New Aurora HDR 2018 update.

New Update to Aurora HDR 2018 Brings New Tools, Improved Performance, and Loupedeck+ Integration

Aurora HDR 2018 is now up to 2x and 4x faster on MacOS and Windows computers, respectively, and is now compatible with the brand-new Loupedeck+ photo editing console.

Skylum Software today released the latest update to its award-winning photo editing software, Aurora HDR, bringing improved performance, new features, and updated tools to both MacOS and Windows versions. Aurora HDR is now faster across the board with a massive boost in performance on both Windows and MacOS computers. Specifically, performance on MacOS computers is up 180% when working with bracketed shots and 175% when working with single images. On Windows computers, Aurora HDR is now 500% faster when working with bracketed shots and 400% for single images. Aurora HDR also makes better use of memory, with more intelligent management and improved stability.

“The team at Skylum has worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to bring massive speed and performance improvements to the Aurora HDR 2018 update for both MacOS and Windows computers. Combined with the support for recently-launched Loupedeck+, photographers who use Skylum’s products will be able to edit photos more efficiently than ever before. The faster photographers can import, process, and edit their photographs, the more time they can spend in the field or studio capturing shots,” said Dmitry Sytnik, Co-founder and CTO at Skylum.

Windows users, in particular, receive a new batch processing tool, bringing it more in line with its MacOS counterpart. Windows users get a refreshed interface, the ability to rename layers, histogram functionality in the tone curve filter, improved dodge and burn stability, and a flip/rotate tool. 

On the flipside, Mac users receive improved plugin stability, increased export speeds, and improved memory management when batch processing images.Aurora HDR 2018 has also added support for more than a dozen new cameras. The full list includes: 

  • Sony A7 III
  • Canon EOS 3000D / Rebel T100 / 4000D
  • FujiFilm X-H1
  • FujiFilm X-A20
  • FujiFilm X-A5
  • FujiFilm X-E3
  • Olympus E-PL9
  • Panasonic DC-GF10 / Panasonic DC-GF90
  • Panasonic DC-GX9 / DC-GX7MK3
  • Panasonic DC-TZ200 / DC-ZS200 / DC-TZ202 / DC-TZ220 / DC-ZS220 / DC-TX2
  • PhaseOne IQ3 100MP Trichromatic.

Skylum also announces a partnership with Loupedeck to bring support for the brand-new Loupedeck+ photo editing console. Now, users can quickly process photos in Aurora HDR using physical dials, knobs and keys. “With similar goals to make the photo editing process more creative, intuitive and efficient, Loupedeck is thrilled to partner with Skylum on our journey to launch the Loupedeck+ editing console,” said Mikko Kesti, Founder and CEO of Loupedeck. “We’re confident the support of Skylum’s editing products will further enable today’s photographers to enjoy enhanced editing experiences and we look forward to continued delivery on this mission moving forward together.” The updated Loupedeck+ console features improved build quality, updated mechanical keys for a more precise feel, two customizable dials, and an all new “Custom Mode” that allows users full control of all dials. 

“Skylum and Loupedeck share the same vision,” said Skylum CEO Alex Tsepko. “We want to help photographers create great photos, differently. When I discovered that the new version of Loupedeck keyboard is coming out, I knew Skylum software should be the first to support it. This is the kind of innovation modern photographers really need.” 

Loupedeck is the only photo editing console custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom and Skylum Aurora HDR experience, with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative. It allows both professional and amateur photographers to improve the ergonomics of editing, comfortably increasing output. Loupedeck’s hands-on and highly intuitive console minimizes the use the mouse and keyboard, and it works seamlessly with Apple and PC operating systems.

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Loupedeck was founded in 2016 with a highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its original target by 488 percent. For more information, visit www.loupedeck.com.

Use the coupon code “SHADESOFGREY” for a $10/ €10 immediate discount.

Before / After

B&W Artisan Pro by Joel Tjintjelaar

 

Joel Tjintjellaar is one of the best Black & White fine Art photographers today. Over the years, he built a solid reputation both as an artist and a post-processing master. The Photoshop panel he offers today lives up to his reputation. The name of his panel, B&W Artisan says it all. Being an Artisan means that you build something with care, professionalism and efficiency. These are exactly the qualities of this panel.

