Posts Tagged ‘beta’

Lighroom 3 Video Tutorials

November 1, 2009

My Nikon Coolpix P6000 takes very noisy photos over 400 ASA. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 has improved Noise Reduction in its recent Beta release.

I wanted to try it out. Here’s one of the pictures I took at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station a few nights ago. It’s a noisy mess at 1600 ASA.

 

An Alstholm ALS diesel locomotive at the head of a recently arrived train at Hua Lamphong Station.

An Alstholm ALS diesel locomotive at the head of a recently arrived train at Hua Lamphong Station.

 

Lightroom 3 Beta presents a new panel in its Develop Module to control Noise Reduction. Here’s a screenshot with the locomotive photo loaded.

 

Lightroom 3 Noise Reduction

Lightroom 3 Noise Reduction

 

The tool gives me three sliders:

  • Luminance
  • Color
  • Edge detail

Each can be varied 0 – 100.

I could play with them and see what improvements I can find. But I thought I’d try doing things the “right” way and read the documentation.

I don’t think there is yet any written documentation for the Beta. But there are some video tutorials on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Beta Learning Center web site. And yes, there’s one from Matt Klosowski on “Improved Noise Reduction”.

BUT …

My internet connection speed to the USA from Bangkok is very slow, especially in the evenings. I could not get the Flash video to download and play. Here’s the display after waiting about an hour.

 

Waiting for Video

Waiting for Video

 

I’m sure in the States everybody has a good connection, but here in Thailand it is a common problem. I am sure I miss a lot of good stuff because sites like You Tube are so frustrating.

I’ll see if it downloads if I ignore it for a while. Hopefully my browser will cache it and I can view it without pauses.

I’ll write another post on my experiences with the tool. I don’t think there is much to reveal if I just fiddle with it randomly.

Fear of Photoshop? Try Lightroom for Free – Gadgetwise Blog – NYTimes.com

October 30, 2009

Fear of Photoshop? Try Lightroom for Free – Gadgetwise Blog – NYTimes.com.

Yes – BUT IT’s a BETA! That means it is incomplete, is slower than Adobe want and may have loads of bugs that will destroy your work. The documentation is incomplete and there’s no support. Adobe released it so users can tell them what works and what doesn’t.

Adobe warn Beta Testers NOT to use it for production work. That means anything you care about.

Maybe Lightroom is a better tool for amateur photographers than the full version of Photoshop but I don’t think the NY Times should be encouraging users who aren’t experts to use the Beta.

I think Adobe has a free 30-day trial of the released 2.5 product. That’s been tested, has all the functionality advertised and is supported.

There are other issues that new Lightroom users need to understand. The biggest is its non-destructive editing. It works well, but you need to understand how Lightroom does it. For example, you must export the photos you edited. If you just pick up the files from the directory then you’ll be annoyed because you won’t see the changes you made in Lightroom.

Adobe also has Photoshop Elements which is easier to use than Lightroom. If people only want an editing tool Elements may be a better choice.


I put that as a comment on the Gadgetwise blog entry. It will be interesting to see if the Moderator lets it through.

Lightroom 3 Beta Grain Tool

October 23, 2009

Adobe added a Grain Tool to the Develop Module of Lightroom 3 for its recent Beta. They describe it thus:

While Lightroom’s improved noise reduction will give you incredibly smooth images, sometimes you want a little texture or grain in your images.  We’ve added a grain tool that can add a natural film-style grain to your images to get that perfect look for your photo.

I don’t know that I am the kind of photographer who wants to add grain to his pictures but I thought I would play (sorry, experiment) with it.

I took a picture of my “standard” test setup – a frugal photographer’s version of the Studio Shot used by Dpreview.com.

I used my Canon EOS-30D with the “best” lens I possess – the Canon EF 100mm F2.8 Macro. Of course I put the camera on a tripod, used a cable release and even locked the mirror up. I focused on the centre of the picture and took a series of pictures at different apertures.

