Adobe released a beta version of Lightroom 4 today. New features include support for location data through a map module, book making through Blurb, new video features, new shadow/highlight controls, simplified basic adjustments, new local adjustments, and space saving lossy compression for DNG files. You can find a complete list of changes here. You can downloaded the program for free and use it until the beta version expires on March 31st, 2012.
It looks like Microsoft is finally putting its war chest and brilliant minds to good use: the company has released a new free app for Windows Phone users called Face Swap. The app uses face detection to let you quickly switch the faces of subjects in your photos. Simply shake the phone and faces will be swapped! The resulting face swap photos can be saved or shared on social networking websites. Hopefully they turn this into a web app soon.
Knobroom is a free add-on for Lightroom that lets you use the knobs and sliders on a MIDI Controller to edit photos in Lightroom. Unlike PADDY, which we featured last year, Knobroom is also available to Mac users. The brief demo above shows Lightroom being controlled with a Behringer BCF2000. Freelance photographer Max Edin has written up an informative review on setting up and using the add-on.
What if all advertising photos came with a number that revealed the degree to which they were Photoshopped? We might not be very far off, especially with recent advertising controversies and efforts to get “anti-Photoshop laws” passed. Researchers Hany Farid and Eric Kee at Dartmouth have developed a software tool that detects how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered compared to the original image, grading each photo on a scale of 1-5. The program may eventually be used as a tool for regulation: both publications and models could require that retouchers stay within a certain threshold when editing images.
Xerox is showing off a new tool called Aesthetic Image Search over on Open Xerox (the Xerox equivalent of Google Labs). It’s an algorithm being developed at one of the company’s labs that aims to make judging a photograph’s aesthetics something a computer can do.
Many methods for image classification are based on recognition of parts — if you find some wheels and a road, then the picture is more likely to contain a car than a giraffe. But what about quality? What is it about a picture of a building or a flower or a person that makes the image stand out from the hundreds which are taken with a digital camera every day? Here we tackle the difficult task of trying to learn automatically what makes an image special, and makes photo enthusiasts mark it as high quality.
You can play around with a simple demo of the technology here. Don’t tell the Long Beach Police Department about it though — they might use it against photographers.
If you’ve been waiting to upgrade Photoshop CS3 or CS4 to CS6 when it’s released sometime next year, here’s some bad news: the upgrade price won’t apply to you. Starting with CS6, Adobe will be enforcing a new upgrade policy:
[...] we are changing our policy for perpetual license customers. In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software (either CS5 or CS5.5 editions). If our customers are not yet on those versions, we’re offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 which will qualify them for upgrade pricing when we release CS6.
The existing policy is that customers with software from three versions back quality for upgrade pricing. For example, owners of CS2, CS3, and CS4 and upgrade to CS5. Buying the full version of Photoshop CS5 right now costs nearly $500, while the upgrade is only priced at ~$150.
A couple days ago it was discovered that iPhones, iPods, and iPads running iOS 5 have a secret panorama mode that’s hidden in the operating system. The feature can be enabled, but featured either a jailbroken device or knowledge in how to edit a particular iOS 5 preference file. Luckily for non-hackers, Redmond Pie has discovered an easy way to do this by taking advantage of iTune’s backup feature. This tutorial will teach you how to get the panorama feature unlocked in 5-10 minutes. Read more…
Early beta versions of Photoshop CS6 (codenamed “Superstition”) have already made it into the hands of testers, and information about changes and new features is slowly starting to emerge. AppleInsider has published some screenshots of the new program, which apparently comes with a darker, Aperture-esque user interface. There’s a number of new features geared towards working with 3D, a mysterious new “Remix Tool” inside the healing brush pallet, and a “Perspective Crop” tool. There’s also new auto-save options that help you save your work automatically in the background.
At this point, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be seeing Image Deblurring appear in CS6. Adobe is rumored to be shooting for a CS6 launch around May 2012.
Here’s the current state of imagery: still cameras can shoot HD video, video cameras can capture high quality stills, and data storage costs continue to fall. In the future, it might become commonplace for people to make photos by shooting uber-high quality video and then selecting the best still. However, as any photographer knows, selecting the best photograph from a series of photos captured in burst mode is already a challenge, so selecting a still from 30fps footage would be quite a daunting challenge.
To make the future easier for us humans, researchers at Adobe and the University of Washington are working on training computers to do the grunt work for us. One research project currently being done involves training a computer to automatically select candid portraits when given video of a person. The video above is a demo of the artificial intelligence in action.
We always get a laugh when news organizations or governments try to pass off bad Photoshop jobs as real images, but with the way graphics technology is advancing, bad Photoshop jobs may soon become a thing of the past. Here’s a fascinating demo into technology that can quickly and realistically insert fake 3D objects into photographs — lighting, shading and all. Aside from a few annotations provided by the user (e.g. where the light sources are), the software doesn’t need to know anything about the images. Mind-blowing stuff…