There are many ways to share images these days, from social networks to clouds to full-fledged e-commerce platforms. For some, simple online albuming will do, but for others it can become an involving project that puts your images on the Internet in a very engaging way. It’s not only in the personalization of the look and feel of the wrapper around your image content that can separate your site from the crowd. It’s also the ability to work cross-platform, include an e-commerce component, and allow for a “translator” that can make your site accessible to folks and even clients around the world that can add to its attractiveness and functionality.
I have always had mixed feelings about so-called “film simulation” software, programs that offer one-click presets that add effects and options for manipulating digital images. On one side, I am unsure why the designers use visual references to types of film for their preset IDs. It strikes me that an increasingly small proportion of folks relate to them. On the other side, I admire their offering programs that open up a raft of image expressions in easy to attain fashion. I will not revisit that discussion here, although the near concomitant release of two such programs, Alien Skin’s Exposure 5 and DxO’s FilmPack 4, makes it tempting to do so.
It all began back in 1990 with a shareware program called Paint Shop. Debuting the same year as Adobe PhotoShop 1.0, comparison to that legendary product has been inescapable. Paint Shop, known as PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate in its current incarnation, has always been associated with three characteristics: extreme affordability, sufficient power for most photo enthusiasts, and Windows-only compatibility. PaintShop Pro has continued to evolve and improve, and today offers many significant enhancements, including the ability to run smoothly on Macs using a Windows emulation program.
“Over the last few years seeking monitor/display units that serve to perform with adjustment and color management to resolve the problems of too bright LCD displays causing too dark prints, my reaction has usually been mixed. I have to report that this was less so with this display than with even more sophisticated and expensive displays.”
One such path is onOne Software’s Perfect B&W, nestled within their Perfect Photo Suite or available as a stand-alone or plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. The advantage of using it within the Suite is that you also get access to the other excellent modules within that program. The advantage of the stand-alone is that you get an amazing array of controls for a rather incredible price. The Suite, by the way, offers onOne’s Layers, Mask, Effects, Focus, and Resize programs, all highly regarded, making the options virtually endless. For this review I accessed Perfect B&W from within the Suite.
This is the third edition of Portrait Professional I have reviewed so I’ll focus this review on three areas of investigation in Version 11: what can it do, how quickly can it do it, and what’s new. I should note that I am reviewing the Studio 64 version that can handle Raw files and utilize 64-bit versions of Windows 7 or Vista. The Standard version works with JPEG files or 24-bit TIFF files; the Studio version can also work with Raw files but is limited to 48-bit color. The program can be used with Windows XP and up and also Intel Mac OS X 10.5 or later. It acts as both a stand-alone product and as a Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Aperture plug-in.
LG Electronics is the first to offer a new pro-graphics LCD display with LED backlighting. It also has the wide Adobe RGB color width, and will adjust to the lower 80.0 CD/m2 white luminance to provide color-managed printing brightness. The new display is optimized for Microsoft Windows with WQHD 2560x1440 resolution and multitasking windows, “dependent on content, device, interface and/or graphics card,” according to LG. The 27” diagonal size has a base physical resolution of 1920x1080 pixel resolution that may be doubled by the software driver with some PC systems running Windows.
Color calibration is the key to obtaining an accurate reproduction of what you saw when capturing the image, and what is reproduced on screen or paper. It’s long been considered a bit of black magic as to how it is done, what with terms like gamma, color temperatures, luminance, and the like as part of the mix, but the simple fact is that unless you’re working on a calibrated display you don’t quite know whether the greens, blues, or other colors you are seeing are actually what everyone else is going to see, or what you’re getting when you look at the print you’ve made.
Capture One Pro stands as the Raw converter and digital asset manager of choice among many pro photographers, notably those using Phase One backs. But this software also supports many, many other cameras, with profiles for over 250 models plus a wide range of lenses. Version 7 (V7) has some new features of note, so I checked it out to see if an upgrade from 6 is advisable, and if it might tempt users of Adobe Lightroom/ACR. For this test I ran Capture One Pro 7 on a 27” iMac under OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, with 8GB of RAM.
There’s a considerable difference between resizing, which means maintaining the same pixel dimensions and adapting to different document sizes at the same print resolution, and resampling, which means building additional pixels from the original file to enable printing larger documents at the same resolution. Say you have a 24MB file, obtained from an 8 megapixel digicam, that will normally fill an 8.5x11” print at 300 dpi when printing. But you just got a 13x19” printer and want to try your luck at that size, still at 300dpi. Well, for that you would need a 62MB file.
The job of auto-retouching software is to retouch faces quickly, easily, and with as little human intervention as possible. Most require you to either set or confirm where the major points of the face are, like the eyes, ears, and lips. After you’ve identified those areas, the software then goes about its business of transforming little Pamela into little Princess.
As more photos are made on more types of devices, there’s a need for resultant images that aren’t just “OK” but as good as they can be. And part of the need, it would seem, is that some folks don’t want to spend a lot of time learning complex programs to get the image results they want. Companies like Athentech Imaging aim to make it a one-click affair.
I always enjoy trying out the best new high-end products. It’s fun, but more important it tells me how good the best performance can be. But when reviewing color management tools I realize that photographers are not color scientists or computer programming experts, so I thought I’d start this review with a bit of a tech briefing on why they are important to all photographers who want to get the most from their work.
While some, like me, like to spend hours working on an image in their digital darkroom, quite a few photographers express a desire to process photographs into good-quality digital files with as little effort as possible without having to learn a new technique or software. For those who don’t find it fun and the rewards too hard to come by, a company in Europe called Elpical may have an answer.
Dec 17, 2012
Published: Nov 01, 2012
Photographers should back up their image files—it’s as simple as that—and there are numerous services that offer their services today. In this article I’ll be looking at one, Carbonite (www.carbonite.com), that works somewhat differently from others. Many people have told me that their $59 per year for the Home Plan, unlimited backup, is a steal, so I thought I’d check it out.