Things to Watch

Here’s the Best Way to Match Tones in Composite Photos

Here’s the Best Way to Match Tones in Composite Photos

One of the most common difficulties with compositing photos is having the color tones of the different parts of the image match. This can be tricky to achieve, but this 10-minute tutorial by Photoshop expert Antti Karppinen shows a powerful way you can do it using a Selective Color adjustment mask.

By putting a neutral gray layer on top of the composite, you can start to see the differences. First, create a new blank layer. Press Shift + Backspace to fill the layer with 50% gray. Then, choose the Luminosity blend mode.

You’ll start to see some colors emerging through the darkness, and by adding a saturation adjustment layer you can boost these colors so you can see easily. Now you have a color map of the image.

Next, add a Selective Color adjustment mask.

By moving around the sliders, you are able to adjust the color map so that you blend the two elements together. The color map provides an excellent guide for perfectly matching the tones.

Try adjusting neutrals first — that’s where most of the color information is — as well as other color tones of the image.

Done successfully, your map will look something like this:

Now bring back the original layers and you’ll see the change. Here’s the original:

And here is the color matched image using this easy but powerful technique:

“I do lots of compositions and this is one of my most used techniques when it comes blending images together with different tones,” Karppinen tells PetaPixel. “This is pretty cool technique.”

Check out the video above for a step-by-step tutorial showing exactly how this technique is done. You can also find more of Karppinen work on his YouTube channel and website.


Source: PetaPixel

Here’s the Best Way to Match Tones in Composite Photos

Lexar Will Keep Making XQD Memory Cards, and CFExpress is the Future

Lexar Will Keep Making XQD Memory Cards, and CFExpress is the Future

After the shocking news in June that Lexar would be discontinuing its memory card line, the company was acquired by a Chinese flash storage company called Longsys in September. It now seems that Lexar will continue producing XQD memory cards.

Nikon Rumors reports that, in response to earlier stories of Lexar XQD cards being out of stock at retailers such as B&H, Lexar has confirmed that it will continue manufacturing the cards.

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Here’s what Nikon Rumors heard from a source who spoke to a Lexar rep at PhotoPlus Expo about what’s going on with Lexar behind the scenes:

Micron would sell flash memory to Longsys, who would assemble the cards with Lexar packaging, and ship out to Lexar for distribution. The rise in flash memory prices meant the white label manufacturing process and marketing costs were lost profits for Micron, as they could sell the flash memory for higher prices elsewhere. The flash shortage is temporary, and prices should come down.

More importantly, according to this employee, there is a warehouse full of Lexar CF/SD/XQD cards in Tennessee, ready to go.

The problem, however, is that the cards all have the wrong packaging at the moment. Currently, the cards have Micron/Lexar packaging instead of Longsys/Lexar packing.

“[V]ery little is actually changing,” the source tells Nikon Rumors. “Lexar, with its 40 employees, has a new owner, but it’s the owner who’s been the actual manufacturer all along.”

The same Lexar employee told Nikon Rumors‘ source that CFExpress is the future.

“CFExpress is essentially the next revision of XQD, and there should be full backward compatibility with XQD, and that getting D4/D5/500/D850’s to work with CFE cards should be a simple software patch,” the source says.


Source: PetaPixel

Lexar Will Keep Making XQD Memory Cards, and CFExpress is the Future

This is What Photos From a $63,000 Camera Look Like

This is What Photos From a ,000 Camera Look Like

What kind of images does a $63,000 stills camera produce? Here’s a 19-minute video by Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography in which he uses a Phase One XF medium format DSLR to show the bang for your buck that you get when you spend 63 grand on a camera kit.

The Phase One XF is a medium-format camera built with a modular design. That means you can interchange not only the lenses but also the backs of the camera. In this particular setup, the new $50,000 Phase One IQ3 monochrome back is being tested.

The monochrome back means that the camera shoots in black and white, but this is “very different” to other black and white cameras. It can capture light “beyond the visual spectrum,” recording light from the infrared spectrum as well.

With 101 megapixels in each shot, the amount of detail you can actually capture with this camera is staggering. It’s capable of retaining a huge amount of detail in the shadows and bright highlights that other cameras are just not capable of.

“The amount of data that this sensor is capable of capturing is incredible,” said Forbes. He also described the camera as “very forgiving,” thanks to its incredibly high dynamic range.

This image of a cat in a window was shot at ISO 12,800. Amazingly, when Forbes zooms in to 100%, there is absolutely no noise in the image.

A crop of the photo showing the lack of noise even when zoomed into the image.

It’s even more impressive when you consider that the image is shot in very low light, showing just how good the noise handling is on this camera.

Check out the full video above to see exactly what Forbes thinks about this monster of a camera. You can also find more of his videos by subscribing to The Art of Photography channel on YouTube.


Image credits: Photographs by Ted Forbes/The Art of Photography and used with permission


Source: PetaPixel

This is What Photos From a ,000 Camera Look Like

N.E.R.D. Stages A Comeback With New Music Video Featuring Rihanna

N.E.R.D. Stages A Comeback With New Music Video Featuring Rihanna
Pharell Williams is once again back at the mic, reviving his N.E.R.D. project by teaming up with pop sensation Rihanna for the latest track called “Lemon”—which features a minute-long rap verse the hit-maker.
The video, directed by Todd Tourso and Scott Cudmore, opens as Rihanna shaves a woman’s head in a hotel room—who ends up being the focus of the video as she dances in a flea market. One can only hope that the track is a preview of what’s to come from a N.E.R.D. album in the w…

Keep on reading: N.E.R.D. Stages A Comeback With New Music Video Featuring Rihanna
Source: V Magazine

N.E.R.D. Stages A Comeback With New Music Video Featuring Rihanna

Macphun Unveils Luminar 2018 to Take on Adobe Lightroom

Macphun Unveils Luminar 2018 to Take on Adobe Lightroom

California-based software developer Macphun (soon to be Skylum) has announced Luminar 2018, a digital photo editor and organizer that’s aiming to be a direct competitor to Adobe Lightroom.

Unlike past versions of Macphun software, Luminar 2018 is available for both Mac and Windows users. Not only that, but the new software boasts “major speed boosts” compared to its predecessor.

“We’ve taken the time to listen to photographers, and what they want is performance and quality. The less time photographers have to spend in front of computers, the more time they have for taking pictures,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Macphun. “Our mission is to get Luminar streamlined with just the tools and controls photographers need. The goal is simple: enable the best-looking images with the least amount of effort.”

Offering “everything a modern photographers needs,” Luminar 2018 has many of the features and functions that will be familiar to Lightroom users.

There are new filters, powered by artificial intelligence, that make it easy to get a “great-looking image” in seconds. Intelligent filters alongside real-time noise removal look to create a pleasing and easy user experience. Want to keep things really simple? There are over 100 one-click presets you can apply, as well as over 40 image enhancement filters.

A new RAW Engine means that the software can “handle high-quality images faster.” Lens correction features will help to eliminate vignetting, distortion, and color aberration. A new transform tool will help to sort “unwanted perspective problems.”

Luminar even has stackable layers, as well as brushes and an advanced layer masking system. Object removal is possible too, thanks to the software’s clone stamp tool.

You can also apply LUTs (Lookup Table Adjustments) that will allow you to easily perform black and white conversions or creative color styles with a single click. If you have Lightroom presets, you can easily convert those into LUTs for Luminar with a free 3rd party tool.

Looking to move over from Lightroom but worried about your catalog? No problem – coming in 2018, Macphun will be releasing a free update with a digital asset manager for Luminar that will support Lightroom catalogs.

Luminar will work as a stand-alone application, a plugin to run within Photoshop or Lightroom, and even as an extension for Apple Photos.

Luminar 2018 is available for pre-order on the Macphun website for a special price of $60, with upgrades to current Luminar users for $40. After that, the software will retail at $70. During pre-order period, you will receive a signature preset and textures pack, an exclusive pack of LUTs, and a 1-year Power plan from SmugMug.

Out West: A Visual Narrative of China’s Westernmost Region

Out West: A Visual Narrative of China’s Westernmost Region

Borrowing from romanticized notions of the American frontier, synonymous with ideals of exploration and expansion, I captured a visual narrative of China’s westernmost region, Xinjiang. Whereas the American West conjures images of cowboys and pioneers, of manifest destiny and individualistic freedom, the Chinese West has not yet been so defined.

