector. Furthermore, it supports HDR content (HDR 10).

Regarding sound, external speakers can be connected via optical output, HDMI or wirelessly through Bluetooth for enhanced audio performance.

As stated by Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA: “LG’s first-ever 4K UHD projector represents the pinnacle of innovation in the portable entertainment market… Offering superb brightness coupled with a design that offers true versatility, the new HU80KA will lead the way in changing how consumers enjoy 4K content in their home and on the go.”

150-inch screen, 2,500 lumens and HDR

The HU80KA projector has the potential to deliver a 150-inch screen projection with 2,500 lumens, making it LG’s brightest projector. Furthermore, it supports HDR content (HDR 10).

Regarding sound, external speakers can be connected via optical output, HDMI or wirelessly through Bluetooth for enhanced audio performance.

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Panasonic GH5S Video Hands-On – Highlights of the New Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic GH5S Video Hands-On – Highlights of the New Camera
Jan 142018
 

The wait is over. Panasonic just announced their new flagship video-orientated mirrorless photo camera, the GH5S. Watch our GH5S Video Hands-on above! (And the Mini Documentary I’ve shot with that new camera) Promising to perform (much) better than its predecessor in low-light, the new camera was also designed to compete with Sony’s a7S series. Is it up to the task? In our opinion: YES! 

Before we get started:
Stay tuned to our continuous coverage of the new Panasonic GH5S. A short review and original footage is coming up today too. Tomorrow, please look out for Nino’s lowlight test/review video and on top, our exclusive interview with Yamane-san – head of Panasonic imaging division – where we ask the questions that deserve answers. Only on cinema5D.com!  

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DJI Reveals New Handheld Stabilizers at CES 2018 – Osmo Mobile 2 and Ronin-S

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI Reveals New Handheld Stabilizers at CES 2018 – Osmo Mobile 2 and Ronin-S
Jan 072018
 

DJI is aiming straight at the mobile & DSLR/mirrorless market with two new single-handed stabilizers. Meet Osmo Mobile 2 and Ronin-S, both of which will be presented at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Osmo Mobile 2 – an improved handheld smartphone camera stabilizer

The Osmo Mobile 2 has a lightweight design, a built-in three-axis gimbal and supports pivoting between landscape and portrait orientation (by the two-way mobile clamp). DJI’s SmoothTrack technology detects how you are moving the camera and compensates, so it becomes a smoother, more “cinematic” shot. On top of that, user experience has been improved and all the controls where simplified, DJI claims it’s now more similar to operating “a professional camera”.

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Sony Announces New E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 APS-C Lens ahead of CES 2018

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony Announces New E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 APS-C Lens ahead of CES 2018
Jan 072018
 

Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 for APS-C cameras has just been announced a few days ahead of CES in Las Vegas. It’s their 46th E-Mount lens. They also released a silver version of the a6300 camera.

The new Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS E-mount lens includes a functional wide to telephoto focal range of 18-135mm, as well as an aperture range of F3.5-5.6, making this lens versatile whether you are filming indoors or outdoors. The lens auto focus features a linear motor, for fast and quiet operation. This could make for impressive auto focus tracking performance for video, when paired with the Sony a6500 for example, which is already known for its great video auto focus.

The lens features Sony’s powerful OSS or ‘Optical SteadyShot’ image stabilization which will aid in achieving steady and crisp images while shooting hand held, or in lower light scenarios. For improved optical performance, the lens also includes two extra-low dispersion elements and one aspherical lens which will reduce chromatic aberration.

Weighing only 325g, the lens and camera combination is ideal for those that like a lightweight and compact setup, whether that is for traveling, street work, or on a hand held gimbal.

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KipperTie Revolva – RED Lens Mount With Built In ND Filter Wheel

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on KipperTie Revolva – RED Lens Mount With Built In ND Filter Wheel
Dec 102017
 

KipperTie has announced Revolva, a new mount for the DSMC2 RED cameras offering a PL or EF mount with built-in ND wheel. The wheel can be swapped out quickly to more ND or even a diffusion set.