Here is only a teaser and you will find a complete review in the next edition of Shades of Grey Fine art Photography magazine.

B&W Artisan Pro is the successor of the older B&W Fine Art Quick Adjustments panel, with an entirely new design that takes the best of the old panel and combines it with a new and innovative approach towards digital B&W editing that is aimed at making B&W editing less technical and more intuitive and artistic. At the same time the name has changed for a more suitable name.Its goal is to effectively translate your personal artistic vision to a B&W image, with just a minimum of Photoshop knowledge and experience. No more steep learning curves and years of practice are needed to create sophisticated B&W images for which normally advanced knowledge of technically correct B&W processing techniques and knowledge of Photoshop were needed.

B&W Artisan Pro is a panel that uses Photoshop as a ‘host’ to introduce new features, through easy to use presets, that aren’t readily available in Photoshop. Each preset triggers a specific sequence of combined advanced PS features and also ‘hidden’ PS features, that sometimes consists of more than hundred different steps, in a way that reflects Joel Tjintjelaar’s signature style, craftsmanship and knowledge to render a non-destructive and artistic result. This new panel doesn’t use the basic PS tools like dodging and burning, curves, levels or Photoshop’s built-in B&W conversion and adjustment features to adjust grey tones and alter contrasts, but a new and advanced way of linear adjustments that directly affects the luminance value of a tone, with a high degree of control imposed by the presets. The linear adjustments are accurate, predictable and proportionate. And they do that, either within the entire canvas or within an area, roughly or, if the artists desires to do so, precisely, indicated by the artist and depending on what the artist wants.

The use of luminosity masks play an important role in how the new panel operates, but the user doesn’t need to know how   to create luminosity masks, how to correctly use them and how to correctly evaluate them. The latter is something even  many advanced Photoshop users don’t do, and usually skip that part, while in my approach, the correct evaluation of luminosity masks plays the most important part. The presets create, evaluate and apply the luminosity masks automatically behind the scenes when they’re triggered.

Visit http://www.bwvision.com/ for more info and get the panel.

Affinity Photo for iPad got strong improvements

Apple’s reigning ‘App of the Year’, Affinity Photo for iPad, now includes even more powerful professional features.

Developer Serif has issued the third substantial free update to the app since June when Affinity Photo for iPad was launched on stage at WWDC2017. To celebrate, for a limited time, buyers can also claim three bonus content packs made specially to harness the creativity of the app on iOS.  Designed to be the first complete, professional photo editing app for iPad, Affinity Photo was selected as the 2017 ‘App of the Year’ by Apple, as well as featuring in countless ‘best of’ end-of-year lists. The latest version, 1.6.7, includes a raft of enhancements which make it even more capable of handling a full professional workflow on the go:

New Features

  • Save overwrites back to the same location, without needing to create a copy
  • Shoot direct in RAW or HDR from within the app
  • Major upgrades for RAW processing including adjusting shadows, highlights and clarity on RAW images
  • Ability to add your own fonts
  • Opening and editing files in place directly from the iOS Files app
  • A new ‘Solo Layer View’ mode, allowing you to isolate individual layers instantly
  • Further enhancements to the handy Drag & Drop functions introduced with iOS11
  • A new ‘Show Touches’ option to create more detailed screen captures – great for users who create tutorials
Serif Managing Director Ashley Hewson says: “These latest additions will make working life simpler than ever for photographers who have embraced Affinity Photo and the iPad as the core of their professional workflow.

“Affinity Photo was created to take full advantage of the amazing technology the latest iPads offer, and our developers continue to work tirelessly to cement its reputation as the benchmark for creative apps on iOS.”

Ashley Hewson adds: “Improved RAW editing and the added convenience of using Files and Drag & Drop are further steps forward. And we’re delighted to see so many users are already publishing their own tutorials, so the ‘show touches’ screen-recording capability is really big news for them.
“Meanwhile Solo Layer View means you can instantly isolate a particular layer to work on, even in the most complex multi-layered documents. It all adds up to a faster, smoother workflow than ever, to take wherever you go.”

