“Brand new for the Apple crowd is Plugin Support. You’re now be able to use these third-party plugins through the Plugins menu: Imagenomic Noiseware 5, Imagenomic Portraiture 3, Imagenomic Realgrain 2, and DxO FilmPack 5.
You also now have access to these Luminar improvements:
Raw Develop filter.
The Lens and Transform effects are now improved, for example when using the Compare option, effects aren’t shown on the left (Before) side, nor are the effects blended with the original when using the Filters Amount slider.
It’s now easier to use the Sharpening filter with more responsive and accurate results. You can also get real-time feedback as you adjust the Sharpening controls and see all your changes in high res.
Exporting to several file formats is now possible, including new options for both PDF and JPEG-2000.
Save time by clicking on the checkbox or control name to enable or disable all filter checkboxes. You can also use scrubbable number sliders by mousing over the filter values, then moving the slider by clicking and dragging left or right.
You can now precisely control your JPEG and JPEG-2000 compression. The Quality slider shows you the precise numeric value, and you can change it by clicking on a number or entering the exact value you want.
When using the RAW Develop and Develop filters, check your image history to see White Balance presets, which are displayed with the preset name. You can also now use the “Save History” option when you save files using the “Windows Compatible” option.
You can now easily scroll through your LUTs in the LUT Mapping filter. Just hover your mouse over a LUT and it updates in real-time.
These eight languages now have improved localizations: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.”
“We haven’t announced it officially, but many of you have already guessed that the new version of Luminar will be available this year….
… Right off the bat, get better images with an improved RAW engine that’s not only faster but delivers less noise and better color. Then take complete control over your image with new Lens Correction and Transform Tools, plus old favorites such as Spot Heal and Color Temperature to remove flaws.
We’ve dramatically improved the existing filters and added blazing fast noise reduction for cleaning up unwanted noise in real-time. Also added: new impressive filters to stylize, tone, and enhance your photos, including Sun Rays, Dodge & Burn, LUT Mapping, Hue Shift, Brilliance, and a cool new Matte Look….
… We’re working on a fantastic digital asset manager (“DAM”) which will work like magic with the hard drives you already own and with any cloud storage platform you want to use. …”
Macphun has announced it is now accepting pre-orders for the latest version of its high dynamic range image editing software Aurora HDR. Aurora HDR 2018 is scheduled for release on September 28 and will be launched with a big, impressive set of new features, improved current features, new and improved tools and filters, and a more sophisticated user interface as well as a 200% speed boost.
Aurora HDR 2017 will be available for Mac and Windows, and both versions can be pre-ordered right now at a 60% discount along with bonuses.
As with Macphun’s other products, Aurora HDR 2018 can be used in its standalone version or as a plug-in or external editor for a range of popular image editing applications, supports raw files as well other common file formats and exports to PSD (Mac-only), TIFF, PNG, GIF, JPEG and JPEG 2000 as well as to other Macphun products.
Aurora HDR 2018 User Interface, Tools and Features
Before and After, Naturalistic and Enhanced
With Aurora HDR 2018’s new capacity to create an acceptably naturalistic HDR merge before you apply presets or controls, you cam choose a wide range of looks for each image from mildly realist through to wildly surrealistic, as illustrated by the following images from Macphun’s Aurora HDR 2018 press pack.
If Aurora HDR 2018’s over one hundred tools and editing features are not enough, you can export your images directly into Luminar as a plug-in for even more editing tools, presets and more extreme looks again.
Lone Yucca, White Sands, by Alik Griffin
Moraine Lake, by Jim Nix
Dubai, by Dima Sytnik
Using Aurora HDR
Based on the lovely landscape and travel photographs most software developers use to promote the products’ capabilities, I am not their typical user.
My photography practice centres on documentary genres in monochrome and naturalistic colour, on portraiture, on scene-setting cityscapes and street photography to keep my visual reflexes in order in between documentary projects.
I have yet to produce a sunrise or sunset landscape like the many fine examples Macphun uses to show off its excellent Aurora HDR and Luminar raw processing and image editing software.
But I do use both Macphun products for all the genres and subjects un which I work, as well as the company’s Creative Kit, and I am increasingly shooting portraits and product shots as multiple bracket HDR images.
Although I have some excellent LED lights for stills and video in the form of a Rotolight Neo 3 Light Kit, I often need to quickly grab fast but good quality portraits or product shots with camera and lens only, handheld.
Since its inception Aurora has been adept at handling handheld HDR brackets, automatically erasing the effect of movement between frames aka “ghosting”.
Each successive revision of Aurora has made it easier to avoid HDR’s more blatantly surreal effects, adding controls and presets permitting more subtlety, increased realism.
Aurora HDR 2017 was key in that regard, persuading me to shoot almost all my product shots as HDR images, all the better to deep dive into the textures, materials and construction of the objects depicted.
Early forays into handheld HDR portraiture bore encouraging fruit and the arrival of Aurora HDR 2018 with even more improvements in more real than real image processing now have me planning an environmental and head-and-shoulders portrait project.
The photographs in this project will initially be handheld and consist of three to five brackets, but I am itching to try seven and even nine brackets under challenging lighting conditions to learn whether that will reveal even more information and a visual richness not achievable by any other means.
Having tried out 3 Legged Thing’s Equinox Leo micro-traveller tripod some time ago, the same company’s taller Albert travel tripod is looking appealing so that I can stand face-to-face with my subjects or a little higher art lower as demanded by an environmental portraiture approach.
I will be working on new HDR photographs in several of my favourite genres – portraiture, still life, urban documentary – over the coming weeks and look forward to sharing the results in other articles on Aurora HDR 2018 as well as using them to illustrate articles on production hardware.
First images processed in Aurora HDR 2018
These first stumbling steps into Aurora HDR 2018 reveal new possibilities and some major improvements over its predecessors that I will continue to explore over the coming weeks and months.
I have been wanting to explore new directions in photography for some time, other ways of making images more related to what I experienced of painting and the other fine arts way back in art school compared to the film-simulations-influenced way I usually default to when processing digital photographs.
One thing I am really happy about is how Aurora HDR 2018 is not subject to halos in the skies like previous versions. In the photograph of the garage, Aurora HDR 2017 would always render distinct halos around the power lines and now there are no halos at all!
Another thing I really like about Aurora HDR 2018 is how good the initial tone mapping looks, how naturalistic it is. It is a great starting point from which to explore realism or surrealism with further manipulations within Aurora based on what works best to support the ideas and emotions I want to express.
Dublin-based photographer and photographic post-processing expert Thomas Fitzgerald recently published the results of processing one Fujifilm X-Pro2 X-Trans raw image with seven different raw convertors or image editors with raw conversion capability.
Tests like this are useful when considering whether to try out an unfamiliar item of software or go straight to purchase though they are seldom definitive. Processing raw files is something of a moving target and all of them are updated regularly with improvements and new features.
Likewise various raw processors’ support for Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor raw files, another moving target given that some major raw processors do not support X-Trans raw at all yet, and one that apparently never will. So it is good to know what does, currently.
Also good to read Mr Fitzgerald’s well-qualified opinions on the state of each item of software. He rates two of them as not ready for prime time at the moment. Let’s hope their makers have improvements on the way.
The raw processors or raw-capable image editors that Mr Fitzgerald tested are:
One surprise for Mr Fitzgerald is each product’s variations in default cropping, with further variation in edge detail. Oftentimes I will crop a raw file in a raw processor I have been using less lately to be taken by surprise at how much I have lost at the edge, causing me to rethink the image as I had visualized it before pressing the shutter button.
Thomas Fitzgerald is a writer as well as fine art photographer and has published a series of ebooks on processing Fujifilm X-Trans raw images in three raw processors and one on processing Sony A6000 files in Lightroom. I bought the three on X-Trans processing and recommend them.
Mr Fitzgerald also sells a number of Lightroom presets collections and a Photoshop texture pack. His blog is insightful and well worth reading.
The Luminar all-in-one raw processing and image editing application by Macphun, makers of a suite of other great products including Aurora HDR 2017, is my default, go-to software for photography and image resizing and exporting duties. Luminar has just been updated to version 1.1.1 and it continues to get better every single time.
