New Text Watermark Features in MBP FAB Tools for Adobe Photoshop (Podcast 763)

New Text Watermark Features in MBP FAB Tools for Adobe Photoshop (Podcast 763)


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I’ve just released an update for our MBP Fine Art Border Tools plugin for Adobe Photoshop, so I wanted to spend a little time today to explain the great new features that are now available. The update is version 1.5.1 so if you already own FAB Tools and don’t see these options, please check the Adobe Plugin Manager and update the plugin if necessary. All of the new features are in the Add Text module, where you can add text to your resized and framed image. Two of these new features were based on suggestions I received from a listener so I’d like to give a shout-out to Roger Jones from the UK and thank Roger for the suggestions and for using FAB Tools!

Also, please note that I’ve just released a 24-minute video to explain these new features, so I’ll embed that here as it will probably be easier to understand these features if you follow along in real-time. Then I’ll go on to explain again below, for those of you that just want to listen, or for Patron members that prefer to read.

Second Text Line (from V1.5)

Second Text Line
Second Text Line

From version 1.5 which was released a few days ago in the Adobe Exchange Marketplace, there are now more text customization options than ever! First of all, you can now add a second line of text that you manually enter for your Text Watermark.

All you have to do to use the second line of text is to select the Second Line Text field (inside the green box in this screenshot) and type in your text. This second line will also appear for any text watermarks that you have already configured and can be used just as though you were creating the watermark afresh. When you tab away from the text field your text is automatically saved along with your first line and other options, such as font, font style, and font color.

Once saved, if you don’t need to embed your second line in your watermark, you can either delete the text or uncheck the Activate check box to the right of the Second Line Text field. If you want to change your text regularly, leave the Auto-hide checkbox unchecked, and the field will remain on the screen when the other options are hidden. 

Add Custom Fonts

Another new feature in version 1.5 is the ability to add any font that you have installed on your system to the Font pulldown for use in the Text Watermarks. To get started just click on the Add Font button that can be seen after clicking on Show Options in the Add Text module. If you haven’t added a Text Watermark yet, you need to add at least one before these options are visible.

After clicking the Add Font button, you will see six text fields, that you can see in the below screenshot. The first is for the font name, and the following five fields are for the various styles that you commonly find in a font. The name can be anything you want, but so that you can recognize the font, using the Font Name is recommended. For the remaining Postscript name fields, you can use the font file name without the extension, or get the font style name from the Font Book under Applications on a Mac or from the system Font viewer on Windows.

Mac Font Book
Mac Font Book

These names have to match the actual font names or your custom font will not work. After entering the style names, click the Store Font button, and check the preview to see that the font is working. If you have added more than one font style, also check that the style changes in the preview when selected.

Adding a Custom Font
Adding a Custom Font

You can add different styles to the five provided, for example, you might add an Extra Light font style instead of Light, or Extra Bold instead of bold, but note that the style will only be displayed by the available style radio button with the default names. Once you have added a custom font, you can press the Edit Font button that will be displayed when a Custom Font is selected and reopen the font text fields to check or change what you added. There is no limit to the number of fonts that you add. 

Note too that the fonts are added to the MBPCustomFonts.txt file that you can find along with the other preference files that are stored. To see your Custom Fonts file and potentially make a backup, go to the Tools module and click on the Show Settings Folder Path button, then copy the path to the clipboard, and paste that path into the dialog that appears when you select the Finder > Go > Go to Folder option on a Mac, or paste the path into the Explorer path field in Windows. 

Description Text Wrapping Options

Version 1.5 also introduced two new Description Text wrapping options. The Description text is automatically extracted from your image if you added a description, either in the File Information > Description field in Photoshop, or in another application, like Capture One Pro or Lightroom. If you add a Description in Photoshop, note that you must save and close then reopen the file before MBP FAB Tools will be able to read the Description from the image file.
The first of the two new wrapping options is to return after the number of words entered into the first of the two optional fields. Your description will automatically be wrapped after the number of words entered. The second new wrapping option is to wrap when FAB Tools finds a specific character or character string in your Description. By default, this is an opening parenthesis bracket. As you can see in the example screenshot above, I wrapped the description after the two words “The Abyss” by including the remaining Description inside parenthesis. I’ve not limited the character wrap to the first instance of a character, so you could theoretically wrap line after line by including the wrap character multiple times.

