If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, you know how much I’m in love with RNI Films for the iPhone. The app recently added dust and grain simulations that RNI created from actual scans and that I use all the time. But for a couple of months I’ve been testing and playing with an Alpha build of the company’s upcoming Flashback. Flashback isn’t necessarily designed for the higher end user that will take an image, apply a film profile and then edit from there the same way you would with RNI Films. Instead, it’s designed more to randomize the effects and looks of the images.
When it comes to HDR imagery, it’s tough to beat Trey Ratcliff–and that’s why Macphun collaborated with him to create Aurora HDR. The software works as both a standalone program or as a plugin for a myriad of software; and is designed to give users better HDR images with relative ease. Aurora HDR is by Macphun, the same folks who created Noiseless Pro–with many of them being former Nik Software employees. To refresh, Noiseless Pro won an Editor’s Choice award.
I was given a demo of Aurora HDR before it was announced; and I had a bit of familiarity with the software. Since its launch, there have been updates that allow Lightroom users to export images with the current edits that they’ve done to their photos. That’s incredibly important if you didn’t get it right in camera to begin with.
On average, it has some major advantages over what Adobe Lightroom offers with their Photo Merge HDR process. But on the other hand, it also has its quirks.
The person that says, “I know exactly what the iPhone needs–another vintage film filter app!” is either particularly ballsy or worthy of all the groans that photographers will mutter. But the company that designs an app that is meant to organically render the look of film has a bit more credibility; and that’s what Really Nice Images is trying to do with their app: RNI Films. The free iOS app is designed for you to import your images and edit them in its own semi-unique editing suite.
Its main selling point: the rendering of lots of actual film emulsions. If you want your iPhone to deliver images with a Kodachrome or Astia rendering, you’ve got it with this app. But the process it takes to accomplish this may be what puts a lot of folks off.
Astropad was developed by former Apple engineers, and the app that they developed is targeted at photographers who retouch and want to do so with a graphics tablet of some sort. However, in this case they’re turning an iPad into something like a product from Wacom. Now, something like this could technically be done with Airplay, but to the creators of Astropad, that isn’t fast enough. To accomplish their goal of a near seamless and lag-free experience, they utilize a technology called LIQUID that claims to be twice as fast as Airplay and that relies on WiFi transferring of information back and forth.
For the most part, they’re doing a fantastic job.
One of the biggest problems with Adobe Lightroom for portrait photographers has been the lack of being able to retouch images. While it’s become better with the addition of specific brushes and gradients, it’s still not so simple. But the folks behind the Lightroom Retouching Toolkit want to change that. Despite lots of flak being given to photographers and companies who retouch, the retouching here is very minor. This kit won’t let you give Fat Joe the body of David Beckham or even help dear Miley Cyrus undo all the effects of Molly on her body (bless her soul.)
So what will it do?
In the pantheon of film emulation software, the first name you probably think of VSCO, and for good reason. VSCOCam is one of the most popular editing apps for iOS and Android, and for Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop users, they’ve got a line of film packs that, up until this point, have offered well-known and oft-used films. Now, they have Film 07 – Eclectic Films, a ragtag collection of clean-looking presets. There are well over 100 presets across 18 films, some color, some black-and-white, and some tungsten-balanced. The company bills them as ideal for “portraits, night photography, and architecture,” but they’re good for more than that.
At a time when camera technology’s advancing at a clip, there seems to be an equal push in the opposite direction to bring back aesthetics that have taken a backseat. Film is alive and well, though there are fewer options today than there were during much of the 20th century. While the actual film stock may be gone, there is software from the likes of VSCO, RNI, and in this review’s case, Totally Rad, to imbue your digital images with older looks. We took a look at RNI’s All Films 3.0 earlier this year, but today, we’re taking a look at Replichrome III: Archive, a suite of presets solely focused on very old, long since discontinued film stocks. All told, there are 22 films and 183 presets.
