OnOne Software’s $99.95 Perfect Effects – FREE

Summary – For a limited time you can download OnOne Software’s $99.95 Perfect Effects 8 for FREE

 

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Nature Trail Walk – open spaces & bright sun

Big mistake – I’m susceptible to sun-poisoning

Today I feel like a truck hit me

Aches & all – like a bad case of flu

No way to feel while on vacation

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Perfect Effects is one piece (of 8) of OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite

Recommended

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Read all about this free download here

[11AM EST 5/7/14] Be patient trying the link

For some reason (site busy?) it doesn’t always work

Not only this free download, but the entire site


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Your Image – When is “Good” Good Enough?

Summary – I once wrote a post with this identical title. The answer to the question is still the same.

If you missed that post or

You’ve forgotten the answer

Read it here.

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My wife does newsletters, websites, posters, etc.

For community organizations

When she goes to meetings

She uses a simple 6-year-old point & shoot for photos

Auto-everything, jpeg, low resolution

Good enough for on-line under 800 pixel long side images?

You bet!

When she makes large (24×36) posters & programs

She brings out the big gun

That would be me and my D800E 😉

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I’m the tech guy around here

When she brings home an image

I do a 5-10 minute post-processing job

And the result is more than good enough

For internet low-res display

Case in point – what I just finished for one of her newsletters

Modern post-processing tools are magical

Before & After LR5

DMC-FZ28-_140224_203752_P1040855_orig-1

Good Enough

Click image for 1600 pixels wide (the above is 450 pixels)

The actual version is 3,648 wide

Better than good enough for this small-scale web display

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Making Abstract Photographs – Seeing

Summary – Making an abstract image requires a different mindset than for a representational image. A major part of that mindset is achieving subject isolation. Isolation, in turn, depends on seeing, equipment, craftsmanship and creativity. Today – Seeing.

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SORRY

A premature post

The actual post will be out later this week

Darn auto-scheduler got away from me 😉

I decided to add this text & explain rather than trash it

In case you’re here via an “auto-notify-email”

Otherwise you’d see a confusing error message

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Adobe Photoshop CC – Black Friday Sale

Summary – A limited time Adobe Creative Cloud plan offer. Access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, plus feature updates and upgrades as they are available, 20 GB of cloud storage, and a Behance ProSite. US $9.99/mo. when you sign up for a one-year plan, but you need to join by December 2, 2013.

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This is the special creative cloud package

Adobe created for photographers

Who didn’t need the entire Creative Suite

Until now, it had been limited to

Those who owned a previous copy of Photoshop CS3 or later

That’s changed – Until 12/2/13 anyone can sign up

Even if you don’t own PS

Here is the FAQ from the Adobe site

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I’m skipping this offer

Already own LR and PSE

Don’t need the full PS

However, maybe $120 for a one year plan

This is the deal you’ve been waiting for

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Nik Collection vs. LR 5 – The Nik Graduated Filter

Summary – The 2nd of several LR5/Nik selective adjustment comparison posts. This one looks at the Nik Collection graduated filters (plural) and making selective adjustments within the filter.

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Today’s post illustrates Nik’s approach to

Selective adjustments in general

Using graduated filters as a specific example

By comparing this post with yesterday’s LR 5 version

You’ll see the similarities & differences in approach

 

Rollover mouse for the before-grad-filter

9-16-2013 2-05-50 PM9-16-2013 2-05-29 PM

A Classic Graduated Filter Application

Mimic real-glass grad-neutral-density filter

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Graduated filters in Nik’s Color Efex Pro

Details are available below –

Grad neutral density filter

More complete than the

Nik/LR comparison post you’re reading

Control Points & Selective Adjustments

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Click to enlarge screen captures so settings can be read

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9-16-2013 2-29-24 PM

Figure 1

This picks up where yesterday’s LR 5 post left off

We’ll skip the simple (no tree) image

The initial result shown above looks similar to LR5’s

The big difference occurs in the next step –

Solving the problem

LR5/Nik similarities –

Overall the initial results are the same

Also, both suffer from the unwanted darkening (tree) problem

Both allow the filter to be applied multiple times

At same or different angles and strengths

Differences –

Nik can lighten top & darken bottom with a single filter

LR 5 either darkens or lightens; both requires two filters

LR 5 can apply many different effects with the same filter

Nik’s grad ND filter is limited to just lightening/darkening

However, Nik has a number of different grad filters

Not just neutral density, thus allowing similar results by

Applying several different filters

At this point, the Nik/LR choice is a toss depending on your workflow

There are no result differences

If there are no “tree-like” problems

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9-16-2013 2-35-04 PM

Figure 2

Here is where the significant differences occur

Between Nik & LR 5 graduated filters

How do you selectively adjust the filter’s effects?

We saw yesterday that in LR 5 you

1st – closed the grad filter result

2nd – opened the adjustment brush

created a mask

applied a “fix” to the dark tree

3rd – closed the adjust brush result

4th – repeated the 1-3 process for any other problems if they exist

The Nik solution is to use control points as shown above

“One-stop-shopping”; no need for the repeated open close

Plus – control points are easier & faster than the brush method

If you’re curious, you must read the above link

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9-16-2013 2-31-53 PM

Figure 3

9-16-2013 4-28-01 PM

Figure 3a

And here is where we end up

The end result, as with the initial result,

Is similar between Nik & LR

Same origin & destination, but

The road traveled is quite different

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Here is Nik’s Color Efex Pro’s Graduated Filter menu

They all follow the same general principles as the Grad ND

9-16-2013 4-46-46 PM

and here’s an example

9-16-2013 4-44-54 PM

Grad is grad

Useful & straight forward

Cleaning up problems? That’s another issue.

