Image Processing

Adobe brings pro-friendly RAW HDR capture to Lightroom Mobile

Until now, HDR capture on smartphones has been an under-the-covers merging of several frames in a fairly simple way by the phone itself. Now, Lightroom Mobile offers pro-grade HDR for supported phones. The app’s camera mode will analyze the scene, decide on the needed bracketing, capture the images in RAW mode, and then combine and tonemap them into a 32-bit floating-point DNG RAW file – allowing full HDR editing. This is pretty amazing when you consider that typically a similar workflow involves bracketing on a high-end camera, and the use of specialized software applications to do the merge and tone mapping. It works on the Apple iPhone 6s and later, Samsung Galaxy 7 and 7 edge, and Google’s Pixel family of phones. For users of other phones, there are still some goodies packed into the new version of Lightroom mobile:

SmartDesk 2: Finally, an affordable, automated, stand-sit desk for your studio

For years its been known that working standing up – at least part of the time – can be good for your back. As photographers, most of us work standing up quite a bit. But unlike when shooting film and spending nights in the darkroom, many of us spend long days on the computer, and it is all too easy to not move around or stand up enough. There are a number of very nice motorized desks on the market, but they have typically cost as much as your DSLR. Not everyone can, or wants to, afford that. So it is with great interest that we’ve been watching the rollout of Autonomous.ai’s new SmartDesk 2. The company has been selling SmartDesks for a couple years, but version 2 has some significant changes – including better-built motors and controls. We’ve been testing the dual-motor Business Edition.

Don't like your face? Google's new photo trick might give you a better one:-)

As photographers, we’re all familiar with needing to pull the most detail we can out of an image. Now, Google’s Brain team has come up with a way not just to extract detail, but to add it based on comparing the blurry version with a reference library of potentially-similar images. Since they’ve trained the system with a library of popular media stars, you might like the results even more than the original. Of course, it can’t really be called a photograph when it’s finished. More like an impressionist painting. You can read more about how it works in .

Looking for a Photoshop alternative: $40 for Affinity Photo is your best option

For photographers looking for an alternative to Photoshop, that want all the power it provides and aren’t satisfied with the more limited processing capabilities of or , there haven’t been too many alternatives. The best options to date have been , Gimp, or perhaps Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector. Now though, Affinity has dramatically improved the capabilities of its Photo product and has also made it available on both Mac and Windows. For the value price of $40, you can have a product that does almost all of what Photoshop does, and many things it doesn’t. I’ve taken it for a spin and enjoyed using it. You can read my .

Lightroom adds a Reference View -- not that having multiple windows is a new thing

There is no doubt that Lightroom’s new Reference View is a useful addition to the product. It is a fancy name for allowing you to have a static image displayed on part of the screen while you work on another. This is helpful for looking through a variety of shots, comparing them, checking for stable white balance, etc. However, it does make me laugh a little bit, since if Lightroom supported any type of windowing or multi-document interface – like Photoshop and nearly every other full-blown desktop application, we could already do that, and much more.

Adobe revs Photoshop, Creative Cloud with some cool new tools and VR support

I’ve been using the new June update for Creative Cloud for about a week, and am enjoying both the new Content-aware Crop feature in Photoshop, and the native 360-degree video support in Premiere (anyone who has tried to edit 360-degree video in a traditional video editor knows how painful it can be). There is also much improved integration with Adobe Stock for those of you who buy images, rather than sell them. On the sell side, Adobe has also promised a spiffy contributor portal for Adobe Stock, but no details yet on when it will be available. You can read my .

Mastering color for travel and vacation photographers

Thank you to all of you who are attending our Webinar on Mastering color for travel and vacation photographers, sponsored by DataColor and DxO Labs.

Adobe rolls out Lightroom 6.3: New cameras, lenses, restores classic Import dialog

Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6 users should see the update automatically when they do an Update check. Adobe has fixed a slew of bugs that it introduced in LR6.2, as well as adding support for about a half-dozen new cameras, and several dozen lenses (including the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus). The pre-LR6.2 Import experience has also been restored, as the updated version wasn’t exactly a hit. As usual, the update is free to those with a current license or subscription.

Amazing DxO ONE SuperRAW noise reduction: How it works, and how to roll your own version

One of the most interesting features of DxO’s new camera (#dxoone) is the new SuperRAW image format it supports. SuperRAW is a compound image format, with each image file containing four RAW images taken in quick succession. When the ONE is set to capture images in SuperRAW, the four individual RAW images are shot and stored in a single, proprietary, image file (with a .DXO extension). When processed by DxO’s own OpticsPro or FilmPack software, spatial and temporal noise reduction are applied to the four images, with the resulting output image having lower noise – and better overall image quality -- than any of the four individual captures.

Photoshop Elements 14 hands-on: Low-cost version of Photoshop is better than ever for photographers

If you don’t already know the ins and outs of Photoshop, or hate the idea of sending Adobe a check every month forever, Photoshop Elements 14 is easier-to-use, less-expensive, and almost as powerful as its big brother. It also includes image cataloging, so you don’t have to deal with a second application like Lightroom. I’ve done a full . As I point out in the review, owning it does not give you access to Adobe’s mobile apps the way a Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscription () does, and it doesn’t allow for syncing to your mobile device. It’s also a bit behind on esoteric features (although Dehaze and camera shake reduction have been added, for example). But its wizards make it far easier to learn and to use than plowing through videos and web tutorials to try to do the same things in Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop 2015: Comparing the new Dehaze filter with DxO's ClearView

Using presets to establish and enhance your photographic style

Quick tip: Taming the sun with a Multiply layer in Photoshop

Sometimes you just can’t control the clock or the sun. The monastery in Nyaung Shwe (in Myanmar’s Shan State) is famous for its historic round wood windows. But finding them with novices peering out from the study hall inside was a special treat. Harsh light or not, it was a great photo opportunity. Having a certainly helped me capture the full tonal range of the image from light to dark, but another trick was needed to make the image look good…

Lightroom goes mobile: Hands-on with Lightroom for the iPad

Lightroom mobile displays each of your albums in a pleasing grid that you can use to select an image to work withAdobe has taken Lightroom mobile, announcing a highly simplified version for the iPad that syncs seamlessly with your main computer’s Lightroom collections. It is well-designed and a joy to use. I’ve been working with it for the last week, and have posted my . Frankly, the tablet I carry every day isn’t an iPad (it’s a Samsung Note 10.1 2014 Edition), but Lightroom mobile is one of the first apps that’s tempted me to bring an iPad along as well. It’s free to get started for anyone with a Creative Cloud or Photographer Program subscription from Adobe (you will need one of those, unfortunately for folks who’ve been buying Lightroom a la carte).

Bibble Pro 5 Announced & Shipping: Faster Raw Processing

Bibble Labs is shipping its updated flagship Bibble Pro 5. Faster than ever Bibble is the speed king of raw file processors. The newest version now has selective non-destructive editing added to its arsenal, clearly an attempt to broaden its capabilities to match up with Adobe Lightroom. It can be downloaded from Bibble Labs and is a free upgrade to recent Bibble licensees, or $99 for those with older licenses. A full version is $199. The full details follow...