Quick Tip: How to ‘Auto’ a Single Slider in Lightroom
Lightroom Classic has long had an “Auto” feature in the Develop module that will automatically set basic sliders for you based on the image at hand. But did you know that you can now “Auto” set individual sliders?
This simple but useful trick is discussed and demonstrated in the 44-second “Lightroom Coffee Break” tutorial above by Adobe. Benjamin Warde shares how the basic Auto system has been revamped in Lightroom Classic version 7.1 to more intelligently auto adjust your photo to give you a solid starting point for your edits.
But in addition to automatically setting the values for all sliders, you can select individual sliders by holding down Shift and then double-clicking the label for the slider you wish to intelligently Auto set.
This is a simple way of letting Photoshop intelligently suggest values for some aspects of a photo while you keep others under your sole control from the beginning.
Testing the Speed Boost in Luminar’s Jupiter Update
Luminar has a new update, and it’s fast! Although I recently published an extensive review of raw processors that included Luminar 2018 v1.1, the new update called Jupiter (v1.2) has significant changes and improvements. I believe it warrants an updated review covering the important changes. So here it is.
Bottom Line First
The most significant and usable improvement in this version is speed! I used two very challenging raw file types to try out the advance copy provided to me by Skylum: Fuji X-Trans raw files, which use a sensor pattern that requires special processing, and Sony 42MP raw files, which are a challenge due to their sheer size. Luminar Jupiter handles them easily and quickly. Keep in mind I’ve been using a pre-release build so it’s possible the official release version may do even better.
The Luminar “Jupiter” upgrade for existing users of Luminar 2018 is free so that’s a no-brainer (Luminar menu->Check for Updates…). If you’re new to Luminar or upgrading from pre-2018 versions, I believe it’s still worth it. I’ve advocated this program for a long time because it’s so intuitive and enjoyable to use, not to mention pretty inexpensive. And with this upgrade, it just got better. You can upgrade for $39 (use coupon code WOLFSON for these prices) and new users can buy it for $59 (use coupon code WOLFSON). There are a host of useful freebies included as well that Skylum values at $202.
Raw images open dramatically faster. I really noticed this on my 2014 MacBook Pro laptop which has average specs by today’s standards. Previously it took 21-23 sec. for a Fuji X-Trans RAF file to open. Now it’s 4-5 seconds to see the image and about 10 seconds total before sliders have an effect. Sony 42MP raw files are even faster. All of this is fast enough that you barely have time to find the slider you need before the sliders are already active!
You will still see the “Processing” wheel in the lower left corner continue for an additional 15 sec or so after the image is visible but the only aspect it affects is immediately zooming to 1:1. In this case, you will wait 17-20 seconds for the image to fully render at 1:1.
Remember we’re talking an average laptop here, nothing fancy. This is a huge improvement in efficiency (and IMO enjoyment) as I don’t have to wait to that 20+ seconds just for the image to open and I can start doing my initial raw adjustments right away.
On my faster desktop machine (2017 iMac Retina 5K with 4.2 GHz Intel Core i7 with 32 GB RAM and GPU is Radeon Pro 580 8GB) there are commensurate improvements but they are less important as Luminar was plenty fast on my desktop in the previous version.
Export speeds have also been improved. See my chart further down. You can compare the numbers to my previous review.
Windows users will see more parity with the Mac version than before including batch processing, free transform feature, faster export, editing speed, full-screen preview, and localization/language updates.
“Auto” Distortion and CA Corrections
The not so automatic corrections are a welcome improvement but really a stepping stone to full implementation of automatic lens correction. Luminar 1.2 fixes lens distortion and chromatic abberation by clicking checkboxes in the Raw Develop filter under the Lens tab. There is no apparent way to manually adjust fringing. Currently, automatic correction of light falloff (some call this vignetting) is not implemented. There are two tools available to correct light falloff: Devignette sliders under the Raw Develop Lens tab and the Vignetting filter.
Some lenses have light falloff that is difficult to correct properly with the Devignetting or Vignette filter. One of my test images I use I shot with the ubiquitous Fujinon XF 18-55mm lens which can yield very dark areas in the extreme corners. I have also seen this type of falloff in other companies’ lenses as well. The distortion button, which ends up cropping the image as part of fixing the distortion goes a long way to eliminating the dark spots but there are still remnants.
In some images, you could clone this out but this is time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of images from the same lens with this issue. Whether good or bad, lens manufacturers are assuming automatic lens correction when designing new lenses, particularly those for mirrorless cameras.
Although the click boxes for distortion and chromatic aberration certainly help, it still entails extra steps. I will be much happier when full automatic lens correction is implemented.
