Software

Do You Need Photoshop/Affinity Photo If You Have Lightroom?

As I mentioned last week, the lack of recent updates is attributed to the fact that I just purchased a copy of Affinity Photo and is playing around with it. Oh, and there is my real-life day job of course. 😛

The topic of today’s blog post is to answer a frequently-asked-question: Do you need a full-featured photo editor such as Photoshop (PS) or Affinity Photo (AP) if you already have a copy of Lightroom (LR)? Continue reading

Affinity Photo Limited Time Offer

affinity1

Serif’s Affinity Photo is finally available for both Apple Mac and Windows users! As people become wary of Adobe’s monopoly and subscription pricing model for the ubiquitous Photoshop, a capable challenger is welcome news for everyone!

At the moment only the Mac has a trial version, but you get a money-back 14-days guarantee anyway. In addition, you are receiving a limited time discount if you make a purchase now.

The reason why the number of updates on this blog have slowed down is because I am currently busy experimenting with Affinity Photo. Oh, and there is my career work of course. 😛

If you are interested, you can grab Affinity Photo here. In my limited time with it, it is easily a superior experience to both the Gimp and Paintshop Pro. A lot of people will still be satisfied with using Lightroom alone. However, it does not hurt to give it a whirl and see for yourself if you would like to expand your post-processing options. Even if you bought it and didn’t have time to evaluate it in 14 days, it is probably just the cost of a (relatively inexpensive) nice meal for two persons in a fancy restaurant. So you really don’t have much to lose. – WY

Really Nice Images All Films 4.0 Review

RNI 4

Really Nice Images released version 4.0 of their RNI All Films Pack in the beginning of July. I actually wrote a preview of it earlier, and didn’t come around to doing a review until now. In summary, if you liked what you read in my preview article, you can go ahead and prepare to make a purchase. My impressions have not changed much between then and now. In fact this review will have a lot of cut-and-paste content from the preview article in July.

To recap, the RNI 4.0 All Films pack is priced at 122 USD and existing subscribers get an email with a half-price offer to upgrade. (If you didn’t get your upgrade offer, check out this page.) RNI now offers the All Films pack in Pro and Lite versions. The Pro version gets you everything, while the Lite version gives a smaller selection of presets at a much lower price of 59USD. Continue reading

Really Nice Images 4.0 Preview

RNI 4

Really Nice Images has just released version 4.0 of their RNI All Films Pack. It’s priced at 122 USD and existing subscribers get an email with a half-price offer to upgrade! (If you didn’t get your upgrade offer, check out this page.) RNI now offers the All Films pack in Pro and Lite versions. The Pro version gets you everything, while the Lite version gives a smaller selection of presets at a much lower price of 59USD. Continue reading

User Review: Really Nice Images All Films V.3.0

I like film presets and use them frequently. After all, lab technicians spent hundreds of thousands of man hours figuring out how to make an image look good with different film. So it seems a terrible waste to discard all that expertise away with our move to digital cameras. Besides, most of my favourite pictures were shot by photographers using film, so they definitely have a valuable aesthetic to them.

In previous articles, I shared that I used Alien Skin Exposure in my post-processing for tuning colours and aesthetic. However in the past six months I have been using something else – the All Films V.3.0 pack by Really Nice Images. Continue reading

Google Nik Collection Now Totally 100% Free

Nik
In case you did not get the news yet, the Google Nik Collection is now absolutely free for download and use, no strings attached.

Yes the “totally 100%” in the title is unnecessary and grammatically repetitive – but I’m using that just to emphasize how real this is.

I’m still in the process of moving and bringing up my new PC online, so it will be quite a while before I start posting regularly.

Get the download here.

Nikon’s Capture NX suffered greatly feature-wise when Google bought over Nik Software and Nikon was no longer able to license the Nik plugins. Hence we have the current horribly feature-reduced Capture NX-D today. The only reason why anyone still uses Capture NX now is when the RAW converters from Adobe and Phase One can’t interpret a Nikon NEF optimally. Or if getting the best image quality from a NEF is most important to you and you have time for a somewhat more troublesome workflow. Now that Google is allowing free downloads of the Nik Collection, the whole situation just feels ironic and surreal. Note that Google is only giving the software away for free, not giving away the licensing rights or technology know-hows. So no, Nikon still can’t put Nik technology back into Capture NX. So now you can appreciate how ironic this is, and how bitter Nikon might feel about this whole situation. 😛

Granted, the Nik Collection has not undergone a lot of updates in recent years, and it will not be surprising if further development has ceased. However it is still very good software that deserves a look by everyone. So hit the link and give the software a try.

Guide And Tips For Working With Nikon Capture NX-D

Updated 2 August 2017 for recommendation about colour noise reduction. Clarified recommendations for colour profiles. Revised grammar.

Updated 22 June 2017 for information about astro noise reduction.

Updated 2 December 2016 for revised recommendations.

Updated 25 November 2016 to include reader observations and suggestions. Also included amended recommendations for noise reduction.

Updated on 5 October 2016 to include more details about the Picture Controls and adjust some grammar.

Capture NX-D is a great RAW converter for Nikon NEFs, no matter how you feel about its in-sufficiency for everything else. For those initial steps of detail extraction, colour interpretation, global exposure adjustment, and noise reduction – it is a great tool. I have spent nearly two years experimenting with the various RAW conversion tools – ACR, Capture One Pro, Photo Ninja, DXO OP, etc. Against all these paid options, NX-D performs surprisingly well. It is especially good at colour reproduction, where none of the competition could quite get the kind of accurate true-to-life colours as NX-D could. Of course, I should emphasize that realistic colours does not automatically mean it looks good to everyone! It really boils down to a matter of preference. Personally I find it easier to perform my edits on a well-exposed image with a neutral colour palette. I use NX-D to produce a globally exposure-adjusted, colour-corrected, noise-corrected, high quality 16-bit TIFF to feed into other post-processing applications that are better for detailed adjustments, such as Lightroom. Use the right tool for the job.

However as I have mentioned earlier, NX-D is not user-friendly and insufficient in many aspects. So here are some tips that could help get that RAW conversion part done. Continue reading

Alien Skin Exposure X Now Available

The newest update to Alien Skin Exposure, Exposure X, has been released and is now available for purchase.

Which is rather surprising, as there hasn’t been much publicity about it. From the “what’s new” page, the main features that existing Exposure users may be interested in include:

  • New photo organiser features.
  • Fast photo browsing and view.
  • Brushes and layers.
  • Noise reduction.(There has been no prior news about this function.)

Continue reading