MACPHUN LUMINAR NEPTUNE review

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Version 1.2.0 (4199)
Developer Macphun USA
Website https://www.macphun

 

ABOUT MACPHUN

Macphun a San Diego, USA based software company, is famous for its outstanding photo editing software products. Their latest software tool LUMINAR NEPTUNE has now been upgraded to a new product supporting numerous improvements.
LUMINAR NEPTUNE is launched 15th June 2017. This review will discover and disclose wether the Neptune upgrade is a true improvement to its predecessor LUMINAR Pluto.  Macphun has a great reputation for their outstanding products and aim to listen to their clients and implement their wishes in new product versions/upgrades.

ABOUT LUMINAR NEPTUNE

The new Luminar Neptune program is built to adapt to a user’s skill level and personal preference. It offers everything from filters and presets to advanced exposure adjustments and retouching tools normally reserved for Photoshop. Luminar Pluto being a well received product by the public, is even better now with the new additions and improvements to the earlier version.
Luminar Neptune is more sophisticated, faster and provides more tools and adjustments then before. The Luminar Neptune user interface is built around the idea that every photographer is different, and therefore their photo editing needs are different too. Users can choose from 3 default interface variations, designed for: quick image fixes, photo enhancement with presets, an intermediate level of control, and advanced editing.

INSTALLATION

Installing Luminar Neptune is a very easy process. Just download it from the MacPhun website and install as you would any other program. Luminar Neptune, like other MacPhun software, is only available for MacOS, but Macphun is developing Windows compatibility. When you first open the software after installation, you’ll be prompted to choose your desired editing level (picture below).

Choose your desired application capabilities/level :

WHATS NEW IN LUMINAR NEPTUNE

New Feature Highlights: 

  • Accent – AI-filter – Uses artificial intelligence to create stunning images with a single slider movement, tapping into the power of dozens of filters.
  • Quick & Awesome workspace – A workspace consisting of the Accent AI, Saturation & Vibrance and Clarity filters. Great for achieving fast results in a fun and easy way.
  • Plug-in integration with Creative Kit and Aurora HDR 2017 – Seamlessly access Macphun’s other photo editing tools you own with Luminar as the host application
  • Brush, Gradient and Radial Gradient tools – Dramatically faster performance yields smoother selective editing.
  • Vignette filter – Addition of Vignette Styles, Place Center and Pre- and Post-Crop modes deliver even more flexibility to this popular photo finishing tool.
  • Memory management – Increased overall performance for large files and 5+ simultaneous open images.
  • User Interface changes – Extensive improvements to in-app animation and mode transitions make for a more pleasing editing experience.
  • Crop tool update – Added the ability to specify custom crop ratios.
  • Local history – Provision for reviewing separate history while in Transform, Denoise, Clone & Stamp modes helps optimize editing.

 

USING LUMINAR NEPTUNE

Depending on your earlier choice made, all of the presets are shown at default, but you should see that if you hover over any individual preset, a star appears which you can click on to add it to your favourites if you think you’ll want to use it regularly. Now, if you click on the “all presets” icon to the right of the presets bar, you’ll be able to go straight to your favourites.

   

Choosing one of the implemented presets, triggers a number of pre-adjusted settings showing right below the main picture. Each preset has its own specific ‘filter’ options and settings.
There are more than 60 of these one-click presets to choose from.

Alternatively, you could add another filter to your effect, simply by clicking the Add Filter icon. If you’re happy with the look you’ve created, you save it as a preset which is displayed along the bottom with the others. Click the symbol which looks like three lines with a small plus sign on it, give the preset a name and save it for future use. Another nice feature of Luminar Neptune is the implemented ‘ workspace ‘, Quick & Awesome, Essentials, B & W, Landscape , Portrait and Street. Choosing any of these ‘spaces’ give you all the basic filters needed. Adding your personal filters is easily done with the + sign, and can be saved as your personal  ‘workspace’. So the next time you want to edit your pictures you may find and use your ‘workspace’ in just one click.

Presets are available in the sidebar. The basic ‘workspace’ presets are standard available, but you can also buy the extra Filter Presets from Macphun as they are created by Professional photographers like Jim Nix
and may present new stunning effects for your pictures. The Presets interface shows All Presets / User defined Presets / and Favorites.