Safe Text Scaling

The last major update in this release is the Safe Text Scaling option. As it is now possible to build text watermarks that can potentially overflow the space provided in the border surrounding your resized image, I’ve added the Safe Text Scaling option and turned it on by default, and this will essentially prevent your text from overflowing the border and being cut off.

The cool thing about this is if you do work with multi-line text watermarks, and are happy for them to fill the border space vertically, you can now just set a larger Scale percentage than necessary, and allow the Safe Text Scaling option to resize your text to fit the border automatically. So, for example, instead of trying to find the percentage required to fill the border, which might be say 32%, you can now just specify a 50% border, and leave the rest to FAB Tools. Needless to say, it works with landscape or portrait orientation images, as well as square and panorama images.

If you want to know whether Safe Text Scaling is kicking in, look below the three options under the Text Anchor Target section in the Add Text module while adding a text-based watermark. You’ll see a green message quickly flash onto the screen saying “Text Auto-Scaled!” To actually be on the Add Text screen if you are adding a Watermark during the resizing process, select Apply Web or Print Border from the hamburger menu in the top right of the FAB Tools plugin panel.

OK, so we’ll start to wrap it up there for this week. If you don’t yet own a copy of the MBP Fine Art Border Tools and would like to, you can jump directly to the product page on the Adobe Exchange Marketplace with the short-link https://mbp.ac/fabtmp and you can get to our product page for further details with the link under the Shop menu at the top of this website.

To finish, I’d quickly like to say a huge thank you to Richard, Jim, David, and Kandice, our new patrons. Thank you, alongside the other patrons for your support of the Martin Bailey Photography Podcast.


Show Notes

Adobe Exchange Short link: https://mbp.ac/fabtmp
FAB Tools Product Page: https://mbp.ac/mbpfabt

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Scanning Film with LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast (Podcast 709)

Scanning Film with LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast (Podcast 709)


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About six months ago I posted about my Rolleiflex F3.5 Twin Lens Reflex camera, and how the ability to develop film in broad daylight with the Lab-Box had contributed to a rekindling of my love for film. The Rollei was a replacement for my old Yashica TLR camera, which I still have, but the few drawbacks in its design and the difficulty and sometimes pure panic of working with the dark bags that I reported on around four years ago, had caused my interest in film to dwindle again for a while. The Rollei and Lab-Box have brought it all back around for me, so I will occasionally shoot film for the pure joy of it, and being able to come home and process my film myself is the icing on the cake.

Back in episode 690 I also talked about the scanner that I bought late last year because my old Epson scanner had given up the ghost. After a fair amount of research I decided to go for the CanoScan 9000F Mark II scanner, the main reasons for which are the ability to get very high resolution scans of my 6 x 6 cm medium format negatives on 120 film. As I shared last week, one roll gives me just 12 frames, and with developing costs etc. we’re talking a couple of bucks per photo, so it keeps you relatively careful about releasing the shutter each time, although I will, of course, still opt to grab a photo and throw it out if necessary, rather than hesitating too much about the cost.

Although I’ve been using SilverFast 8 to scan my film for the last six months, I realized last week that I had not talked about it here on the blog and podcast, so I’d like to do that today. I initially was not happy with the results I was getting from SilverFast 8 as I thought it was too grainy, but I’ve been able to get over that to a degree. What happened was a combination of various factors that actually did make my images too grainy, so I’ll briefly cover that too.

Basically, for some of my winter snow scenes, I was essentially over-exposing my images a little, because with digital I get better quality images by exposing to the right. As one of my incredibly knowledgable participants on my January Hokkaido Landscape Tour shared with me though, for film, you have to protect the shadows rather than the highlights, and therefore I find that I’m not exposing the same way with film and that is more important with snow scenes, because of all the white, although in general, my exposures were just about spot on.

The problem was compounded by the fact that I started to experiment with some other developing chemicals, and I guess I learned that you don’t experiment when shooting film on important shoots. I’d been using Ilford DDX, which is a very nice developer, but I tried Ilford Perceptol, and found it more difficult to get good results, but that was partly because some of my winter scenes were a little too bright. The main reason though, I’d come to find, was probably agitating the film too often during the development process. The Lab-Box tutorials said that you need to agitate more often, and more rigorously, which is what I was doing, but as I looked into the cause of my over-grainy images I found that this can cause more grain, and sometimes streaks on the images, which I was also getting.