It is a place of pluralities—of haunting, expansive landscapes, of rough mountains and vivid lakes, of new construction and oil fields, of abandoned structures in decaying towns, of devout faith and calls to prayer, of silence and maligned minorities, of opportunity and uncertain futures. It is a land of shifting identity. In essence, Xinjiang is the new frontier to be conquered and pondered.

Literally translating to “new frontier” in Chinese, Xinjiang is a land apart, and has been so for centuries. More than twice the land area of France with a population less than the city of Shanghai, the Chinese province of Xinjiang once connected China to Central Asia and Europe as the first leg of the ancient Silk Road. Yet it remains physically, culturally, and politically distinct, an otherness within modern China.

Its infinite sense of space; its flowing Arabic scripts and mosque-filled cityscapes; its designation as an autonomous region; and simmering beneath, its uneasy relationship with the encroaching, imposing, surveilling East.

For China’s ethnic Han majority, Xinjiang is once again the new frontier, to be awakened for Beijing’s new Silk Road — China’s own manifest destiny — with the promise of prosperity in its plentiful oil fields.

For me, Out West is as a much a story of the region as it is his own, as much a documentation of a contemporary and historical place as it is an emotional journey of what it means to strive, and for what. There exists an inherent fascination in the region — as both key and foil to the new China — and a siren’s call to its vast limitlessness that instinctively incites introspection and desire.

Showcasing a romanticism of the frontier, Out West presents Xinjiang via the lens of its present day, in photography that speaks of the surrealistic tranquility — and disquiet — of the unknown.

Out West offers an experience of Xinjiang that highlights its estrangement from contemporary perceptions of the new China, accentuating undercurrents of tension and the mystique it has cultivated—whether in their minds or ours.

At its core, Out West is a question of perspective: What is the West but the East to another?


The text of this photo essay was co-written by Bonny Yau.


About the author: Patrick Wack is a French self-taught photographer who worked in China from 2006 to 2017 as a freelance photographer in the fields of portraiture, documentary and commercial photography. Patrick also focuses on long-term personal projects and is part of the German agency LAIF. His work has been exhibited in Shanghai, Beijing, Berlin, Singapore, Paris and Bordeaux. You can find more of his work on his website.


Source: PetaPixel

Out West: A Visual Narrative of China’s Westernmost Region

This Guy Ruins His Friends’ Instagram Food Photos

This Guy Ruins His Friends’ Instagram Food Photos

In the age of Instagram, snapping a photo of a picture-perfect meal before eating it has become something of a ritual (science also suggests it helps food taste better). But one guy has made it a ritual of his own to ruin his friends’ Instagram food photos and capture their horrified expressions.

Kevin Freshwater posted a compilation video showing how his friends react to having their Instagram food snap ruined as it’s being shot (warning: there’s some strong language):

It seems there’s some kind of universal disdain for this type of Instagram photo. In less than a week after being posted online, Freshwater’s video has gone viral, racking up over 250,000 views on Instagram and 41 million views on Facebook.

(via @kevinfreshwater via Mashable)


Source: PetaPixel

This Guy Ruins His Friends’ Instagram Food Photos

This Website Uses AI to Enhance Low-Res Photos, CSI-Style

This Website Uses AI to Enhance Low-Res Photos, CSI-Style

Let’s Enhance is a new free website that uses neural networks to upscale your photos in a way Photoshop can’t. It magically boosts and enhances your photo resolution like something straight out of CSI.

The service is designed to be minimalist and extremely easy to use. The homepage invites you to drag and drop a photo into the center (once you do, you’ll be asked to create a free account):

Once it receives your photo, the neural network goes to work, upscaling your photo by 4x, removing JPEG artifacts, and “hallucinating” missing details and textures into your upscale photo to make it look natural. You’ll need to wait a couple of minutes for the work to be done, but it’s worth the wait — the results we’ve seen are impressive.

We first tested the system with a press photo we had on hand from the Rylo camera that just launched. Here’s the original:

We then resized the image into a 500px wide photo.

A small 500 pixel wide version of the test photo.

