Lost and FOUND!

I hope you’ll forgive a bit of self-promotion here,  as this has been a long time coming.

I’ve been on the missing persons list for a few months, putting the finishing touches on my book MISSING MYSTERIES: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF NONEXISTENT MYSTERIES. I began this massive satirical reference back in 2011 and it has finally launched—in a shiny,  full-color, large format paperback edition from Black Scat Books.


I might as well let the blurbs speak for themselves because—frankly—I’m pooped.


“Derek Pell is quite mad, in rather a brilliant way.”Lawrence Block

“Pell’s satire doesn’t lack for sharp edges. His twisted humor is sure to appeal to crime-fiction lovers.”J. Kingston Pierce, THE RAP SHEET

“This book is a lot of fun!” —Steven Heller


Copies are now available worldwide on Amazon. CLICK HERE TO ORDER


Hot, cold, name your pleasure . . .

f you’re not giving books this year, here’s one alternative I swear by: the Hydro Flask, available  from Magellan’s Travel Supplies.  This 21-ounce miracle flask keeps your java hot or your water ice cold for days. (It claims “12 hours hot and 24 hours cold,” but  exceeded that in my tests.)  Sounds almost too good to be true, eh? Well it’s the real deal with a double wall vacuum seal.

It’s not made in China,  so no harmful side-effects. It’s BPA free, and It comes in colors with a Lifetime Warranty.

How cool (and hot) is that?

Whether you’re traveling across the country or just across town, this baby is a must. And while you’re at it, check out Magellan’s other goodies here


What Fell Between the Cracks?

Here are a few items Santa may have neglected to bring.

It’s about time you consider giving yourself a gift.


Yes, finally there’s a solution for that dreaded “zoom creep.”  If you own a zoom lens you know what I’m talking about. Say, for example, you’re shooting a portrait  and  focus your 18-200 telephoto at an optimal  85…, then, momentarily, you tilt the lens down and–zap–it slips to 200. A royal pain. Now thanks to the  LENS BAND, you can lock in your desired focal length with no more “oops.” It comes in colors and is only $4,99. Check it out at lensband.com



Candy for the Eye, Oh-My!


Here’s our friend–artist Miggs Burroughs–on a recent visit to London. He wasn’t expecting snow (and there wasn’t any) but we decided to give him some since we were jealous.

To do the trick, we went to one of our favorite special effects Photoshop plug-ins, ALIEN SKIN EYE CANDY 7.

Here’s a snowy screen-shot:


Brrr…  it’s cold outside. We’d better do something to warm him up.



OK, but where’s the smoke?

You know what they say…where there’s fire there’s smoke.



That’s pretty good, but I still think we’re missing something. How ’bout some lightning?




Well… maybe it’s a bit over the top, but we’re not using all the tools Eye Candy has to tweak the parameters, we’re just winging it with the default settings because we’re on a tight deadline.

Speaking of which, it’s time to wrap this up…




Now don’t think this is all that Eye Candy has to offer, this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. You can find out more at www.alienskin.com


Stay tuned for more missing gifts.



photo by Derek Pell

It seems like only yesterday we reviewed Corel PaintShop Pro X4 (actually it was March 29th)…and now we’ve got X5 Ultimate to contend with.

Right off the bat I can tell you there are new HDR tools and a bonus pack featuring Nik Color Efex Pro 3, among others.  We’ll be digging into the details this month and will have a report here soon.

Secret Weapon


We’ve always been an Adobe-based production operation on  Zoom Street, but we also have a dirty little secret that doesn’t get bragged about much.

Why? I dunno, maybe we like hoarding gems, but Corel PaintShop Pro is part of our arsenal—an important part of the design bag-o-tricks. The new version, PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate has so many power-packed features you’d swear it sells for around a thousand bucks.

Under $60?—no way!

But yeah that’s the too-good-to-be-true truth. We’re working on a feature review, but you can test a trial version of Pro here.

Watch for our review next month, and don’t forget to thank us.

Anything For a Yuk


Oh those crazy capitalist roaders…I’m talking about the Chinese of course—namely M.I.C. Gadget (Made in China) which offers this collectible set, Obama Kills Osama. (Bet Panetta has one on his desk, next to the Panetta Piñata.)


A bit pricey at $129, but they have lots of other oddities for sale. My favorite being the Mao pin cushion.

Calling All Collage Graduates


If digital collage and photo montage is your cup of tea, AKVIS Chameleon 7.5 is a wonderful tool that simplifies the process. Instead of creating time-consuming masks and selections, Chameleon does most of the work for you via four modes: Montage; Chameleon; Blend; and Emersion.

Here’s my test of Montage mode. I decided  to use this photo of my wife and put it on a different background.

original image for foreground

First I launched Chameleon and opened a background image. Next, I imported the foreground photo and positioned it above the background.


Using the program’s Keep Area pencil tool I drew rough blue lines within the figure. (Click on the screen-shots for a larger view.)  Then switching to the Drop Area pencil I drew rough red lines within the background.

What’s cool about this is you don’t have to draw an accurate outline of either area, just a rough scribble seems to do the trick.


Presto! You’re a quick-change artist.

To find out more about Chameleon, CLICK HERE.