To celebrate the latest update, for two weeks Affinity Photo for iPad is being offered with two free brush packs and a macro pack, together worth almost as much as the app itself (offer ends 8 March).

They are:

  • Luminance Brush Pack (value £9.99 / $9.99): A vibrant collection of 13 breath taking light effect brushes
  • Retouch Brush Pack (value £9.99 / $9.99): 20 studio quality retouch brushes for enhancing portraits
  • Live Filters Macro Pack: Harness the full power of 28 non-destructive live filter layers

Affinity Photo for iPad is priced £19.99 / US$19.99 / 21,99€ (subject to regional currency variations) with no subscription from the App Store.

Affinity Photo for iPad is compatible with the iPad Pro 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch

, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, and optimised for Apple Pencil. For more information go to affinity.serif.com/ipad-update. Existing users should claim the free update by following the prompts in the app.

The bonus content can be downloaded from affinity.serif.com/ipad-update.

DxO Photolab Review

A few weeks ago, DxO bought the Nik Collection from Google, already a great news for the future of this great plugin suite, but the most important for DxO is the release of this major application incorporating the U-ponit technology developed by Nik. One thing you must know about DxO is that they are a major Benchmarking company. They develop state of the art bechmarking machines and they are extensively testing all the optics and cameras on the market. PhotoLab can be considered as the ultimate Raw image processor today as it adapts to both the specific camera and lenses profiles and by offering options not available in any other Raw image procesor. Please note that the comparison with the other apps I mentioned only concerns the RAW processor Except for the Film Looks emulation with DxO Film Pack if you own it, there are no styling options available. It is not an All in 1 product. That will probably change in 2018 when the integration of the Nik Collection will be fully operational.

The interface

It is not much different than the other applications you can find such as Lightroom Classic, ON1 Photo Raw, Skylum Luminar 2018 or Topaz Studio. Only Capture One has a very different organisation, but this is for a future review. You have the Browse panel on the left, the number of controls you get is really huge. They are separated in 4 main sections. The Essential Tools, the Light section, the Color section, the Geometry section and theDxO plusins such as DxO Film Pack section.

When you choose DxO Photolab from Lightroom, you see a lot more controls than theLighroom Basic adjustments.. You get five main categories. Essential Tools, Light, Color,  Detail and Geometry.

The Essential Tools section is where you find what could be called “Quick edits. If you want a real fast way to enhance your images without real heavy processing, you have the DxO Smart Lighting slider and the DxO Clear view. They work like a radiance and a Micro Contrast / Structure sliders.. This is a one minute quick edit.

Even if the panels are huge and can be a little intimidating, the tools are very well organized and are making a very coherent workflow. Another great thing is that you can create your own workspaces with only the controls you really use. You can also save all your settings as presets.

I really enjoyed the DxO Film pack section that lets you add finishing touches such as frames, textures and even light leaks

Local Adjustments

When you click for the first time on the Local Adjustments button on top of the interface, you can select either the mouse or touch screen depending on what you use.

The first tool DxO brought from the Nik Collection to Photolab are the u-Points controls. The great addition they made to this tool is the controls block presentation. just click on the one you want to use and drag up or down. A very convenient way to use these controls much more effective than in the Nik Collection.. The same system is used for the gradient filter. It is nice when you want to place a gradient to have a selection of tools with a right button mouse click..This is a circular gadget with tool icons around the outside, offering a BrushGraduated FilterControl PointAuto MaskEraserNew Mask and Reset buttons.

 

Final Thoughts

This is the strongest Raw editor available today. The list of controls is gigantic, but lets you build-up a very efficient workflow. Due to the DxO experience on benchmarking, all the camera and lens profiles are very accurate and the image quality you can achieve is really fantastic. I don’t think it is a full photo processing software as the tools for stylisation are not present. They will for sure be available when the integration of the Nik collection will be complete.  It really becomes the extension of Lightroom very rapidly and the “Export to Lightroom” button when you finish your editing makes ithe whole process so easy.

With this excellent piece of software and the arrival of the DxO collection, DxO jumps straight into the top photo editors manufacturers group. No doubt we will follow what’s coming next..

Download a trial version at DxO.com

 

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.

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