Scott Martin's digital imaging newsletter
thoughts, news and techniques for digital imaging professionals

Texas Love Bus
Texas Love Bus by Scott Martin

Happy New Year Everyone!

Predictions and Hopes for 2010

Prediction: Adobe releases Lightroom 3 with impressive retouching, improved localized adjustment tools, soft proofing and watermarking features (to name a few) around March.

Prediction: Canon releases their long awaited 29-35 megapixel 1Ds Mark 4 flagship camera.

Hope: Nikon releases a 14-18 megapixel D800 camera with video.

Prediction: Epson takes a break from updating their large format printers.

Prediction: A large format printer brand will match the color gamut and fine dither found in Epson's 9900 printer, but at a lower price point.

Prediction: XRite releases a new generation of color management software solutions to replace a variety of their current applications. ProfileMakerPro, Monaco Profiler, EyeOneMatch, EyeOne Share, ColorPort, Monaco GamutWorks and others are all rumored to be replaced by a new generation of products that they are finally getting close to releasing. The new solutions are said to use an engine evolved from MonacoProfiler and GMB LOGO technology. The new software is based on modern code that will be optimized for the latest Mac and Windows operating systems.

Hope: Leica's new S2 lenses set a new caliber for other manufacturers to aim for.

Hope: Apple's MacBookPros actually go "pro" by replacing SD card slots with compact flash slots.

Hope: Apple's Cinema Displays are updated with anti-glare surfaces and a 27-30 inch version.

Hope: Photographers see the light about adopting Lightroom into their RAW capture workflows and reduce their use and dependency upon Photoshop/Bridge/ACR. JPEG shooters can/should stick with Darkroom, iPhoto or other complete JPEG workflow-centric applications.

Hope: Apple fixes the ColorSync and printing bugs that are causing problems when printing from 10.5.5 and up. Apple used to be the leader in color management but currently trails.

Hope: That all designers finally bring SWOP/GRACoL certifiable proofing in-house through the use of affordable SWOP/GRACoL certified proofing systems like Epson's ColorBurst Edition printers.


12 Pro Suggestions for developing your images in Lightroom / Adobe Camera RAW

1) Make adjustments in the proper order working from the top down. Set white balance first, then Exposure, etc.

2) Ignore the midtones when adjusting Exposure and consider only the white clipping point. One must ignore the midtones as they will be adjusted via Brightness later in the workflow. Option/Alt drag the Exposure slider to the left until all colored pixels are removed.

3) Skip or be modest with Clarity. While lots of clarity creates a look that's trendy right now, you might be surprised at how poor it can look when printed and compared to other images. I find that small prints (4x6, 8x10, etc) don't need any clarity but larger prints (20x24, 60x94, etc) benefit from greater amounts. It's worth considering scaling the amount of clarity with the size of a print.

4) In HSL, adjust Luminance first, Saturation second and Hue last. Be modest with adjustments and zoom to 1:1 looking for problems along edges.

Vignettings5) Don't skip correcting for Chromatic Aberration in the Detail panel! Chromatic Aberration is one of the most overlooked features yet it can easily improve the sharpness of an image in addition to removing unwanted color fringing. Hold down the Option/Alt key and look at the corners of your frame at 1:1 while adjusting chromatic aberration.

6) When applying a dark edge vignette, use a Post Crop vignette with a feather amount close to 80

7) Use the "Adobe Standard" profile in the Camera Calibration panel as your import default. Although some of the other profiles can be tantalizing and work well with the occasional image, the Adobe Standard profile is more versatile and will likely render more pleasing results in a wide variety of images. Photographers tend to come back to this profile after playing with the others.

8) Develop images in Color mode before switching the treatment to Grayscale. Not only will the final grayscale product look better but the image will be ready for color printing should you decide to do so in the future. After applying a Greyscale treatment, re-adjust contrast (if necessary) and use Grayscale Mix (in the HSL panel) to simulate in front of the lens filtration (yellow filter, red filter, etc). This greyscale procedure will yield better results than a haphazard one.

