xScope by Iconfactory is a software tool I use on a daily basis at the studio. It is a gem that others might disregard but I feel is essential in my workflow. Xcope includes various tools that float on your desktop window. One of the key features are the guides. I use the guides to make sure things are squared, leveled, equidistant and parallel when positioning a shot. Above are three screen grabs floating xScope guides on my Capture One screen. The first two show the product off centered, indicated by the pixel numbers between the guides. The third shows the product being centered, proven by the equal pixel numbers.
I also like the ruler. Often, I have to match the position of a previous shot I did. I use the ruler as a free-flowing glorified guide since it can be rotated in any angle and placed anywhere on the screen. Below are two screen grabs to diagram my use. Let’s say the first image is a final shot. Next on the shot list will be the same product but rotated 90 degrees. The best way to match angles is to place the ruler on one side of the first image and then rotate the product accordingly to match the ruler for the second image. Make sure you do not move the ruler, instead move the product little by little until the side lines up with the ruler. The second screen grab below not only shows the ruler matching the side angle but I also brought back the guides to make sure it is centered. I like how all the tools can be used in conjunction with each other.
  • mauricioorozco

    I just got xScope with the MacHeist bundle and have found it very useful as well. I had never thought of using it for tethered shooting, great idea!

    p.s. That’s some stealthy new Apple hardware you’re shooting there ;-)

  • Brian McDougall

    Wow, so much for “fixing it in Photoshop”.

    Get it right up front and save a lot of time and effort!

  • Ed Taylor

    Thanks for sharing this Peter. I’ve been looking for a tool like this forever. Is there a way to match the angle of “attitude” (camera angle), to an existing shot, with it? That one leaves me scratching my head and lots of T&E…

  • http://www.brianklepper.com/ Brian Klepper

    Awesome! This is something I’ve used as well! I primarily used it for design, but also incorporated it into my workflow.