All carefully thought out to bring ease of use to the user. Simplicity is what Macphun Luminar Neptune is all about. Best result with least effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE THE AVAILABLE FILTERS

This short screen capture will show all available filters to choose from and use in your workspace.

 

 

 

LUMINAR NEPTUNE WORKSPACE

Workspace makes it possible to create and define your own ‘ workspace ‘ with filters and option settings. Build your own presets by choosing ‘ Clear ‘ from the workspace menu and add all the desired filters to your need.

 

Keep in mind that every Workspace option has its preset filters implemented, but adding or deleting any filter is simple and easy.

To me personal the user-experience is most important in any software application. Photo-editing software is far more complicated to master then most applications. It is this aspect that makes me choose an application like Macphun
Luminar Neptune. Users should feel comfortable with an application and not set it apart if things become to difficult to master. Photoshop for instance is great once you’ve been trained in skills. This is what puts most users off, except for the die-hards or professionals. Luminar Neptune seems to fill the cap between experienced and novice users. Everybody is able to produce great looking pictures.

 

 

 

 

RIGHT SIDEBAR

The right sidebar shows some extra editing tools like : Transform Tool , Clone & Stamp Tool , Erase Tool , Denoise Tool , Crop Tool, Plugins

 

Denoise Tool comes with full adjustment levels !  

Noiseless CK like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NEW AI-FILTER

  • Accent – AI-filter – Uses artificial intelligence to create stunning images with a single slider movement, tapping into the power of dozens of filters. The AI-Filter magically fine tunes your picture without any further adjustments.

Like in the ocean picture I ‘added’ the AI-Filter to the workspace from the filter-menu, Secondly draw the AI-Filter to in this case 100% and your picture is adjusted to a great colorful looking picture. The ‘whites’ are stronger and the ‘blue’ is more present.
Using the 100% setting made the clouds look too dark, but now you may start using Luminar Neptune other filters and setting to optimize.

 

 

 

USING THE ERASE TOOL

Using the ‘Erase Tool’ is brilliant for even a user like me. The software really does a good job. It works so much faster then Luminar Pluto ! A real improvement.

 

SOME BEFORE/AFTER SHOTS

 

 

EXPORT OPTIONS

Macphun’s Luminar Neptune boast an great layout and interface. Sliders and settings all work in a truly pleasant way. Apart from all the editing capabilities the application needs to save and export images as required. Sharing images is easy and the menubar provides the necessary options. The final saving menu has some pretty nice additions included.

   

 

 

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VERDICT

After experimenting Luminar Neptune and see what it is capable off, time for a final verdict. Luminar Neptune is an application covering all areas of advanced photo-editing, for professionals as well as novice users. It has a truly elegant interface and modern sliders which can be reset to default with a simple click. Luminar Neptune is a real multifunctional editing application supporting actions which normally need separate applications. It combines the best of many worlds. The number of filters, adjustment sliders and presets and the ability to create your own make this application truly stand out. The improved speed and better memory handling, the new AI-Filter and Quick&Awesome workspace upgrade this application to a new level.
So is it perfect ?  Luminar Neptune definitely is a winner offering all tools for a small price and fantastic results.

 

MACX VIDEO CONVERTER PRO 6.02 review

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Version 6.0.2
Developer  Digiarty Software Inc.
Website. https://www.macxdvd.com/mac-video-converter-pro/

 

ABOUT DIGIARTY

Established in 2006, Digiarty is a software company specialized in multimedia software solutions.

ABOUT MACX VIDEO COVERTER PRO

MacX Video Converter Pro offers a wide codec support. It enables you to download videos and music and convert YouTube to MP4, MP3 for offline playback. Over 320+ video and 50+ audio codecs help you to convert 4K UHD, MKV, AVCHD, M2TS, MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, VOB, etc to any video or audio format. It offers the world’s first video converter supporting Intel QSV hardware acceleration, 16X faster than before and no quality loss. It also empowers you to record & capture screen video, make photo slideshow, and more.

