Nik has released finally (it was killing me not being able to talk about it) HDR Efex Pro 2 and it’s freakin great! It’s sweeter, it’s faster, it’s better and it’s my preferred HDR program now! I’ve been using it for a while and for my style of HDR, it picks up and incorporates the subtle tones that I want from my images using HDR. You can check it out of order it here and if you do, you’ll save some money using that link. I hope to have a video up shortly on how I use it. It’s great!!!!
I’ve been on the road so much, I forgot I had loaded the new OnOne Software Photo Sutie 6.1 and man…is it schweeet! You see before and afters here and the after was done with just ONE CLICK!!! I didn’t have to do anything but look at what I like and click on it and OnOne did the rest. This is so cool, I can’t wait to learn it more so I can make images to take advantage of all the great new features in 6.1!
Is Photoshop CS6 worth the price? Since it’s release a week ago, it’s a question I’m hearing more and more and to be totally honest with you, I don’t know. Each and every photographer must figure that out for themselves. After demoing it during my B&H Crits last week, I had a number of folks say afterwards that they needed it. For me, the answer though was really easy, YES!But Photoshop CS6 simply put, saves me time and that, puts money in my pocket!
Let’s start off with you don’t need to buy Extended unless you’re doing 3D. Photoshop for stills and video is part of CS6 and it works great. Now the video editing of Photoshop CS6 is amazing, nothing like any previous version and if you have a HDSLR, it’s a no-brainer why you should buy CS6. What other reasons, here’s the short list:
- 62% more features
- Bicubic Automatic
- Tilt & Shift
- Iris Blur
- ACr 7.1
- Auto Background save (that works!)
- Contact Sheet
- PDF creator
- Content Aware Move Tool
- Clarity has no halos (part of ACR)
- Chormatic Aberation correction on the fly
And this is just the short list! Its faster operation, cleaner UI and so much most just make it a natural. Now I understand it is not inexpensive, so each has to make their own call on upgrading. Adobe has lowered the subscription rate which might help and The Cloud is now up and going. Keep in mind that at the very least, you can download and test drive Photoshop CS6 for 30 days for free. You can find out for yourself if it’s worth the price. Just a warning, if you try it, you’ll like it!
CS6 is NOW available and shipping. Here’s some free training that just might help you make the most of it!
Here’s what you’ll see:
How Adobe Creative Cloud helps you break down creative barriers and revolutionizes the art of video production
The redesigned Adobe Premiere Pro CS6–the hub of your post-production workflow. With a streamlined user interface, powerful new trimming tools, and other creative advancements, you’ll see why more and more professional editors are turning to Adobe Premiere Pro.
A faster, more productive After Effects CS6 featuring new features such as Global Performance Cache and the 3D Camera Tracker that add up to what is rumored to be the biggest After Effects release in a decade.
Creative magic in imaging with new Content Aware tools and the fastest performance ever in Photoshop CS6.
New features in Adobe Story and Adobe Audition, as well as brand new tools into the video lineup: Adobe Prelude, a tool created specifically for logging and ingest, and Adobe SpeedGrade, a forward-looking approach to color grading and finishing.
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Dive deeper into each component of CS6 Production Premium. Learn from industry experts how you can migrate to Adobe Premiere Pro from another editor, optimize your hardware for peak performance, gain color correction tips & tricks, and more. On-site training is available in New York, Washington DC, and LA venues.
Registration is open for these training dates & locations:
• June 5 – New York, NY
• June 7 – Orlando, FL
• June 11 – Washington, D.C.
• June 14 – Atlanta, GA
• June 19 – Dallas, TX
• June 21 – Chicago, IL
• June 26 – San Francisco, CA
• June 30 – Los Angeles, CA
Until teaching CS6 this weekend to our Photoshop for Shooters, I had already taken for granted new features in CS6. There really is a whole lot, some are pretty darn big but the ones I really like are kinda behind the scenes. Simple things like the Save progress bar isn’t in the middle of your photograph anymore, hurrah!!!The photograph above is another example of a new feature. Photoshop has a new Auto Save function with the default being every 5min. I had just finished this photo when we had a major power surge at the hotel we were staying. TVs went off and the notebook went dark. When I rebooted and launched PS, a few moment later the file came up and I just kept on going. Now that’s cool!A biggie to me but in reality it’s a small thing is the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option (which you have to check). Since I like the photo to fill the whole workspace when I’m in Photoshop, panels like Actions or Mini Bridge staying open until you clicked on them to close them got real old to me. Having this option so they close with you click basically anywhere in the work space is GREAT!!! And as a teacher, I really like the Bicubic Automatic option when sizing files. It’s the default and while I’m still testing it, so far I found it to work really sweet. When I teach photography or Photoshop, I’m constantly saying the lots of little subtleties add up to big drama. These are little subtleties in CS6 which to me add up to big improvements!
