Loupedeck editing console for lightroom

For almost a month now, I have been trying the LOUPEDECK console for Lightroom. I was not too impressed at first, thinking that I knew Lightroom enough to go very fast with my editing workflow, but I really wanted to give it a try. So I contacted Loupedeck, a Finland based company and they kindly accepted to send me one to test and review.

What a surprise when I got the box! The console is quite big and very well built. All lightroom’s main editing functions are represented by knobs and sliders. The install process is very straightforward. The first thing you have to do is go to www.loupedeck.com to download the software and install it.  After the instalation, you are led to another screen that asks if you want to customize the console.. The console has three buttons called C1, C2 and C3 for wich you can assign a task. You first select the button and there is a dropdown list of Lightroom tools not directly accessible with the console set of buttons. For exemple, I selected going from the Develop module to the Library module.  For C2 I selected the sharpening, and the vignette for C3. Then and only after installing the software, you must plug the console with a USB cable and start Lightroom.

You get a nice “Loupedeck thinks you look great today” message and you’re good to go.

The Design

 All the basic functions of Lightroom are available on the console.. The left part is for the selection, ratings, crop/rotate, full screen display and selecting color or black and white..

The right part is for all the basic correction. They are not organized exactly as Lightoom. The knobs are divided in three sections, one for the exposure, contrast and clarity, the second is for the luminosity, and the third one is for the color.. It takes a little time to get used to this arrangement, but it is very logical.

The top center part i for the HSL correction. You have 3 main buttons to select Hue, saturation and luminosity and 8 knobs to make the adjustments. One thing I noticed the first time I used the console is thatyou can make precise adjustments. Much more than with the desktop interfce. Of course, you can select a slider in the desktop app and use the arrow keys to move the slider, but is it much easier and intuitive with the console.. The buttons are not locked and you never reach any end. You start where your cursor is and you turn it to satrt from this point. And all the buttons are clickable to reset them to the default value.. 

You also have buttons going from P1 to P7 to assign develop presets you often use. eally cool to use.

Button Speed settings

In the previous versions of the Loupedeck software, you had no option to setup the knobs reaction and they used to be quite slow. With the version 1.3.2, they added a speed and reaction controm and it is for sure a huge improvment.

Presets settings

One of the cool functions is that you can assign Lightroom presets to the F1 to F8 buttons and you get 8 more when you press the Fn button. A great thing when you want to apply quick settings to your images. I personnaly set up quite a lot of different Black and White presets and I can toggle through to find the right one and make the correct adjustments after with the buttons.

Custom buttons settings.

You have three different contros you can assign to specific keys.You can assign one action to the C2 and C3 buttons. For example toggling through the Library and the Develop module. The C1 is a button and it is great for settings such as vignette you can adjust with the button.

Who is it for?

Loupedeck is a fantastic time saver when you have lots of images to process. 

Wedding photographers will love it, but any photographer that makes a lot of images will love it. Picking and selective images is so fast and easy with the Pick, Stars and Color buttons. 

NOTE: 4 on 5

Price  €289 on Amazon or $299

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed using Loupedeck. I loved the precision you can get with the knobs even if they are kind of slow to move and you can  think you have to turn them a lot to get significant results. But you get used to it very fast. I found myself using the HSL section a lot more than what I use to do in the desktop app. Same for the white balance. The Fn key is an essential part ot the console as it evokes different settings. You must read the user manual very carefully to not be confused. I found very clever to have clickable buttons to reset the settings.  The brush button is nice to use and you can use different buttons to create  a base setting and then mdodify it. I didn’t understand why they placed 2 zoom buttons doing exactly the same thing. Another function such as the Previous button in lightroom would have been very useful. Just be aware that you still have to use the keyboard and a mouse/tablet.   But after a while the button position is becoming a second nature and you spend a lot more time looking at your image and a lot less searching for the keyboard.  A few times the loupdeck software didn’t load correctly but as they are releasing frequent updates, that should be fixed real quick

I had a small problem when I updated Lightroom as Loupedeck didn’t recognized the new Lightroom Classic. and the lastest update didn’t work with some languages. This is a know bug and Loupedeck is fixing it.

