October 8th, 2014

New Lens Correction Software Takes Aim at Expensive Lenses with Math

piccure_canon

The German software company Piccure+ is not one to mince words. Calling the prevailing lens making model “ignorant” the company has released lens correction software that it claims can correct lens defects without building a huge bank of profiles. The upshot, they claim, is that you can use inexpensive lenses and still create high quality images that look as if they were snapped through more expensive glass.

Piccure+ uses complex mathematical models to create a point-spread function for each image before applying a deconvolution to correct defects — much like the approach NASA took to fixing the Hubble Telescope’s optics. Among the virtues of this approach is that it can correct what lens profiles can’t, namely deviations in lens manufacturing.

Rather than work off what it thinks is wrong with the lens, Piccure+ tackles the optical defects directly in the RAW image file itself. (The software can also work with JPEG images but the company claims that the already-compressed JPEG files won’t benefit as much from its algorithmic massaging.) This means that it can also correct distortions and aberrations on images without EXIF data and for lenses that don’t have profiles in competitive software like Adobe’s Camera RAW.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 9.49.49 AM

In a blog post announcing the software’s release, the company ambitiously called for a rethink of the entire lens manufacturing paradigm. Rather than invest money in building flawless lenses, the company is arguing that much of the heavy lifting can be done in software. Specifically, their software (of course). Photographers would then be liberated to use less expensive zoom lenses while lens makers could focus on driving their own costs down by relenting on quality control — an argument we have trouble believing is going to find much traction among lens manufacturers.

We’ve just started playing with the software, which you can kick around for free for 14 days. From our initial impressions, it’s clearly easy to use, with a minimalist interface with sliders for optical aberration, sharpness and denoising. However both previewing and processing images on our 2.6GHz dual-core Mac (16GB of RAM) took a fair amount of time (evidently our Mac likes doing complicated math about as much as we do). You can save settings to make your workflow go a bit faster when working in a similar batch of images or you can tell the program (via a slider) to prioritize speed over quality.

Piccure+ will cost $109 and can work as a plugin for Lightroom or as a standalone application.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 9.57.16 AM

Nikon D610; 1/320 @ f/7.1 with 24-84mm Nikkor lens. Original image on left.

October 6th, 2014

Adobe Updates Creative Cloud with Focus on Mobile

Adobe Shape 3

Adobe announced a series of updates to its Creative Cloud suite of software products in an effort to better unite the desktop and mobile experience into a unified whole.

Among the changes is a new profile setting that lets Creative Cloud users upload brushes, styles, fonts, photos, textures and more so that they have access to them on any device. Touch screen support for Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface devices has been also been expanded as has support for 3D printing in Photoshop. Adobe’s Premiere video editor has been updated for GPU-optimized playback and editing of 4K video files.

For those in search of extra vectors, brushes, icons and other design elements, Adobe is introducing a Creative Cloud market which will house all of the above in a freely accessible library for both desktop and mobile users.

Adobe was also busy renaming and updating its mobile apps. Among the highlights:

  • Photoshop Mix is now available on the iPhone.
  • Lightroom Mobile has been updated to allow online commenting as well as syncing iPhone GPS data with the desktop Lightroom.
  • Adobe Ideas has been renamed Illustrator Draw.
  • Premiere Clip is now available for iOS devices to perform light video edits on the go.
  • A new Adobe Brush app lets you photograph a design and turn it into a Photoshop brush style.
  • A new Shapes app will convert any photo into a vector drawing.
  • Adobe Kuler has been renamed Adobe Color and lets you photograph a color and add it to your themes (which are tied to your Creative Cloud profile).

Finally, a major update to Adobe’s Behance online portfolio service will add a Talent Search feature so prospective employers can comb through the Behance network in search of qualified editors and artists. There will be a public job board and a recommendation engine that will help surface user profiles for those searching the site for creative talent to hire.

The Behance Talent Search is live now and Adobe’s Creative Cloud update will roll out to users by the end of the day today.

June 27th, 2014

End of the Line for Apple’s Aperture Photo Software?

Apple-Aperture-3-(2)We haven’t heard much from Apple lately on its Aperture image management and editing software so it came as little surprise to learn that the company now appears to be pulling the plug on this once much ballyhooed program for pro photographers.

According to The Loop, Apple says its will no longer develop Aperture. Apple will, instead, concentrate on its new Photos app for the Mac, which was announced during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference earlier this month.

