Category Archives: Photography Software
Photoshop, Photomatix, and other photo editing packages that make your photos really pop. Here I will be reviewing and sometimes giving instructions on how to use the different photography software available out there today.
Photomatix Pro is by far my favorite program for creating and tone mapping HDR photos. It’s easy to use and gives you simple controls for getting the awesome color effects you see in all those great HDR’s, without having to open up Photoshop and knowing how to tone map by hand.
I recently got the people at HDRsoft to create a Photomatix coupon code for our readers (anyone can use it) for 15% off any of the HDR software programs:
This coupon code will work for any of these products:
- Photomatix Pro (standalone + Lightroom plug-in)
- Photomatix Pro Plus Bundle (standalone + plug-ins)
- Photomatix Essentials / Light
- Photomatix Plug-In for Apple Aperture
- Photomatix Tone Mapping Plugin for Photoshop CS2/3/4/5/6
To get this discount applied to your order, follow these steps:
- Go to the Photomatix page
- Click the buy button for the software version you need
- In the box where it says “Coupon Code” put in: VPGo30x2013
- Click the recalculate button
- It will show you the special discount applied with your new price
- Complete the rest of the order form
- You MUST follow the Photomatix page link in order for the discount to be applied
That should do it. To give you an example: the regular price of Photomatix Pro is $99 so with this coupon code you should be able to get it for $84.15.
Once you have Photomatix installed you can go through their short tutorial (which you can see once you launch the program). It’s pretty clear and easy to follow. Once you have a chance to experiment with your own HDR photos, you might want to join the Flickr HDR group. Hope to see you there.
Last week OnOne Software launched their Perfect Photo Suite 7 and VisualPhotoGuide.com had the privilege of reviewing the new software. If we were impressed by Perfect Photo Suite 7 last week, we’re in love with it now. See how Perfect Photo Suite 7 transformed this picture of a cockatoo in a tree.
When I first discovered editing software as a child photographer, my favourite thing to do was juxtapose elements from one picture into another. I’d spend hours painstakingly cutting out my friends and inserting them into one large group shot. When I was finished, people who didn’t know each other leaned on each other and sat on each other’s shoulders. It was tedious work and although the end result impressed my family and friends, it did not fool them. Perfect Mask achieves this seamlessly.
I can’t get over how easy it was to remove the sky in this photograph, using the Keep and Drop droppers, even with the branches in the way. The branches did keep me from using the quick Remove Background button, but it was still quick and simple. OnOne Software offers a great how to video, and as you can see, the effect can be achieved in less than two minutes. Remember to double click the Magic Brush (that’s the brush with the little snowflake). I missed that step and spent many hours trying to figure out why my sky wouldn’t disappear. Once I went back and watched the video, I kicked myself for missing the step and then it was smooth sailing, and I think the picture is much more interesting with the new sky
Snap into focus
The round focus bug tool was the feature that I was most anxious to use. I found it even easier to utilize than the Keep and Drop features. The hardest part was picking which of my pictures to alter. This was the first cockatoo I saw when I got to Australia but he was well hidden by the tree branches. You can see how the cockatoo stands out after being treated with the focus brush. For a quick run through watch the video provided by OnOne Software.
I finished my cockatoo picture off to turn this less than extraordinary picture into a dynamic image I can share with family and friends who are interested in seeing what it’s like in Australia.
Take advantage of this exclusive special offer
VisualPhotoGuide.com is still happy to offer a discount on Perfect Photo Suite 7 to our readers. Just follow this link and use coupon code vizphotoguide to save up to $45 on your copy of Perfect Photo Suite 7.
It’s more fun if we talk about it. Share your photo editing success stories with us by commenting below.
You would expect a program designer to have a well thought out website. It doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in the design program you are purchasing when the website is poorly designed. This is the first sign that ReMask and photoFXlab are going to give you a headache.
No simple download
Topaz Labs gave me the run around. The Topaz Labs website was a mess. I got the key to unlock their 30-day trial easily enough, but it took me several hours to figure out how to download their bundle program. It took an hour and a half to download; only it didn’t actually download the program, just parts of it. The actually product looks like it may have a lot to offer if I ever get a chance to try it.
To save you the hassle of trying to figure out what Topaz Labs wants from their customers, read their instructions on the website. The instructions are still overly complicated and not at all user friendly, but at least you won’t have to try and locate them.
Once the program was installed on my computer I still couldn’t access it. All the files installed, but only the UserGuide and ReleaseNote ended up in my start menu. They are only accessed through your existing program. So if you don’t have photoFXlab, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Paint Shop Pro, then you’re out of luck.
ReMask is not compatible with iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, Photo Impact, or Irfanview. It will only work if your system supports OpenGL 2.1 and above.
Make sure you want it before you download it. Taking it off my computer was tedious. I had to remove each plug in separately. Obviously, I wasn’t impressed with the downloading process and the program was not compatible with my computer, so after wasting hours of my time, I finally gave up.
However, there are some positive reviews available online, so there are some happy customers. If you are willing to go through the hassle of installing ReMask and photoFXlab and risking the equally annoying process to uninstall, then the product might actually be worth the effort. Make sure you check and double check the compatibility. Topaz Labs does offer a download tool which will tell you if your computer is compatible with their product, make sure you run the test first.
I hate learning new software as a rule. I’d rather go in and get my work done then fiddle with a new feature that may only achieve a marginal improvement. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the new Perfect Photo Suite 7. It’s been a long time since a new photo suite has made me want to update my software.
Easy to learn
The new Perfect Photo Suite 7 opens with an easy to follow walk through pointing out the functions in natural short conversational bubbles. This introduction is easy to understand without being over simplified. Simply click through the initial introduction to the features and then you can dive right in, or if you’d like to have a more in-depth introduction, there are video tutorials available online.
The Perfect Photo Suite 7 is like seven programs rolled into one, including new versions of Perfect Portrait, Perfect Effects, Perfect Layers and Perfect Resize as well as a brand new module called Perfect B&W which will enhance your black and white pictures. The first aspect of the program I played with was The Perfect Effects.
The effects were subtle but added a lot to my photos. In this example I layered three effects, Landscape; Magic City, the Bleach Bypass, and Color Correction; Color Enhance.
I loved this feature. There was what felt like endless choices to layer and they were easy to try without having to wait for the program to apply them. Once you’ve picked one effect, just remember to click “add” before you choose another to layer the effects, otherwise your new choice will replace your first layer. If you forget, a click on Undo in Edit will reapply your first choice.
How to get it
Now that I’ve started, I’m hooked. I can’t wait to try spot focusing with the round focus bug and all the other ways to enhance my pictures. You’ll need Windows 7 or above to run the Perfect Photo Suite 7 on your PC and of course Mac versions are available as well. There is a free download available but if you decide to purchase it, we’ve arranged for a special 15% discount for VisualPhotoGuide.com readers. Head over to the Photo Perfect Suite 7 Website and use the following coupon code to save up to $45 dollars.
[coupon code=”perfect” /] (must click link to receive discount)
We’d love to know what you think – let us know your thoughts on the software by commenting below.
We’ve just added another exclusive coupon code for you tilt-shift fanatics.
FocalPoint 2, by onOne Software is an awesome plug-in that messes with the focus of your photos – easily achieving the tilt-shift miniature effect.
You can download a Free trial and if you like it, you can use our FocalPoint 2 coupon code to save 15 % on your purchase.
The code is: [coupon code=”focalpoint” /] and you can must click the coupon in order for the coupon code to work.