DxO acquires Nik Collection from Google

DxO acquires Nik Collection assets from Google, and plans to continue to develop the Collection for the benefit of the photographer community.

Interview with Jean-Marc Alexia (VP, Product strategy) and Fabrizio Dei Tos (Senior Manager, Marketing et Sales desktop solutions)

How was decided and negotiated the purchase of Nik Software?

It all worked very well. I cannot enter into the details of the transaction as you can guess. But sometimes there are meetings of industrial good which allows you to see a future in which corresponds the desire of the two entities, and that is what has happened here between Google and DxO and which has led us to acquire a product whose Google wanted to get rid of.

Is Snapseed is part of the agreement?

Not in any way Snapseed remains the property of Google and we have only acquired he Desktop part.

Now how do you see the future and the integration among DxO of the collection Nik?

We have two tracks of integration. The first which is already effective is the integration of the U-point technology  in the new DxO Photolab, formerly DxO Optics Pro. We have built new tools and in particular the Equilazer. This allows us to enter into another dimension with a software more and more complete and even very complete with the the most powerful algorhytmes in the world for the Global treatments. For the second track which concerns more particularly with the plugins, we will wait for the next year. The Nik Collection stays downloadable free of charge, but we have some big changes in the middle of next year for a perfect integration with the latest OS, all the latest platforms on which operate these plugins which will become Nik by DxO 2018

How will be the integration of the functionality of your two ranges of products? Is it by example of the functionality of the Silver Efex or Color Efex be integrated to DxO film pack?

It is still too early to say and precisely for this kind of decisions, we hope to receive as many opinions as possible from professional or amateur users. The crosstalk between the two ranges will be effective, but we do not yet know in which direction

How do you see the future of DxO against competing companies such as  MacPhun, Topaz Labs or on1 which represents the biggest part of the competition with Adobe.

The acquisition of a product with such a reputation and a colossal number of users propels us into another dimension and the reputation associated with this product is exceptional. During the presentation of the purchase of Nik at the Photo Plus exhibition in New York was wonderfully welcomed. Google caused a lot of trouble last June when the announcement of the abandonment of the Nik Collection and users are excited about the possible arrival of new updates.

Will there be new versions of software like Viewpoint which is an exceptional tool for architectural photographers like me?

All this is a little suspended because of or thanks to the acquisition of Nik. Once again we do not know for sure how the two ranges will be mixed.

Many photographers now prefer to use all-in-one  applications like MacPhun Luminar or On1 Photo Raw. Do you intend to go in that direction?

We are extremely attentive to this evolution of the market and expect to see how this evolution will become clearer. That’s why user reviews are important for this type of decision. We create products for as many people as possible and these opinions and your questions help us making the right decisions. In any case, it is an evolution that we must take into account.

How to break down the activity of DxO?

That’s about a third for each of our domains which are the software, the Benchmark and the DxO ONE camera

Concerning DxO ONE, is it a product that satisfies you and how are sales given a fairly high price?

DxO ONE has become one of our flagship products and its price is not really high if we look at products of the same range among our competitors who are on average twice as expensive. We use an exceptional sensor made by Sony that produces pixels 5 to 7 times larger than those produced by the best smartphones. The optics designed by DxO is also exceptional. Our Benchmark activity allowed us to make all these comparisons and the results obtained by this device are fabulous. We are also working on the Android version that will allow us to reach an even wider audience. The future looks bright for DXO ONE.

Luminar 2018. The new alternative to Lightroom?

The new Luminar 2018 takes on Adobe Lightroom 

 

Macphun, the California-based software developer today announced Luminar 2018. New users will be able to purchase Luminar 2018 for $59, and current users of Luminar may upgrade at a special price of $39. Preorders start November 1 at www.macphun.com/luminar. 

