Viewing entries in
Tech thoughts

Is This Capture One Pro’s Missing Feature?

What is one photography technique that a lot of landscape photographers use extensively? Panorama. Lightroom, in its last big update, introduced a HDR and panorama stitching algorithm, that proves to be really quite useful. Should Phase One include a native feature like that in Capture One?

The other day, I was making a panorama for my brother using Lightroom (I have Adobe CC so I just quickly downloaded it) and thought to myself that it is really convenient to do all of your work in one software. Then, I wondered about the Capture One update and how they don’t have anything to particularly attract landscape photographers. I mean, if they keep adding more and more killer feature to let edit your photos, maybe they should let you stitch frames and make HDR with them too, right? Maybe they should have a built-in focus stacker too. Maybe they should add an innovative on-screen shooting help (for example, automatically check if your horizon is straight). They have a superb Focus Mask feature that makes it really easy to check your focus. I think that, if they added at least one or two incredibly useful features, they could win some Lightroom users over. For my part, I would love a built-in focus stacker; it would speed things up a bit. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still think that Capture One Pro is an incredible piece of software with a lot of power, I’m just thinking that it would be even better if the software had some more built-in features!

 

What do you wish would be included in Capture One Pro? Share it with us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Trista

Capture One Pro 9’s Three Best New Features

On November 30th, Phase One surprised everyone with the release of Capture One Pro 9. The new software adds a slew of new controls, some minor, some major. You can upgrade to it from C1P 7 or C1P 8 for $99 USD. The Sony-only version (which is what I am currently using) can be had for $50 USD. Here are the three features that I am the most excited for (in no particular order).

Camera battery indicator

Yup, the software now has a live indicator of the tethered camera’s battery charge percentage. I know it’s not the most revolutionary feature but it keeps the frustration of having your camera die on you out the way. It is a menu option that you have to enable.

Keywords

 

Digital Asset Management (DAM) has been really improved in the new release. Specifically, the way we work with keywords is better than ever before. The refined Keywords tool is similar to what it’s been before. The real star of the show is the Keywords Library tool. You can attribute specific keyword databases to a session or catalog. That makes it a breeze to have your DAM done for a specific shot. You can even import .TXT files with keywords in them, which lets you organize you files even better. It opens up a whole world of inter-connectivity.

Masks from Color Editor

 

The Color Editor, a über-powerful tool that I use on virtually all my shots always had the ability to edit a specific colour groupe; you could make adjustments just to the Reds, or the Greens, or the Yellows, and so on. In addition, you can now save that colour mask and use it with other tools, such as the Local Adjustment tool. It will definitely save a ton of time and add another layer of control!

Phase One has uploaded quite a few videos on their YouTube channels describing and going over the software’s best new features.

I find the new software quite interesting. The $50 USD price for the updated Sony version makes it very appealing indeed! What do you think of it ? Are you a Lightroom person? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Cheers,

Tristan

The Best Keyboard Shortcut Change You’ll Ever Make

Command+Z, arguably the most beloved keyboard shortcut in the world. It makes working on a computer a so much more enjoyable experience and so much faster too.

Have you noticed that in Photoshop, Command+Z only goes back a single step. If you want to go back several steps you have to hit option+command+Z, which is really annoying. By good chance, Photoshop lets you edit all keyboard shortcuts. To do so, go up to the Edit tab, down to Keyboard Shortcuts. There, click on the Edit tab to open the list of associated keyboard shortcuts. Click on the Step Backward row and press on Command+Z on your keyboard. It’s going to warn you about the fact that Command+Z is already in use for another action. You can ignore that. Just click on the Accept button and then on the Ok button in the right hand portion of the screen. Command+Z will not work as it does in any regular software, going back in time endlessly!

 

I think that you should perform that modification as soon as you download Photoshop. What other keyboard shortcuts make your workflow a lot more enjoyable? Share them with us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan

Panasonic’s New “Post-Focus” Feature Could Be a Godsend for Product and Still Life Photographers

Bundled with the 2.0 version of their firmware, the Post-Focus feature, demonstrated back this summer, lets you accomplish exactly what it’s name says; change your image’s focus point after having taken the photo. While this works similarly to what Lytro is doing, it achieves it by shooting a burst of photo at 30fps and 4K resolution. Then, using the touchscreen on the back of the camera, you can select any focus point, save different versions of the same composition and use focus peaking while being zoomed in to determine to best location for an ultra-precise focus point. This new feature is available on the Lumix DMC-GX8 the DMC-G7 and the DMC-FZ330 and is available since yesterday.

From Digital Photography Review’s website, here’s Panasonic’s press release:

 

Panasonic Frees Photographer’s Creativity with New 'Post Focus' Technology

LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330 enable any area of a photograph to be in-focus after shooting  

Panasonic is encouraging photographers to shoot first and focus later with a new technological function called ‘Post Focus’.  After taking a picture, the function enables photographers to select whichever part of the image they want to be in-focus with an easy one touch operation. Developed with Panasonic’s existing 4K Photo technology, Post Focus not only prevents out-of-focus misshots but also offers greater creative freedom, and is now available via a firmware update for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330.

