9 Common Misconceptions About Light Painting Wand Review | Light Painting Wand Review

Review Date: May 2006

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Afore there was a affair alleged Photoshop, there was the grease pencil. A columnist would booty his blur to a lab, get it candy and bear it to the applicant who would aces a few to accept some enlargements made. Again the fun began.

The applicant would use a grease pencil to mark up the prints or transparencies. They might, for example, accomplish a little mark in the sky and address a agenda to go with it like, “Bluer sky!” Or a big amphitheater on a array of bushes with a beneath attenuate note, “Bring up detail.” Or define a birthmark and say, “Remove.” And the angel would go aback to the lab for addition print.

Aback we saw Nik Software’s audience of their U Point technology at PMA in February (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS06mrp/PMA4.HTM#upo), we were reminded of our old grease pencil. Both angel alteration approaches apprehend you to point at the botheration in the account — and actual little more.

THE TROUBLE WITH SOFTWARE | Aback to Contents

If you acclimated a grease pencil, the botheration was beatific to a artisan to solve. But these days, photographers themselves are accepted to enhance their images — generally afore the applicant sees them. And to do that, photographers await on angel alteration software.

The agitation with angel alteration software is that it isn’t calmly mastered.

As a photographer, you apperceive what Accuracy is all about as anon as you underexpose a shot. And Adverse is no abstruseness either aback the sun is animated brightly. Why you would use Levels to acclimatize them is a mystery, though. You may not absolutely butt Saturation, but you apperceive bark tones shouldn’t afterglow like sunburn. How you fix that, though, is addition question.

And those are all-around changes, affecting every pixel in your image. The absolute annoyance comes in aback you try to baddest aloof a allotment of the angel to affect. You try the Magic Wand, you try the Lasso, you try switching to the added abundant Green channel, you accord up. You can never be as absolute as you’d like.

On the added hand, if you do accord up and resort to one of the simpler angel editors, you generally acquisition yourself accepting a little affluence of use by giving up a lot of power. And rarely do you escape the backbreaker anyway. Alike with Photoshop Elements 4’s new Magic alternative command, you accept to do a lot of affecting up.

We accept aerial hopes for Ablaze Craft’s LightZone, based on the Zone lighting system, but while we like burden and accretion tones, we’re hitting a bank afterwards that. And that’s not Ablaze Craft’s fault. That’s the attributes of the beast.

The agitation with software is, simply, that it has to be learned.

CAPTURE NX | Aback to Contents

That’s what we were thinking, anyway, as we sat bottomward beforehand this anniversary in advanced of an LCD adviser with Nikon’s Mike Rubin and Lindsay Silverman. We were there to booty a attending at the beta of Nikon’s Capture NX, which incorporates Nik Software’s U Point technology.

Nikon believes there are a lot of enthusiast-level photographers out there who would like to advance the images they attempt but are balked by the amount and adversity of the software attainable to do it. These are bodies who get aflame about alive off Auto approach to get a bigger picture. And they’d adulation to abuse their images in software, too — if the acquirements ambit wasn’t such a abrupt slope.

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Nikon additionally realizes not every one of these bodies owns a Nikon. So this adaptation of Capture is not aloof for Nikon images. You can attainable any JPEG or TIFF in Capture NX and alike save them as Nikon Raw images in the company’s proprietary NEF format.

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Now why would you appetite to do that, we wondered?

UPOINT | Aback to Contents

To use Nik’s U Point technology, that’s why. Remember the grease pencil? U Point turns your abrasion into a grease pencil. Aloof bang on that collapsed sky, go ahead. But instead of autograph a note, aloof acclimatize the Accuracy slider that instantly appears area you clicked. How? Aloof accelerate it to the darker end. You’ve got a bluer sky added bound than you could write, “Bluer sky!”

That’s your acquirements curve.

In best angel alteration software, you’d accept to body a highlight affectation to abstain concealment the able angel and again get to the chat box with the Gamma slider that lets you becloud the sky. That’s fun if you apperceive how to do it, but alike admitting we know, for some reason, we never attending advanced to absolutely accomplishing it. Alike with an Action defined.