Luminar’s version 1.1.1 update arrived shortly after an X100F review loaner was kindly delivered by the folks at Fujifilm Australia and after processing my very first shot with the X100F, camera plus processing software feels like a match made in heaven.
Both outwardly appear stripped-down, simple even, but their unassuming interfaces hide real power. I am impressed by how well Luminar 1.1.1 handles X-Trans raw files from the X100F.
Most software companies take ages to get around to supporting the very latest cameras. Macphun is already on the ball with the X100F and I hope will be just as fast to support two other soon-to-be-released new cameras, Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and Panasonic’s GH5.
I made the above three snapshots with the Fujifilm X100F at lunch earlier today then quickly and minimally processed them in Luminar 1.1.1 using the Smart Image Enhancer preset from the Photo Essentials preset pack available for purchase from Macphun. The photograph at left was cropped while the other two were full-frame.*
I was after a naturalistic though richly coloured, dark-toned image reminiscent of slow transparency films from the analog era. The light is always challenging in this location, its centre lit with dark amber and with bright sunlight at both ends. Digital noise is not a concern with these types of images especially now that contemporary mirrorless cameramakers are doing such a great job making it appear organic.
This quick and dirty test showed that Luminar 1.1.1 has gained speed in loading raw files and when processing using filters. I have a heavy image processing session coming up later this week and that is when this latest Luminar update will really be put to the test.
Meanwhile, colour me impressed. The Macphun team published a list of coming updates to Luminar and this latest update has me looking forward to what is coming next. Right now Luminar is Mac-only but will be coming to Windows sometime this year.
* I have been noticing the term “full-frame” being applied to the 35mm digital photography format as if that sensor were some kind of yardstick by which to judge other sensor sizes. These other sensor sizes such as APS-C and Micro Four Thirds are being described as “crop sensors”. Really?
The photographs above have been made with an APS-C sensor camera. That camera has a full-frame sensor, one utilizing the full frame of the APS-C sensor. In one photograph above, the image is not full-frame but has been cropped. The sensor has not been cropped, only its output in this case. The other two images can be described as full-frame though.
The “full-frame” and “full-format” aficionados need to get over this misuse of terms that make the 35mm film format appear to be some sort of unassailable standard. It isn’t. It never was.
Throughout much of the history of analog photography, the 35mm format was regarded as “miniature”, and was often adversely compared to larger formats like 6×4.5cm, 6x6cm, 6x7cm, 6x8cm, 6x9cm and larger on 120 film, or sheet film in the 4″x5″ size, 5″x7″, 8″x10″ and larger sizes. The digital 35mm format is no more the standard or benchmark than 35mm film was.
MacphunLuminar, a powerful and promising new image editor and raw processor that debuted earlier this year, is about to receive an update, code named Pluto.
Pluto will add batch processing, dehazing (above), enhancements to the colour temperature filter including an eyedropper, a Golden Hour filter (above) for that soft amber glow at any time of day and the ability to add textures to custom presets.
Batch processing in particular is of interest to professional photographers and especially when covering events, and the eyedropper tool will bring Luminar’s colour temperature correction up to par with other professional photography software.
I am looking forward to the dehaze filter for cleaning up smog-tinged harbourside photographs and beachside shots early mornings, and the Golden Hour filter will be very useful on soggy, grey days like today.
The free Pluto update to Macphun Luminar will be released on Friday, 16th December.
Luminar itself is available as a trial version via the Luminar product page, and new purchasers can take advantage of holiday sale bonuses including sky overlays for sky replacement, presets, video tutorial and photography ebooks.
Macphun promises Luminar updates every month or so with dozens of new tools and further improvements in the queue, including Digital Asset Management aka DAM in 2017 as well as a version of Luminar for Windows PCs.
Luminar by Macphun is an exciting development in what has amounted to a banner year for photography image editing software. I take a first look at Luminar and list some of the most essential features I’d like to see appear in a future version of Luminar.
At the time of writing, Luminar was already in version 1.0.2, with more updates on the way soon. This current version seems to have solved some rather odd problems seen when processing X-Trans raw files from Fujifilm cameras like the X-Pro2 and X-T2 in the beta and launch version. Phew!