Gadgets & Gizmos

Macphun has been producing photo editing apps for quite a few years, but until recently only for the Mac. Now it is available for both Mac and Windows - and for some photographers it might be an affordable option to Photoshop or Lightroom.

It's also likely to be of interest to photographers who are new to editing because it takes a slightly different approach to postproduction. Photoshop and Lightroom provide you with all the tools, but they don't make suggestions as to what tools you might like to use. Luminar is a little different in that its interface is designed around the application of filters and what they might look like, using preliminary thumbnails to guide your deliberations.

Now, a filter in Luminar terms is really any form of image adjustment, from standard curve dialogs to brightening and warming filters. The terminology is more general than photographic, perhaps making it more accessible for non-photographers.

However, once you have applied one or a series of filters, you are then able to adjust them yourself using (generally) slider controls. It's easy to preview the result on your screen (and our standard recommendation for having a good quality monitor remains).

In somes ways, Luminar lets you edit your photos a little like the Nik Software plug-ins did for Photoshop and Lightroom, but you don't need Photoshop or Lightroom to run Luminar. Interestingly, you can use Nik and other Photoshop plug-ins with Luminar!

However, there are a lot of advanced features in Luminar as well. If you want to work selectively, Luminar provides the equivalent of layers and masks. Each filter can be applied globally or locally and there are a number of different ways you can brush in the filter effect.

Luminar will open raw files and the new 2018 version is claimed to be much faster than the earlier version, with new and improved algorithms for many of the filters.

And the price? As we go to press, the online price for a download is AUS $99 – and you can download a free trial first.

For more information visit www.macphun.com/luminar

Expressing the True Art of Photography

 

 

INTUOS PRO • MOBILESTUDIO PRO • CINTIQ PRO

 

Wacom’s Pro Pen 2 can be used with all Wacom’s latest products, no matter what photography program you’re using. Reproduced from Better Photography Magazine.

 

Don’t dismiss the idea of a pen for photography, because although it’s true it can take some people a little practice, there’s no doubt a pen is a much more involving and ergonomic way to create photographic art.

 

As readers of magazines like Better Photography, we know you’re committed to your photography and that you use software like Lightroom, Photoshop and Capture One to process your files.

 

If at any stage you use layers, layer brushes, gradients or masks, then a mouse (or a finger on a touch pad) is not nearly as practical as using a pen, especially Wacom’s latest Pro Pen 2.

 

First up, let’s compare your hand position as you grab your mouse, press a button with your finger and drag it around the table. I certainly don’t find it comfortable, even for short periods of time.

 

Now compare this with the much more natural process of using a pen to point to menu items, tap on them and then, most importantly, dragging and drawing your masks and brushs over the screen or tablet. It’s just like drawing on paper and artists over the past 50,000 years haven’t ended up with brushes and pens because they are uncomfortable to use!

 

There is a strong argument purely from a physical standpoint for using a pen over a mouse.

 

 

Wacom Pro Pen 2

But not just any pen. Some simple pens you may have tried in the past wouldn’t have had the technology you’ll find in Wacom’s Pro Pen 2, technology that translates into a beautiful replication of pen or pencil on paper. There is a whole science behind the Pro Pen 2 that makes it more realistic than actually using pen and paper!

 

To begin with, the Wacom Pro Pen 2 has 8096 pressure levels, so unlike a simple pointing device like a mouse, you can control the size or opacity of your brushes by putting more or less pressure on the pen.

 

There’s also a difference to the shape and feel as you tilt the pen, just like when using a pencil or a paintbrush.

 

When working with adjustment brushes in Lightroom or on a mask in Photoshop, this degree of fine control becomes incredibly important in the way you apply and draw your masks. It makes it far more intuitive to use.

 

Some people have compared the Pro Pen 2 to a musical instrument, rather than a physician’s scalpel. Although just as accurate as a scalpel, the Pro Pen 2 works like a beautifully tuned musical instrument, something that can help you create amazing art.

 

 

No Lag Or Parallax

The Pro Pen 2 has no discernible lag, so as you move your pen, the cursor moves in perfect synchronisation.

 

And when you’re using your pen directly on-screen, such as with the MobileStudio Pro and the Cintiq Pro, there is no parallax difference between where the pen meets the finely etched glass and the cursor.

 

This is because the MobileStudio Pro and Cintiq Pro use incredibly thin (and tough) glass on top of the screen, so there is no discernible gap between the pen tip and the cursor.

 

Again, these might seem like little points, even expected of a good pen system, but they are issues that Wacom has refined over many years. Not all pens work this well.

 

In Practice

So, how do you work with the Pro Pen 2 when in Photoshop or Lightroom?

 

Chances are your Wacom is already set up to work optimally with the Pro Pen 2 and the TouchRing. Run your finger around the TouchRing one way to increase the size of your brush, run it the other way to decrease the size. Now add in the pressure you apply and even the angle of the pen to the screen and you’ll discover why the Wacom Pro Pen 2 is so incredibly useful for photographers in post-production.