Kippertie has been known for making filtration-related RED products for some time. The Revolva may just be their most significant yet.

With a name and colour wave akin to another favourite UK camera accessory company, the Revolva is suitably garish in appearance as with many RED-related products.

It’s a lens mount and ND wheel built in-one. Both PL and EF mounts will be available, electronically also for aperture changes and lens data (exactly the same as the RED EF mount).

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AXIOM Open-Source Cinema Camera Unveils New Design and Recording solutions

 Gear  Comments Off on AXIOM Open-Source Cinema Camera Unveils New Design and Recording solutions
Dec 102017
 

Apertus has unveiled new major updates regarding technological and design solutions for AXIOM, the world’s first open-hardware and open-software cinema camera. Read on to learn more about this fascinating camera. 

 

AXIOM

Backed by a team of experts from a large swathe of technological and artistic fields (developers, filmmakers, engineers and artists), the apertus° project is stepping forward to the next level of manufacturing and delivering of the AXIOM camera.

cinema5D has been following the progression of this ambitious project from its beginnings, and it is indeed fascinating to see this open-source camera taking shape. It’s actually finally starting to look like a cinema camera!

AXIOM camera main features:

– 4K resolution

– Super35 sensor

– Global shutter

– Up to 15 stops dynamic range

– Up to 300 fps

– 12 bit

– Target price well below $10,000

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Fstoppers Reviews the ZhongYi Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 for Fujifilm

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the ZhongYi Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 for Fujifilm
Dec 102017
 

Over the past few years, Zhongyi Optics have introduced several lenses in their Mitakon “Speedmaster” series of reasonably-priced, well-constructed, super-fast manual focus lenses. The 35mm f/0.95 Mark II lens falls straight into that category. We’ll be looking at the Fujifilm mount version, but this lens is also available for EOS-M and Sony E cameras. So, let’s get into it and look at sharpness, build quality, and, of course, bokeh.

I picked up this lens a little over a month ago and was initially a little disappointed with it. It didn’t seem to fit the Fujifilm system all that well and it certainly didn’t fit my style of shooting. That would all change over time as I got used to the way it was designed and learned to work with it for certain types of shooting. It’s certainly not an all-rounder, but it is a beautiful lens and one worth considering if you like to shoot wide open a lot.

Build Quality and Handling

The all-metal-and-glass construction of the ZY Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 makes for an “old-school” feeling lens. When I first picked it up, I found it reminiscent of the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 I used to use on my old Nikon FM. The resistance in the focus ring and the weight were the first things that stood out to me.

At 460 grams and just 63x60mm in size, it is a stocky lens that feels very solid in the hand. It’s almost too heavy on the smaller Fujifilm bodies and I found that it felt best on the X-Pro2. On the X-T2, or especially with the smaller bodies, it tips the center of balance too far forward and I felt like I was constantly supporting the lens and not the body. Compared to Fujifilm’s 35mm offerings it is much larger and heavier and you will instantly notice the difference.

The aperture ring is positioned at the front of the lens and is declicked. Both of these things feel rather strange on a Fujifilm body at first and take some getting used to. The aperture ring is far too easy to knock in the position it is in. Perhaps a lock switch would help to stop it from rotating with everything it touches. I have found that keeping it at f/0.95 (and let’s face it, that’s why you buy the lens) is quite difficult in the field. I’m constantly having to check the ring before I raise the camera to my eye. This declicked design may be useful for video shooters, but to be honest, I’d prefer a clicked aperture for stills.

The front element of the lens also sits disconcertingly close to the end of the lens barrel and the package doesn’t come with a lens hood. This is disappointing in a $500-plus lens and I would hope that ZhongYi includes hoods with their future lenses. There are a few options out there from third-party manufacturers, so you can certainly get one to fit.

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Freefly Movi is a Cinematic Gimbal for Your Smartphone

 Gear  Comments Off on Freefly Movi is a Cinematic Gimbal for Your Smartphone
Dec 072017
 

 

Freefly creates professional drone and gimbal solutions for the cinema industry, and today it released a specialized gimbal for smartphones: the Freefly Movi.

“Movi’s incredible stabilization technology is the same found in our professional rigs,” says Freefly. “Freefly Gimbals are first-in-class stabilizers used in multimillion-dollar films.”

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10 Handy Photoshop Shortcuts for Working with Layers

 Technique  Comments Off on 10 Handy Photoshop Shortcuts for Working with Layers
Dec 072017
 

Adobe just released this helpful 2-minute video that shares 10 handy shortcuts you can use in Photoshop when working with layers.

Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 shortcuts (watch the video above for visual demonstrations):

1. Add layer masks to hide all

To quickly add a layer mask to hide all of a layer, just hold down the Option key on Mac (or Alt on Windows) and click on the “Add Layer Mask” button in the Layers panel.

2. Delete layer masks

Instead of dragging a layer mask into the bin, you can just right click the layer mask itself and delete it from the tooltip menu that appears.

3. Add a layer mask based on selections

Creating a layer mask of a selection you have made is a useful thing to do for Photoshop users. Clicking the “Add Layer Mask” button will reveal your selection, but if you want to hide it then you just need to hold the Option key on Mac (or Alt for Windows) while clicking.

4. Invert a layer mask

If you want to invert your layer mask, just hold Command + I on Mac (or Control + I on Windows) to quickly move between the two.

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The Sigma 85mm 1.4: One Year Later

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on The Sigma 85mm 1.4: One Year Later
Nov 282017
 

About this time last year, the Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art series lens was released and I went ahead and decided to pull the trigger and invest in the new glass. I had heard great things about other entries in the art lineup and understandably Sigma’s new 85mm focal length was getting a solid amount of hype. For the past year, I have been shooting exclusively with Sigma’s 85mm. It’s been the only lens in my camera bag and the only lens I’ve used for a straight year. What follows are my impressions after a solid year of use; what I like about the lens and what I don’t like.

Let’s start out with some of the things that I love about this lens. After a year of continuous use, I can say that there is no question that the Sigma 85mm 1.4 is a great piece of glass. I am first and foremost a portrait photographer so the focal length itself is a no-brainer for me. As a short/medium telephoto lens, the 85mm gives me a gorgeous level of background compression, beautiful bokeh, and I don’t need to be overly concerned with facial distortion if I come in for a closeup shot. It’s been said before and will be said again that the 85mm focal length is pretty much perfect for portraits.

As I currently live in Colorado and have generally have access to gorgeous sunsets for most of the year I have developed a love for shooting backlit images. If you’ve ever shot backlit before, you know that depending on the angle and position of the sunlight, as well as your own preferences regarding lens flare, some lenses can be finicky about nailing focus. This is understandable as you’re basically asking your camera to nail focus while either direct or angled light is coming right into the lens. I can say with confidence that the Sigma 85mm handles backlighting scenarios like a boss. This is one of the first things that I noticed about this lens; even in less than ideal backlit situations, the lens is wildly successful at getting great focus right where you want it.

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Going Doc-Style with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro on Robbie Williams’ Europe Tour

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Going Doc-Style with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro on Robbie Williams’ Europe Tour
Nov 282017
 

Many filmmakers, including myself are hesitant about using the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro and URSA Mini 4.6K cameras in documentary environments, but James Tonkin of Hangman proves us wrong, taking the URSA cameras into the battlefield of Robbie William’s European Tour 2017.

James Tonik’s URSA Mini Pro with a Letus gimbal and remote focus rig

James Tonkin was recently tasked to document Williams’ 2017 European tour in its entirety. From rehearsals through to live shows, to the all-important backstage moments with Robbie Williams, Tonkin’s primary camera choices were the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro and URSA Mini 4.6K as well as the RED Weapon. For some run and gun filmmakers this might not be the first choice of camera systems when it comes to filming documentaries. In comparison to others, they have drawbacks in lowlight situations and handling. But from a quality standpoint the choice certainly makes sense, if one can make them work documentary style – and Tonkin did.

With a relationship spanning 16 years, Tonkin already had a unique understanding of when and where to capture the tours most potent moments. Furthermore preparation ahead of the tour alongside an understanding of the end goal was imperative for delivering a high-quality production that would meet the brief.

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The Steadicam Volt Smartphone Stabilizer is Now Shipping

 Gear  Comments Off on The Steadicam Volt Smartphone Stabilizer is Now Shipping
Nov 282017
 

We first reported about this product back in January 2017 upon launch of the Kickstarter campaign. The Steadicam Volt was developed by the Tiffen company, a pioneer in the camera stabilizing business, with its line of Steadicam stabilisers now a staple of the industry.

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Twenty Helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop

 Technique  Comments Off on Twenty Helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop
Nov 202017
 

Photoshop is a tremendously intricate and nuanced program, and you can never have enough tips and tricks to navigate all its features and options and make your workflow both more powerful and more efficient. This helpful video will show you 20 more tips and tricks you might not have seen before.

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DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

 Gear  Comments Off on DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101
Nov 202017
 

Last month, we reported that DxOMark had reviewed the Pentax 645Z back in 2015 and given it a highest-ever score of 101 before pausing its medium format camera reviews prior to publishing any. That Pentax 645Z review is finally out, and DxOMark still has glowing things to say about the camera.

DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.

“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”

The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.

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SmallHD Firmware OS3 Adds Auto Calibration And Custom False Color

 Technique  Comments Off on SmallHD Firmware OS3 Adds Auto Calibration And Custom False Color
Nov 132017
 

SmallHD has released a firmware update they are calling their biggest yet. OS3 is available for all current SmallHD monitors, sporting advanced false color and waveform functionality, as well as much need auto calibration.

The above video gives you a nice little run down of SmallHD firmware update OS3.

SmallHD has focused on updating their false color and waveform exposure tools to make them much more customizable.

Customizable False Color

Previous to this update, the false color feature on SmallHD monitors was fairly standard – the image displayed was broken down into color shades that stretched a gradient from 0-100%.

Now, you can select specific IRE values (up to 10 different ranges) and assign them different colors.

How does this help? Primitive false color is one thing, but having the ability to really home in on certain IRE values is a step further in advanced exposure assistance.

You can set a certain level of IRE values that you know is good for skin tones, or set a low and/or high end cap on edge range values to ensure you don’t under or over expose.

It can be really good for greenscreen and cyc work also, as well as keeping track of exposure tones for long-term projects.

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FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Nov 132017
 

The new FUJIFILM X-E3 is the latest edition to the ever growing family of FUJIFILM’s X-mount line. This APS-C sensor-sized, mirrorless stills camera, can shoot high quality 4k (UHD) video and, dare I say it, is the best they have produced so far! As a reviewer, I had the chance to work with the X-PRO2, X-T2, X-T20 and the GFX 50S. While all produce nice looking images, the new X-E3 sets itself apart from the crowd by offering greater ease of use (mostly due to the added focus lever and LCD touch screen), enhanced autofocus capabilities and very pleasing video quality. Read on for my FUJIFILM X-E3 review. 

FUJIFILM was kind enough to supply me with a production sample that I could use and explore for a few days; here are my findings from my FUJIFILM X-E3 review:

Ergonomics

The first thing I noticed when taking the camera out of the box was how light-weight it is, to the point of not being sure if FUJIFILM had decided to pull my leg and send me an empty camera shell! In a world where every gram counts, particularly in relation to international travel, this is a big advantage.

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Canon XF405 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon XF405 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Oct 262017
 

With the introduction of the new Canon XF405, XF400, LEGRIA/VIXIA GX10 – as well as the whole of Sony’s new line – one can assume that the fastest growing market for news and documentary shooting is coming in the form of 4K (UHD), handheld 1” sensor-size cameras. It is not that we haven’t had them before, but they certainly have been getting better and more feature-rich with time. When it comes to affordability… well, it totally depends on who you are talking to and the model you choose.