 

USING MACX VIDEO CONVERTER PRO

With a simple interface, this Mac video converter gives you just drag-drop and some mouse clicks to convert your video file. Its really easy to convert your video file! Just add the video and select the output codec wanted and don’t forget to set the output quality by. moving the
bar to ‘low’ or ‘high’      , the huge number of codecs will be more then enough for any user.

 

CODECS AND SPEED

Converting a video to highest quality codec like HD or 4K takes time, but compared to other converters MacX really converts fast without losing quality at all.

BUILD IN YOU-TUBE DOWNLOADER , CAMERA and RECORDER

MACX Video Converter Pro does not only provide converting tools but also contains a great screen recorder and recorder for the iMacs building camera. Both record in good quality ( settings ( low, medium,high ), after finishing auto open your default media player.
This is just a feature-rich, high quality and really fast video converter having all the tools to make your life easier. Its just that simple in use that there’s really not much to discuss left. It does the job brilliant and even more, so are you looking for a converter try MacX Video Converter Pro you will not be disappointed.

   

VERDICT

So we have tested MacX Video Converter Pro and we are impressed with its performance, number of available codecs and additional tools like the screen recorder, camera recorder and ability to download straight from you-tube. It works really easy and fast with a quality finish of your precious video. I cannot find any real flaws in this product ! It absolutely is one of the best video converters on the market offering more then just a basic converter.

 

CIRCULAR STUDIO 1.8 MAC review

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Version 1.8
Developer BrainFeverMedia LLC
Website http://www.brainfevermedia.com

 

ABOUT BRAINFEVERMEDIA

Founded in 2010, Ohio USA. BrainFeverMedia is known for their range of photographic editing tools as SkyLab Studio, LensFlare Studio, Reflect Studio and Circular Studio for Mac and iPhone.

INSTALLING CIRCULAR STUDIO

Open the .dmg file and drag the app to the applications map. After opening  the application you’ll notice there are no preferences to be set from the menu. The menu is basic and has few options. All editing is done from within the application and require no special settings.

USING CIRCULAR STUDIO

At first glance you might feel tools are missing but just look at the ‘Preferences & Tools’ below and you will find enough tools to help you create some stunning editing effects for your photo’s. Once you get the hang of it, you start the feel more comfortable with Circular Studio. The interface is well designed and feels logical as do the editing tool-settings. No real need to perform more complicated masking techniques like professionals do, but just basic skills are adequate for using this application.
The amount of provided ‘Presets’ are fair. I hope future editions will include some more as circular-element addition needs to blend in your photo like it was the real thing. The usability of creating a circular transformation strongly depends on the composition of the original photo. You need a fairly clean and wide front view (examples 1 picture) in order to make it shape in a circle in without losing photo information. Any photo can be used to get some spectacular editing results, but in order to get something like the examples your original photo needs to have a specific composition.
That said, it still does a pretty good job with many photo’s. Making a nice composition all comes down to your personal creativity. Circular Studio has the potential to really make your photo exclusive looking.

PREFERENCES & TOOLS

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FEATURES

  • Presets                    – A wide selection of presets from sky objects and centers to clouds and lens flares.
  • Customize               – Customize each circular element type.
  • Professional Filters – Make beautiful and unique photos with Circulars professional filter choices.
  • Lens Flares             – Add flares and lens textures for a stylized and artistic look.

Reflect includes a wide selection of presets from calm water and ocean waves to ice and metal.

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR
– RAW file support
– True color 16 bpc support
– 64 bit pipeline for highest quality processing
– Preserves exif data
– Supports photos up to 8000×8000 pixels

REFLECT STUDIO SCENES

  • Sky Objects
    Centers
    Clouds
    Lens Flares

Below you find some examples created from my personal photo’s: Krakow Castle Poland.

Choose a picture with a fair clean and wide (examples 1 picture) front view for best circular transformation. For natural looking compositions try to avoid busy front views to create your own astonishing artistic photo impression.
I tried some normal pictures with different compositions but all with full designs, and they will not produce the even circle center rather center the shot with figures disorientated. Even these transformations might produce an artistic photo. Bottom line is that not every picture will be good to transform.

I really enjoyed playing with all possibilities  offered. Anyone should be able to produce some great looking pictures, regardless of your choice. Circular Studio is a must for anyone enjoying the creative part of photo editing.

I only found the export options a bit disappointing really. The right export options would be so much better !