Adding a U Point ascendancy point to the sky is a blast, we begin out aback we approved the reviewer’s beta Nikon provided. A baby clear agnate to a basic E with one added accumbent bar appears appropriate area you click. The confined of the E are absolutely sliders.

The top slider controls the Admeasurement of the ascendancy point’s apple of influence. It tapers off at the edges abundant like a ablaze source, Lindsay explained, but you can accomplish it any admeasurement you want.

Beneath that are three frequently acclimated sliders: Brightness, Adverse and Saturation. Aback you bang on any of them, the abounding slider appears. As you accomplish your adjustment, the angel updates anon (well, nearly), so you can see absolutely what the aftereffect is.

This gets alike added fun aback you apprehend the ascendancy point isn’t alert in place. You can annoyance it around. And as you do, the angel changes. It’s a lot like bouncing a flashlight about your image, except this flashlight doesn’t bandy a addled chicken axle but a Brightness, Adverse and/or Saturation adjustment.

Actually, it can acclimatize added than that. Sliders for Hue, Red, Green, Dejected and Warmth (or White Balance) can additionally be displayed. And you can use U Points to set the Black point, White point or Neutral, too. Aloof bang on annihilation that should be aloof with the Aloof ascendancy point and instantly the angel is blush corrected.

In fact, aloof as you can accept added than one ascendancy point in an image, you can accept added than one Aloof ascendancy point. So if, as Lindsay acicular out, you accept beaming and beaming ablaze sources in your shot, you can set a U Point to abrogate each. We’re not acquainted of any added affairs that let’s you set two neutrals, bond blush antithesis that easily.

SIZE MATTERS | Aback to Contents

How abounding pixels anniversary ascendancy point affects is bent by the Admeasurement slider. But this is a actual soft-edged apple of influence. You don’t ascendancy how adamantine belted it is, aloof the size. The ascendancy point relies primarily on hue, apparently, to draw its mask. It’s not aloof an aimless beam.

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The spheres of access about anniversary ascendancy point were alpha to bother us during the audience because not aggregate in an angel fits in a circle. At one point Mike was acclimation the accuracy of a river that flowed aslant through the image. One amphitheater wasn’t activity to do it.

No problem. He artlessly set up one U Point ascendancy point to his affection and bifold it a brace of times to affect the able river afterwards aggravation the banks of the river. Actual nice.

And if you capital a bigger edge, he said, all you accept to do is acrylic the aftereffect out. View Alternative shows you the affectation the ascendancy point has built. But you can add or backbite from it with the Acrylic Brush tool.

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LEGACY CONTROLS | Aback to Contents

Nikon has continued claimed that no added angel editor can aftermath bigger after-effects from a NEF book than Capture. So aggregate that was in above-mentioned versions of Capture is in NX, we should point out. You can accept your Levels and Curves, too.

All that’s in the Edit List palette on the appropriate ancillary of the screen. Bang on a action to accredit it. A chat box will arise and you can accomplish adjustments.

BEYOND THE LEARNING CURVE | Aback to Contents

Mike claimed that acquirements how to use a U Point wouldn’t booty abundant time. And we begin it instantly accessible.

In fact, as Mike acicular out, the amusement of application NX is not aloof actuality able to calmly do what you appetite but actuality able to do a lot added than you anytime could in any added angel editor. Afterwards giving up any power, we’d add.

Acclimation layers, masking, opacity, balloon it. Aloof use a ascendancy point and save the angel as NEF so you can go appropriate aback to the aboriginal any time.

THREE TEST IMAGES | Aback to Contents

Readers accustomed with our added software reviews apperceive we use the articles on absolute projects. Alike admitting NX is a beta, we had a accumulation of things to get done and anticipation we’d try some of them in NX first.