Light…it’s what makes photography go round. I have found the D4 sees and records light differently then anyother camera before it. While at first it threw me, now I really like it. It has changed the way I expose for HDR a tad and expanded what I can do which I like. What you see here is a 5 image HDR. With the D3 I would have had an initial exp comp of -1 but in this case, it was 0. The additional information the D4 provides makes a subtle difference in the final image, but I like it. That little extra info in the highlights and shadows just gives the image a tad more depth. This is a FG-1D Corsair shot just before the sun actually lit it. The ground fog had lifted but was still adding density to the air. It was a gorgeous morning and to bring out the detail from under the wing to the funky sky, HDR was the only way to go.
Now up to today, I was using HDR Efex Pro (and I like it!) for processing my D4 HDR images. Photomatix Pro just released ver4.2 and I LIKE IT! The Corsair was processed using 4.2 and my default settings (which you can find here). My settings for either HDR programs is only a very slight tweak of the their default. I’m going after a “realistic” HDR image that represents what my eyes could see and the camera could not capture. My point here is the D4 does a better job of capturing that light from the start which makes the finishing not only faster, but better. For me, it’s just another reason I like the D4. Don’t understand this D4 metering thing? I go through it in the upcoming D4 BT Journal issue
“How do you get the most out of the D4 file?” This is a very common question right now and rightly so. To be honest with you, I’ve been trying to answer that question for my own images. I’ve tried everything out there like Lightroom 4 and ACR 6.7 and some others you don’t know about yet and I’ve found the program bringing out the most and best from the D4 file right now is NX2. Now I’d not used NX2 in over 3yrs so had to go and get it to test and was quite surprised it looked exactly like how it did 3yrs ago. Yeah, there are a couple new sliders and it’s a bit faster, but otherwise, it’s still the same. The main thing though is NX2 has the secret sauce pulling out the small nuances of color and exposure that other programs simply weren’t. It adds to my workflow processing time but the additional look to the images is worth it to me.
Now before the call for side by side comparisons come flying into my inbox, lemme just say I’m not going to post any and here’s why. First and I’m still surprised how many don’t realize this, but images posted on the web are sRGB color space. Those I’m looking at and comparing are in the ProPhoto color space. There is a BIG difference between those two when it comes to subtle details that you’re not going to see on the web. Second, just because I like NX2 better doesn’t mean you will. How do you find out one over the other? You process the same file in other programs and do your own side by side. That’s why I’ve not posted them here.
While I was comparing, I checked out HDR processing and I found the Nik’s HDR Efex Pro did a better job with D4 files over the other options on my computer.
The top image is of the Texas Flying Legends Museum Aleutian Tiger P-40 and “Dakota Kid” P-51D that I shot air to air this past week from the tail of the B-25J “Panchito.” It was processed in NX2 by simply launching NX2, opening the file and doing a Save As. That’s it, nothing else. The bottom image was processed in CS5 using HDR Efex Pro with all its defaults except I move the Structure slider up a couple of points. The D4 just keeps me hopping as I learn more and my photography grows just a tad more with age.
The Intuos 5 reached my office and it was love at first…stroke! Already handed down the Intuos 4s and fully adopted the 5s, they simply speed up the workflow and even better yet, they speed up everything. Watch the video, you’ll understand how.
This take my “Joe Blow Tourist” video and blows it away. A real reason to update to CS6!
One of the ways I try to push my photography forward is to look at previous images. I routinely do this when I’m about to head out for a shoot. Be it wildlife, landscapes, people, aviation, I find ways I can improve by looking at images I’ve already taken. Just gotta push constantly, I don’t know any other way. Right now, I’m getting my presentations for the next two months prepped and created so I’m looking at my files for teaching images. Looking for images that are before and afters, showing the ying and the yang as it were. It never fails that when I do that, I see a couple of images that didn’t catch my imagination at the time but do now. Ever do that, ever wonder why?
I know for myself, this typically happens simply because of emotions. There are always images that represent for me that moment of shooting which, after the emotional high calms down, other images with subtle impact can be seen. One issue I have is a shoot so much all the time, I don’t afford myself the luxury of time to always go back and look for those images. That’s why I always look forward to and allow extra time when looking for teaching images. I always find those images missed before.
These are just three of the images I came across yesterday pulling images for presentations that fit this category. While what you see is what I saw in the viewfinder when I went click, they didn’t have the finishing polish yet. Looking at “older” images, I tend to look at them with my current digital darkroom finishing eyes. That makes a huge difference because more and better ways to pull out subtle detail (lots of subtle detail adds up to being drama) is becoming available to us like this:
Along with that, Nik’s Color Efex 4 has vast improvements which I like. These three images were all finished using CEP4′s Detail Enhancer & Pro Contrast. Those two filters brought out the subtle detail I was looking for to make them pop. One of the best things about photography is the knowledge that tomorrow, we will be better photographers. The trick is to recognize those little things that do make us better and to keep working on learning from yesterday. Well, I’ve gotta get back to pulling images for new lessons to teach…
I just got this in…thought I would share it with you. The video below tell you how I use this product.
I run a photography deals site called PhotoWhoa and we just partnered with Tal Ninio at PSKiss for a really large discount on their software until the end of the week – basically, $59 for a $130 product for a few more days. Since you did previously recommend their software, I thought it might be good to let you know about this. The deal page is here: