Creative Hinderances:
It appears there’s no way I’m going to get to the Creative Clusters Summit Conference. Because the price has been announced; £300 plus VAT, plus hotel, plus train tickets, plus food. 🙁 Which basically means £500. Oh well; if you’re also skint and yet interested in creative clusters too, then feel free to read my Phat Brain library, for free.

Face filter:
Graphics filters get a bad name; many think they’re just about adding cliched “whacky & tacky” effects to images. But the most useful ones simulate a real-world film / lighting / retouching process. Such as this new freeware for post processing digital portraits of models and friends, called Clear Skin FX. It makes the skin “Vogue smooth” while sharpening the darker lines such as eyes and hair. It seems to work as advertised, doing best when used as a ‘first pass’ on raw megapixel files. The author also offers other freeware digital photography filters; including a de-noise filter, a simulator for making those “colored-lights” product shots, and one to remove hot-pixels from night & low-light shots.

The missing Link:
Government-funded organisations such as Business Link, are almost useless to start-up businesses. (Free registration required) Say’s who? A new report by Ernst & Young and the LSE. Role-models, colleagues and informal mentors seem to work best, even for traditional business people. So it seems we creatives have been absolutely right in our attitude to the state-funded business-support services – we usually avoid them like the plague. I’m told that Birmingham Business Link did come calling, a couple of years ago, with a ‘pilot’ service for the creative industries. But they retreated and called it a ‘failure’ soon after they discovered we’re too strapped for cash to buy their one-size-fits-all commercial consultancy services. Which was, apparently, all that mattered to them.