Category Archives: software

Nik Desktop Tools Live On!

nik-upgrades by lefty516
nik-upgrades, a photo by lefty516 on Flickr.

I was concerned when I heard that Google acquired Nik Software. Would they continue to support the plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop? Soon there after the mobile Snapseed was turned to a free app and the desktop version was abandoned. I had paid for both so I was quite disgruntled by these events.
I was pleasantly surprised when I learned today that the tools will live on. Existing users get a free upgrade and the full collection is available for new users at $149 which is a sweet price cut from the Complete Collection before.

See Nik’s website for details or check your email if you are an existing user.
Dig in!

An Evening With Rush

Geddy waving to us after the show.

I attended last night’s Rush concert in Philadelphia. Generally I’m unable to get my big camera into concerts, and usually have to fall back to a point and shoot. The point and shoot died last year, and I’ve been unwilling to replace it since I’ll rarely shoot with it. I’ve tried to use my cell phone as a substitute, but it really produces awful images. I managed to get a few decent shots last night, and thought I could stylize them rather than just come up with standard concert shots. I have a few more I may work on this weekend. This one was my particular favorite as you can see lead singer/bassist Geddy Lee’s connection with the fans. They are a great band

More Tinkering With Lightroom and Photoshop HDR Pro

The main greenhouse at Longwood Gardens
The main greenhouse at Longwood Gardens

This is another image that I ran through Photoshop HDR Pro, and Lightroom.   This was also taken at Longwood Gardens which is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It’s a great place to just walk around even if you don’t shoot any photographs.    I took this in winter so I only chose to walk around the greenhouses that particular day.  If memory serves it was about 20 degrees out which is far to cold to be shooting for my tastes.  For a related post – see this!

Different Directions – Refining HDR With Lightroom

Winter Afternoon At Longwood Gardens

I wrote in a previous post about using Lightroom to process HDR images.  Until recently I had been using plug-ins within Lightroom to do the tone mapping, and then would apply global adjustments back in Lightroom.. The tone mapping process would generally entail sliding numerous controls around until I got something I  liked.  This kind of process could sometimes lead to heavy handed HDR. You may get the trees to look the way you would like, but the edge of the sky may show hideous halos, or some other unintended artifact.   In many cases I have gone rogue, and shot hand held which is not the ideal way to shoot HDR. As a result I could only shoot 3 brackets instead of the 5 shots when using my tripod.  Depending on the lighting sometimes the exposures would not lend themselves to HDR. In those cases trying to get a decently tone mapped image would be like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Continue reading Different Directions – Refining HDR With Lightroom

Lightroom Is Now Available In Creative Cloud

Adobe announced yesterday that Lightroom 4 is now available to Creative Cloud subscribers.  I had already upgraded for a really good price from my NAPP discount back in February.  It’s nice to know going forward that I’ll get all the new versions as part of the Creative Cloud. Continue reading Lightroom Is Now Available In Creative Cloud

Lightroom 4.1 – Reducing Fringing During Processing.

Original HDR merge from HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6
Original HDR merge from HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6

In my prior post I mentioned how well I thought Lightroom 4.1 reduced chromatic aberrations from my images during my HDR workflow.   I had taken some bracketed images using a Canon 10-22 mm lens.  I have used this lens frequently when shooting for HDR.    Most of the places I had been shooting were often crowded, and the wide angle lens allowed me to get in close to avoid from getting those pesky people in the frame.  In this case I was also shooting hand held, and had to go with what I could get.   Under better circumstances, and optimal settings I would have been able to possibly get an image with less artifact.

The above image is the result of merging 3 exposures 2 stops apart in Photoshop HDR Pro.  I only applied de-ghosting, and then saved back into Lightroom to do the remainder of the processing with the 32 bit TIFF file.  I only used 3 exposures because I was shooting handheld.  The facility required a special permit from them for tripods.  I posted about my experience using Lightroom for HDR processing in my last post. Continue reading Lightroom 4.1 – Reducing Fringing During Processing.

