Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Design Lines–1 & Testing Some Brand New Software

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Sorry for the late post today. I've really been behind the eight ball these last couple of days and have found it difficult finding time to post the blog. Let me give you a quick update of what's going on around here.

The biggest “time gobbler” has been installation of three new computers at the studio – and what a pain in the neck that can be sometimes. My computer is pretty much up and running, and I got our second computer installed earlier today. I’ve just got one more to go but, it will probably take about another day of work to get it on-line.

I will say that these computers are far faster than the almost 5 year old models we’re replacing. I think everybody's going to be thrilled with the new speedy hardware.

Testing New Software – Perfectly Clear

Perfectly Clear boxesOn a different front, I've also invested quite a bit of time exploring a brand-new piece of software for Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. The name of the software is Perfectly Clear by Athentech Imaging. I met the CEO of the company, Brad Malcolm about three years ago when we got chatting at one of the trade shows.

I've been following Perfectly Clear’s development over these last couple of years and what I saw most recently really impressed me. Brad and I had the opportunity to hook up again at Photoshop World in Vegas just a few weeks ago and I'm now in the process of testing Perfectly Clear in depth to see just how it might improve our workflow.

At first glance, it looks like it's going to be a lifesaver and happily a timesaver for us, too. What Perfectly Clear does is  analyzes each of your digital images pixel by pixel and then does it’s best to adjust color balance, contrast, black levels, white levels, and about every nuance of your image. 

As you know, we photograph about 3500 images in the course of an event but our big hang-up is fine tuning the images for posting to the Internet for our clients to view. That part of the process can take hours – too many hours!  After my first brief test with Perfectly Clear at Photoshop World I was surprised how many times the software got it right.

Perfectly Clear training videosWere currently exploring some different workflow options with the software. You can go online and watch all Perfectly Clear’s tutorials right here. The one tutorial that interests me the most was the batch processing post, it's the last one listed on the video page. After a few preliminary tests yesterday, I was very positively surprised with the results that I obtained. I want to do a little tweaking of the program adjustments and give it a try one more time.  BTW, Perfectly Clear works in Photoshop and Lightroom and across both the PC and MAC platforms.

The game plan, and this is constantly updating as we improve each process, right now is to load all of the images into Lightroom. Once done, I want Perfectly Clear to work its magic on each and every one of those images saving the processed images to a different folder.   Next we’ll import those images into Lightroom as well. Since I'm not changing names of the images, the perfectly clear adjusted JPEGs should sit right next to the raw file in the Lightroom catalog. The next step is to just breeze through the catalog and select the best image. In my first tests I was selecting the Perfectly Clear image 95% of the time.

Remember, were just trying to get these images looking good for proofing for the client, not perfect for final output. Don’t get me wrong – most of the Perfectly Clear adjusted images looked just fine. Granted, some images are going to need additional post processing, but that should be no problem in our typical normal Lightroom workflow. Anyway, running new software through all the tests is a time-consuming process. I hope to have the completed and finalized results of my testing ready to post next week – stay tuned.  The testing coupled with getting three machines up and running explains my lack of time needed for blogging.

Design Lines 1 – See Where The Lines Are Leading Then Place The Subject Accordingly

I had planned to post part three of the banner project that I've been discussing in the last two Technique Tuesday's. Sorry no time……  Don't worry though, I promise they have it completed in fairly short order.

In lieu of posting a brand-new Technique Tuesday today, I thought I would revisit a episode I did a couple of years ago. The topic is one of my favorites, composition and lighting, so I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Here is the back story on today's video. LaDawn and I were on vacation a couple of years ago staying at a beautiful new Hilton Hotel right on the waterfront in San Diego. It turns out that the hotel offered some great backgrounds for portrait photography. In this tutorial I'll walk you through how I spotted the leading lines, how I determined where the viewers eye was being led, and how I positioned my subject within a composition.

A nice plus for this tutorial is a fact I am using the most ultraportable lighting set up that I can be using – a wirelessly triggered shoe mount flash. In spite of my equipment minimalism in this tutorial, I still think we pulled off some very cool portraits. They are well lit and well composed,. Why not hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show. Hope you enjoy it.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Thanks for hanging in here with me on this very busy week. I hope to see everybody again tomorrow and, I hope to have the post up a little earlier than today.

Have a great rest of the day and I'll see everyone tomorrow.


1 comment:

  1. David, I thought I'd give Perfectly Clear a try as well. I can have a lot of photos on multiple cameras, so I wanted to see if it would make my work flow easier.

    So far I like the results using Lightroom but have not done much testing with Photoshop yet.

    Thanks for raising this subject.