Photoshop is not magic


There’s a widely spread idea about Photoshop that it will magically solve everything, no matter what, no matter how horrible is the shot. Well, I’ve got some bad news: it doesn’t.

And I brought I picture I took myself to show it.  It’s not a horrible photo, there are many far worse, but certainly is not right and is not possible to fix.



Original picture, took with a Nikon camera.

As you can see, it’s not bad but nothing outstanding. Just a view of Stuttgart from the Stadtbibliothek.  So I thought of improving the picture by editing.  I mean, the view was so awesome when I looked at it from the window!


Odd photo

Same picture, after editing.

First of all, do you see that straight line in the base of the building at left?  It’s the border between the street and construction pit. Do you see it?  It’s crooked. No, the original was straight.  It’s crooked because of the lenses.  That happens sometimes and Photoshop doesn’t fix it  (yet).

Second, the sky.  If I changed the colours any more it would have looked like Lucy in the sky with diamonds.  But the original sky wasn’t any better.

Third, the exposure.  It’s not overexposed but it certainly has too much light, there’s almost no contrast in it missing details in the architecture and the beauty of this place  (traditional houses mixed with modern buildings and forest).  I tried to change light, contrast and exposure.  I improved contrast a bit but the rest was impossible to fix.  A bit less and it looked dark or muddy or without any contrast.

Conclusion:  Do yourself a favour and shoot the right photo in first instance.  Don’t rely in the format  (RAW isn’t magic either)  nor in the post-session software.  Bad shots remain as they are.









Farther and faster

What is design? What is graphic design?  It’s one of those questions where everyone wants to have the ultimate answer.  Unfortunately, this is impossible as there are as many opinions as designers populate this world  (and probably others as well).

So let’s do something different instead.  Let’s see what are the different thoughts on the matter and every reader can choose his or her own favourite.


“Good graphic design is the result of the endless search for beauty in things”  (Büro für Form, Deutschland)

Pretty much the definition of Art.

“Your own place between commerce and art”  (Andrea Tinnes, Deutschland)

This could be a very nice definition, specially when it comes to furniture and lifestyle.

“The intersection point between art and communication”  (Phillipe Appeloig, France)

Similar to the previous one but highlighting its purpose to communicate something without necessarily selling it.

“It’s just a job, but a good job”  (Aboud Sodano, UK)

Pragmatic, almost cynical point of view.  But a valid one indeed.

“Design creates physical and visual results”  (Hartmut Esslinger, Deutschland / Austria)

Here there is pragmatism without cynism.

“Clarity, form, function”   (Farrow Design, UK)

Short and to the point. This sentence is a model of design itself.


And you? What is your definition of design?


When the intent of originality works against you

There’s a banner near home in Stuttgart with some kind of tobacco advertising.  I don’t remember the brand because I don’t smoke, but it is a renowned one, like Marlboro or Lucky Strike.  In any case, they have these banners with promotions for their cigarettes and they change it every some time, usually with a play on words as catchphrase.

The one I saw a week ago was  “Money makes happy but people makes you rich”.  I understand they wanted to be surprising and original, and I may suspect the actual meaning they wanted to give to that phrase, but the reality is that gives the reader a very nasty sensation.

Lucky Strike

Let’s see what is wrong here… 

“Money makes happy”   Let’s face it, we all want money, if anything to sustain our needs and have a decent life.  Of course, it’s not everything but it’s a lot, and saying the truth isn’t against the law, right?  So this part of the sentence might not be what we expect from an advertising signal but it’s alright.  Many spots are great exactly because they break the rules or show a real situation instead of what is supposed to happen.

“People makes you rich”  Wait.. what?  What do you mean with that?  Do I have a squad of slaves working for me?  Do you mean that people who’s around provide my wealth instead of earning it with my effort?  Are you suggesting that I’m an ogre-like boss who pushes his/her workers to the limit to get me more money?  That’s pretty disturbing.  Actually, it may even be insulting.

A light (for AlleFarben use only)

Here an explanation…

Probably the intention was saying  “people enriches your life beyond the money you actually have”,  or  “you have a worthier life because of the people in it rather the money you have”.  But the actual impression it gives it’s exactly the opposite, is one that makes readers feel uncomfortable or disturbed.  After a minute or two, you may dawn on reality or not; maybe you feel unsettled and just walk away focusing your mind on something else.  Or you may think that it’s a stupid banner and simply forget about it.  None of these reactions is what a publicity banner is made for.  You mean to catch readers attention and stay in their minds way longer they left the banner behind.