Using Lightroom 4.1 for HDR processing – My First Hack

I always noticed often when performing HDR processing it was difficult to always come up with a realistic image.  I am a fan of the surreal, and hyperrealistic look, but there will be situations where you just want something that looks real.  I have finally stumbled onto a process that works for me…so far.  Adobe has added the ability to edit 32 bit HDR images in Lightroom.  This is huge for me as my workflow is largely Lightroom oriented.  I have Photoshop, but found Lightroom so much easier to use for general photographic tasks.  I know Photoshop is so much more powerful, and I have been taking advantage of the blending of layers, and fine detail/selection tools more of late.  Lightroom is familiar though so it is where I am most comfortable. Continue reading Using Lightroom 4.1 for HDR processing – My First Hack

I’m Excited About Trying HDR Editing in Lightroom 4.1 via Photoshop CS6

Lightroom 4.1 now has the ability to process 32 bit TIFF files from HDR apps.  This is great because now I can take advantage of all the non-destructive abilities of Lightroom processing.  Previously I’d start in Lightroom, and then export my images to Photomatix, or HDR Efex, and then re-import back into Lightroom.  So in this respect the process is very much the same, except now I am exporting to Photoshop, and merging in HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6.  Once I am in HDR Pro I can de-ghost, and save the file back as a 32 bit TIFF to Lightroom. Continue reading I’m Excited About Trying HDR Editing in Lightroom 4.1 via Photoshop CS6

Adobe Creative Cloud – Impressions After a Month

I had a few complaints upon Creative Cloud being released.  In hindsight they weren’t such a big deal.

  • Adobe clarified the point that Lightroom 4 will be included, and available later in 2012.  That’s works fine for me.  I already upgraded to v4 as a standalone product a few months back.  It’s nice to know going forward I’ll have access to future versions as a Cloud subscriber.  Win.
  • I bristled initially at the touch apps not all being included.  I understand that Adobe doesn’t have control the app markets.  They have clarified as well on their site how it works – you buy 3 touch apps, and get access to a free month of Cloud access subject to conditions of eligibility.  I had purchased Proto last fall for Android to tinker around with wire-framing some web designs I had been working on. Fast forward to today, and I find that I am not using it much primarily because I now use an iPad most of the time when away from the desktop.  it would be nice to automatically have Proto on the iPad too.
  • I was also interested in using Photoshop Touch, but read luke warm reviews, and the fact that the files have a resolution limit (2048×2048) which as a photographer doesn’t work for me.  So for now I will keep my Photoshop love on the desktop for now.
  • Currently the other touch apps are such that I wouldn’t use them in my web or photographic workflow.  Until I do I’m not purchasing any of them just for a free month.
  • I have found the access to all of the Creative Suite apps to be very nice.  I can tinker around in apps that I would not have normally had access.  I am a prior Web Premium CS user which precluded me from using the video apps.  I’m no videographer, but have always wanted to tinker around with Premier, and After Effects for photo slideshows just to see what I could do.  Now I can without spending a lot of money.
  • I am interested in checking out Muse to see if it will help me with rapid prototyping of web designs – also included.
  • I like to use jQuery in my web design for animations, and interactive elements.  Now I have access to Edge which looks like a very nice animation tool using HTML 5.  Pretty cool.  I plan to see if it is for me.  I haven’t used it yet so I am not sure if it uses jQuery or not.  Dreamweaver has jQuery integration.
  • All things considered it is a pretty good deal which I have stated before.  Especially if you are an existing CS user since you get a special break on the price for the first year.  It’s essentially a no brainer.  You can access the cloud for a month, and see if you like it.  if not then you can just purchase the upgrade to CS6, and then wait for the point releases going forward to determine whether you need the new features.  Subscription based software is where it’s all going. You may as well jump in now.
Adobe has a general FAQ available here.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.