Luminar 2018 offers everything a modern photographer needs for photo editing, including new filters powered by artificial intelligence, major speed improvements, a dedicated RAW develop module and a forthcoming in 2018 digital asset management platform. Users will also benefit from the new intelligent Sun Rays filter, LUT support, and real-time noise removal. With adaptive workspaces that match styles of shooting, Luminar adapts to deliver a complete experience that avoids clutter and complexity. L

And, importantly, Luminar works on both Mac- and Windows-based desktop computers*. 

“We’ve taken the time to listen to photographers, and what they want is performance and quality.  The less time photographers have to spend in front of computers, the more time they have for taking pictures,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Macphun.  “Our mission is to get Luminar streamlined with just the tools and controls photographers need. The goal is simple: enable the best-looking images with the least amount of effort.” Instead of stuffing menus with boring effects and old technology, Luminar only puts in filters that photographers want and need. Luminar offers more than 40 filters to correct color, sharpen details, and release creativity. New filters include the ability to enhance color with Brilliance, selectively lighten or darken specific areas of an image with Dodge & Burn, as well as the ability to change the lighting in a photo with Sun Rays. 

Want a whole new way to stylize images? Try the new Lookup Table adjustments, known as LUTs**. Creative color, perfect black and white conversions, and even digital films stocks are just a click away. Lightroom users who rely on custom presets created for Lightroom can also easily convert those presets into LUTs (with a free 3rd party tool) and use them inside of Luminar 2018. 

While Luminar is a full featured stand-alone application, users may also choose to install and run it as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom, or as an extension to Apple Photos. On October 2017, Luminar was awarded with the Lucie Technical Awards for Best Software Plugin. 

Luminar 2018 will become available in November 2017, and in 2018 a free update will provide a new image-browser / digital asset manager to help photographers manage their image libraries. Photographers will be able to sort, rate, organize, and backup their photos at great speed. The new digital asset management platform in Luminar will work without subscription and will work with any storage (cloud or local). It will also bring a number of unique features, that the current Lightroom library can’t boast.  * Workspaces, Clone & Stamp, blend modes for layers, luminosity masking, flip and rotate, as well as some other tools and features will be available in the Mac version at launch, and arrive in the PC version with free updates by the end of the year.  

RE-BUILT FROM THE GROUND

Luminar 2018 has been re-built from the ground up for dramatic performance boosts. Existing filters deliver richer colors and depth in less time. A brand new streamlined user interface speeds up working with presets, filters, and masks. With full support of pro options like layers, masks, and blending modes, complex repairs and photo composites can be easily accomplished.

A NEW RAW ENGINE

Luminar offers a new RAW Engine that can handle high-quality images faster.  Plus, it’s easy to solve image problems caused by camera lenses with Lens Correction features that resolve vignette, distortion, and color aberrations. If the photo has unwanted perspective problems, a new Transform tool can quickly solve them.

Presets

Luminar offers a ton of presets to give your images an instant look. Many are included in the application, and you can create your own and download quite a lot from the Luminar website.

LOOK-UP TABLE (LUT)

A mathematically precise way of taking specific RGB image values form a source image – and modifying them to new RGB values by changing the hue, saturation and brightness values of that source image. LUTs are used creatively to impose a specific ‘Look’ on a source image.

Pre-Order Now


Pre-order for Luminar 2018 will run from November 1 until November 16.
Pre-order customers will receive a special price and value-add bonuses such as:

  • A pack of signature presets & textures from a Pro photographer Nicolesy (Nicole S. Young).
  • An exclusive pack of LUTs.
  • 1-year Power plan from SmugMug ($72 value). For new accounts only 

Visit the LUMINAR 2018 website at https://macphun.com/luminar to Pre-Order

Pricing

Mixed-computer households can share the same product key for Mac and PC which can be activated on five devices.

  • Current users of Luminar may upgrade at a special pre­-order price of $39
  • Users of Luminar beta for Windows may upgrade at a special pre­-order price of $49
  • New users can purchase Luminar at a special pre-­order price of $59

The retail price for Luminar 2018 after November 16 will be: $49 upgrade for current Luminar users and $69 for new users

The digital asset management platform will arrive in 2018 as the free update for all the users of Luminar 2018.