Canon XF405 camera

If you are an independent filmmaker looking for an all-round shooting device that can produce a bit of a cinematic look thanks to a slightly larger sensor than those traditionally found in these type of cameras, or if you’re a broadcaster looking to equip news crews with a versatile and affordable piece of equipment, then the Canon XF405/400/LEGRIA GX10 might be the right cameras for you. Sound tempting? Then read on for my full Canon XF405 review.

Before continuing, it is important for me to make it clear that the image coming out of the camera I tested may be slightly different than that of the final product.

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Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8
Oct 262017
 

Today is a Sony announcement day that sees the unveiling of the Sony a7R III and 24-105mm f4 zoom, and the announcement of an upcoming 400m f2.8 G Master lens.

Sony a7R III

The wait is over: Sony has finally unveiled the first in the new generation of the A7 series. As always, the Sony a7R III comes at the vanguard of the new announcements – ahead of the A7 and S models – and this time brings a host of improvements to existing features and a few new surprises.

As expected, the new Sony a7R III brings a high pixel-count sensor, with its 42.4MP of resolution once again making this the model aimed primarily at professional stills photographers. The camera’s back-illuminated Exmor R and BIONZ X processor make this model capable of capturing 10 still frames per second, for a buffer of 76 continuous compressed RAW or JPEG images. ISO is available from 100-32000, and Sony claims that noise has been reduced by up to a full stop.

All of this with the advanced autofocus capabilities we have come to expect from this line’s R model, thanks to its 399 phase-detection AF points across 68% of the image, in addition to 425 contrast-detection points. Sony also claims that the camera’s Eye AF performance has been improved when the subject is moving, backlit or looking down.

What about video?

Just like with the II, the new Sony a7R III is capable of recording internal 4K in both full-frame and Super 35mm modes. As you may remember from some of our camera tests of the previous generation, the A7R II offered a better 4K image in crop mode, so it remains to be seen whether this will still be the case with the a7R III (take a look at some comparisons here, and our review here). It’s worth mentioning that the camera also supports proxy recording for easier editing of high-resolution videos, particularly useful when dealing with the relatively processor-intensive XAVC codec. Additionally, one of the biggest improvements to the video capabilities of the camera is the ability to achieve an increased resolution of 5K in Super 35mm mode thanks to an oversampling of a 15MP section of the sensor.

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Pre-Order:

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens

DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne
Oct 262017
 

DJI has unveiled a new tool designed to increase safety and security in a world of crowded air space. AeroScope can identify and track any DJI drone by using the existing link between the drone itself and the controller on the ground. A bold move, you might think. Certainly, but also a necessary one!

Security is always an issue, and it’s always about keeping a balance. Surveillance, incapacitation and big brother authorities on the one hand, privacy and freedom on the other.

Photograph credit: Bertrand Bouchez | unsplash.com

We need regulation for the increasing air traffic caused by affordable drones, sure. But we also need to avoid a surveillance state in order to enforce these regulations. In comes DJI AeroScope, a tool which tries to satisfy both sides.

DJI AeroScope

This upcoming technology won’t be available for everybody. It’s designed to be used by authorized parties like police or aviation authorities only. AeroScope has been installed at two international airports since April, and DJI is continuing to test the system in other environments.

Basically AeroScope is a receiver that can detect any drones within its range once that drone is powered on. Before it’s even airborne, AeroScope can already know its location and its unique registration number, which relates it directly to its registered owner.

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Why the Brush Tool Has a Weird Purple Line in Photoshop CC 2018

 Technique  Comments Off on Why the Brush Tool Has a Weird Purple Line in Photoshop CC 2018
Oct 242017
 

If you’ve started using Photoshop CC 2018, you may have noticed a strange purple line following your brush around as you’re using it now. That line is called a “brush leash,” and here’s a helpful 6-minute video by retoucher Pratik Naik about what that purple line is and how you can use and customize it.

Basically, the purple brush leash is meant to serve as a guide for the Smoothing feature of the Brush Tool. Turning Smoothing down to 0% removes the purple line and restores the brush tool to the original version.

You can also turn off the brush leash in the Cursors panel of your Preferences.

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