Of course if you’re fond to self-help books you may catch the intended meaning at first. But if you don’t care about that kind of reading, or even are against of it  (or at least sick of)  you won’t get it, you’ll receive the plain sentence with all its creepy suggestions. And you don’t want your prospective customer to think you’re either an idiot or a slavery supporter  (even if you really are).

I’m sorry, it won’t work.


Written by Sylvia Sanchez



An interview with Miss Sanchez

I had the honour of being interviewed by David Snape  (unrelated to Severus Snape from what I know) to talk about the Studio.  It’s the first one of a series of interviews where Mr. Snape will be talking in his radio programme with people from different places, people with talents to show off.

You can check the full interview in his WordPress post and in Mixcloud.

Thank you very much!!



Quick news

This is an open window to the many things that had happened in the last weeks in the studio.


We have this discussion going on and many tasks in queue.  To know more about the last works there, please check these links:

FAmSCo vacant seat  &  FAmSCo for engineers

Gnome Recipes

There’s a new program in Gnome and it’s called  “Recipes”.  Although the name may not look very attractive, the program actually is. With a nice interface and more social than Gourmet it’s still in pre-release phase.  But it’s already working nicely and steadily heading to a first stable version.  If you want to know more, please see this post:

One for the cooks

Translations & Development

The studio is resuming their works on development this week.  We’re working to add a new service next week.  More info coming soon.


Some of us will be travelling between this week and the next one.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may bring.


Our work on WordPress is still ongoing.  We also had some sporadic interventions in Fedora Magazine.  Please, check the links below.

Crossing the Air

Fedora Magazine

Bruce Dickinson’s World

Thank you very much!

A rich library

Any good designer keeps a wealth of resources; images, websites, magazines, books… and anything that may inspire, inform or help to do the best work.  And following our passion for Open Source, the studio will be sharing sites of interests, books and any other source we think it may worth the mention. The list will be updated periodically and once a month will be re-posted so nobody will miss new content.


  • “White space is not your enemy”,  by Rebecca Hagen & Kim Golombsky.  It’s a great book, full of information, images and examples. It’s interesting for both students and professionals.
  • “Building a site for dummies”,  For Dummies series.  It’s a great book for beginners.  Experienced people will skip many chapters but will find some interesting stuff anyway.


  • Toptal Design is a site with a blog full of material, tips and ideas for designers of all kinds. It also offers a service to offer your work as designer or post a project to get designers working on it.


  • Adam McIntyre’s sites   He’s a graphic designer who uses Photoshop and Illustrator professionally.  He offers two websites from where to pull news and material, free of charge:  His Facebook  and his Website.  Just as side note, the name is unrelated to pilots and flying machines.
  • Bojan Živković sites   Professional Designer and Adobe Certified Expert, he offers many ways to get resources, both paid and free of charge.  His Site and Behance portfolio show what is he capable to do. He even offers an email to contact him:


  • Arthur Rackham  Illustrator from late 19th Century and early 20th.  You may find samples of his works in this website and Wikipedia.  Books illustrated by him are available in many libraries  (including Birmingham and Westminster)  and in the Gutenberg Project.
  • Matt Dixon  Proffesional illustrator, well worth a look into his site.
  • Don Seegmiller   Artist and illustrator, his website is sort of abandoned.  There are no tutorials, tips or resources for artists, but you still can see some of his prints. His sketches are particularly interesting.





From arts to graphic design

Since my early years of childhood, even before I would read and write I was drawing.  Back in the moment I wasn’t fond to paint, I just liked to draw.

Time passed and I learnt how to tell a story through arts. I learn techniques and mediums, I learnt History and Schools of Art.

And I learnt that Fine Arts are useless. Everybody say that. Art is a useless luxury. And doesn’t pay. Artists carry miserable lives and die in poverty or illness. A good eye for colours, styles and design are warranty of failure.

Isn’t it?


Maybe the bohemian artist as depicted in romantic books doesn’t exist anymore (thankfully!)  but that doesn’t mean one’s talents must be thrown away. It’s all about to rellocate knowledge and skills. And look into the right places.

So I decided to put my  “useless”  talent on work.