Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Buyer's Guide 2006: Image-Processing Software
The digital darkroom keeps getting better with improvements in features and ease of use in software programs
Version 5.0 has no dramatic new interface; it just continues Digital Film Tools' history of continuing to add useful new photography-centric tools. Defog is one of them, a fascinating tool that allows you to remove light haze from an image far more easily than you could do in Photoshop. Another is Selective Saturation, where you can adjust color saturation differently in shadows, midtones and highlights.
A few more tools of interest to photographers include Gold Reflector (adds gold light into shadow areas), Mono Tint (useful for black-and-white work; converts color images to black-and-white while applying a color tint at the same time), Soft Effects (diffuses the image to minimize facial imperfections) and Warm/Cool (quickly and easily makes the scene warmer or cooler). Digital Film Tools 55mm has a download price of $195. Windows and Mac.
Kodak ADC Plug-Ins
Kodak's ADC (formerly ASF) plug-ins apply to specific situations for the photographer, from grain control to restoring color in old photos. No new programs have been announced recently, but all of the plug-ins have been upgraded to version 2.0. This isn't a dramatic change, but the update incorporates ideas and suggestions from users and includes a larger preview and navigator window, more efficient memory handling and other improvements.
The newly upgraded plug-ins include Digital GEM (one of the easiest to use of the noise-reduction software programs on the market), Digital ROC (a color-restoration tool that works wonders on old, faded photos, but also will correct off-color photos of any kind), Digital SHO (an easy-to-use way of bringing out detail in dark shadows while still keeping the rest of the photo looking good), and Digital GEM Airbrush (a plug-in designed specifically to smooth skin and other surfaces without affecting detail like eyelashes. The plug-ins are reasonably priced from $49 (standard version) to $99 (pro version). Windows and Mac.
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