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple said in a statement to The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.”

The new Photos app will also replace Apple’s long-running iPhoto consumer photography program, according to The Loop.

Apple Aperture was launched, with much fanfare, at PhotoPlus Expo in 2005. Soon after its introduction, Aperture faced stiff competition from several other image management and editing applications including Adobe’s Lightroom, which has dominated the pro photography software market in recent years.

(Via Mac Rumors)

June 18th, 2014

Adobe Expands Monthly $9.99 Photoshop Cloud Plan to Include New Photoshop Mix iPad App

1_Adobe-2014-CC-ReleaseAdobe has offered photographers a $9.99 per month Photoshop Photography Program for a while now but the San Jose, CA-based company announced this morning it’s adding several new things to the mix.

Retitled the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, it’s aimed at “anyone interested in photography” and includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, and the brand new Photoshop Mix iPad app. The app offers some desktop Photoshop editing features for Apple’s tablet computer.

The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan also includes the Adobe Lightroom Mobile app, which debuted for the iPad in April and is now available for the iPhone, as well.

Adobe Photoshop Mix is designed to provide a wireless workflow with Creative Cloud, letting you access some of Photoshop CC’s tools on your iPad. Photoshop Mix lets you open Photoshop documents, access individual layers from a Photoshop PSD file, and grab images from Lightroom Mobile.

Once you have an image open in Photoshop Mix, you can access a range of Photoshop tools including Upright, Content Aware Fill, and Camera Shake Reduction.

Photoshop-Mix-1

You can then export your finished image with all its layers and masks intact from Mix to Photoshop CC for further tweaking on your desktop computer.

Read more about Adobe’s revamped photography subscription plan in the press release after the jump.
(more…)

April 8th, 2014

Adobe Launches Lightroom Mobile App for iPad; Here’s Our Hands-On Review

Photographers have been asking for a mobile version of Adobe Lightroom pretty much since the first iPad launched four years ago and, for some eager folks, even prior to that. Well, everyone finally got their wish tonight, as Adobe launched the Lightroom mobile app, which lets you edit and organize your images on your iPad. (The company says iPhone and Android versions of the app are also in the works.)

lr-mobile_ipad_camera_roll_700x400
While the Lightroom mobile app is free to download, you need to have one of Adobe’s controversial subscription plans in order to use it. The best current Adobe subscription deal for photographers is the Photoshop Photography Program, which costs $9.99 a month and gives you Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, along with some other features including 20GB of cloud storage. You’ll also need the latest iteration of Lightroom, which is at Version 5.4, to run the app, but that’s a free update and available now.

(more…)

August 22nd, 2013

Apple Issues Digital Camera RAW Update 4.08 for Aperture 3 and iPhoto 11

Apple has released a new download for Aperture 3 and iPhoto 11 users adding RAW support for the following cameras:

  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Fujifilm X-M1
  • Leica M
  • Leica M Monochrom
  • Nikon COOLPIX P330
  • Olympus STYLUS XZ-10
  • Pentax 645D
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II

The update, v. 4.08, can be downloaded here.

 

August 22nd, 2013

Corel Announces PaintShop Pro X6

COREL PSPX6ULTEN_Left jpegCorel just announced the latest versions of its image-editing software, PaintShop Pro X6 and PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate, as well as Photo & Video Suite X6. Don’t go rushing to the Corel site yet. It’s a two-stage release: Today’s release is available to current users only; everyone else will have to wait for the global launch on September 4 to purchase or download updated versions or a free trial.

Based on the results of a major research study–the largest the company ever conducted in the history of product which is now in its 16th iteration–Corel concentrated on several aspects of the software. While the previous updates for X5, focused on social media and creative effects, the big news for X6 revolves around performance. PaintShop Pro X6 has been completely re-architected  as a 64-bit product with much faster performance (a 32-bit version is available and, if necessary, can be installed along with the 64-bit version). Some of the benefits of 64-bit include 10% faster launch speed, the ability to access more than 4GB RAM, better handling and processing of  large files (e.g., 400MB) and opening and batch processing of upward of 50 RAW files. Corel estimates that batch converting 50 RAW files to PNG, for example, works 57% faster than in X5.