Set Background9) Use Snapshots to save different versions of your images (ex: grayscale and color, cropping for different aspect ratios, etc). Saving snapshots with numbers is quick and can show a progression of development (when appropriate). Example: 1, 2, 3, 4color, 4grayscale, Import.

10) Uncheck the "Apply auto grayscale mix when converting to grayscale" checkbox in Lightroom's preferences under the Presets tab. Auto=Yuk.

11) Set the background to white. You can do this by right-clicking (or control-clicking) on the background color around the image area when set to "Fit" to screen. While a white background may not be as pretty as the default dark gray, it will give you a better idea as to how an image's highlight and mid-tone densities will appear when printed. A juxtaposition with paper white is critical. Toggle between white and dark grey if you like, but always view and adjust with a white background before printing or exporting.

12) Print! Image development can only be mastered by producing gorgeous prints. A lot can and will be learned along the way.

Fortune Cookie of the day: Moderation is good for all things in life, especially with clarity, saturation, vignetting and HSL adjustments.


Dan Burkholder Pioneering iPhone Fine Art Photography

My good friend and mentor Dan Burkholder is boldly blazing a new path in a way that only he can. Dan is shooting exclusively with an iPhone and is making and exhibiting some serious fine art prints from it. Don't laugh - Dan's not just snapping low resolution images and applying filters to them, he's capturing sometimes dozens of frames, stitching them together and using half a dozen applications to develop the images to his liking. His final results are fairly high resolution files that make for nice prints. His images are made and developed completely on the iPhone. In his own words these images are "Untouched by Mac hardware or Adobe software. It's liberating in so many ways. For the first time we have both camera and darkroom in the palm of our hands." Dan has, at the moment, four "iPhone Artistry" workshops planned around the country that focus exclusivly on iPhone based image capture and development. Visit iphoneartistry.com to see more images.

Two Bridges at P

Dan is also credited for inventing the digital negative for contact printing process, pigment over platinum and pigment over gold leaf printmaking.


Industry tidbits

TTG PAGES 3.0 Lightroom Web Engine
Matthew Campagna at theturninggate.net has launched TTG Pages 3.0. It’s more powerful, more flexible and easier to use than any of its predecessors and integrates with TTG Auto Index and TTG Stage. More importantly, this web engine allows photographers to make not just a web gallery but an entire (if basic) website within Lightroom complete with home, contact, about and gallery pages. This is a sign of greater things to come from Lightroom's Web module.

The $150 Edge-of-Space Camera
Check out how some MIT students beat NASA making an edge-of-space camera on a beer money budget. The project page is complete with instructions and videos.

Enable DSLR features on your pocket Canon camera with this firmware update
This firmware allows for RAW saving, live histogram, blinking highlight/shadows, bracketing, intervalometer, and many other capabilities on any Canon pocket camera using the DIGIC II processor.

The Evolution of Print
Alexx Henry on the Evolution of Print (via Scott Campbell)

Adobe Creative Suite 5 technology
Blog on Adobe Creative Suite 5 (CS5) technologies. PSCS5's new Patchwork capability is particularly noteworthy

Third Ray blog
New blog on Art, Sustainability and the Environment that asks, "How have artists been involved in the past in the debate about sustainability and how do they continue to be involved?"

ImageNest 2 released
The best nesting application just got better with a new nesting/fitting algorithm with a redesigned interface, greater efficiency and speed, image annotation, PDF Creation, batch sizing of photos on import, layout softproofing. Free upgrade to existing owners.

Lightroom vs. Aperture usage
Lightroom vs. Aperture usage (Lightroom has over 6 times as many users)


Feedback

As always, I love to hear from creative professionals. Please email me and let me know what you are up to. Thanks! - Scott Martin

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