MACPHUN AURORA HDR 2018 review

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Version     1.0.0 (1457) version 2018 High Sierra
Developer Macphun Inc. USA
Website    https://aurorahdr.com

 

MACPHUN

Macphun a San Diego, USA based software company, is famous for its outstanding photo editing software products. Their latest HDR software tool Aurora HDR 2017 has now been upgraded to a new product supporting numerous improvements.
Aurora HDR 2017 was launched September 2016 and Aurora HDR 2018 launched September-28-2017. This review will discover and disclose wether the 2018 upgrade is a true improvement to version 2017 .
Aurora 2017 and 2018 are used by professionals as well as enthousiasts. HDR is a tool to make your pictures stand out from the crowd. Macphun has a great reputation for their outstanding products and aim to listen to their clients and implement their wishes in new product versions.

 

WHAT IS HDR

HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. Pictures are taken in series or one and are processed and combined to one by adjusting the contrast ratios.
An HDR image is commonly made by taking three photos of the same scene, each at different shutter speeds. The result is a bright, medium, and dark photo, based on the amount of light that got through the lens.
A software process then combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights both. The result of this magic are stunning pictures with vivid colouring and lighting.

 

DISCRIPTION

Aurora HDR 2018 is the world’s ultimate HDR photo editing software, with added new tools and capabilities. Its a complete and comprehensive tool kit for casual and pro photographers. Its new updated interface and new features complement a new release of Macphun HDR software. Perfect for single shots or multiple-exposure brackets, Aurora HDR 2018 is able to create beautiful HDR pictures from single shots, as well as the for HR photographed 3 pictures with different exposures. Aurora HDR 2018 can turn any photographer into an artist.

 

WHATS NEW in AURORA HDR 2018

  • Quick video overview
  • Next-generation tone mapping
  • Lens correction tool
  • Transform tool
  • HDR Enhancer
  • 200% speed increase
  • Mac OS & Windows support
  • Dodge & Burn tool
  • Re-imagined user experience
  • New structure algorithm
  • History panel
  • 10+ more improvements

Okay every update makes some changes great or small to any application, but Aurora HDR 2018 adds some real useful tools like the Lens correction, Transform tool and Dodge & Burn tool. I also notice improvement on speed when applying changes.

USING AURORA HDR 2018

 

 

This section is I feel most important as it delivers a end product to your satisfaction and will show some examples of edited pictures. The best before/after effect is generated with pictures most suitable for change. Me being just an enthousiast do not have these ideal pictures for transforming. I just use some of my personal pictures as examples.
To start Aurora HDR 2018 you are prompted to add your picture(s). For best results a set of three with different exposures is recommended, but just a single shot will also do if you have only one exposure picture.
These exposures need to be merged into a 32-bit HDR image. The merge options haven’t changed since last version 2017 and they’re pretty much the same across most HDR applications. There’s an Alignment checkbox that you need to check for shooting your HDR brackets handheld, but there are three more checkboxes on a pop-up ‘gear’ menu. You should check the Ghosts Reduction box if your pictures contain moving objects like passers-by, and Color Denoise and Chromatic Aberration Removal boxes.

 

 

The merge process takes about 40 seconds, working with three 24-megapixel NEF (RAW) files. Once the image is merged it’s displayed in the main window interface, and you can then either choose a preset effect in a number of different categories, or add adjustments manually in a series of tool panels – in Aurora HDR 2018, these have been renamed Filters.
The sidebar contains all adjusting tools, from which some are a little hidden like the Lens Correction and Transform icon which opens the sliders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom of the interface is where you’ll find the ‘ presets’, again similar to version 2017 only to open from the ‘ Categories ‘ button. The Dramatic preset is new, and some Free presets can be downloaded from these sites !

  1. Download the presets for free here.
  2. Download the presets for free here. ( how to install )

The Presets are created by experienced users and offer a head start for making your own creations. In order to master Aurora HDR 2018 I recommend you to follow some video’s explaining settings and procedures. ( here )

 

MANUAL ADJUSTMENTS

 

Aurora HDR 2018’s new tone-mapping process gives you a much better starting point than before, and although the initial results look similar, the 2018 version is much less prone to ‘glow’ effects around large objects. Aurora HDR 2018’s new HDR Basic panel offers all the controls you need to get a powerful, realistic-looking image. The HDR Enhance slider adds punchy localised contrast, the Smart Tone slider lifts dark shadow detail, and the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders take care of the fine tuning.