 

 

 

 

 

EXAMPLES

This shows the result difference in photo composition

VERDICT

We really enjoyed editing with Circular Studio. It definitely is an editing tool able to produce some artistic professional results. This application offers great value for your buck. Great pricing and lots of tools and adjustments make this something to shop for. So is it perfect ? Well nothing is perfect in life but as an editing tool its getting close to what is claims to be. Get the export options upgraded as shown above and you make even a professional happy. Most users will be more then happy the way it deals with export and saving options, but the professional to be just needs a little more. Still we have a very nice piece of software to work with. Its got all the tricks to make you an editing magician. Like to do this kind of editing? Don’t think twice just get it.

 

REFLECT STUDIO 2.7 MAC review

 

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Version 2.7
Developer BrainFeverMedia LLC
Website http://www.brainfevermedia.com

ABOUT BRAINFEVERMEDIA

Founded in 2010, Ohio USA. BrainFeverMedia is known for their range of photographic editing tools as SkyLab Studio, LensFlare Studio, Reflect Studio and Circular Studio for Mac and iPhone.

INSTALLING REFLECT STUDIO

Open the .dmg file and drag the app to the applications map. After opening  the application you’ll notice there are no preferences to be set from the menu. The menu is basic and has few options. All editing is done from within the application and require no special settings.

USING REFLECT STUDIO

At first glance you might feel tools are missing but just look at the ‘Preferences & Tools’ below and you will find enough tools to help you create some stunning editing effects for your photo’s. Once you get the hang of it, you start the feel more comfortable with Reflect Studio. The interface is well designed and feels logical as do the editing tool-settings. No real need to perform more complicated masking techniques like professionals do, but just basic skills are adequate for using this application.
The amount of provided ‘Presets’ are fair. I hope future editions will include some more as reflection-element addition needs to blend in your photo like it was the real thing. The usability of adding a reflection-element strongly depends on the composition of the original photo. You need a fairly clean horizon view in order to make it blend in without losing photo information. You can adjust the diffuse setting etc. but layers are on top and can be blended only when objects are not part of your horizon.
That said, it still does a pretty good job with many photo’s. Making a nice composition all comes down to your personal creativity. Reflect Studio has the potential to really upgrade your photo. Adding preset elements like ‘ Fog’ and is part of this application.

PREFERENCES & TOOLS

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FEATURES

  • Presets                    – Reflect includes a wide selection of presets from calm water and ocean waves to ice and metal.
  • Customize               – Customize each reflection type, adjust wave size, fog, blur, color, etc.
  • Professional Filters – Make beautiful and unique photos with Reflect’s professional filter choices.
  • Fog and Haze         – Add atmospheric effects like fog and haze for inredibly realistic horizons.
  • Lens Textures         – Add surface and glass lens textures for a stylized and artistic look.
  • SciFi Surfaces        – Take your photos to another dimension with SciFi computerized floor surfaces.

Reflect includes a wide selection of presets from calm water and ocean waves to ice and metal.

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR
– RAW file support
– True color 16 bpc support
– 64 bit pipeline for highest quality processing
– Preserves exif data
– Supports photos up to 8000×8000 pixels

REFLECT STUDIO SCENES

  • Water
    Oceans
    Beaches
    Ice
    Floor surfaces
    Tiles surfaces
    Sci-Fi

Below you find some examples created from my personal photo’s: Krakow Castle Poland.

The original Wisla river is calm and wide ! Choose a picture with a fair straight horizon for a reflection-addition  scene, for natural looking compositions or create your own astonishing photo impression. I really enjoyed playing with all possibilities  offered. Anyone should be able to produce some great looking pictures, regardless of your choice. Reflect Studio is a must for anyone enjoying the creative part of photo editing.

I only found the export options a bit disappointing really. The right export options would be so much better !

 

 

 

EXAMPLES

before
after
Before/After Krakow Castle and Wisla river / Ice reflection
Before/After Krakow Castle and Wisla river / Beaches Reflection added
Just one more transformation

VERDICT

We really enjoyed editing with Reflect Studio. It definitely is an editing tool able to produce some professional results. This application offers great value for your buck. Great pricing and lots of tools and adjustments make this something to shop for. So is it perfect ? Well nothing is perfect in life but as an editing tool its getting close to what is claims to be. Get the export options upgraded as shown above and you make even a professional happy. Most users will be more then happy the way it deals with export and saving options, but the professional to be just needs a little more. Still we have a very nice piece of software to work with. Its got all the tricks to make you an editing magician. Like to do this kind of editing? Don’t think twice just get it.