I really had no problems with the image quality in the previous version but Skylum states “Enhanced image quality on image view” is one of the improvements. I did notice, however, that the initial image is better than before. By “better” I mean less flat with slightly more contrast and slightly more vivid color and overall a sharper appearance. From what I can gather the rendering is just more refined at any magnification. Previously it looked exactly like the Adobe Standard which is pretty blah and we have come to accept that as the “look” of a raw image. I often say raw is blah.
There is actually a good reason for the flat look of raw images, in that if your image is contrasty and saturated at the onset you have probably sacrificed some subtle detail in highlights and shadows and nuances of variations in hue and tone. I saw a similarly improved version previously with ON1 Photo Raw. Initially, I was a little taken aback with the changes to ON1’s rendering in this regard and then realized that nothing was lost and it is just less work to get a raw file back to a starting point that is more like the original scene. Furthermore, even Adobe offers variations of their standard profile via Camera Calibration which offers different looks/starting points. Of course, if employ major manipulation then these subtleties are a moot point.
Below I’ve included my tests of the previous version of Luminar for comparison. Note that the results for updated version 1.2 of Luminar (Jupiter) are in red. I’ve evaluated the factors that are important to everyday editing, particularly Fuji X-Trans files along with Sony ARW 42MP files, both of which are a challenge to any processor. For timing, I used a digital stopwatch and did numerous runs of each test.
There are some not-so-obvious but nice features. Some of these are new with this version and a few were implemented previously. They are:
• F key shortcut for full-screen preview
• Cmd-L to see/hide filters
• Ability to see just your favorite filters (selectable) or other categories
• Ability to save custom workspaces
• Separate opacity slider for each layer and ability to rename layers
The speed increases alone in Luminar “Jupiter” version 1.2 make it well worth the update/upgrade. The only real shortcoming was just my wish that Skylum would have incorporated full automatic lens corrections instead of the checkboxes. I’m sure we’ll see it soon and one needs to consider the many pluses. The speed increase is impressive and useful. Most importantly I think it also leads to an increase in enjoyment as you can start using that lovely interface right away when opening raw files — even those pesky Fuji X-Trans raw files.
About the author: Joel Wolfson is an internationally published photographer who loves teaching as much as shooting. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. He shares his 30 years of experience as a working pro with other photographers and enthusiasts by way of his workshops, 1 on 1 training, webinars, articles, blog and speaking engagements. He is one of the pioneers of digital photography, having conducted digital photography seminars for Apple and other corporations starting in the early 90s. This article was also published here.
The Photographer Who Captures Life’s Beauty Without Hands or Legs
Achmad Zulkarnain is a professional photographer in Indonesia who has been gaining international recognition for creating his images without hands or legs. This 3-minute video by Great Big Story is the latest look at Zulkarnain’s life and work.
After being born without hands and legs, Zulkarnain became passionate about photography through shooting ID card portraits for fellow villagers. Creating a custom go-kart has allowed Zulkarnain to become mobile with his services as his photography business has grown.
One of the main things that has drawn people to Zulkarnain is his positivity — despite the challenges he has been forced to overcome, Zulkarnain remains upbeat and extremely thankful for his life as a photographer.
A little nubbin found on his right limb is what allows Zulkarnain to press the shutter button on his DSLR.
“I use the camera with the extra flesh on my little limb that God has given me,” Zulkarnain says. “I want to help people who have the passion to learn photography
“I am proud of the disability I have. Yes, I am disabled, but I’m not defective. Instead, I’m someone different.”
Luminar Jupiter Update Brings Speed Boost and 300+ Improvements
Skylum, the company formerly known as Macphun, has just announced the latest version of Luminar, its photo editing Photoshop/Lightroom competitor. Luminar Jupiter brings a major speed boost and over 300+ improvements.
“We have made some significant performance enhancements that allow you to edit your photos much faster,” Skylum writes. “In fact, some users report seeing speed gains of up to twelve times faster!”
“We’ve dramatically increased the speed of editing across all areas of Luminar. Images open faster. Filters apply quicker. The entire application is more responsive. […] In fact, you should be able to see the difference with every tool and command.”
Here’s how much certain tasks on certain files have improved:
Performance is at the front and center of the photo editing software wars at the moment, as Adobe has been scrambling to address long-suffering photographers’ complaints that Lightroom is slow on fast machines.
Improved RAW Conversion
Luminar has also gotten an improved RAW engine that has better exposure calculation, cleaner gradients, fewer halos, automatic chromatic aberration removal, and increased compatibility with the RAW files of latest cameras.
300+ New Improvements
There are a host of other upgrades and additions in Luminar Jupiter, including automatic lens distortion removal and advanced support for DCP profiles.
And while Windows users have had an experience that lagged behind Luminar users on Mac, the Windows version of Luminar has mostly been brought up to speed now.