Indeed, many HDR images depend on localised adjustments like these, and Aurora HDR 2018 adds the all new Dodge and Burn panel. The adjustable brush can Lighten or Darken different parts of the picture in the same way you might have dodged and burned different parts of a print in the darkroom. Other new tools in Aurora HDR 2018 include manual chromatic aberration removal sliders – very handy, since HDR and structure adjustments can really exaggerate colour fringing – and perspective transform sliders for adjusting horizontal and vertical perspective, angle and scale. These are very useful for interior or architectural shots where straight lines and vertical verticals make a big difference to the picture’s appearance and success.

 

HDR ENHANCE FILTER

This filter allows you to adjust clarity, color, details, contrast in a special way!  It doesn’t give you an artificial look. It will help to create a natural looking image.

HISTORY PANEL

So you’ve been doing some enhancements, this feature helps you tracking your actions creating your ultimate picture.

 

TONE MAPPING

 

What is tone mapping?
Macphun AURORA HDR PRO already had some Tone-mapping feature but version 2017 has a complete new build Tone-Mapping build in their application. I guess this is one of the most used features within this application. Nice to fiddle around, but what does it really do?
It’s the process of converting the tonal values of an image from a high range to a lower one. For instance, an HDR file merged from multiple images with a dynamic range of 100,000:1 will be converted into an image with tonal values ranging from around 1 to 255.
Why do we want to reduce that tonal range so much? Well the reason is simple. Most standard display devices (and printers) can only reproduce a low range of dynamic values (between 100 or 200:1 or lower). The goal of tone mapping is to reproduce the appearance of images having a higher dynamic range to fit/display properly on standard display devices, thus keeping the image looking realistic.
The algorithms that tone mapping use to scale the dynamic range down attempt to preserve the appearance of the original image captured by breaking the information up into two categories: global and local.

 

SOME PERSONAL HDR EXAMPLES

 

 

 

 

VERDICT

 

Macphun raised the bar last year with their version 2017 which at that moment didn’t leave much room for improvement. There are some other applications available right now, which offer similar techniques and adjustment settings, but I feel Macphun is the easiest to master
for the average user. The professional may have other options, but this version 2018 doesn’t leave much to desire really. Speed improved as well as a better layout and improved techniques. The Lens Correction and Transform Tool are the obvious improvements implemented.
I am a big fan of Macphun software, and I tried them all ! I love their clean interface and easy use. The offered presets are limited but when you add the mentioned Free packs or buy the available Presets from Macphun you can’t go wrong anymore. A bad result is only due to a bad picture, the software can make any photographer into a true Michelangelo. How’s that for software changing your world !

So, I recommend Aurora HDR 2018 to anyone looking for a great HDR-editing application.

  • Current users of Aurora HDR 2017 may upgrade for $59 ($49 with our affiliate coupon code= macsoftreview)



MACPHUN NOISELESS CK review

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Version 1.3.1
Developer  Macphun.com USA
Website https://macphun.com/noiseless

 

MACPHUN NOISELESS CK

Like all photographers I have trouble with noise when we photograph in poor light environment. Noise is digitally created with our modern camera’s and enhanced when using flash for instance.
Even without flash and trying to capture a night scene, noise will be part of your picture. This is where MACPHUN’s NOISELESS CK comes in.
A pretty handy piece of software, which takes care of the noise problem. NOISELESS CK is part of the CREATIVE KIT and available as standalone or part of the the bundle offered by Macphun.

When you open a photo in NOISELESS CK, the app applies a preset based on information provided by the image’s EXIF data. (If a file contains no EXIF data, no preset is chosen ).

INSTALLATION

Again like all Macphun software, nothing special. Just straight install which requires no reboot of your system. Wait for the software to detect any supported third party software to apply the plugins.
Activate your program by email and provided serial and you’re on your way. You may also use the Trial software in order to see wether Noiseless is what you are looking for.

 

plugin-install


NOISELESS CK IN PRACTICE

So how does it work, making noise go away? Noiseless uses algorithms to adjust the appearance of the pixels in a way that minimizes the original noise and retains detail. That is about what Noiseless software is trying to do.
Great, but does it work ? I will show you just a normal night shot with a SONY NEX camera. The first picture is the original full picture which revealed quite some noise, and some when Noiseless is applied.

As does all Creative Kit software, this works with drag & drop your picture.

ZOOM  100% FILTER OFF ( right side )

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.08.20

ZOOM 100% FILTER ON ( drag to left )
Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.08.32

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.50.50

USING DUAL PANE SCREEN ( compare left & right )

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.52.21

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.52.48

It is amazing to see what NOISELESS CK really achieves ! I used only the presets from the sidebar and adjustments are easily being made to intensity of filter use. I am impressed that without any knowledge of
noise reduction in for instance Photoshop, I am able to upgrade any picture to a desired level.

VERDICT

How easy can life be, with software from Macphun. Wether you opt for the standalone version or the complete Creative Kit bundle, which is a brilliant deal, you will be pleased with your buy. If you consider yourself to be a true photographer enthusiast you should have this software available for use. The complete Creative Kit is like a Swiss Army knife for photographers.
Great software and so easy to use. Get it while you can.

5 STARs

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MACPHUN SNAPHEAL CK review

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Version  1.5
Developer  Macphun USA
Website  https://macphun.com/snapheal

SNAPHEAL

Snapheal offers a fast and easy way to remove objects, heal skin imperfections and fix your images. We all have photo’s we wish to edit and remove unwanted objects.
As we are not all experts with software like Photoshop, a nice handy tool is what we are looking for. There is some software available on the market but they do offer or too little options or are rather complicated to get nice results. Macphun’s SNAPHEAL claims to do it all in a simple and easy way. Just a nice interface isn’t enough to proof them right, so now we give it a go and see how it performs.

FEATURES

  • Three Erasing Modes for Best Results
  • Custom Erasing Precision
  • Powerful Clone & Stamp Tool
    Handy Image Editing Tool Set
    Selective Enhancement with Smart Brush
    Standalone Software & Plug-in
    Built-in Social Sharing
  • Dual Pane screen
  • Retouch
  • Adjust

 

INSTALLATION

Installing SNAPHEAL CK is easy. An interface tells you what is happening and offers the installation of plugins for other Mac software. Just let it find which plugin is needed and it’s time to enter your
name and serial number for activating the software. You may also use the program in ‘demo’ mode for a period of 60 days.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 18.11.09

USING SNAPHEAL CK

Macphun’s claim this software is designed for users with different skill levels is presented in the different tabs.

The sidebar offers the tools provided like selection, Clone , Diameter , and the three different levels of approach to ERASE.
GLOBAL , LOCAL and DYNAMIC erasing methods are based on different calculation methods.

Global Erasing Mode.
This is a general purpose mode. The powerful CleanPics algorithm tries to find new patterns throughout the entire image. It takes the full image into account.

Local Erasing Mode.
This algorithm looks specifically around the marked area trying to find similar patterns to fill the selected area.

Dynamic Erasing Mode.
This algorithm tries to fill the selected area by dynamically generating new patterns from pixels on the edges of the marked area.

Precision.
The precision of your erase mode will determine how the algorithm is applied.

1. Normal Precision. Fastest Method, most useful for simple erasing.
2. High Precision. Gives quality results with faster processing.
3. Highest Precision. Gives best quality but takes a little longer to process.

Erase!

This is the button that will start the object removal process, locating the selections you have made and applying the desired algorithm precision and erase mode. You can start this process by hitting the Erase! button or clicking on one of the three erasing modes, which will start the process instantly.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 18.14.15

ERASE IMAGES

Its no rocket science and we want to demonstrate what erase in a practical way changes on your photo. In this example we want the full tree on the right side of the photo gone.
Erasing is not simple by all means when it comes down to calculating the pixels surrounding your object. We want the object gone, but without disturbing the photo composition and quality.

Remove Tree, use hover on picture

This test is NOT EASY for any software program. It is a complicated picture with strong colours and dark skyline. To just filter out the complete tree, a lot of calculation is necessary and almost impossible without re-editing the sky and other area’s. A bird in a mostly plain sky is piece of cake for SNAPHEAL. This tryout is far more complicated.
The tree is prominent and upper and lower part are in total different colouring ( Dark and Light )

RESULT ERASE

The picture object ( tree ) has been erased. The tree shadow in the snow is erased. The sky has been corrected a little bit, but larger area’s of dark colours are impossible to adjust without more complex techniques.
Still it quite impressive how much can be taken ( erased ) from a picture in order to get a required result.

And again we admit that Macphun’s claim, not having to be an expert is true. Just play around with settings and jobs done.

RETOUCH & ADJUST

SNAPHEAL also comes with Retouch and Adjust panels for further image touch-up. Masking options complete all SNAPHEAL presented options to create your ultimate photo.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 19.54.49 Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 19.54.58

VERDICT

Macphun’s SNAPHEAL is an easy to use erase utility, that performs well. It is one of those utilities you don’t use everyday but is occasionally used by every photographer.
Most suitable for smaller area’s. SNAPHEAL makes an illusionist of every user, it makes all objects disappear.
Like all Macphun’s software your best deal is buying the complete Creative Kit bundle, as this offers ultimate value for money.

5 STARs

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