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Posts Tagged ‘digital photography

Adobe Announces Lightroom 3 Release and Availability

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By Diane Berkenfeld

After thorough Beta testing by the photographic community, Adobe today announced the release of Lightroom 3.

Lightroom 3, like the prior versions of the software, groups tools into five areas: Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web. The Library is where you organize your images. Develop is where the exposure changes are made, cropping is done, sharpening and noise reduction occurs, grain is added, etc. Slideshow, Print and Web are the areas that you’d work on Slideshows, Printing and Web sharing respectively.

This latest version of the image management/editing/RAW file processing software offers a brand new image processing engine, increased processing speeds and a host of improvements and new features.

Adobe rebuilt the engines that drive Lightroom from the ground up, to keep pace with the growing resolution and file size of today’s popular digital cameras, and the growth of photographers’ image libraries.

Because a new image processing engine is incorporated into Lightroom 3, when working on images that were originally processed in Lightroom 1 or 2, you’ll be given the option of using the previous version’s processing engine, or updating to the image processing engine in Lightroom 3. The choice is given to the user because slight changes can occur when updating from one version to the next, so now you don’t need to worry about the images you’ve worked on in the past and perfected.

Improvements include:

• Improved noise reduction and sharpening.

• Enhanced post crop vignetting.

• An improved import feature.

• Lens and perspective correction. Adobe also created a Lens Profile Creator that you can use to create profiles for the specific lenses you own.

• An expanded offering of custom print layouts.

• Addition of new Develop presets.

New features include:

• The ability to shoot tethered to a camera and import images directly into Lightroom. (26 Canon and Nikon models have been approved as being compatible with the launch of Lightroom 3. Additional models, as well as cameras from other manufacturers are expected to be added to that list as testing is completed. An updated list will be posted at Go.adobe.com/kb/ts_cpsid_84221_en-us.

• Cataloging of video files in addition to still images. Video files will show an icon of a video camera in the bottom left corner.

• The ability to add natural looking grain to images.

• The creation of slideshows synced to music that can be output as movie files compressed for the web, at HD quality and everywhere in between.

• Flexible watermarking.

• Direct access to image sharing websites and mobile devices. An included Flickr plug-in lets you upload directly to that website. Developers will be able to create such direct access for other websites and services.

Minimum system requirements for Lightroom 3 are: Mac – Intel-based Mac, OS X 10.5 or 10.6, 2 Gigs of RAM, 1 Gig of hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, and 1024 x 768 monitor resolution; Windows – Intel Pentium 4, OS Windows 7, Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (certified for 32-bit and 64-bit editions) or Microsoft XP with Service Pack 2, 2 Gigs RAM, 1 Gig available hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, and 1024 x 768 monitor resolution. Lightroom 3 is a 64-bit application by default for the Mac, and can be used as a 32-bit application if users so choose. For Windows, the 64-bit version will only be installed on Windows 7 or Vista 64-bit operating systems, all other operating systems will install the 32-bit version by default.

My 2 ¢

As a Lightroom user since version 1.0, the decision to upgrade to the latest version of Lightroom is a no brainer. Why stay in the past when you can improve your workflow and utilize the many new features of the software. And at a cost of only $99 to upgrade, its quite affordable to do so.

If you’re debating whether or not to add Lightoom to your workflow, the list of features alone should sway the decision. The full program MSRP is $299.

Lightroom is a powerful part of my workflow. When you’re shooting hundreds or thousands of images per job, you don’t want to be editing through images by opening each file individually. While Adobe Bridge offers the ability to perform some tasks, Lightroom 3 features not only image management but image editing tools as well.

Using Lightroom 3 in conjunction with Photoshop CS5 is my ideal workflow. I import all images I shoot into Lightroom, edit through them for the files I want to work with, make exposure changes, crop/straighten images, and export the files in the size(s) I need. (The export feature alone is worth the price of the software to me! Especially when I have to save multiple sizes of the same images.) Major retouching or compositing is then done in Photoshop.

Adobe is shipping Lightroom 3 starting today.

For more information, go to www.adobe.com.

♦ We’ve begun testing out Lightroom 3 and will be posting a full review within a week! —Ed.

Product Review: Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0

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Article and Images by Diane Berkenfeld

Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 (MTTC) is a major upgrade of the suite of production oriented filters from AutoFX Software. The software comes as a stand-alone application and Photoshop plug-in. Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 is compatible with Windows-based PCs running Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS X (all versions); the Photoshop plug-in works with Photoshop CS4, CS3, CS2, CS, and Photoshop v.7.0.

Plug-ins like Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 are great because they give you the ability to make enhancements and alter your images creatively in one step—without the trouble of having to spend hours in Photoshop trying figure out how to do so. They do save you a lot of time.

Photographers can use the filters either globally or by brushing on/off the filter effect manually, as well as using tools like the gradient path and ellipse that let you blend the effect across a photo using Bezier based control paths. The new Effect Mask tool blends the filter through special content filters and masks that give a stylized look.

MTTC 2.0 lets you combine an unlimited number of filter effects, and easily delete unwanted layers—as it works by creating a new layer, leaving the original untouched. MTTC 2.0 supports .psd, .tif, .bmp, .jpg, and .png file formats. When you save a file as a Photoshop document (.psd), the effect(s) are exported onto a layered document with full transparency. The software supports Adobe Photoshop actions, layers and last filter commands.

Screenshot of an image within MTTC 2.0. Note the dialog box with the filter options on the left.

In addition to the 60 production filters, the software includes a collection of over 300 instant effect presets.  The software’s user interface is simple to navigate, offering you the option to further enhance the presets, making the effects stronger or weaker. The filters are categorized in groups: Color effects, toning effects, smoothing, lens filters, special, sharpening, HDR filters, and portrait. You can preview either by the full screen or split screen in numerous split configurations.

Cool features:

One of the cool features of the software is that you can stack effects using Effect layers and then save that combination as a Layer Present that can be applied to other images. This allows you to create your own custom library of effects. When you add effect layers you instantly see the changes and can decide right then to delete a layer or not; no need to save the file and rerun other filters.

I really like the software because it allows you to dial back the preset if you feel its too strong, or to increase the effect if you want more of a certain effect. This flexibility means you can make any tweaks within the program—you don’t have to let the filter do its thing and then go to another menu to dial back the effect or run it again to add more strength, as some plug-ins require you to do.

The filters in Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 are realistic looking, and that’s important because you want to make enhancements that are believable. Often you want a subtle effect, so viewers of the image will not be able to tell right away that it was “Photoshopped.”

Some of my favorite filters include the B&W Conversions. The example below is of a portrait that was converted using the Soft Black and White filter. Once you run it, you can change the color filtration used. For instance, for folks who remember shooting B&W film, to get a nice contrast tone in the sky you might have used a yellow or orange filter on the lens, and to get really deep sky tone you’d have used a red filter—well you can do this digitally. Just choose which color filter you want used and you’ll see the effect on the tones in your image. I also love the Moon Glow; the Sharp Contrast results are gorgeous; the Gradient Tinting is cool; and so are the Sepia and Color Tone filters. Many of the filters add vibrancy and enrich the colors of your image and really add punch.

The original image of Michael.

Final image after converting to Soft B&W, with the yellow filtration.

AutoFX provides training videos at: http://www.autofx.com/videos-training/mystical_2_list.html and detailed tutorials at: http://www.autofx.com/tutorials/mystical_2_list.html.

Price and Availability: estimated street price of Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 is $249. Upgrades from previous versions are available for $129. Go to www.autofx.com for more information.