 

For more information, visit www. wacom.com. And to purchase a Cintiq, MobileStudio Pro or Intuos Pro, visit the Wacom eStore at www.buywacom.com.au, or selected retailers. 

The Photographer’s Lifeline

On Location • In the Studio • A Separate Backup 

 

 

From the moment we’ve taken our photographs, we have the means to keep them safe forever – with the right technology from LaCie. Reproduced from Better Photography Magazine.

 

Do you or your parents have an album or a box containing old photographs? For most families, there is a core collection of important images which document their lives and their heritage. Many of the photographs go back over 100 years.

 

Can digital photos last this long?

 

The answer is yes, although it does require us to be a little more proactive.

 

The way to store negatives and prints was in a cupboard and hope that the house didn’t burn down or get flooded. With very little input from the owners, these ‘archives’ could survive decades.

 

In the digital world, it’s a little more complicated because we have to keep abreast of changing technology. We can’t just put the digital files away and expect them to be there in the future, but we can embrace the technology and set up a plan that ensures our photographs survive, right from the moment we take our photographs.

 

LaCie 2big Dock – up to 20TB storage 

 

Multiple Solutions

As photographers, we have more than a few precious family photographs to keep safe. Photographers have many years of time, effort and passion invested in thousands if not millions of exposures. Not all are as important as each other, but knowing today what will be important tomorrow is not always possible.

 

Generally, photographers retain all their raw files and, in separate folders, the files that have been processed and edited. A huge volume of digital files is produced, far more than will fit on an average computer. Certainly far more than fits on the storage cards you’ve used in your cameras.

 

What happens to the overflow of images as you continue to take more photographs? What can you do to ensure they survive your lifetime and that of future generations?

 

Experts explain that one solution is not enough. Technology is always changing, so we need to accept this and transfer our archives of photographs to new media as it becomes available – and to new media as it needs refreshing.

 

In the past, we’ve used tape, CDs, DVDs and hard drives, but it seems the only survivor of note is the hard drive.

 

The cloud is also touted as being a great solution, but it should not be our only solution – what happens if the company goes out of business? Financial obsolesence is more of a danger, hopefully not this year.

 

If for nothing more than convenience and peace of mind, we need our own storage. And we need reliable technology.

 

LaCie 6big – up to 60TB storage

 

Quality Equipment

There’s not much point storing your files or making a backup onto a hard drive that might not last.

 

True, all hard drives can fail, even the best quality and most expensive. And that’s exactly why every hard drive manufacturer recommends multiple copies of your files.

 

Multiple copies can be achieved in a number of ways.

 

For instance, when you’re shooting out on location, copying the files from your camera’s storage cards onto a separate hard drive (or two) immediately gives you multiple copies and security.

 

Back at home or in the studio, using a RAID system which automatically makes a second and even a third copy of all your files gives you further security (because if one of the drives fails, it can be replaced without losing any data).

 

And finally, to protect against the unlikely event of fire, flood or theft,  a further copy of your files should be kept at a remote site – maybe a parent or sibling’s house, for instance.

 

However, this system only works if you have good quality storage – good quality drives and supporting technology.

 

LaCie 12big – up to 120TB storage

 

On Location

So, what storage system should you adopt and what equipment do you need? Here’s a suggestion based on LaCie’s high quality and much trusted product line.

 

On a shoot, try to take as many storage cards for your camera as possible, preferrably so you don’t need to copy over a card for the duration of the shoot.

 

As the shoot progresses, copy the files to your laptop computer and back them up onto your LaCie Rugged drive. Eventually, your computer may run out of space, but you will always have two copies of all your raw files – on the storage cards and on the LaCie Rugged drive.

 

LaCie’s rugged drives come in capacities up to 5TB and with their bright orange protectors, will happily survive life in a busy photographer’s luggage.

 

In the Studio

Back at home, you have to assume that the camera storage cards and your LaCie Rugged drive will eventually be used for other shoots.

 

Transfer the entire shoot, either directly from the cards, or from the LaCie Rugged drive, onto your home or studio system.

 

If you just use your laptop at home, then a separate LaCie 2big or 2big Dock with up to 20TB is an ideal solution, especially if you set it to RAID (as this gives you a backup copy).

 

For photographers with larger archives of work, a 6big or even a 12big with up to 120TB may be the answer.

 

All these storage devices can be set to a RAID configuration, providing a back-up of your files within the one storage device. However, this is just your archive, it’s not a true back up. Not yet!

 

LaCie Rugged – many options up to 5TB

 

Off Site

Finally, have a further copy of all your files (both raw and working files) kept on another LaCie 2big, 6big or 12big RAID storage.

 

We don’t want your house or studio to be burnt down or the burglars to visit, but since this is a true ‘backup’ of all your work, it is best kept at a remote location - just in case!

 

LaCie has all your storage solutions.

 

For more information, visit www.lacie.com, a specialist photo supplier or better computer suppliers Australia-wide.

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