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.
In my Friday Image post I mentioned I may head out to Saddleworth Moor on Saturday morning. I did walk up there but it didn’t look promising for photography. Storm Brian was on the way and it was already raining hard. But, by the time I had walked from home to the edge of the moors, the sky had broken (it was damn windy though) and I decided to take a few shots.
The image you see here is two images stitched in Lightroom. These were taken handheld using the Fuji X-T2. I chose the Fuji due to its weather resistant properties. I also used a new 0.6 hard grad filter on the sky; I will have more to tell you about my new filters in the near future.
Back home, I opened Lightroom to downloaded my images and got the message I hate; there were Adobe updates. With so many companies moving to the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, I’m now constantly updating software and getting less done.
This release was though a little different. I was interested because I had heard Lightroom now had Luminosity Masking and I was curious. I couldn’t understand why they had chosen to include this a s a feature in Lightroom when you already had great tone controls.
As Photoshop is a new major release, I fully expected to reinstall may various plug-ins after the upgrade. I was quite surprised this time though to find that most plug-ins were still present after the upgrade. The only exception was the Nik Collection which was now missing.
Each time this happens, you see lots of rumours spread on the internet that Nik is not compatible with the latest Photoshop release. I can report this isn’t the case. Although the Nik Collection is removed in the upgrade, you can download and install it again. I have tested it with both my Mac and Windows PC and the Nik filters work fine.
The image you see above was converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro from within Photoshop 2018.
The Lightroom upgrade was also very smooth. It was though a little confusing initially; for some reason Adobe has chosen to rename it to Lightroom Classic. I’m sure the reason for this will become apparent in the future.
A few things have struck me already about the new release:
Be prepared to upgrade your Lightroom Catalogue. Most people have just one catalogue which isn’t a problem. If you have multiple catalogues it becomes a bit of a faff.
There is a new processing engine buried in the update. If you look in the Develop module at the Camera Calibration tab, you see the Process version listed at the top. The old one is “Version 3 (2012)” but now we have “Version 4”. If you have images imported under the previous version you will need to switch them manually if you want to use the new process. You can do this individually or you can make a bulk change. Bulk processing can be applied by clicking the small icon to the bottom right of the histogram. It looks like a lightning bolt and appears when you have an image selected which was imported under an older processing version. I have yet to understand the full benefits of the new process.
The selection tools (Gradient, brush etc.) now feature a Range Mask. This is something I didn’t know I needed until I tried it. Having made a selection, the Range Mask allows you to further refine that selection based on either colour or brightness (luminance). This means you can select a large area of your image but then refine the selection to avoid adjusting say the shadows or the highlights. I actually did some dodging and burning on the above image using the Range Mask to prevent anything becoming a pure black mass and its brilliant.
I’m quite impressed with the new Lightroom tools and will look to post something on my You Tube channel soon to demonstrate.
I have finally taken the plunge and upgraded my copy of Exposure from Alien Skin. This is a great all-purpose piece of editing software which I tend to use as a plug in to Photoshop. What I really like are the film simulations.
I already owned Exposure and was resisting the temptation to upgrade. What really changed my mind was a 40% discount and the other Alien Skin tools thrown in. These were Blow up for enlargement and Snap Art for painting special effects. I’m not really one for painting effects but since upgrading my iPad I have started to draw more. I’m finding packages like this provide a nice yet creative break from work.
I’m now under more pressure to find time to experiment with the new version of Exposure and learn how to best use the new Layers feature.