I didn’t find this out though until I’d damaged a number of rolls of film, and also, on recommendation from a kind reader/listener, I made one last change, which was to switch my chemicals again, this time to Adox Rodinal. Although I liked the results I was getting with Ilford DDX, I was throwing it out occasionally because of the relatively short shelf-life. You also have to use much more of it, with a 1+4 mix ration, which helps with the shelf-life problem if you develop film often, but still, I found that I was both going through too much of it, and sometimes throwing it out because it had crystalized too much and basically gone off.

Rodinal, on the other hand, requires just a 1+50 mix, although I also got caught as I arrived at that. The one downside of Rodinal is that it takes quite a long time to develop your roll, so I initially tried working with a 1+25 solution, which halves the development time, but I also found that doing so increases grain, and that cost me another roll of photos. I finally arrived at working with Rodinal at 1+50 and halved the agitation during development. I had originally been agitating quite rigorously every 30 seconds, based on the Lab-Box tutorials, but I reduced that to relatively slow agitation every minute, and the results are finally what I was hoping for, and what grain I do sometimes see, is now very pleasing, natural film grain, and no vertical streaks.

One last thing that I did as well, although I’m going to try not doing this now that I’ve worked out all of the other kinks, is that I started to mix my developer with purified water, which is basically one step down from distilled water. I’d been using tap water, and I’m still not sure if that was a problem, but using the purified water may have helped. I’ve also considered buying a distilled water machine, but they aren’t cheap for a good one, and I’m not sure how important this is to the process. If anyone has an opinion on this, please let me know via the comments below.

Anyway, now that I’m getting the sort of results I wanted from my development process, and using Adox Rodinal, which can be stored for a very long time without worrying about shelf life, the results that I am getting with SilverFast 8 are very pleasing, but there it took me a fair amount of trial and error to get the results I’m happy with, so I’ll walk you through the process now. As you can see from the screenshot of the startup screen, you select your scanner on startup, and in fact, you have to bind your license to your scanner, and I’ve not really looked into how easy it is to change this later if you change the scanner, but hopefully that is possible and not a costly process.

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SilverFast Startup Screen
SilverFast Startup Screen

Somewhat uncharacteristic of me, I actually went for the cheapest version of SilverFast which is the SE version at €49. There’s a chart showing what you get with the higher versions and would have liked to try but don’t have access to is the Auto Adaptive Contrast Optimization. The other thing that might be of use is the Job Manager, but that doesn’t kick-in until the Ai Studio version which is €299 and I wasn’t willing to pay that much for this software. Everything you’ll see today is what I’ve got with the SE version.

I am setting my film into the scanner using the film holder that comes with it for 6 x 6 cm frames. Here is the photo from my earlier post to illustrate that. I load the film with the shiny side down, because the scan is performed from underneath the glass. There is a window in the lid of the scanner, but that contains a light source and a diffuser to soften the light source as it illuminates the film for the scan.


Scanning 120 Film with the CanonScan 9000F Mark II

 

Scanning 120 Film with the CanonScan 9000F Mark II

When I first started using SilverFast I selected the following settings in the Preferences > General tab, and after arriving at the settings I liked, I saved the tool dialogs as a preset here. You can update that with the floppy disk icon. Under the CMS tab I selected the Adobe RGB (1998) color profile, and that will be plenty as I’m scanning black and white images, so the lack of ProPhoto RGB doesn’t bother me here. I left the options under the Special tab at their default settings.


SilverFast General Settings

 

SilverFast General Settings

Most of the other important settings for my scanning workflow can be seen in this screenshot of the main scanning window. You can see in the top left corner that I’m scanning to TIFF files, and dropping the scanned images into a folder called Film Scans initially, in my home directory. I have the quality set to 300 ppi, and I’m scanning at 4800 ppi, which results in images that can be printed at 300 ppi at approximately 90 cm square but can actually be printed around twice that size at 150 ppi and still look great.


Scan Dimensions

 

Scan Dimensions

People often try to tell me that this resolution is too high, and while I agree that it’s a tad on the high side, my next lower option is 2400 ppi and that is not enough for my use cases, which often involve printing my photos out very large. I have tested in steps and found that there is an increase in detail up to 4800, but nothing more is gained higher than this. Also, keep in mind that the optics of your camera and how sharp the original photograph is all come into play here, so find your own maximum resolution, and work with that. I’m happy with 4800.