“Our team has put a ton of effort into making the Windows experience be world-class and significantly faster,” Skylum writes. “In fact, we feel that the PC version now matches the Mac version for all core features and speed.”
New Windows-specific additions include batch processing, easy transformations, localization support (Luminar in different languages), better cloning, cleaner zooms, full-screen preview mode, better masking controls, and the ability to share workspaces with other users.
Getting the Update
Launching Luminar starting today should show a prompt for updating the software, but you can also manually check for it under your main or Help menu (depending on whether you’re using Mac or PC) and selecting “Check for updates.”
The Boldly Hued Mascaras That Are Anything But Basic
The idea of applying mascara in a vivid color other than black may initially be a bit shocking. But an afternoon of test driving and experimenting with the bold mascara of your choice will only reaffirm why this ‘80s-inspired trend is staged to make a comeback. Colored mascaras come in an array of shades, and feature hidden beauty perks that lengthen lashes. From YSL’s striking Yves Klein Blue to Marc Jacobs’ softly tinged violet mascara that instantly plumps lashes, here are seven shades…
What Facebook Can Learn About You From a Single Uploaded Photo
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill this week regarding his company’s use of users’ personal data. Zuckerberg denied secretly listening to users through microphones for ad targeting, but the company is able to quietly collect quite a bit of data from a single uploaded photo.
The Wall Street Journal has published an article (behind a paywall) titled “How Pizza Night Can Cost More in Data Than Dollars.” In it, the WSJ examines subtle ways you may be handing over personal data to Facebook and other high-tech companies during a quiet evening at home.
One of those ways: shooting and uploading a photo using your smartphone.
Based on Facebook’s privacy and data collection policies, Facebook first receives your photo, caption, and tagged people. The photo can be analyzed to see what they contain — and due to Facebook’s massive trove of user data, it can identify people who are strangers to you in photos shot out in public.
But that’s just the first layer of data that’s collected, as there’s also a huge amount of metadata that Facebook gets its hands on as well.
Unless you’ve taken steps to block certain details, Facebook can also collect: location from geotag data, the date, the phone model you have, the exact device ID of your phone, your cellular/Internet service provider, nearby Wi-Fi Beacons/cell towers (which can be used to triangulate locations), and even things like battery level and cell signal strength.
“You can strip some of this data by editing the photo’s EXIF data or by changing your camera settings, but some data is shared just by opening the Facebook app,” Lifehacker reports. “Facebook can then cross-reference all this data—so Facebook could theoretically record the location of anyone whose face it recognizes, whether or not you tag them. It can also cross-reference this data with everything it already knows about you.”
What this means is that Facebook could have the power to track your movements if you appear in other people’s private photos that were shot in public.
“How much personal data do you give away during a pizza-and-a-movie night?” the Wall Street Journalasks. “Far more than you think.”
Image credits: Header illustration based on image by ariapsa and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
‘Film is Still Alive’ is a Mini-Doc About the Love of Analog Photography
Just as vinyl records have made a comeback as of late, film photography has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Film is Still Alive is a 10-minute miniature documentary that explores why film photographers these days are still in love with their medium despite the camera industry moving to digital.
The documentary was made by Canadian photographer Take Kayo and filmmaker Ryan Savella, who spoke to a number of amateur and professional film photographers to hear their thoughts.
“Film photography never died, it was dormant,” the duo writes. “Now it’s alive and thriving.”
The duo is aiming to raise awareness and funding for an ongoing “Analogue Photography Series” of interviews with various figures in the film industry, including amateurs who do everything themselves, professional photographers, art galleries, commercial photo labs, and camera stores that specialize in film.
“The goal of this documentary series is to show how diverse this analogue film community is, and encourage everyone to participate in the process,” the duo says. “Yes, film is still alive!”
Photos of a Starry Lightsaber Duel in the World’s Largest Salt Flat
Here’s a light-painting photo shoot that Star Wars fans may appreciate: photographer Dominic Chiu visited the world’s largest salt flat and shot a series of photos showing a lightsaber duel under the reflected starry night sky.
“Doing a set of Star Wars lightsaber pictures under billion of stars has always been my childhood dream, and I finally got a chance of recreating it during my latest trip to the largest salt flat on earth, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia,” Chiu tells PetaPixel. “It was definitely my best night ever in my life.”
Nicki Minaj to Drop Two New Tracks
After a long hiatus, Nicki Minaj has announced two new singles that are headed our way. Intriguingly titled “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li”, the tracks are slated to release this Thursday, April 12 at 1PM EST. The rapper took to social media to break the news, tweeting and posting on Instagram for the first time this year.
Minaj has been laying low recently, with her most recent output being a trio of singles, including diss track “No Frauds”, last year. But her silence hasn’t stopped sw…