Macphun Free Launch of Beta Luminar for Windows

 I’ve been working with Macphun’s Luminar on my Mac and love it.  PC users can now get a beta version of Luminar for Windows.  Free!

Here’s the Press Release from Macphun:

Macphun makes free public beta of Luminar for Windows available for download 

 

San Diego, CA – July 13, 2017Macphun, the California-based developer known for delivering award-winning products for Mac, today launched the free public beta of its award-winning photo editor Luminar for Windows. To download the beta, please visit macphun.com/beta.

Luminar is a powerful photo editor designed to tackle anyone’s photography needs, from correcting challenging image problems to artful stylizing. Users can choose between levels of image processing complexity based on their experience, and adapt the workspace controls to their skill level, moving up to more advanced modes as they learn. Luminar works in non-destructive fashion and aims to take “work” from photo editing “workflow” for photographers worldwide.

In April, only 5 months after its launch, Luminar for Mac won the prestigious TIPA award for Best Imaging Software 2017. This all-in-one photo editor is a cutting-edge solution for creating fascinating images without extra hassle. Luminar includes over 300 robust tools that make fixing, editing and perfecting a photo as easy as moving a slider.

“We are thrilled to release our first PC product today and give photography enthusiasts around the world the first taste of our best-selling Mac product,” said Kevin La Rue, Vice-President at Macphun. “By test-driving Luminar for Windows, beta testers can help shape our software and make the final release a perfect fit for everyone,” concluded La Rue.

 The public beta is free of charge and already matches some of the most important features of Luminar, such as the newest and most advanced tool developed by Macphun’s Research and Development Lab – the Accent AI Filter, powered by artificial intelligence technology. The filter allows anyone to create stunning images with a single slider, substituting for dozens of traditional controls like shadows, highlights, contrast, tone, saturation, exposure, details and many others.

Admittedly, several features from the Mac version of Luminar remain in development for the Windows platform, among them workspaces, plug-in integration, object removal, noise reduction, and more. As these are completed, the public beta will be updated regularly leading to a full cross-platform release late in 2017.

Key features of the Luminar for Windows public beta:

  • Adaptive user interface – Exactly matching the Mac version, the software adapts to the skill level and preferences of the photographer.
  • One-click presets – Over 50 pre-defined styles for every photography style.
  • Photo Editing Filters – Over 40 custom filters, each with built-in visual tips and a unique set of easy-to-use controls for correcting, enhancing and stylizing images.
  • RAW file conversion – Support for the latest RAW file libraries.
  • Non-destructive workflow – Edit without fear.
  • Recommended System Requirements – Windows 10, Core i5 2.2 or better, 8GB RAM, 1GB GPU RAM, SSD with 20+GB free space.

Macphun Intensify

I’m having fun exploring Macphun’s Intensify.  This is a plug-in that works with Photoshop or Lightroom

Watch what happens to this image that I took in Venice two years ago.

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 9.15.15 PM
This is my photo of a magnificent storm over Venice.  I’ve processed the image in Adobe Camera Raw and then opened it into Photoshop.  

With the image open in Photoshop, I click Filters and open Macphun Intensify.  A screen capture is above.

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 9.15.23 PM
The first slider I  selected was Architectural Details.  Notice the details in the clouds.  
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 9.15.40 PM
The second  slider that I used was the Balanced Tool slider.   Notice how this slider brings out the gold on the edge of the clouds on the right side.   It was too much at 100% so I moved the slider to 49%.
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 9.17.17 PM
Then I selected the Strong Indoor Details slider.  The change is pretty subtle but there’s a bit more detail in the buildings.
Venice Macphun before and after Intensify
Here’s the before and after.  Macphun Intensify is pretty amazing.  

Fireworks Season — Relook at Cropping Plus Content Aware

Photoshop CC 2017 gives us an amazing feature under the crop tool.  Normally we think of using the crop tool to reduce an image or take away something we don’t want in an image.

(This tool was added in version 2015.5, by the way, so you might have it.)

With Crop we can ADD a bit to an image.  This is useful if we cut something off or something spills out of the frame.

Notice in the photo on the left that the burst of light exceeded the size of the frame.

In the photo on the right, you’ll see that the top of burst has been captured — or recreated.

I did that with Content Aware in the crop tool in  Photoshop 2017.