Picture Settings

Under the Picture Settings panel, you can easily adjust the midtones which affects the brightness of the image without shifting the black and white points. If you click on the N button that you there, you switch between Normal and Logarithmic modes, as necessary. I’ve used both depending on the photo, so it’s worth giving it a click sometimes if you aren’t getting what you want. If this was a color image, I could click the C button to introduce Adaptive Saturation which prevents over-saturation in more saturated areas of the image.

NegaFix

The NegaFix panel is interesting and provides a number of presets based on various film types. For example, they have Ilford Delta 100, which does a really nice job, and can, of course, be applied to other films. I generally leave this off and adjust the image myself later in Capture One Pro, because they tend to plug up the shadow areas a little too much for my liking, but these presets are definitely worth a play with. The CCR button that you see there is for Color Cast Removal, which does a good job of neutralizing the color.


NegaFix

 

NegaFix

It’s probably also worth noting that most of the time I leave the NegaFix options set to Other for the Vendor and Film type, and leave the ISO pulldown set to Linear. If the image is a little too pasty I sometimes use Standard instead of Linear, but I find it can be a little heavy-handed, so I go with Linear and then apply a tone curve to my liking in Capture One Pro. I prefer to keep that extra bit of control.


NegaFix Linear ISO

 

NegaFix Linear ISO

Unsharp Masking

Also note from these screenshots, that I’m reducing the amount of Unsharp Masking that I apply to the images as well. I found that the Automated Sharpness was a little heavy-handed as well, and not necessary with images from my Rolleiflex. My Yashica would need more sharpness though, so again, the settings you select really depend on the camera probably also the acuity of your film.

Densitometer

If we also take a peak inside the Densitometer panel which was closed in the first screenshot, and you’ll see that we can check the Black and White points, and although the left and right rectangles are both the same in this screenshot, as you make adjustments to your images in SilverFast, the right rectangle shows you the tones or colors for color film after the changes. The left rectangle represents your original film tones.


Setting Black and White Points

 

Setting Black and White Points

Also, you can click on the Pipette icon in the toolbar to the right of the sidebar, and set your Black and White points, and if necessary, the Neutral point as well, and Reset it all if necessary. I generally find that setting the Black and White points helps to get a nice spread of tones throughout the image.

iSRD

iSRD is a form of Dust and Scratch Removal. The important thing to note here is that it only works in 1:1 or HQ (High Quality) modes, and it requires a high-resolution infrared scan to get into that mode. Luckily though once you have that scan, you are done. You apparently don’t need to do another scan, as the software has all the information it needs at that point, but to be completely honest I have found this feature to be pretty buggy and actually never gone through with a scan using iSRD. Sometimes the preview looks great, but then I simply cannot get a view of the cleaned-up scan, and other times it takes so long to process, even with my 10 core iMac Pro, that I end up just coming out of iSRD and clean up my image manually in Capture One Pro later.

GANE

Another of the few features that I am disappointed in, and cannot get the SilverFast Support team to comment on, is the Grain and Noise Elimination. I personally think that this is just not working at all, at least not on Mac OS Catalina. Here, for example, is a screenshot of a dark area of an image that has a bit of grain in it. You can see from the bottom left corner that Grain and Noise Reduction is currently turned off in one image, because there is no tick in the box in the top right of its pane, and in the second image the check is on, supposedly apply Strong GANE. I’ve viewed this on a 32-inch display though, and I cannot see any difference. If anything, the image with Strong Grain and Noise Elimination applied is marginally grainier, but I think they are pretty much identical.

I’m not going to touch on the other features, which I don’t really use, but I should mention that the Auto CCR button on the top toolbar can do a nice job as well. It’s basically Automatic Image Optimization with Color Cast Removal. Especially when you first start using SilverFast, this can be really useful to see what it does and what is possible.

Batch Processing

I would like to finish by mentioning Batch Processing. Although I can only scan three images at a time, once I have selected the appropriate settings for each image, I go to the top toolbar and hit the Scan button, and select Batch Scan, which opens up this dialog box. Here I can set the folder into which my scanned images will be saved, and also give my files a name. I then provide a starting number and turn on Index active, and the software will then start at 01 and automatically increment that each time a scan is performed. When I’m doing an entire roll of 12 images I have to open this dialog four times, but I only set that number on the first batch, and it increments through to 12 automatically.


Batch Scanning

 

Batch Scanning

Once I save my images via the Batch Scan process, due to the way the images are saved from SilverFast, they are not editable in Capture One Pro. I have to open them in either Photoshop or Affinity Photo and save them again, even if I keep them in the TIFF format. Until I do that, none of the sliders in Capture One Pro are active so I cannot make any changes.

After saving the image files, I actually do one last thing, and that is to grab the script that I made six months ago that enables me to easily add EXIF data to my photos. As I shoot I use an App on my iPhone called FilmPad, which records the shooting data and time etc. and then once I’ve developed and scanned the film, I open up my EXIF Updater script, and hit number 1 to parse the folder of images, and then walk me through each image to add the camera and shooting information. I dreaded doing this manually with Exiftool before I created this script, but now I don’t have to look up or remember any commands. My script does all that for me. I just have to enter a few pieces of data in human-readable form.


MBP Film EXIF Updater Script

 

MBP Film EXIF Updater Script

I spend a few hours yesterday clearing up a few final bugs that I was aware of and will be putting this script up for sale in the coming days, so if anyone is interested in grabbing a copy, come back in a week or so and it should be available. I will also produce a post to explain how to use it so if you need a reminder, subscribe to our newsletters and I’ll let you know when it’s ready. The result, of course, is that my images are tagged with camera and shooting data, so my website shows EXIF data when you view the images, and also they show up at the right date and time in other image management apps.

Anyway, I hope you found this useful. I’m happy now that I have started using SilverFast, despite the few things that don’t really work well for me, and for the price of the SE version, I think I’ll continue to use it. Although the grain did bother me at first, as I explained earlier, my current scans contain much more organic film grain, as opposed to the Canon Software which basically smooths everything over and then resharpen, removing pretty much all grain, and that was perhaps too much the other way.

This post and podcast were not sponsored or endorsed in any way by LaserSoft Imaging or any other third party. I paid for the software myself and they don’t even know about this review at the time of publishing, although I will send them a link after release.


Show Notes

SilverFast Scanner Software: https://www.silverfast.com/scanner-software/en.html

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Capture One Pro Winner & Photographer’s Friend Sneak Peek (Podcast 706)

Capture One Pro Winner & Photographer’s Friend Sneak Peek (Podcast 706)


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My name is Martin and I’m a workaholic. Semi-seriously, I’m quite concerned by my inability to drag myself away from the development work that I’m doing on our Photographer’s Friend iOS app. It’s ruling my life and taking up my weekends, evenings, and pretty much every other waking minute, until something becomes so urgent that I have to walk away and take care of business. The Podcast is suffering too, because I’m not able to do anything outside of this coding, but I can’t promise to fix that straight away, as I have some more to do before I can relax a little.

I was doing silent screams at my desk every day last week as the evening drew near and I still hadn’t created this episode, in which I wanted to announce the winners of the free Capture One Pro license that I have to give away. We’ll get to that first today though, and then I will give you a sneak peak at what I’m doing with Photographer’s Friend, as there is some pretty cool stuff that is now mostly working, but the release format is still up in the air as I struggle with Apple’s In-App Purchases testing environment. Anyway, without any further ado, I’d like to announce the winner of Capture One Pro.

And the Winner Is…

I have dragged my feet on announcing the winner of the free license also because I had a really hard time deciding who to give the license to, partly because there were ultimately only two people in the race, Juan and Thysje. If you’d like to read their comments about their experiences trying Capture One Pro please visit the post for Episode 702 and scroll down to the comments. Both made some great points and submitted lovely photos to back up their comments. Because I found it so difficult to chose, and because there were only two people in the race, I decided to simply flip a beautiful Moroccan coin that I have to get a winner. I’m doing this as I write, so we’re going to make Thysje the side of the coin with a star on it, and Juan can be the side with King Mohammed-V on it. Here goes…

Moroccan 500 Francs Coin
Moroccan 500 Francs Coin

And the winner is Juan Ernesto!

Congratulations Juan! I’m so please to be able to award you with this Capture One Pro license, which I have just sent to you by email, and I would like to thank the Phase One team as well for making this possible. Please report back at some point about your continued success using the product, and we can maybe do an interview about your experiences at some point as well, if you’re up for that.

Photographer’s Friend Update

OK, so I’ll try to keep this relatively short, but as I have always tried to update you on what I’m up to via this blog and podcast, let me tell you about the update to our Photographer’s Friend app that I’ve been working on pretty much every waking our for the last three months. After my big update at the start of this year, I started this current update with a tiny goal to add a feature that I thought might be useful, which is a way to permanently link the Hyperlocal Distance label to the Focus Distance dial in the Depth of Field Calculator. Until now, to update the Focus Distance dial with the current Hyperlocal Distance based on the sensor format, aperture and focal length, you had to tap the Hyperlocal Distance label, and then if you changed a setting invalidating the distance, the link was automatically broken.

Now, there is a padlock on the Hyperlocal Distance readout that can be tapped or long-pressed to engage, and after that, the Focus Distance dial automatically stays in sync with the other dials while the label is tapped and engaged, even if you have Pixel Peeper mode turned on, which uses the megapixels of your sensor to give a the most accurate Depth of Field information available in any app that I’m aware of. Now, this change didn’t take me that long, and I fixed a few other minor issues as well, back in March, after I got back from my final Japan Winter Wildlife Tour for this year.

Then, I thought, you know what, if I’m going to submit an update, I might as well sneak in a few other things that I’ve been meaning to do, and that turned out to be a three-month long rabbit-hole, and I’m actually still trying to dig myself out. I am incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to do, and because most of it is already working, I’m happy to share some details with you today as well, but there are a few things that I have still to overcome, so it’s probably going to be another week or two before I can get this released.

Anyway, the new feature that has taken the most time for any single feature, is a new extension for Apple Watch to link the Neutral Density filter Calculator to the watch, so that you can time long exposure photographs from your watch, instead of having to reach for your phone each time you want to run the timer, and also you don’t even have to keep your phone out during the exposure, while using the extension on the watch. You still have to apply filters on the iPhone, but there is a link button that comes to life when the Watch Extension is installed and active, that allows you to link the two timers, Here’s a photo of the two timers in action, linked and synchronized.

Photographer's Friend with Apple Watch Extension
Photographer’s Friend with Apple Watch Extension
ND Calculator Watch Extension Settings
ND Calculator Watch Extension Settings

Also notice the fancy new Font Awesome icons, which I’m gradually working into the app, giving it a more intuitive and smarter looking interface where possible, compared to the mostly button based interface that we’ve used so far. If you don’t have an Apple Watch, half of the icons you see in the above photo will never be displayed, and even if you do have a watch, some of them hide when it’s not connected and can also be manually hidden.

You can tap that gold link to break the link and run the timers individually, and you can also simply start a counter, which counts up on the watch, then save that counter as a new custom timer. You can also swipe a settings screen in from the right on the Apple Watch, and set a custom timer directly as well, so if you just need a quick timer, we have you covered. Here’s a screenshot from the watch Settings screen.

If interest in the Watch Extension is high, I will probably eventually create a standalone ND Calculator specifically for the watch, now that I know how to program for this somewhat restricted little device. I also want to go on and create an extension for the Depth of Field calculator, but that is a little way out yet.

Smart Rotation

Also notice how the screen has split itself into two portions and intelligently placed them side-by-side in landscape orientation of the iOS app. There is also an option to switch which side the controls drop down to, so left handed users can have the controls drop down to the left hand side of the screen, rather than the right. For the ND Calculator, you can also two-finger drag the controls section and move it from the top to the bottom and back again, and the left-right handed stuff still works as expected.

This Smart Rotation is a new feature that is going to be part of a Pro version which I’m hoping to sell as an In-App Purchase. I’ve put too much work into this update to throw it out for free. The Watch Extension was always planned to be a paid extension, because I don’t want to charge people that don’t need the watch extension, for the watch extension, although I’m still working on this for both apps, and have a few more hurdles to clear before I can say for sure what the final release will look like. The technology is in place, to split the functionality based on the owned product, but there is more tweaking to do on the IAP testing process, which is my next job after releasing this post.

Mac OS X

The other major change, and again, I’m still working on the release strategy, is that I now have a Mac OS X version of Photographer’s Friend, thanks to Apple’s new Catalyst technology, allowing iOS apps to run on the Mac. There’s additional work involved, so it won’t be completely free, but as an educational tool there is definitely a place for a Mac version, and I’ve found myself using it on the Mac as I’ve worked on this, so I’m looking forward to getting this out too.

Here is a screenshot of the Depth of Field Calculator on the Mac OS. If you’ve ever used Photographer’s Friend on an iPad, especially the iPad Pro with the large screen, you’ll have noticed that the text and numbers on the labels were really small. I figured out how to make it bigger on larger screens now though, so text is now much bigger on the iPad and Mac OS.

Photographers Friend on Mac OS X
Photographers Friend on Mac OS X

And, the Smart Resize is also available on the iPad and Mac OS for Photographer’s Friend Pro owners. This is great for a teaching environment when you might be showing your screen at say a camera club talk, and you can literally resize to say just a thin strip across the bottom of the screen, and the layout just works with you. Smart Rotation is also a great feature for use in the field, when we can finally get back out there, of course.

Note too that in these screenshots I have the new Hyperlocal Distance Lock that I mentioned earlier turned on, so the Hyperlocal Distance is automatically applied to the Focus Distance dial and all of the calculated distances are updated accordingly. If you turn off that lock and tap the blue Hyperlocal Distance label, your originally selected focus distance will be restored.

Photographers Friend on Mac OS X Smart Resized
Photographers Friend on Mac OS X Smart Resized

I’m working the Smart Rotation into as many screens as I can, so as with these screenshots, even the settings screens are looking pretty fancy when in landscape orientation, compared to the squished down portrait orientation screens that are in the currently released version. These are iPhone screenshots by the way. I’m still working on this for the Mac OS version settings screens, but hopefully it will be included in the upcoming release as soon as I can iron out these last few issues that I’m working on.

Smart Rotation Settings
Smart Rotation Settings

As I say, some of this has taken so much work that it won’t all be free, although some of these changes may be integrated into an update for the currently available app for free if you already own Photographer’s Friend, and if I can figure out how to do the rest of what I want to do via In-App Purchases. All will be clear in the next few weeks hopefully. If you don’t yet own Photographer’s Friend and want to hear more when I release the update, please subscribe to my newsletter. Also sign up if you want to know when I finally get you an Android version. I promise that this will be the next thing I work on once I get this release out.


Show Notes

Try Capture One Pro yourself here: https://www.captureone.com/en

See details of Photographer’s Friend here: https://mbp.ac/app

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Luna Display Review (Podcast 631)

Luna Display Review (Podcast 631)

This week we’re going to take a look at Luna Display, an amazing little device that turns your iPad into a wireless second display for your Mac. I backed the Kickstarter for this around a year ago, and have been very excited to finally use it after it was delivered last week.

Before we jump into the review, I’d like to apologize for my radio silence over the last few weeks. I decided to add a couple more features to our Photographer’s Friend app version 3.0, and one of them took a lot more time than I had expected, and to complete this kind of work, I really just have to go down-periscope and devote every waking minute to the project.

The app is now with Apple for review though, and I’m hoping to release it in the coming days, so stay tuned. If you’d like to be notified when Photographer’s Friend 3.0 becomes available, sign up for our newsletters.

Anyway, back to Luna Display. Luna Display is from the same people that brought us Astropad, that I reviewed in Episode 483 some three years ago now. Astropad has been great, but a lot has changed, and frankly, I feel that in many ways, Luna Display pretty much makes Astropad unnecessary, as you can do everything that it does over a Luna connection.

Luna Display comes in a tiny little box, 65 mm square, and the device itself 14 mm wide at the base, and protrudes just 18 mm from your computer. It comes in both a Mini-Display Port and a USB-C version. I bought the USB-C version because I’m using newer Mac computers. Both my MacBook Pro and iMac Pro have USB-C, so it was the natural choice for me.

Luna Display
Luna Display

To get started with Luna Display, you just need to go to the web page written on the insert and download and install the Mac software, and an App for the iPad from the Apple App Store. Once you have these installed, you can start the Luna app on your Mac, and you will initially see the following message (below), asking you to Open the Luna Display app on your iPad. If you open the app on the iPad first, it just connects, rather than displaying a message.

Open Luna Display on iPad
Open Luna Display on iPad

Once connected, you have a few choices that are presented to you in the Luna Display app on your Mac, including whether you’d like the screen to be on the left or right side of your computer, and whether or not you’d like to enable Retina Resolution. As you can see from the screenshot (below) I’ve been using Luna in Retina Resolution and it works flawlessly, although you do have to install a system extension the first time you enable Retina Resolution. 

Luna Display Settings Screen
Luna Display Settings Screen

I have to admit, when I first started Luna up, it was a bit glitchy, and I immediately started to feel underwhelmed, but then an update popup appeared, and since running that update, I haven’t had a single issue, so I was frustrated for perhaps 10 seconds, and then everything was fine.