 

 

 

SKYLAB STUDIO 1.4 review

 

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Version 1.4
Developer BrainFeverMedia LLC
Website http://www.brainfevermedia.com

ABOUT BRAINFEVERMEDIA

Founded in 2010, Ohio USA. BrainFeverMedia is known for their range of photographic editing tools as SkyLab Studio, LensFlare Studio, Reflect Studio and Circular Studio for Mac and iPhone.

INSTALLING SKYLAB STUDIO

Open the .dmg file and drag the app to the applications map. After opening  the application you’ll notice there are no preferences to be set from the menu. The menu is basic and has few options. All editing is done from within the application and require no special settings.

USING SKYLAB STUDIO

At first glance you might feel tools are missing but just look at the ‘Preferences & Tools’ below and you will see enough tools to help you create some stunning editing effects for your photo’s. Once you get the hang of it, you start the feel more comfortable with SkyLab Studio. The interface is well designed and feels logical as do the editing tool-settings. No real need to perform more complicated masking techniques like professionals do, but just basic skills are adequate for using this application.
The amount of provided presets are fair. I hope future editions will include some more as sky element replacement needs to blend in your photo like it was the real thing. The usability of sky replacement strongly depends on the composition of the original photo. You need a fairly clean horizon view in order to make it blend in without losing photo information. You can adjust the diffuse setting etc. but layers are on top and can be blended only when objects are not part of your horizon.
That said, it still does a pretty good job with many photo’s. Making a nice composition all comes down to your personal creativity. SkyLab Studio has the potential to really upgrade your photo. Adding preset elements like, birds and trees are all part of this application.

PREFERENCES & TOOLS

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FEATURES
– Easily replace skies on your photos
– Huge collection of skies
– Add clouds, trees, birds, and more

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR
– RAW file support
– True color 16 bpc support
– 64 bit pipeline for highest quality processing
– Preserves exif data
– Supports photos up to 8000×8000 pixels

SKY SCENES

  • Clear
    Cloudy
    Sunset
    Stormy
    Vortex 1
    Vortex 2
    Night
    Moonlight
    Heavy Skies
    Pastel Skies

Below you find some examples created from my personal photo’s: a cold snowy mountaintop.

The original sky is grey and screams ‘ cold ‘! You may have chosen another sky replacement scene, but i prefer to stick to fairly natural compositions. I really enjoyed playing with all possibilities  offered. Anyone should be able to produce some great looking pictures, regardless of your choice. SkyLab Studio is a must for anyone enjoying the creative part of photo editing.

I only found the export options a bit disappointing really. The right export options would be so much better !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXAMPLES

Before/After Replace with dramatic sky
Before/After Add Tree element to photo
Before/After Replace sky and add sun
Before/After Replaces sky/added sun/added tree element

VERDICT

We really enjoyed editing with SkyLab Studio. It definitely is an editing tool able to produce some professional results. This application offers great value for your buck. Great pricing and lots of tools and adjustments make this something to shop for. So is it perfect ? Well nothing is perfect in life but as an editing tool its getting close to what is claims to be. Get the export options upgraded as shown above and you make even a professional happy. Most users will be more then happy the way it deals with export and saving options, but the professional to be just needs a little more. Still we have a very nice piece of software to work with. Its got all the tricks to make you an editing magician. Like to do this kind of editing? Don’t think twice just get it.