Specific tools and tasks such as the Smart Carver and HDR are direct beneficiaries of the 64-bit processing with faster, smoother performance and Corel has added two new selection brushes, auto grouping of sequential images, searching by IPTC data, to name just a few of X6′s enhancements. Other major improvements revolve around a refined user interface, which simplifies the application’s visual look and feel as well as the workflow with easier access to resources, the ability to drag and drop an image to the layers palette to automatically create a new layer and more.

Like PSP X5, the new software is available in a standard version, Ultimate and as part of a photo/video suite. X6 Ultimate is only $20 more than the standard version but offers extras like a full version of Athentech’s Perfectly Clear, portrait enhancement software Face Filter 3 and a creative collections of brushes and picture frames.

Interestingly, the research study conduced by Corel took place before Adobe’s Creative Cloud was introduced but Corel was thinking along the same subscription-based line. As part of the study, Corel asked its users what they thought about a subscription-based delivery model for PaintShop Pro. The response was very clear: users wanted PaintShop Pro to remain a perpetual license product. And, Corel listened, so you can purchase the software outright with no subscription required.

Corel did, however, introduce a standard membership program, which is free with the purchase of a perpetual license product. Membership takes the place of registration, although members will have to register on an annual basis. According to Corel, the company wanted to “connect with the customer on a different level. It’s not just about buying the product and never hearing from each other. It’s a way for us to keep in touch, provide more value and find out what’s valuable to them. An annual membership makes it more organic.” Some of the benefits of membership include the Kai’s Power Tools collection (KPT, for those of you who remember this amazing batch of effects plug-ins), a scripting guide and members-only webinars, among other options.

Mac users are out of luck, though. PaintShop Pro is a Windows-only program but it’s compatible with Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit), Vista, 7 and 8. Be sure to visit the Corel website on September 4th for more details.

Price:

PaintShop Pro X6: $80 (new); $60 (upgrade)

PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate: $100 (new); $80 (upgrade)

PSP Photo & Video Suite: $129

–Theano Nikitas

 

 

August 1st, 2013

New Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw Release Candidates Available Now

Adobe has announced release candidates Lightroom 5.2 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.2. With the release candidates of these upgrades, Lightroom 5, Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop Creative Cloud users gain support for additional cameras including the Canon EOS 70D, Fujifilm X-M1, Sony DSC-RX1R and Sony DSC RX100 II, additional lens profiles and bug fixes. A new DNG Converter release candidate is also available.

Both release candidates also offer new and enhanced features for Lightroom 5 and Photoshop Creative Cloud. To read about highlights of what you can expect from release candidates, see our article, now on PDNOnline’s Gear page.
      –Theano Nikitas

July 8th, 2013

LightZone Image-Editing Software Re-Released as Free and Open Source

lightzoneRemember LightZone software? For those who do not, LightZone was a photo-editing program that offered a number of groundbreaking features including full 16-bit, selective and  nondestructive RAW editing in a fairly user-friendly GUI. Released in 2005, it won awards from MacWorld, MacUser and American Photo magazine. LightZone was marketed and sold by Lightcrafts until September 2011, when that company closed for business. Beginning in October 2011, the LightZone software was kept alive and being supported, first by an informal e-mail tree and then, since November 2011, by the LightZombie Project users’ group, lightzombie.org. It has become an open-source project under a BSD license from creator Fabio Riccardi, who is currently with Apple’s iOS Imaging Group. Under the terms of the BSD agreement LightZone will be offered to the public through the LightZoneProject (www.lightzoneproject.org) free of charge.

The software is newly available to the public for free downloading in the Windows and Linux operating systems, and MAC beta testing has begun today. It is also available to the open-source community for new development now.

 Price: FREE!

www.lightzoneproject.org

June 5th, 2013

DXO Launches Filmpack 4 with 65 New Effects

DXO Filmpack 4DxO has released Filmpack 4, the newest version of its popular effects software. Filmpack 4 adds 65 new effects including emulations of famous films such as Kodak Ektachrome, Fuji Superia and Agfa APX. Available in two editions, Essential and Expert, a single FilmPack 4 license can be used as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and DxO Optics Pro, and as a standalone application for Mac and Windows. Special upgrade pricing is available for owners of Filmpack 3.

The controls panel has also been entirely redesigned; a search engine and a “Favorites” feature have been added as well.

For more about the new features on the latest version of Filmpack, and to find a link to a trial version, see our full story on the Gear page of PDNOnline.com.