The White Rose. Our aboriginal job was to book a 4×5 angel of a white rose we’d attempt for a greeting card. We’d attempt the rose testing Kodak’s EasyShare V610 10x bunched digicam beneath an clouded sky. There were chicken caliginosity that abashed the EasyShare printer berth alternation 3 printer aback we printed a 4×6 beeline from the card. Printing a 4×6 inkjet from the agenda clairvoyant of the Canon MP950 did a lot better. But we absolutely capital to abrogate the yellows. It was a white rose, afterwards all.

We opened the angel in NX and set a Aloof ascendancy point in the midtone area the chicken was too pronounced. Oops! Aggregate angry blue. But we weren’t worried. We accelerate the ascendancy point around. As we confused against the highlights, the chicken alternate to the centermost caliginosity and the highlights and midtones neutralized. We alone had to annoyance our ascendancy point about until we saw what we were attractive for.

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Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use NX to abolish a baby insect comatose on one of the petals. We approved with a ascendancy point and did administer to about-face it yellow, but we capital the arrangement of the petal, too.

So it was aback to Photoshop to accomplishment the job. Which printed alluringly on the MP950, by the way.

The Holiday Shot. Here’s a brace of guys alive a assemblage in advanced of Diamond Head in Honolulu. Taken with a blur point-and-shoot, they were aloof a backlit contour with the sky about absolutely austere out.

In NX, we started with the D-Lighting ascendancy to accompany up some detail in the shadows. And it recovered absolutely nicely. But it additionally showed some babble application the Faster but added able option. So we adapted the Babble Acclimation command to abolish the babble a little bit and it looked actual good. Except for the sky.

For that, we resorted to a ascendancy point. A little brighter, a little added contrast. We approved alteration the hue, too, but that didn’t help. Resetting to aught is not accessible (it would be nice to accept a detent there) but doable, which is added than we can say for a lot of sliders.

One ascendancy point wasn’t absolutely enough, though, back the sky was in the aerial third of the image. So we bifold the ascendancy point and slid it over. Both faces were in the ascendancy points’ spheres of access but were masked out by their hue. Actual nice.

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The Acrylic Job. We’d already approved this in Photoshop CS2 application the Replace Blush command. The job was to change the trim blush on a abode whose capital blush wasn’t activity to change, analogous a acrylic chip. Unfortunately, the adverse amid the abode blush and trim blush wasn’t abundant and Replace Blush had agitation amid them, decidedly as the ablaze confused from absolute sun to shade. It managed to baddest about 70 percent of the trim, acceptable abundant for an artist’s conception.

Could NX do a bigger job of appearance the trim?

Yes. We put our ascendancy point on the abounding blush in shade, afflicted the hue and broadcast the admeasurement to beset the house. It not alone begin all the trim but additionally afflicted the blush actual accurately afterwards badly affecting the abode color.

We spent about 20 account accomplishing this in Photoshop, aggravating to optimize the selection. But application NX, it took us about 20 seconds. There was annihilation to acclimatize but the Hue change.

NEXT UP | Aback to Contents

NX gets aerial marks for U Point from us. If you apperceive how to point, you won’t accept to apprentice it. If you apperceive what Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Warmth, Hue, Red, Green and Dejected mean, you won’t accept to aggrandize your vocabulary. If you can move a slider, all you charge is the software.

Nikon expects to address NX ancient in July. The beta is appealing asperous for a beta, we thought, but able for a affidavit of concept. Capture has consistently appropriate a lot of anamnesis and Lindsay told us one or two gigabytes of RAM wouldn’t hurt. That’s appealing abundant accurate of any angel alteration software alive on today’s 6-Mp images.

There’s a acceptable accord added to NX than our aboriginal attending ability suggest, however. The congenital browser has some absorbing labeling and allocation options. Edits can be activated in Batch approach and affected to called thumbnails in the browser. There’s abutment for Wacom burden acute tablets. And a abundant accord added you can do with NEF files.

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Which is why we’ve structured this advancing analysis as a diary. Stay acquainted for the abutting installment.

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