ADP V2 Luminosity Masks Panel

ADP panel+Pro v2 by Aaron Dowling

This is a very intuitive and easy to use panel. The look is very clean and it is divided in three different tabs. The first one is for creating and tweaking the muminosity masks. You can restrict or expand the masks and create selections you can then apply with a brush, instantly create curves layers and even create masks based on color range. The second tab is for adjusting precisely your selections and the third tab is to control some of the most used Photoshop functionalities.

I was pleasantly surprised by this panel, and I can highly recommend to users of all skill levels. The panel is not quite as powerful as the TK Panel, but it will make it for most of us photographers. Aaron is constantly making new excellent training material you can find on his website not only for Luminosity masking but also on how to use his panel as a basic work flow tool..
I have read on another website a great tip to make the panel work much fasteby, keeping the properties window closed. As the panel runs through a bunch of adjustment layers during mask creation, it has to refresh the properties window each time which slows it down massively.

The extension is built with 3 different panels. The first one id dedicated to the luminosity masks creation. Once you have selected wich tones or color you want to select, you get a preview of the masks and it creates  three adjustment layers. A curves layer, a levels layer, and a black & white conversion layer you can adjust anyway you want.. It also provides one click actions to create all the adjustment layers, and in the last part another set of available selection tools.

The Auto Adjust panel is a very interesting one as you can work directly on Darks, Highlights ot contrast of the image by using sliders. It is a very easy and intuitive way to visualize what you are doing on the image. It is great when you begin as it it way more intuitive than using the luminosity masks that can be a little intimidating when you start..

Note that each panel provides some direct help and description of each function.

The thirs panel is for the finishing touch of your image. You have a fantastic detail extractor with a tonal range selection. Next you have some cool effects such as Soft Glow, the Orton effect and the Frequency separation very useful for both portraits and landscapes photographers.. And finally the resizing and sharpening tools, perfect for exporting to social medias.

This is the final image after 

1. Basic processing in Lightroom to get a neutral balanced image.

2. Applying  a luminosity mask to get a right midtones selection and getting a curves layer to build up the contrast.

3. Adding one more Camera Raw layer to further enhance the contrast. 

This is a very fast and easy process made even easier by creating selections using the ADP Panel from Aaron Dowling.. 

You can get the Panel by visiting Aaron’s website

Here is the image after the basic processing in Lightroom. I like to start with a neutral image that allows building up the light.

As the sky was very flat, I used a replacement sky. To place this new sky, I created a selection of the white sky, created a mak and placed the new one.  I made a mistake as themask did not cover the bottom right part and I had to fix this by painting some white on the mask to reveal the missing part of the sky.

Then I clicked on “Create mask as curves” on the panel.

The next step was to draw a S curve to get the correct luminance for the shadows and highlights.

Final thoughts

 Probably one of the best panels around.. I would say it comes on top alongside Greg Benz’s Lumenzia for both performance and price considering that once you bought it, you get unlimited free updates. I need to mention that Aaron Dowling provides an excellent support if you need. He also provides quite a lot of tutorials.

He is already announcing the version 3 of this panel and it will provide a lot of improvments both in speed and functionality. For sure a 5 stars product.

Lior Yaakobi

Lior Yaakobi is a landscape photographer from Israel. He lived for a while in Boulder Colorado before moving back to his home country.

A few months ago, he gave us a long interview we published in Shades OF Grey Magazine N°5 with an extensive portfolio. We didn’t use some of his fantastic color images, so here they are for you to enjoy.

To read the full interview and discover the rest od his amazing image, visit http://shadesofgreymagazine.com/product/shades-of-grey-magazine-n5/

Shades Of Grey Fine ART Photography Magazine N°5

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates fromShades Of Grey Fine Art Photography Magazine.

You have Successfully Subscribed!