There is a Custom button on the settings screen as well, that literally just opens up the Mac OS Displays settings, so you can fine-tune the position of the second display, and change the resolution if you’d like to. I have my iPad Pro running at its highest resolution through Luna Display, and as I mentioned, it works flawlessly. 

Mac OSX Display Settings via Luna Display
Mac OSX Display Settings via Luna Display

There is really no time-lag to speak of, so it’s a working solution that opens a lot of doors for people that own both a Mac computer and an iPad. I take my iPad Pro with me when I travel, in addition to my 13″ MacBook Pro, and because the screens are almost the exact same size, this setup feels really comfortable to work on. As you can see in this next image (below) I can run Capture One Pro in multimonitor mode, and because the iPad is touch-screen, I can just tap on a thumbnail of an image to jump directly to that image.

13" MacBook Pro with iPad Pro Running Luna Display
13″ MacBook Pro with iPad Pro Running Luna Display

It doesn’t stop with single taps emulating a mouse click. There is additional functionality built into the Luna Display software to enable multi-finger touch gestures, so for example, if you want to zoom in or out, you can simply pinch the screen, and zoom just like you would with images viewed directly on the iPad. This to me is really impressive, and although I don’t know how wide this support goes, if it works in Capture One Pro, I would imagine it will work in most other applications as well.

Pinch to Zoom on iPad
Pinch to Zoom on iPad

One last editing related aspect is that you can also use the Apple Pencil to directly edit images, which is incredible! I often do some pretty fine mask drawing while traveling, but this can be clunky to do with the trackpad, but it’s a breeze with the Apple Pencil! You can’t really see what I’ve done from this next screenshot, but I couldn’t help refining the mask around the Himba Girl shot from this year’s Namibia Tour.

Drawing a Mask in Capture One Pro with Apple Pencil
Drawing a Mask in Capture One Pro with Apple Pencil

Also, although you can change this in the preferences for Luna Display if you want to, by default, when you plug Luna into a USB port, the Mac software automatically opens and waits for your iPad software. The team seems to have thought of everything, as usual, so the entire solution is very smooth. 

Of course, I’m talking about Luna from a photography perspective today, but anyone that can benefit from having a second screen, or maybe even a third, would find it useful. Here’s an example of how you might use Luna in a music production environment (below). Putting the interface for a synthesizer on the iPad actually gives great tactile access to to the presets and knobs, and although this particular company has a great iPad app that does most of this, it’s rare to have that, and I can do much more by simply touching the screen on the original interface, so this is also a setup that I will be utilizing moving forward.

Luna Display in a DTM Setting
Luna Display in a DTM Setting

Before we finish I would like to mention that this post is not sponsored in any way. Although I know the team that created Luna Display, I did not contact them for a device and they have not paid me to do this review. I signed up for the Kickstarter and waited my turn for my unit like everyone else. I can say for sure though, that it was absolutely worth the wait.

I believe the Mini Display Port versions of Luna Display are still on back order, but looking at their website it does look as though they have stock of the USB-C version, so if you want one, it might be a good time to head over to lunadisplay.com and place your order.


Show Notes

See details or order your Luna Display at https://lunadisplay.com

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Introducing Capture One Pro 11 New Features (Podcast 599)

Introducing Capture One Pro 11 New Features (Podcast 599)

Phase One has launched version 11 of my chosen raw image editing software Capture One Pro with some great new features that we’re going to take a look at today.

I have been using Capture One Pro 11 over the past few weeks, getting used to the new features, and I am very impressed with what Phase One has done in this recent major update.

To quickly name some of the new features that have really resonated with me, we’re talking about huge improvements in how layers are handled, including Layer Opacity and Annotations, and great new Refine Edge options. We can now change the masks feather after creating it, and there’s a new Grey Scale Mask to help us when further refining edits. Overall speed and performance have been improved, and another thing that I’m pleased to see is an Import Duplicate Checker. 

I’ve created a video to walk you through these new features so grab a coffee or whatever and take a look.

If you haven’t tried Capture One Pro yet, you can download and use a fully functional version for 30 days here: https://mbp.ac/c1download

And to help you get up to speed, you can list all of the Capture One Pro tutorials that I’ve released so far here: https://mbp.ac/cotutorials


Show Notes

Download and try Capture One Pro here: https://mbp.ac/c1download

My Capture One Pro Tutorials: https://mbp.ac/cotutorials

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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