Send a Photoshop layer to a new document

Have Photoshop send a selected layer to a new auto-created document:—

1. In the Layers Palette, select the layer, right-click it.

2. “Duplicate layer”, then select “New”.

3. Photoshop will automatically open a new document, and paste in your selected layer. The document will have the same dimensions as the source document it came from.

The ArtStation Android app is back

Good news, after being banned from Google Play for being just a little too sexy, the ArtStation Android app tablet/phone app is now back, with a “Parental guidance” flag.

Apparently a mere partially-covered distant glimpse of female breasts on a fantasy character, or even very boring normal underwear (when seen on a body in a very mildly “suggestive pose”), is now enough for the prudes of contemporary America to have a fainting-fit. Yet after their ban the Artstation team found good evidence that the Google Store is giving a ‘free pass’ to apps from large firms such as Reddit and Instagram, both of which appeared to offer blatant photographic porn, while attacking apps for artists. Go figure. I guess it’s the added ‘imagination factor’ that freaks out some mundane people when it comes to art.

You have to wonder if the Google Play team have seen what’s inside Diamond’s Previews magazine for April 2019, re: the previews for Stitched and other ultraviolence comics, which Google are happily selling on the Google Play store.

Sadly Artstation report that they have now been forced to bring in moderators for the entire service, and have… “brought on a new [content] moderation team”. Presumably at quite some expense to them. I’d presume that the app for DeviantArt (the other big digital art ‘online home’) has been forced to do the same in order to remain on the Google Play store.

Thus it seems logical to assume that what we’re now getting via these apps is censored, and that what’s being censored is ridiculously tame.

If that’s the case then the best way to browse these services in mobile form is now via an open Web browser on a good-sized tablet. Though in that case you may of course still want the “Mature content” filter on (which removes what you would expect it too, in my experience) and the third-party DeviantArt Filter installed so you can easily block the tedious foot-fetishists on a per-user basis. That’s how I browse DeviantArt. But I don’t then want an app adding yet another layer of censorship on top of that, one which is being forced to censor an insanely prudish conception of what is supposed to be very slightly “suggestive”.

MyPaint v2.0

The free open source MyPaint v2.0 alpha has just become publicly available. It’s a basic but fast painting tool designed for quick work on graphics tablets. Apparently it adds a feature that makes it accessible to non-tablet users, which may be of special interest to the disabled…

“Art Pen/ Barrel rotation input”

What this means in plain English is that you can paint on the screen with a mouse, while mimicking pen pressure by pressing key-stokes on the keyboard.

The new Wacom Cintiq 16

I see that Wacom has just released a new Wacom Cintiq 16 model pen-tablet, aimed at “emerging professionals”, although at a hefty list price of $650 it seems you’ll already have to have a few paying clients under your belt, or perhaps an indulgent grandma.

Confusingly, it’s not the same as the existing Wacom Cintiq Pro 16, although encountering the £1,300 price tag for that older model is rather a giveway that it’s not the budget Cintiq 16 pen-tablet you’re looking for.

This new budget Cintiq 16 has very nearly 16″ inches of screen at 1920 x 1080 pixels. Here in the UK Amazon currently has it for £529 (equivalent to a gouging $680) and it comes with a pen, though it’s another £70 to get the stand to use it as a sloped monitor. It has no Express Keys either, like the big Cintiq models have, but apparently you can also pay £90 for an Express Keys ‘remote’. Some reviews say it supports multitouch, other say not. Its colour range means that it’s not a tool for professional colour photographers of weddings, landscapes etc.

So it looks like this is Wacom’s response to the Chinese budget pen-monitor makers such as Huion and Ugee, who over the last few years have been persistently nibbling into the low-end of the market with equivalents that cost a lot less. Ugee’s pen monitors come with two pens, and an excellent adjustable stand. I managed to pick up their 1910b at the end of 2016 for £300. Colour fidelity / greyscale on the 1910b is adequate rather than great, and I can work around that, but Ugee’s later models are said to be much better in terms of colour. Huion also has excellent models these days.

The Cintiq 16 is still not cheap enough though, to beat Ugee, I’d suggest. The reason people buy at around the £330 price point is because they can’t afford the £530 price point. That £200 difference is not negligible, down at the bottom end of the market. But I guess it may also be that Wacom is also thinking here of bulk sales to the budget-conscious schools and college market. Where career-conscious buyers need to the get-out of “Well, I purchased Wacom!”, which is a defence they don’t have if things turn out bad with 30 x budget Chinese pen-monitors.

Sigma X3F RAW – the Photoshop plugin

I’m pleased to hear that there’s now a way to get my Sigma camera’s X3F RAW pictures into Photoshop directly, via a plugin. ‘Photoshop plugin for X3F Raw files’ was released just after Christmas 2018 and is an open public download from Sigma. Paul Monaghan gives it a quick test, with the verdict that it’s handy to have for speed and convenience, but lacks the range of processing controls offered by Sigma’s free native Sigma Photo Pro software. I’m not a photographer who’s ever seen the point of Adobe Lightroom, so for me it’s either Photoshop or the maker’s own native software.