I imported the pictures to Lightroom 3 Beta and selected one of them for the experiment. It was taken at 1/60 sec at f / 4.0 with an ISO speed rating of 100.

I converted the picture to Black & White (a LR 3 terminology change: it used to say Grayscale) and applied a series of carefully considered Grain adjustments to different virtual copies. I thought the grain would be more appropriate with a B&W picture.

Actually, the settings were not very carefully considered. The tool has three sliders:

  • Amount
  • Size
  • Roughness

If Amount = 0 then the other two sliders are disabled.

I was not fully sure what they meant but I tried these values

  1. 0, 0, 0 (No grain)
  2. 33, 25, 50
  3. 33, 60, 75
  4. 33, 60, 50
  5. 100, 60, 75 (Ridiculous amount of grain)

I made crops of the centre of the picture (a jar of Moccona instant coffee) and present them here as a WordPress Gallery.


You can click on each one to see a larger picture. The only post-processing I did in Photoshop was to add the text labels. The Lightroom “Sync Settings” tool is good for making all the crops identical.

Conclusion

You be the judge.

As I said, I’m not the target photographer for this tool. I can get all the “grain” I want using my Nikon Coolpix P6000 at 400 ASA or above. Yes, I know that digital noise isn’t the same as real film grain but I am not that sensitive to the difference.

I expect somebody will come up with develop presents that emulate the grain characteristics of different classic films using this tool, but I am not sufficiently knowledgable to do that.

Note

Lightroom 3 Beta displayed some annoying little bugs while I was doing this experiment. It refused to go into Crop mode many times when I selected a picture in Grid view and pressed the “R” shortcut. It came up in Develop mode but with the message “No picture loaded”.

I quit and restarted Lightroom and it was okay after that.

Chili Peppers Drying on the Windowsill

October 23, 2009

Chili Peppers Drying on the Windowsill
This is my first upload to Flickr using the Lightroom 3 Beta.

Everything is going well so far. The install was very simple apart from a confusion where it put up a dialog box (on Windows XP) saying I had to reboot my system, yet started the product anyway.

I don’t know why an application like Lightroom would need to restart the system. What drivers or other low-level system software is it installing without telling me?

Although it is a separate database (catalog) it picked up certain things about my Lightroom 2 installation, for example all my Develop presets.

I don’t know if it made a copy of them. Typically Lightroom shares presets between all databases for the same machine. My concern is that if I update a preset in LR 3 will it still work in LR 2? I would have kept them completely separate.

I see they have changed the backup option to “backup on exit” rather than “backup on start”. That’s more logical, but I wish they’d keep the old options for backwards compatibility. I don’t like being forced to work a different way.

The “Publish” feature is not near as powerful as Jeff Friedl’s “Upload to Flickr” plugin. I wonder if Jeff will be able to work with Adobe to merge the two? That’s surely the best solution for end-users. I bet Jeff helps Adobe’s sales with his powerful additions to the product.

The thing LR 3 offers that Jeff does not is two-way comment synchronization. I am not sure yet when and how the synch occurs. Surely Lightroom must query Flickr from time to time. I wonder how well that will work if I have thousands of pictures uploaded.

Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta

October 22, 2009

I found out about the Beta program on Michael Willems’s blog here. I am downloading the 120MB package from Adobe now. I wonder why the Mac version is only 68MB?

Here’s the link to the Beta Site: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/.

The beta runs until April 10, 2010 – about six months. Then users have to uninstall the beta and install the released version. As normal Adobe caution us not to use it for production work.

My internet connection in Thailand is very slow in the evenings. My downloader says it will take 13 hours to receive it. That’s another way of saying it won’t work.

A slow Internet connection is a terrible time sink. It took me a couple of hours to put together my earlier post today: Where Was That Photo Taken?

I would have done better to leave it and come back tomorrow. I am stubborn and once I start a task I want to finish it. But with the internet that is foolish. I took several tries to get each picture uploaded.

One alternative is to write the post offline and then paste it into the “Add New Post” form when the Thai internet gateway is working better.

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