ON1 Photo RAW 2018.5 adds profiles, LUT support, speed boosts

Photo RAW Browse module

ON1 is now shipping ON1 Photo RAW 2018.5, the mid-year release of its photo editor and image-management app for Windows and macOS. The update adds support for embedded camera profiles in the Develop module; an expanded Transform function; a new LUT (look-up table) filter for the Effects module; a revamped import/export manager for presets, LUTs, and border and texture files; and the addition of nested albums and presets. The update also includes support for recently released cameras and lenses.

Profiles and LUTs

Photo RAW 2018.5 adds support for the built-in profiles that come with most modern digital cameras, letting you get the same basic look that you see on your camera back. In addition,  ON1 has included a number of its own camera profiles for landscape, portrait and other scene types.

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DxO releases Nik Collection 2018

DxO Labs has released its first version of the Nik Software plug-ins since acquiring the suite last year from Google. Nik Collection 2018, provides compatibility with the current versions of Photoshop CC, Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop Elements, and includes 64-bit support for both macOS and Windows; there are no other new features. According to a company spokesman,

“It was necessary to recover and recompile source code that had not been maintained for a long time in order to make it compatible with the latest versions of Adobe products and the latest Apple OS updates. This is a first step that allows us to start afresh.”

The seven plug-ins included with the Nik Collection—Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro, Viveza, Dfine, and Sharpener Pro—perform color and black and white effects, selective color editing, noise reduction and sharpening to your images. Originally created by Nik Software, the plug-ins were acquired by Google when the company purchased Nik in 2012, and were left to languish as Google’s photo priorities changed. (Google originally sold them for $150, and ultimately made them free, but as time went on, they became incompatible with newer versions of the CC apps.)

 

Alien Skin Exposure 4

To me, one of the most unexpected byproducts of digital photography is that it has rekindled tremendous interest in film processes of one kind or another. Alien Skin’s Exposure 4 plug-in for Photoshop lets you explore all sorts of film processes without ever having to soak your hands in noxious chemicals. I recently spent some time with the latest version, and was pleased to find that it remains an excellent option for users who want either a specific traditional film look, or any kind of analog, or grunge process. You can read my entire review here.

nik Silver EFex Pro 2.0

There are lots of ways to convert color images to black and white. In Photoshop, you can use a grayscale mode change, or convert the image to L*A*B color and then extract the Luminance channel. Or, you can pull a single RGB channel, drain the saturation out of an image or use Photoshop’s excellent Black and White conversion tool. The list goes on and on, but in my opinion, the best way to perform black and white conversion (more accurately called grayscale conversion is with nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, a plug-in for Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom.

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Alien Skin Exposure 3

A photographer friend recently sent me this extraordinary collection of color images shot during the Depression. One of the things that’s fascinating about looking at them is that we simply are not accustomed to this subject matter being in color. It’s a fine example of McCluhan’s “medium is the message” idea. Your choices of black and white or color, grungy or sharp, saturated or muted – all of these have a huge impact on the reaction the viewer will have. For film photographers, many of these decisions are determined by film choice, and the ability to choose specific films to achieve a particular look or feel is one of the great advantages of film shooting. Alien Skin Exposure, a sophisticated film-simulating Photoshop plug-in, gives this same power to digital photographers. Read more »

Alien Skin Bokeh

Shallow depth of field is one of the most important tools in any photographer’s arsenal. Depth of field is the measure of how much of your image is in focus, and shooting with shallow depth of field provides you with another way to bring focus to your subject. The ability to shoot with shallow depth of field is especially useful for portrait and sports shooters. However, achieving shallow depth of field requires a fast lens (that is, a lens that can open to a wide aperture) and you may not always have such a lens with your. Or, you might simply not realize at the time you’re shooting that a shallow depth of field is what the image needs. For those times when you need to remove depth of field from an image, Alien Skin has a Photoshop plug-in that can help.

There are, of course, filters built-in to Photoshop that can be used to achieve a shallow depth of field effect, but as you’ll see, they lack features that Bokeh provides. Unfortunately, even though Bokeh is a very good piece of engineering and design, software depth of field reduction might still be of limited utility, as you’ll see in the complete review.

Read the full Alien Skin Bokeh review here