Here’s how it works:

  • Open the image in Photoshop CC.
  • Click on the crop tool
  • Click on the tiny box next to the words Content Aware in the ribbon above the photo. (I’ve circled it below)
  • Then pull the crop box up about 1/4 inch.
  • Press return and Photoshop works magic and the small area above the photo is filled in.
  • Do that again with another 1/4 inch and a bit more area is created.
  • Flatten the layers when finished.
  • Click Filter>Camera Raw Filter or open into Lightroom for minor tweaking to the cloned area.


Pretty amazing tool, Adobe.  Give it a try as you process your fireworks photos.

Fireworks — Layers Can Be Your Friend

Fireworks in The Woodlands, Texas, on the 4th of July.  Fourth of July
This is a layer blend of several photos.

Not every photo you take at the fireworks display will be perfect.  The burst will be too small, the burst will be a bit to the left, the other too far to the right, etc.

Let Layers in Photoshop come to the rescue.

This only works, by the way, if you don’t move your tripod during the display.

Highlight each image that you want to blend in Photoshop Bridge.  Clicked on Tools >Photoshop> Load Files Into Photoshop Layers.  Photoshop opens the images in a layer stack on the right side.  (Lightroom users will highlight all the images, click Edit>Photo>Load Files Into Photoshop Layers.)

Highlight each image, then clicked on Lighten in the blend mode.  Then click Layer>Flatten.   Click on Filter>Camera Raw Filter to open the image in Adobe Camera Raw so you can tweek it a bit.

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Photograph Fireworks

Fireworks, crowd, Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, Texas.
You didn’t get to the display in time.  You’re not in your desired location.  Make it work!

Don’t stress it if things aren’t going well at the fireworks display.

Put the camera on the tripod.  Frame the scene in front of you.  Set the camera’s mode to Aperture Priority.  Dial the f/stop to 5.6.  Raise the ISO to around 400.

Take a couple of shots.  Look at them on the back of the camera.  Too bright, then drop the ISO to 200 or 100.  Not bright enough, raise the ISO to 800 — though this is usually not the case.  Take a couple of shots and repeat.

The key is to not get flustered.  You can do it!

 

Photographing Fireworks

Fireworks, Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, Texas, Amusement park.Do you have your spot staked out? Do you know where you’re going to be 90-minutes or two-hours before the fireworks start?

Wonderful photos of fireworks come when you’ve thought about your vantage point. Then you’re there and ready to go when the display starts.

Equipment: Tripod, camera, and optional cable release. Camera set on Aperture Priority with the aperture set at 4.5 or 5.6. That gives you a lot of light. Then ISO at about 400. No need for too high of an ISO because then the color and grain are sacrificed.

Once the fireworks begin, check your photos periodically on the back of the camera. Long shutter speed means lots of streaks, or draping, in the fireworks burst. Shot shutter speed means dots of light in the sky versus streaks.

Fireworks, Galveston Bay, Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, Texas.
Want more streaks in your fireworks? Use a longer shutter speed.  I shoot in Aperture Priority, so that means I move my f/stop to f/8 or f/10 to get a longer shutter speed.

Want more shutter speed? Move the aperture to f/8. (Watch the shutter speed increase as the sky fills with a fireworks burst. The shutter speed goes down when there are no bursts in the sky.)

Avoid clicking the shutter when there are no fireworks in the sky.  Hit the shutter when  the burst begins. This gives your photos a better exposure since the light meter is set for light in the sky versus a dark sky.

Take most of your photos early in the display. Smoke fills the sky toward the end of the display and doesn’t look as good.

Have fun. Enjoy yourself! Take good pictures!!

Fireworks: Stakeout Your Location

Fireworks in The Woodlands, Texas, on the 4th of July.  Fourth of JulyThe 4th of July is coming up in the United States.  That means fireworks displays all over the country.

Now is the time to figure out where you’re going to stand so you can get magnificent photos of your local display.

I suggest you start doing your research now.  Figure out the launching location.  This is usually published in the local newspaper or municipal website.   Then figure out where you’re going to stand so there’s an interesting foreground.

If possible, scout the area ahead of time.  I know that sounds crazy and obsessive but there are a lot of photographers out there.  I guarantee five other photographers have found the same location.

(I found my spot and scouted the area during my morning walk.  I have my prime location and two other contingency locations.)

Fireworks KAC9844 croppedConsider getting into location early.  That might mean two-hours ahead of time in super crowded locations.  Maybe only thirty minutes for a small town display.   Go ahead and break it to your family that you need to be on location ahead of time.  Get everyone prepared.

Fireworks over The Woodlands