Upsampling the 500px-wide photo in Photoshop to 2000px wide using the “Preserve Details (enlargement)” resample option produces a photo with horrible textures (look at the fingers):

An upsampled version created using Photoshop.

But upsampling the 500px-wide photo using Let’s Enhance produces a much cleaner version of the image that magically restores realistic textures to the hands:

Here’s a crop comparison to help you more easily see the difference:

Upsampled with Photoshop (left) and Let’s Enhance (right).

We did a number of other similar tests. Here are the results:

Cat

A crop of an original photo by Linnea Sandbakk.
Upscaled with Photoshop
Upscaled with Let’s Enhance.

Face

A crop of an original photo by Brynna Spencer
Upscaled with Photoshop
Upscaled with Let’s Enhance

Buildings

A crop of an original photo by picjumbo.com
Upscaled with Photoshop
Upscaled with Let’s Enhance

Face

The system is currently weak with things like eye realism, but it excels with things like hair, landscapes, and animals.

A crop of an original photo by Matthew Kane.
Upscaled with Photoshop
Upscaled with Let’s Enhance

Let’s Enhance was founded by Alex Savsunenko and Vladislav Pranskevičius, a chemistry Ph.D. and a former CTO (respectively) who have been building the software over the past 2.5 months.

“We are researchers ourselves,” Savsunenko tells PetaPixel. “We took few state-of-art approaches, hacked around and rolled them into production-ready system. Basically we were inspired by SRGAN and EDSR papers.”

Let’s Enhance is currently in its first version and will continually be improved based on user needs and feedback. The current neural network “was trained on a very broad subset of images that included portraits at about 10% rate,” Savsunenko says. “The idea is to make separate networks for each ‘type’ of image. Detect the type uploaded under the hood and apply some appropriate network. The current version does better with animals and landscapes.”

Every time you upload a photo, three results are produced for you: the Anti-JPEG filter simply removes JPEG artifacts, the Boring filter does the upscaling while preserving existing details and edges, and the Magic filter draws and hallucinates new details into the photo that weren’t actually there before (using AI).

If you’d like to use Let’s Enhance on your own photos, head on over to the website and drag-and-drop an image into your browser.


Source: PetaPixel

This Website Uses AI to Enhance Low-Res Photos, CSI-Style

This is Trump’s New Official Portrait

This is Trump’s New Official Portrait

The White House just published President Trump’s official portrait photo, which means the one that was released in January 2017 was a placeholder until the real official photo could be made.

The newly released portrait was shot on Friday, October 6, 2017, by official White House photographer Shealah Craighead. In case you missed it the first time around, here’s what the older “official” portrait looked like:

As you can see, Trump is looking a lot happier in the new portrait and there isn’t a strange blue color cast in the background.

Here are President Obama’s two official portraits captured by former White House photographer Pete Souza:

Trump’s new portrait was released more than 9 months after he took office, and it was produced by the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO).


Source: PetaPixel

This is Trump’s New Official Portrait

Great Photos Don’t Need to Be Technically Perfect

Great Photos Don’t Need to Be Technically Perfect

Do photos always need to be technically perfect? In this 10-minute video, landscape photographer Thomas Heaton discusses whether photographers worry too much about the technicalities of a photo, forgetting about what’s actually in the image.

“The best standalone images are those that tell a story, those that make the viewer feel something,” says Heaton.

This image shows water droplets on the lens, but it’s the only part of the photo that makes the viewer appreciate the horrible, rainy conditions Heaton faced on the day. Does that make this a bad photo?

“For me, those water droplets actually really, really add to the image,” says Heaton. “I have no interest in removing them. I think they help tell the story.”

But some disagree. A user commenting on his channel said they were a “shame,” and it was that comment that prompted Heaton to make the video in the first place.

Another shot shows a storm rolling in on the coast, but Heaton admits he missed the focus “by a mile.” However, he doesn’t think it matters. The scene itself, when you’re not pixel-peeping, looks great.

“Photography is full of contradictions,” concludes Heaton. “The truth is it’s all about what happens in the moment. Don’t follow the rules, and don’t shoot for anybody other than yourself.”


Source: PetaPixel

Great Photos Don’t Need to Be Technically Perfect