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Can we submit questions?

Of course. The real question is, "Can we at 2000Skies.com answer them?" We'll try. Just use our "Contact Us" page (menu above) to send us an email. Use one of the listed options that begin with "FAQ." There is a popup description of each item on that page's list. The link will open your default email program and will fill in the appropriate email address and subject. We'll respond by email and your question may also be answered on this FAQ page. And, oh yes, please limit your questions to topics covered on 2000Skies.com.

 

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Newer questions may be moved to the top of this FAQ

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Why are there so many sky images in the collection?

There is much more to replacing a sky in a photograph than just dropping any random sky image into the scene. You need a sky that not only scales credibly to your original image, but one in which the sunlight (if any) is properly angled. For example, avoid placing a sunset in a scene that has shadows pointing toward the sun. Yes, you can transform the sky with a horizontal flip and use Photoshop tools to modify hue, contrast, brightness, and so on. but that is easier done with some skies than with others. Our images have been taken at all times of the day -- dawn to sunset -- during all seasons of the year. Check our examples pages for some ideas.

 

Why are there several ways to view images in the 2000Skies collection?

We asked ourselves, "How can we make it relatively easy for users to find and select an appropriate sky to use as a replacement?" This turned into a debate over which format was best: slideshows, thumbnails, contact sheets, detail lists. There was no clear consensus. Also 2000 sky images provide quite a large selection to choose from. The complete Shozam gallery is large; it downloads relatively quickly with a broadband Internet connection (which we test on) but some users may have slower access. Some in the debate preferred contact sheets to galleries. Others asked whether we could include the actual image dimensions. (Yes, but not in all slideshows or PDFs.)

 We can tell Shozam to display that information from camera XML data, but shudder at the thought of typing it in manually several thousand times in other galleries and contact sheets that don't offer that option.) We compromised and decided to furnish several options, including our Quick Views pages that permit faster viewing for each of the 31 DVDs in the collection. You have a choice of displays that maximize views (Adobe Galleries), indexed contact sheets (Adobe reader .PDF), and Shozam (multiple types of views and data).

 

Are there really 2000 images in the collection?

We started with quite a few more, then sorted, selected, and categorized them so that the actual count is 1900. However, many of those 1900 images are multi-frame shots, stitched together using "Photomerge" in Photoshop CS3 and CS4, so the total number of images is far more than 2000. We settled on 2000Skies because we liked the name (not because it has anything to do with the year 2000). The 31 DVDs range from as few as 36 images on DVD-03 to 100 on DVD-01, all at 300 ppi (pixels per inch) depending on size and classification.

 

What is this "Shozam" that you use for some galleries?

Shozam is a powerful software application that we prefer for creation of our galleries. It is published by, Shozam.com, and we provide an affiliate link to it in the gallery and on our software page. The galleries are assembled from .jpg files that we have converted from Photoshop originals. The result is a professional Flash Gallery. Flash galleries download and play more quickly than some other types. And, Shozam galleries have a greater variety of views than other products.

 

Why do some galleries/albums identify the image as .jpg while others show the same images as .psd files (Photoshop)?

While browsing through our various views, you can safely ignore differences in file extensions. The files on DVDs are all high quality, high resolution Photoshop images (.psd) regardless of the file extension displayed in screen views. The .jpg that shows up in some views is due to limitations of the software applications that we used to create the views. Adobe Bridge can create output directly from Photoshop files, so an image is identified as, for example, 10-1783.psd, whereas Shozam will not assemble its galleries from Photoshop files, so we use converted .jpg files to produce the gallery, resulting in the displayed identifying name of 10-1783.jpg. If anybody in the album/gallery business is listening: Please give us an option to show file names without extensions!

 

Why do the image names begin with a two-digit DVD number?

Consider that you have used a 2000skies image as a replacement sky in a favorite photo. Then, some months later, you would like to use that same sky as replacement in another photo. If you haven't flattened the image in the first photo, you see that the image is on a layer named, for example, 10-5567. You could, of course, merely drag that layer onto another document, which will copy it to a new layer with the same name. But, if you have added destructive adjustments to the sky layer--changing its contrast, hue, opacity, color, etc.--and if you haven't used adjustment layers for your modifications, you may want to simply go back to the original sky image on DVD. Bingo. It's on DVD-10 and its four-digit identifier, 5667, is also unique throughout the entire collection.

   In the complete Contact Sheet PDF (using Adobe Reader) you can search on only the unique identifier, e.g., 5667, and locate the image.

 

Do you furnish raw images?

We photograph using raw format (Nikon D200 .nef) which are read into Photoshop as 300 ppi raw files that we save as Photoshop files. At this time, we do not offer the images in other formats.

 

What is the difference between "Gallery" and "Album"?

It depends on who is using the word. Software vendors seem to use the words as interchangeable synonyms. What Adobe calls a Flash Gallery, Shozam calls an Album. This is not a call for regulation. In Shozam, a group of images is called an album. Their software permits assembling multiple albums into groups and, for a collection of albums, galleries seems an appropriate name. In Adobe Bridge/Photoshop CS4 a slide show is referred to as a gallery. No rule against that. We call the Adobe Reader files (.pdf files) our Contact Sheets. Adobe used to call them that, changing the name to PDF Presentation (or something) under the category of "Output" which also allows producing an Adobe Gallery. Does that clear things up for you? (It didn't help us, much, but we're easily confused.)

 

How can we tell what size the images are?

Shozam! Use the "Details" link from the Quick Views menu. Shozam details will give you the horizontal and vertical pixel dimensions as well as resolutions. Of course, you can transform the scale and do other processing in Photoshop. Our tutorials may answer your questions on that score.

 

Have the images on DVD been sharpened?

No, and for good reason. Admittedly, digital images are a bit soft and generally require some sharpening. But the amount of sharpening is somewhat different depending on 1) whether output is for display or for printing, 2) size of the print, and 3) personal preferences. If we had already applied sharpening, it likely would not meet your personal needs. The clinching argument is that sharpening should be applied to the each image after all other corrections have been made.

   This approach gives you the flexibility of saving different copies of any image with sky replacement according to the size and destination of the output. You can use any of several methods for sharpening including methods inherent in Photoshop or provided by plugins such as Nik Sharpener Pro. Don't forget that clouds are inherently fuzzy. You might want to use some selective sharpening that omits sky areas.

 

Who developed the 2000Skies.com web site?

It was home-grown. We did the design and layout in Photoshop starting with CS2 (then continuing in CS3 and CS4). Photoshop files can be turned into interactive web pages with SiteGrinder, a product of Medialab. See the link on our software page. Compared to our earlier experiences with Go Live and Front Page as design tools, SiteGrinder is a major improvement and a delight to work with. For all practical purposes, we wrote no HTML code. Even this FAQ is an example of convenience. The text was written and formatted in Microsoft Word 2007, including text size, weight, and color, then saved as an .html file. It is designated as an external media file in SiteGrinder and is read into the scrolling area created in Photoshop when the pages are built by Sitegrinder. Nary a line of hand-coded HTML was required.

 

Do you plan anything other than sky replacements?

Well, yes. Sales of our photographs was high on our initial list, but moved downward as we developed the sky-replacement series. Additionally, we have developed methods for producing kaleidoscope art from photos and stereo 3D perspectives from single digital photos, viewable on computer screen as well as in antique and contemporary stereoscopic viewers. Fototoon.com is another incipient plan. More information is available at http://www.tedduke.com as things may progress from time to time. By this time, we may have added links to related sites on our "Site" page.

 

Does 2000Skies.com have a forum or a blog?

Maybe someday.

 

A Guest book?

Sooner than the blog.