Very few programs and plug-ins make me shout “Whoa!” at the top my lungs to the point where the neighbors in my Brooklyn apartment bang on the wall to get me to shut up, but that record has been shattered by MacPhun’s Noiseless Pro. But seriously, what more would you expect from some of the team that created Nik software?
Noiseless is a plug-in for Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture or a stand alone program that looks at images and finds a way to get rid of the image noise. Sure, Lightroom can do that and so can other programs–but nothing can do it as well as MacPhun’s Noiseless while making the interface both simple and complicated at the same time.
Since Adobe announced their movement to the Creative Cloud, many photographers were hoping that Adobe Lightroom didn’t make the move. Today, Adobe is giving consumers and professional photographers alike a new option. Photographers can either go for the new Adobe Lightroom 6 (most likely for the amateurs) or Adobe Lightroom CC (most likely for the working pros with a Creative Cloud account.) For the most part, they’re the same pieces of software.
Adobe’s Sharad Mangalick told us that both programs will receive updates at the same time when the patches and release candidates are available for download. New to Adobe Lightroom are four big features: enhanced performance for the editing of all RAW file types, a new filter brush that works in conjunction with gradients, HDR merge, Panoramic merge, and a couple of new additions for folks that make slideshows such as syncing to music and changing the pace of the image progression to the beat of the music.
All of these features are standard to Adobe Lightroom 6; and Adobe Lightroom CC’s major differences come with its integration with the Creative Cloud and with Lightroom Mobile for iPad and Android. Adobe Lightroom CC is also included in the Photography package for $9.99/month.
If you’re a landscape photographer, the upgrade to Lightroom 6 seems like a no brainer and if you’re a pro, the CC upgrade just makes so much sense.
I first came to understand filters and presets through Instagram and VSCO Cam. Admittedly, my time using Instagram’s filters was short-lived as they were largely limited in scope. VSCO Cam’s been my main bag for a while now, at least until an email came in about a new set of film presets for Lightroom from a company called Really Nice Images. They go by RNI for short, which sounds nicer and less forward than Really Nice Images. I imagine the name is largely to get the point across, and after using the 3.0 preset pack, I can safely say that they do help create really nice images.
LiveBlend is an app that promises to make multiple exposures in a super fun way with live preview. It also bills itself as the only app that does that. Multiple exposures aren’t something I typically make, as I haven’t had the experience with film, and I only marginally explored that feature with my X-Pro1. I thought I’d give it a spin with my phone. It can be useful, but it does have its hangups.
Adobe released Lightroom Mobile for tablets then phones last year, and it was only a matter of time until the popular image editing software came to Android devices. Earlier today, the company announced Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android–something that was in the works for a very long time. Since then, Android has evolved to become what is arguably the most advanced platform for image taking due to manual controls and RAW DNG output capabilities with certain devices.
While the app in no way is terrible, it surely hasn’t made any major advancements. In fact, many of the big mobile editors are still ahead.
Back around Photo Plus 2014, a new kid on the block popped up and started to turn heads of photographers everywhere like Kim Kardashian with a Belfie stick. They’re called Mylio–and they delivered a very bold product that aims to be the solution to all of your organizational and cloud storage needs for photos. But Mylio doesn’t necessarily need the cloud to sync your images, it can do it across your devices or over the web.
Though the company states that they’re targeting folks from all walks of life, we feel that Mylio will appeal most of the enthusiast and the professional. The product has many layers of use and in some ways can be seen as a more premium offering than EyeFi Cloud–but with more of an emphasis on the desktop, tablet and phone.
Film emulsion rendering software is not a new concept, but each offering has their own strengths and weaknesses. Alien Skin has been in this industry for years, and recently updated their flagship software, Exposure, to the 7th edition. Exposure 7 can be used as a standalone software or in conjunction with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Alien Skin, like VSCO, focuses more on an artistic way of doing things and also focuses on just delivering the best images that it can in a simplified way–which is on the other side of the spectrum of DxO. DxO uses loads and loads of science and lab tests.