 

 

CAMERABAG PHOTO 3.0 review

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Version: 3.0.1
Developer Nevercenter
Website http://nevercenter.com/camerabag/photo/

 

ABOUT NEVERCENTER

Nevercenter Ltd. Co. is a private company founded in 2003 and based near Salt Lake City, Utah.[1] The company is a small team devoted to the development of software for Windows, Mac, and mobile platforms. Prominent titles include:

  • Silo, a 3D modeling application using subdivision surfaces for Windows and Mac OS.[2] Originally released August 2003; Silo 2 released August 2007.[3]
  • CameraBag, a photo editing app available for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC. 2012 Mac App of the Year Runner-Up.[4] Originally released for iOS in September 2008 as a vintage photo filter app,[5] Mac support was added in September 2009. The program was then redesigned and updated to “CameraBag 2” in 2012 as a full image editing application for Mac and PC, with the iOS version of CameraBag 2 following soon after.[6] 
  • In 2016 Camerabag Photo was redesigned and updated to version 3.0

CAMERABAG PHOTO

Every photographer novice or experienced needs software to edit photo’s. It is one of the great digital features computers and software nowadays present. Customizing your own photo’s to your liking takes some skills if you’re using Adobe Photoshop or any other advanced photo editing software. For many people this is just a bridge too far! This is where more basic software like CameraBag Photo comes in handy.
CameraBag Photo is a no nonsense photo editing tool presenting the user nearly 200 preset filters and the ability to adjust any filter to your liking. Handling RAW photo’s is a nice added feature for real editing.

  • Hue Mask
  • HSV Mask
  • Luminance Mask
  • Highlights/Midtones/Shadows
  • 4-Way Color Wheels
  • Advanced Contrast
  • Multi-Document Tabs
  • Pixel Inspector
  • Animated Hover Previews
  • Dynamic Preview Chooser
  • Collapsible Tool Sections
  • Updated Look
  • Color Management (Mac)
  • Side-By-Side Image Editing
  • Render Queue
  • Speed Improvements
  • Dozens of New Filters

INTERFACE

The interface is clean and easy to use. On the right side we find the full scope of filters and normal customizations tools. Choosing a Preset from the sidebar and you’ll notice the change of your photo on the fly!
This making it much easier to choose any preset instead of trying any. If you’re comfortable with a chosen preset, just click and the main photo will change to the preset settings.
The bottom bar will now show adjustable settings to finetune your photo.

Another aspect of CameraBag Photo is saving your personal optimized settings as a ‘Preset’ allowing you to edit other photo’s in a personal and consistant way. Give it your personal touch to define and set yourself from the crowd.

QUICKLOOK

Choose a Preset folder/category and press/use the Quicklook button. A full array of default presets within the category is displayed is one overview allowing you to choose any desired preset.

HOW IT PERFORMS

CameraBag is as stated earlier working very nice. It provides the novice user tons of possibilities to enhance and edit their photo’s. Adjustments are made easy with sliders well defined and presented in a clean interface.
The more experienced user will soon see the limitations of the software but can still make use of fast presets and save for export to for instance Macphun Luminar. Camerabag Photo boasting 200 presets can really make life easier.

Overall speed is good. The full adjustable settings are easy to work with. If you’re looking for a ‘bag of tricks’ this is the software to get. No hassle no pain, a great photo is your gain. ( that even rhymes )

The New TAB function from the menubar provides a split screen showing the picture before-after editing. You may choose this step any moment working on a photo, keeping an almost perfect photo aside before making more changes.

SEE IT IN ACTION

CameraBag Photo YouTube play

LISTING of TOOLS

Basics
  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Temperature
  • Multi Tool
Photographics
  • Vignette
  • Grain
  • Sharpen
  • Blur
  • Circular Blur
Borders
  • Basic Border
  • Fill Border
  • Image Border
Advanced Light
  • Tone Curve
  • Gamma Curve
  • Advanced Contrast
  • Shadows/Highlights
  • Dynamics
  • Brightness
Masks
  • Hue Mask
  • HSV Mask
  • Luminance Mask
Utility
  • Watermark
  • Dead Pixel
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Exact Size
  • Maximum Size
Advanced Color
  • Coloring
  • Coloring Curve
  • R, G, B Curves
  • Color Wheels
  • Component Curve
  • Hue Shift
  • Hue Exposure
  • Hue Saturation
  • Split Tone
  • Color Balance
  • Color Mixer
  • Filtered B+W

 

VERDICT

The final verdict of CameraBag Photo is good. It is a well designed and great looking piece of software enabling the user to easily edit their photo’s. It has nearly 200 presets covering most areas of photo editing.
Handling RAW material makes it usable for advanced users. CameraBag Photo is your private ‘bag of tricks’ setting you apart from the crowd.

