It’s great how a nuclear sunset can cheer me up. I’ve had a lot of problems thrown at me this week and been let down a couple of times. Then I decided to process this image and I was smiling again.
It’s one I shot a few weeks back and have been struggling to bring out the amazing colours I remember. But now I have an idea of how to do it properly. This was a quick trial for the blog and it has a couple of flaws. For example, the glow effect I used is too strong on the rocks, most obviously the one in the centre. It’s made the image look a little like HDR even though it’s not. I had intended to use it on the distant hills and sky, but my masking was a little shoddy.
I captured the image on the Fuji X-T2 and used a Kase Wolverine 3 stop Reverse Grad on the sky. That really is an amazing filter. Post processing was in On1 Photo RAW 2018, but I do need to make some further adjustments as well as be a little more careful.
The other news from this week is Adobe Lightroom Classic CC version 7.3 has been released. There are a few enhancements which frustratingly move some important sliders to new locations. There’s also a couple of changes that seem to be flagging future developments. If you want to know what’s happened I published a video to YouTube earlier.
I have been experimenting with DxO Photolab again. I really like the software but before I can commit to buying it, I need it to support the Fuji XTrans RAW file format. If I can’t process the Fuji X-T2 files, it’s only going to work for a fraction of the images I shoot.
Then I had an idea. What if I convert the RAW file to DNG first using Iridient XTransformer. I felt sure I had used a much earlier version of DxO to process RAW files.
Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. DxO Photolabs couldn’t read the file.
So instead of writing about a great work around, I’m going to share an image shot with the Fuji X-T2 and converted in Lightroom. This has then had a little post processing with On1 Photo Effects to emphasise the shadows. The stars around the lights were enhanced very slightly using Topaz Star Effects.
I’m off to speak at Wilmslow Guild Photographic Society tonight. Fortunately, I managed to publish my latest video tutorial on YouTube before I must leave.
If you watched my previous tutorial about using the On1 Masking tools, this tutorial goes a step further. It demonstrates how impressive On1 can be when using these masking tools. It also demonstrates additional features that I didn’t cover previously.
A few days back I recorded a video to demonstrate how to soft proof a photo for printing, using Lightroom CC. Whilst making the video I noticed the Soft Proofing in Lightroom wasn’t working properly. Both my Mac and PC had the same problem and I couldn’t find the cause. In the end I recorded the video using Lightroom 5 which I still had installed, and which appeared to be working.
I’ve now investigated the problem further and the bug also appears to be affecting Adobe Illustrator as well. Fortunately, I have also found a solution. This very short video shows the problem as well as how to avoid it.
Also, here is the soft proofing video which I know some blog readers have been waiting for.
For a couple of years, I have been frustrated by the lack of space on my Windows PC C: Drive. This is a custom-built PC which uses a 111Gb SSD (solid state drive) for Windows. What’s frustrating is that Windows 10 doesn’t take much space, I load all applications to another drive, but my C: drive has less than 1Gb of free space. Despite this and my uninstalling all applications, it seems to fill up and run out of space at least once a week.
Over this last weekend, I finally managed to solve the problem and what I found came as a complete surprise. Without any impact on my system I was able to delete almost 40Gb of unused files, many of which were duplicates.
The first space saving I made was by turning off the sleep or hibernation mode in Windows. It turned out that Windows had created a huge 16Gb hibernation file despite me never using this feature. I always shut down my PC so this is wasted space for me.
The other savings all came by deleting unwanted, duplicate files that were left behind when upgrading my photography software. The main culprits were Adobe, Topaz, Alien Skin, Capture One and On1. If you think I’m singling these companies out, I’m not. Every software vendor seems to use the same approach and leave unwanted duplicate files behind when upgrading. If you have been using any of these packages for more than a couple of releases, it’s possible you will have this issue.
If you want to know what I did to find and release so much space, I included full details in my December Lenscraft Newsletter. If you subscribe you will receive it by email or you can read it here once published.
Last week I blogged to explain why I was reluctant to make image submissions from the Fuji X-T2. Then after some internal debate with myself, I made a few submissions. The results are back, and the submitted files passed QA. What I now need to confess to is that I didn’t process the files in Lightroom, I used Iridient Developer.
Lightroom is a key part of my workflow and has been for a long time. I use it for cataloguing, keywording, searching and printing as well as developing images from RAW files. When one aspect of this doesn’t work well, it’s not a simple as dumping it for something else. Unfortunately, despite recent improvements in the Fuji RAW file processing, Lightroom just isn’t as good as Iridient Developer. This is more noticeable with the images shot using my 18-135mm lens than the 16-55mm or 50-140mm.
In terms of using Lightroom with Iridient Developer, the process is easy, but it isn’t entirely seamless. I have Iridient configured so that I can send it a TIFF file from Lightroom. When this happens, it goes off to find the RAW file with the same name and opens that for processing. Once the adjustments are made the resulting image overwrites the TIFF that Lightroom produced. This all works well but I do miss some of Lightroom’s tools such as the Gradient adjustment and Brush tool.
Now if you look back to the original blog post you will see that one reader suggested Iridient X-Transformer and I have a further confession. I tried this software when it was back in its Beta test phase and thought it was fine but couldn’t see the point. Now I have realised, if I can convert the Fuji RAF files to DNG files I could then use all my favourite Lightroom tools. And if the DNG conversion was anywhere nearing the quality of Iridient Developer it would be wonderful.
To cut a long story short, the DNG converted files from X-Transformer are superb. It also integrates into Lightroom as a plugin which means I can select and keyword my files. I then convert to DNG files in batches before processing the DNG files to work on. The resulting images are brilliant and every bit as good as using Iridient Developer. Best of all the software cost me £35 including taxes.
If you’re a user of the Nik Collections, you’re probably aware that Google withdrew support and ceased development of the tools earlier this year. Yesterday I heard the news that DxO has purchased the Nik assets from Google and they have already integrated the Control Point technology into their DxO Photo Labs software. Some time back I was a user of DxO, but found it slow in comparison to other tools. With the integration of Control Point technology, I can see DxO software tacking a major step forward.
Having downloaded and tried the DxO Photo Labs software, I’m very impressed with its capabilities on my Olympus and Sony RAW files. The only issue I have at present is that it doesn’t support many of the Fuji RAW files including the X-T1 or X-T2. Unfortunately, this is enough to prevent me making a purchase.
If you want to read more you can find the announcement here
This also includes a link to download the current version of the Nik Collection if you need to reinstall it (such as after upgrading Photoshop).
This is great news for the Nik Collection as not only integrating the control point technology into their own products, they are planning a new release of the Nik Collection next year. Once the new release is available I plan to invest time revising and updating my Nik Collection books.