For the enthusiast, Exposure 7 may be a great option to get the best from your images quickly.
VSCO has made waves on iOS and Android for its smooth interface and impressive array of film-like filters, most of which are available in affordable bundles in the store. With its 4.0 update last week, VSCO Cam just got a lot bigger for folks on iOS 8. The app is now available on iPad, a substantial step up from its iPhone counterpart. The device upgrade also comes with the announcement of VSCO Journal, a publishing platform for longer projects. Think of it as an expanded VSCO Grid. Of course, since it’s just been released, we’ve only had so much time to use it, so here’s our first impressions.
Shooting with my iPhone 5 has always been a hassle. That was largely because of the lack of control, and I could never seem to get the images quite right. Having spent years with a variety of cameras, I’m predisposed towards buttons and dials. Then I saw a video for an app called Manual by a company called Little Pixels. It promised control of shutter speed, ISO and a number of other things all for the price of $1.99. More over, it didn’t have that dreaded “Offers in-app purchases.” For two bucks, I could essentially unlock the features of my phone that Apple kept hidden away.
It was shortly after I arrived in Istanbul that I read about an app that holds your images for an hour before letting you see them. The app is called 1-Hour Photo, and it renders your images in black and white. It’s predicated on a very simple concept: what if you had to wait an hour to see the photos you take with your phone–just like you used to when getting your film developed. This is a reality for anyone who’s shot and still shoots film, but for those who haven’t had the experience of shooting film, it’s something brand new. I shot film for several years before transitioning to digital, and have only managed to sporadically shoot film the past few years. So, 1-Hour Photo was a welcome addition to my phone, but it surely was not without its hiccups.
Editor’s Note: You can save images to the camera roll. We were incorrect in stating otherwise.
The pocketable Lightroom was the next logical step in the expanding Lightroom ecosystem, and it arrives on the heels of the iPad version. Both the iPhone and iPad versions offer, more or less, the same degree of functionality, and in order to use Lightroom Mobile, you’ll need to be plugged into the Creative Cloud subscription universe. Lightroom, on the whole, is ideal for those working with images en masse, as opposed to longer retouching sessions where a program like Photoshop would be the better choice. Lightroom Mobile for iPhone, like its iPad variant, is a scaled down version of the full editing suite.
Instagram has changed itself many times over the year and even more so after being bought by Facebook and trying to compete with Vine. The app allows you to a take a snapshot on the go with a nostalgic filter. You can use your camera phone or a proper camera that works with your phone to create images. It has filters that can stylize your images the way you want with further customization that has come over time. Version 6.0 was recently released. This version added a tray of photo editing tools to the app. We have been using it heavily since it was released and it’s very much the best Instagram yet.
When it comes to creating film emulsions in digital photography, there are loads of options out there. Many embrace a very Instagram-like ideal (VSCO) while others take a scientific approach (DxOMark.) Totally Rad!’s Replichrome II is another scientific option. This is a new batch of film renderings from their first Replichrome preset pack, and includes some of the world’s most loved film’s like EG100 and Velvia.
And when you really think about the way that the company approached the product, it only makes a lot more sense.
When EyeFi first launched the Mobi card, it seemed as if they greatly improved the service. The Mobi card was centered around transferring JPEG images to your phone quickly and easily through a two step process. If you wanted to send RAW images, you’d need to go with something else like the Eye-Fi Pro card.
Today though, the company is announcing not only a rebranding but a new service in EyeFi Cloud. The cloud is a premium service that they are pitching to those that use multiple devices. EyeFi Cloud enables someone to shoot and image, send it to their phone (or other device) which then in turn beams the images into the cloud. When the images hit the cloud, they’re accessible from your other devices such as your computer, tablet, or phone.
But we’re not sure that it’s for everyone.