Adobe on Thursday released a beta version of an update to its new Photoshop CS5 software that adds the ability to automatically correct lens problems in raw image files.
The Camera Raw 6.1 update beta uses profiles of several cameras and lenses to automatically fix color problems called chromatic aberration, geometric problems called distortion, and darkened corners called vignetting. In addition, in the raw files, photographers can manually change the perspective of a photo somewhat, for example making the converging lines of a building parallel in a shot taken from the ground looking up.
This past weekend I was at a wedding where the bride, groom, and both of their families came from different sides of the Pacific Ocean (Japan and central California to be precise). At the party the night before the ceremony a few of us broke out our phones to play with translation apps, which of course, led to comical results.
One of the highlights was when the groom-to-be (who happens to be bilingual) looked at my attempt to translate "I think you've had enough beer," from English to Japanese and said "That's good, but far … Read more
But Adobe hadn't committed to the feature--until Tuesday.
"Below is a preview of lens correction technology that will be included in Lightroom 3 and the Camera Raw 6 plug-in that's part of Photoshop CS5...The easiest application of lens correction is to apply the lens profile technology that encompasses geometric distortion (barrel and pincushion distortion), chromatic aberration, and lens vignetting characteristics," Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty said in a blog post. Chromatic aberration, caused by the different paths that different colors of light take through a lens, can produce red and blue color fringes in high-contrast areas; distortion makes parallel lines bow inward or outward; and vignetting causes the corners of images to darken.
Lightroom 2, the current version, provides some manual controls over lens correction. The automated corrections in Lightroom 3 promises to remove some drudgery from the photographic process and illustrates a new trend: computational photography, in which computers step in to address camera weaknesses or expand their horizons. Image post-processing, whether in the camera or on a computer, is increasingly essential to the photography industry.
Lightroom, like Apple's competing Aperture, uses a nondestructive editing approach that overlays editing changes onto an unaltered original. The changes are stored as metadata that can be easily changed since the underlying original image is unaltered.
But nondestructive editing is computationally difficult as multiple adjustments are layered in. Distortions are particularly complicated: when a photographer edits an image, for example by brightening a couple faces, the computer must apply those changes not to the underlying grid of pixels, but to the mathematically warped version that the distortion correction produces.
Adobe will supply support for a "handful" of lenses, but also will let users create and share their own profiles through Lens Profile Creator tool that the company plans to post on Adobe Labs, Hogarty said. In a video demonstration, Hogarty said the company will support a number of Canon, Nikon, and Sigma lenses. The demo showed 18 Canon lenses at one point, though, so it sounds like more than a handful to me. I'd also expect the company to add more support with Lightroom updates, the same way it adds support for new proprietary raw image formats from newer cameras. … Read more
Have you always wanted a scanner, but held back because of size and cost? Do you have a Mac and a digital camera? Then good news: Prizmo for Mac offers a good enough solution to let accomplish most of your scanning needs without the extra hardware.
The $40 software, made by Belgium-based Creaceed, has long been offered as an alternative to the pack-in software that often comes with flatbed scanners. Its latest version sports three handy features, one of which can turn your digital camera into a very powerful text-archiving tool.
The first new feature is camera tethering. This lets you attach a tether-ready SLR or point-and-shoot to your computer, then have the app automatically import the shot as you take it. There's not a whole lot of user dialogue here to let you know your camera is attached. In my test, I simply connected my Nikon D90 (which does not feature USB mass storage support) and began taking photos, and it did the rest.
Users can also grab photo files from their hard drives, or from a camera that's attached in USB mass storage mode, although I found the latter a little jittery when trying to browse for a single file on a crowded memory card. The app would only let me see the top 40 shots or so, and I couldn't scroll down--a problem I didn't have when browsing the same set of files from a USB-powered memory card reader.
To go along with the tethering feature is curviture correction; this lets you fix warping due to the natural bend of pages. The tool itself is simple to use, but lacks some much-needed automation. You can, for instance, only work on one page at a time, so if you've snapped both pages of an open book, you have to open each one individually. This isn't a huge dealbreaker unless you're trying to archive something large, but it does slow things down.… Read more
The company's standard procedure has been to issue minor updates to let the photo-editing and cataloging software handle the proprietary raw image formats from higher-end cameras. Lightroom 2.7 and the corresponding version 5.7 plug-in for Photoshop CS4 users are available at Adobe's download site, and the DNG … Read more
At the top of my list are the complete lack of upgrade and migration tools. Unlike most applications, Adobe doesn't even provide the option to simply upgrade an existing installation. I know a lot of people need to keep multiple versions of the apps on their systems--I'm one of them--but there are a lot of people who don't, and Adobe's responsible for an amazing amount of hard disk clutter. Furthermore, transferring your settings, presets, Dreamweaver Snippets, Bridge Favorites, and so on is a major pain.
In Photoshop, for example, you have to remember to export styles, Actions, tool presets and other settings before you can manually import them into the newer version, or even into a different installation of the same version. With customization pervading every aspect of the applications, doing this individually for each type of tool is tedious at best. And some things, such as Photoshop's New Document presets and Bridge's Favorites can't be transferred at all as far as I can tell. I expect more from a product that costs almost $700; at the price of the Master Collection, with the concomitant increase in the number of settings you'll want to transfer, well, I'd be pretty annoyed. (We won't really know if the company has fixed the poorly designed updater until the suite's been out for a bit.)
I stress this because there's still time for Adobe to--at the very least--write some scripts to handle settings migration before the product ships. My last communication from them on the subject said that migration tools plans were still "in flux," and I urge everyone who's considering the upgrade to put some pressure on the company to do something about it.… Read more
Two years ago, Adobe Systems thought the only big change coming with Photoshop CS5 would be the complete overhaul needed to build a 64-bit Mac version. With the unveiling of the software Monday, though, it's clear Adobe far exceeded that low expectation.
Photoshop CS5 brings a number of high-profile features for photographers, artists, and the broader designer market that uses the software. It's just one of numerous changes among the Creative Suite 5 packages Adobe is unveiling at a Monday event, but it's one of Adobe's highest-profile programs. So without further ado, here's what's … Read more
I have to admit--I'm in complete awe at the capability of Adobe's PR machine to instigate and maintain a steady buzz about a product months before it's even official without ever having to lie, pretend to leak, or have a well-known evangelist equipped with a reality distortion field. For a product like Adobe's Creative Suite, home to popular applications like Photoshop and Flash, there's never a doubt that a new version will arrive, and it's on a pretty regular timetable of every 18 to 24 months. That means Adobe can't rely on … Read more
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