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Nik Software – The Latest :-(

Summary – This week marks the first anniversary of Google’s acquisition of Nik Software. So – after a year, what’s new? And – how do you find out if you’re running the latest versions?

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001D300_090623_092604__DSC7497_orig_Snapseedblog

Woodland Reflections

At the edge of a stream

A Snapseed imitation of Instagram, square crop and all

This is what Google+ wanted

The ability to compete with Facebook/Instagram

“Real” photographers hope there’s more, but

The concerns of a year ago seem to be coming true 😦

The Nik Collection is withering away with no updates after a year

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So – what’s new with the Nik Software

After one full year of Google ownership?

NOTHING in terms of functions & features nor bug fixes

Each of the six Nik plug-ins are essentially identical

To what they were in the summer of 2012

Eons in computer time

There have been changes but not to the software proper –

1. The six plug-ins have been repackaged into

A single collection (individual plug-ins no longer sold)

Installed all at once vice 6 separate times

Re-branded as the Google Nik Collection

Automatic updates (out of the user’s control)

There has been only one update

That was mainly to test the update feature 😦

2. The price was dropped significantly

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The above all took place about 6 months AG (after-Google)

Since then nothing! (as far as the original Nik Software)

NOTE – the current software, for all intents & purposes,

Has NOT CHANGED in over a year

Irrespective of 1 & 2 above

It’s still great software, but the trend is troubling

Competitors continue to improve their offerings

If Google/Nik doesn’t then eventually

The Nik Collection will be obsolete

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 The concern when Google acquired Nik was

Their sole purpose was to improve Google+’s photo presence

Driven by Facebook’s Instagram purchase/challenge

In spite of Google’s comments to the contrary

The past 12 months seem to support the concerns

Further evidence is Google’s recent announcements for

Google+ photo editing tools

It’s basically Nik’s Snapseed in a cloud

This is what the acquisition was really about

This is where the engineering resources have gone

NOT to the original desktop software

That brought the rest of us to Nik back in the day

The timing of “Snapseed in a cloud” was ironic

Coming on the 1st anniversary of Google-Nik

A coincidence?

I see no end in sight; fine if you’re a Google+ fan

Over the next several months I plan to look at

Nik Collection alternatives – just in case

Topaz & OnOne come to mind. Anything else?

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PLEASE SAY IT ISN’T SO, GOOGLE

There’s more to photography than social media

Are you going to help the rest of us?

Or – should we make plans to move on

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I’m not ready to abandon ship anytime soon, but

It’s prudent to know where the lifeboats are located 😉

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Are you running the latest versions of the plug-ins?

Each plug-in of the collection has its own version number

That never changed when they were repackaged by Google

To check version numbers –

Open a plug-in & click the Nik Collection logo at  upper right

A window will open showing that plug-in’s version number

Here are the current versions –

  1. Color Efex Pro 4.2
  2. Dfine 2.2
  3. HDR Efex Pro 2.1
  4. Silver Efex Pro 2.1
  5. Sharpener Pro 3.1
  6. Viveza 2.1

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Nik Collection vs. LR 5 – The LR Graduated Filter

Summary – First of several LR5/Nik selective adjustment comparison posts. This one looks at the LR 5 linear graduated filter, the Nik version follows tomorrow.

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The linear graduated filter is

Straight forward in concept

It’s a digital equivalent of

“Real” filters attached to cameras such as

The graduated neutral density filter

 

Rollover mouse for the before-grad-filter

001D300_090625_091315__DSC7727_orig_lr5acr-2blog002D300_090625_091315__DSC7727_orig_lr5acrblog

A Classic Graduated Filter Application

Mimic a real glass grad-neutral-density filter

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A linear graduated filter adds an effect

With a gradual transition from full to none

Direction, start & end points are set by

Parallel lines drawn when applying the filter

Multiple effects are possible (vary by program)

One effect is to change exposure compensation in the sky

This would mimic a grad-neutral-density filter

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Graduated filters in LR 5

Details are readily available elsewhere; try Adobe TV for starters

This post is an overview comparison of Nik vs. LR 5

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Click to enlarge screen captures so setting can be read

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9-15-2013 6-29-37 PM

Figure 1

Straight forward application

The applied effect is negative exposure compensation

Emulates a grad-neutral-density filter to darken sky

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9-15-2013 6-31-50 PM

Figure 2

Follow-on to Figure 1

Again an exposure compensation effect, but positive this time

The goal is to lighten the sand

This further illustrates the fact that

Multiple graduated filters can be used in the same image

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9-15-2013 6-38-32 PM

Figure 3

This is where graduated filters fail – both digital and real

Objects between camera & sky are darkened just like the sky

That is not what we want!

Digital has an advantage over “real”

We may be able to mask the effect on intervening objects

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9-15-2013 6-39-46 PM

Figure 4

The sand lightening step doesn’t have the same problem as Fig. 3

or at least not as objectionable

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9-15-2013 6-45-23 PM

Figure 5

To solve the unwanted darkening of the tree we must use

The LR 5 Adjustment Brush (to be covered in a later post)

The first step is to use the brush to create a mask

This mask defines the area to be affected (explained in later post)

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9-15-2013 6-48-04 PM

Figure 6

With the mask from in place,

We can lighten the tree as needed

Without affecting the rest of the image

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9-15-2013 6-53-38 PM

Figure 7

The sole purpose of this image is to illustrate that

Graduated filters can be placed at any angle

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LR 5 Graduated Filter Summary

Multiple grad filters can be used on a single image

Multiple effects can be applied with each filter

Undesired effects

Potentially can be fixed with the adjustment brush

Image (contrasts specifically) dependent

The grad filter is not truly selective

Yes, it isolates parts of an image from effects, but

Everything else is affected completely (e.g. the tree)

9-16-2013 10-53-09 AM

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