Your photos look better processed in Lightroom 4. Period. [...] The improvements in Lightroom’s Development module are so significant, and so much better than what we’ve ever had before, that I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find most anyone still using Lightroom 3 in just a few months from now. In fact, if they didn’t add another feature, it would still be worth the upgrade just to get better looking images.
You can watch a walkthrough of new the new module here, or play around with the new engine yourself by downloading the free Lightroom 4 Beta release. This is also great news for Photoshop users: the same engine is coming to Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Camera Raw.
Photographer and developer Ben Syverson has created an iPhone camera app called Mattebox that mimics the Konica Hexar, a luxury point-and-shoot from 1993 that was powerful enough for professionals but simple and intuitive enough for beginners. It’s one of the most beautifully designed camera apps we’ve seen yet, and comes with a number of fancy features baked into it (e.g. dual stage shutter release, highlight recovery, advanced B&W conversion). The app costs $4 over in the iTunes App Store.
Update: This giveaway is now over. The winner was randomly selected and announced below.
VSCO Film has been getting a good amount of attention recently, with professional photographers saying that the software indeed makes digital photographs look like they were shot with a film camera. Today we’re going to be giving away two copies of VSCO Film Studio 01 worth $199 each! This package has ACR and Lightroom presets designed specifically for Canon and Nikon cameras, in addition to the universal ones. You can watch a video intro of the software here. Read more…
There are plenty of presets out there that attempt to make your digital images look like they were shot with film, but VSCO Film by Visual Supply Co is different: it’s a Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW add-on that uses film profiles to change how the RAW files are interpreted rather than simply perform standard adjustments on the images. The video introduction above shows some examples of what the various options can do. This patent-pending method of film emulation doesn’t come cheap — it costs $120 each for Canon or Nikon profiles, and $200 for both.
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.