Post Focus has been made possible by combining the high-speed, high-precision DFD (Depth from Defocus) auto focus technology and Panasonic’s 4K technology, made possible by the Venus Engine. Burst images in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) are shot at 30 fps while detecting up to 49 areas of a frame for focus points at different depths of field.

Operation of the Post Focus function is straightforward and easy.  Turn on post focus, compose and take your picture. Then, while reviewing the images simply touch the area you want the focus to be and a new image with the selected focus area will be produced as a separate photo.

In addition, this function can be used for creative purposes in different types of photography such as portrait, landscape and especially macro, where the optimal control is needed. Focus peaking, 5x magnified zoom and other fine adjustment settings can be used for even greater focus control. Several different impressions can be taken out of one picture by changing the focus and defocus within the image to select the desired subject. This assures that the photographer can select the best shot instead of out-of- focus misshots.

The Post Focus firmware update will be available at 01:00 GMT on 25th November, 2015 on the LUMIX Global site (http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/) for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330.

 

Here are two videos of it in action:

 

Now, if this feature gets to evolve a bit, it will be especially useful and will let product photographers like myself focus on the creative aspect of the shot rather than on making sure it’s all in focus. Plus, the results are hopefully going to be smoother because it's entirely computerized and doesn’t introduce the sloppiness of a human. Picture this, you set your shot the way you like it, trigger the camera, let it doing its thing and be left with tens of focus-stacking ready images. The camera could even stitch the files internally, but I’m fairly positive on the fact that I’d like to keep the files and combine them myself on a dedicated software running on a resourceful machine. As it is today, I would not use Panasonic’s new feature. First, I’d have to switch camera system, which I would not enjoy doing at all. Also, the best camera of the three, the DMC-GX8, only has a Micro Four-Third sensor, which will not resolve the best deal of details. Probably the biggest deal breaker for me is the fact that the files are limited in resolution to 4K. I get why Panasonic chose to go with such a resolution and 30fps, I really do, but I can’t help other than wanting to use the full potential of the sensor. I wouldn’t mind having the camera take a minute or even more the record all of the shots, but let me take advantage of all of those megapixels I have. Another point is the fact that you are limited to using continuous lighting since no studio strobe will be able to keep up with the rate of shooting the camera will sustain, hence why it would take more than a minute to complete all of the images. Finally, the output file are JPEGs and, again, that makes me feel like I am missing on the chance to use the full potential and every bit of sharpness that the sensor-lens combo has to offer. The feature will keep improving and, perhaps, camera like the a7R or a7R II will offer a variant of such utility directly targeted at product and still life photographers (and landscape shooters too!).

It’s certainly a step in the right direction for Panasonic and the photography industry in general. The only use I would make out of this feature today is shooting e-commerce images where you need to do several tens of them a day and sheer sharpness and details retention isn’t as important since you won’t be blowing them up onto ads or billboards. Anyways, let us know your thoughts and feelings for this new and exciting feature in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan

My Folder Structure for Commercial Product and Still Life Shoot Organization

It’s no secret that you absolutely have to make several backups of your work. We’ve heard way too many stories where someone lost years and years of work due to a fire, hard drive malfunction or even having their storage media stolen. Having a good backup isn’t just using a large and reliable hard drive; you have to use a specific folder structure in order to be able to find your stuff down the road. Today, I’ll discuss my particular folder organization for commercial product and still life photography.

First off, what I use is fairly industry standard. It is, for the most part, the same hierarchy that Capture One automatically creates when you make and new session. In the session folder, which I name using the date and the name of the project (YYYYMM_PROJECT NAME), there are four subfolders, Capture, Selects, Trash and Output. By the name of it, all of the shots go to the Capture folder, good or not. I personally do not use at all the Selects folder, I prefer to stay in the Output folder. The Trash folder is where files used by Capture One usually go. The master session folder in placed into a folder for that job’s particular client. A copy of the gig’s invoice is also included in the master session folder.

Finally, the Output folder is where the action happens. In there, I create (most of the time) 3 sub-folder, named Output 1, Output 2 and Output 3. The first of them is where all of the selected shots will be exported. Those can be ready to be worked on in Photoshop (in which case there are only two subfolders) or will constitute a focus stacked image. All of the focus stacks images reside into the Output 2 folder. Those will then be worked on in Photoshop. There can be a few images per shot (with different exposure, colour temperature or parts that will be masked into one final file). When the image is ready to be delivered to the client, it gets saved to the Output 3 folder. As described by this blog post, I export three (or four, depending on the need of the client) different versions of the same image. There is the master PSD file, the high-quality, single-layered TIFF version, the compressed and ready for web use JPEG file and the transparent background PNG shot (which is as web-ready as the JPEG). All of those get their own sub-folder in the Output 3 folder. For example, in the PSDs folder, there should only be one .psd (or .psb) file per product image for that shoot.

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 22.40.02.png

This folder structure is not perfect and could most likely be improved upon. However, it works great for me and I can always find the exact file that I'm looking for in a snap.

How do you organize your photographic files? Share it with us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan