April 16th, 2013

Adobe Launches Lightroom 5 Beta

Adobe has announced the release of the public “beta” version of Lightroom 5. From the Adobe Lightroom Journal blog post:adobe-lightroom-5-beta

The Lightroom team is proud to introduce the fifth major version of the product designed for and by photographers. It was 7 years ago when we introduced the very first public beta of Lightroom at MacWorld on January 9, 2006. Since 2006 we’ve been hard at work improving an application that’s intended to be as easy to use as it is powerful.  This release builds on the image quality improvements in Lightroom 4 to provide a truly complete workflow and imaging solution.  We keep hearing from customers that they love Lightroom but needed to leave Lightroom to complete X, Y, or Z.  Lightroom 5 beta solves those issues.

New/Improved Lightroom 5 features of note include:

  • Advanced Healing Brush
  • Upright Perspective Correction
  • Radial Filter
  • Smart Previews
  • Improved Photo Book Creation
  • Slideshows with Videos and Still Images
  • PNG file support
  • True Full Screen Mode
  • Configurable grid overlays
  • Additional search criteria for filters and smart collections
  • Lock zoom position preference settings
  • Direction field in EXIF metadata panel
  • “Set as Target Collection” checkbox in Create Collections dialogue
  • Integrity verification of DNG files
  • LAB color readout
  • Aspect slider added to the Manual tab in the Lens Correction panel
  • Persistent clipping indicators between Lightroom sessions
  • Crop overlay aspect ratios

More information, including system requirements, can be found on Adobe’s blog announcement post. The Lightroom 5 public beta can be downloaded from Adobe’s website: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom5/

March 25th, 2013

Google Deeply Cuts Price for Nik Plug-in Suite

nik_silverefx

Nik’s Silver EFEX plug-in is part of the newly priced bundle.

Perhaps making up for the controversy it created when it discontinued the Snapseed Desktop app, Google today announced a significant price cut for the Nik plug-in suite. The Nik plug-ins have long been popular with photographers looking to expand the power of Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom. Previously these plug-ins were in the $100-200 range with full six plug-in suites running $300 for Aperture/Lightroom and $500 for Photoshop/Elements.

However, today’s announcement reduces that price to $130 for the “Nik Collection by Google” and includes the Color Efex Pro 4, Dfine 2, HDR Efex Pro 2, Sharpener Pro 3, Silver Efex Pro 2 and Viveza 2 plugins. Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that, according to the announcement, if you have bought any of the Nik plug-ins in the past, Google will be contacting you and offering you the ability to upgrade to the entire suite for free. If you have never tried the Nik plug-ins, you can visit niksoftware.com for a 15-day free trial of the Collection.

See the Nik Plug-in announcement on Google+ here.

May 30th, 2012

Tools for Detecting Image Manipulation: Coming Soon

Imagine if there were a reliable tool for detecting manipulation and Photoshopping in photos that every photo desk or photo contest juror could use.  Manipulated photos could be screened from photojournalism contests before they cause a scandal, news photographers might be deterred from trying to punch up their images, and PDN Pulse might have fewer image manipulation stories to report.

Poynter.org reports that Kevin Connor, former Adobe product manager for Photoshop, has teamed up with Hany Farid, professor of computer science at Dartmouth College and a noted forensic expert on digital images, to create a suite of software tools designed to detect the alteration of digital images. The company they’ve formed, Fourandsix, has produced a beta version of one of the tools in the planned suite, according to Connor, and they hope to test it soon. The suite of tools will eventually be targeted to law enforcement agencies and news organizations who want to detect whether or not images have been manipulated.

Connor tells Poynter that customers should not expect the tools to provide a “magic bullet” or easy, push-button solution. The suite offers “not one but a series of technologies.” He says, “What you have to do is approach it as a detective and examine all the various clues in the image itself and the file that contains the image.”

© Korean Central News Agency

The suite should make more widely available several of the forensic methods that Farid currently uses to analyze images –from precisely measuring the angles of shadows to comparing pixels. In December, Farid was asked by The New York Times to use his techniques to analyze an official photo from North Korea’s news agency (see right); as the Lens blog reported, Farid determined that a portion of the image had been cloned to erase individuals on the sidelines of the Kim Jung-Il funeral procession.

Farid explains many of his forensic methods on the Fourandsix.com blog.

Related articles:
Photo Manipulation Scandal Follows Same Old Script

Official News Agency of a Totalitarian Regime Doctored a News Photo. Imagine That.

March 22nd, 2012

Adobe Launches Free Photoshop CS6 Beta; Read Our Hands-On Preview

By Theano Nikitas

Adobe has been teasing photographers with sneak peeks of Photoshop CS6 for the past couple of months and tonight finally unveiled the software as a free public beta that’s available now for download. You can download Photoshop CS6 as a beta by clicking here.

We got an early look at the software, under NDA, at an Adobe-sponsored workshop last month. Click here to read our first impressions of Photoshop CS6.

Once you download the free beta of Adobe Photoshop CS6, tell us what you think of the software in the comments below.