 

AURORA HDR 2017 review

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Version 2017
Developer Macphun USA
Website https://macphun.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 Pro has now been upgraded to a new product supporting numerous improvements.
Aurora HDR 2017 is launched September 2016. This review will discover and disclose wether the upgrade is a true improvement to its predecessor .
Aurora 2017 is 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 2017 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 interface offers more and better features and runs even faster. Perfect for single shots or multiple-exposure brackets, Aurora has the capability to create beautiful HDR pictures from single shots. Aurora HDR 2017 can turn any photographer into an artist.

WHATS NEW or IMPROVED

  • Batch Processing
  • Improved Tone-Mapping engine
  • New Polarizing Filter
  • Enhanced Top & Bottom Adjustment tool
  • More powerful Luminosity Masking
  • Improved user interface
  • Faster & better HDR noise reduction
  • New Signature Pro one-click presets
  • Radial Masking tool
  • Improved Export with image resize & sharpen
  • Faster RAW conversion & DNG support

USING AURORA 2017

I myself am not a true Photoshop or Aurora expert unlike Trey Ratcliff who can dig deep enough into the software’s capabilities and find its short comings. I am an average user trying to get the best results with basic knowledge like most users.
To me its important to feel in control of an photo editing software application with so many features that makes you dazzle when scrolling to all settings possible. To me a program feels good if its interface somehow takes me a long the scope of useful settings.
Aurora HDR 2017, certainly has the appeal and speed to deliver its full potential to its user. Just playing around at first to make you feel comfortable with its layout and settings. Users of its pre decessor Aurora HDR Pro are familiar with its interface and features and will be interested in the new and improved additions.

IMPORTING PICTURES

Decide wether you want to import 1 single or 3  images to import and create a HDR image from them. Most pro-photographers will use 3 to 5 different exposed images in order to create the best possible start for further optimising the created HDR image.

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WORKING ON IMAGES

Due to the number of build in features of Aurora 2017, you may want to start getting familiar with the new build in features like Luminosity and the Polarizing filter as a simple start. The Polarizing filter lets you edit only the upper or bottom half of the photo if you wish.

MALAISIA
HONGKONG
KARPACZ

LUMINOSITY

Luminance Masking allows you to control the contrast of your image in specific tonal ranges. Luminosity masks are the essentials of tone-based image adjustments. These masks provide a convenient way to select specific tones in an image to be altered as the user requires. They have the ability to overcome shortcomings in the tonal values that were captured by the camera or film and to correct tones that shifted during image manipulation. Beyond simplifying these standard adjustments, luminosity masks also encourage a very individual approach to interpreting light. Luminosity masks make the captured light incredibly flexible and thereby provide the artist photographer unique opportunities.

  • Luminosity Masking

    Automatically make advanced selections within your HDR photo based on the Zone System. Simply click one or more zones and dramatically enhance the part of your image without brushes or complicated selections.

luminosity

 

HOW TO USE LUMINOSITY

How to use Luminosity Masking in Aurora HDR 2017 vimeo play

 

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.

 

BATCH PROCESSING IMAGES

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If you are satisfied with a preset or a preset selfmade and  wish to create images accordingly to your preset, the Batch Processing is a nice addition to Aurora. It saves time and effort, however I feel that every image is on its own, with its specific details and colors scene waiting for an individual approach towards HDR image creation. Then again there might be circumstances this feature is a true timesaver.
Importing images is easy and pressing ‘continue’ takes you to the next screen with all options and presets. Just choose and set the settings you need and processing your images starts with the press on the button.

 

WHATS NEW and COMPARE

 

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VERDICT

AURORA HDR 2017 is a masterpiece for HDR editing. This application really works wonders and turns a novice user into a real artist.
I can only say ” I think I am in love ” again. Fantastic piece of photo-editing, that makes my day. It is the simplicity of the layout and provided features which make you feel you’re in control. The nice Luminosity, Polarizing filter and Tone-Mapping are the features you likely use most. There are no boundaries set by this application, just your skills are and desire to make something nice are more then enough to concur the world of HDR.
If you consider yourself to be a photograph enthousiast, this is the best deal in todays market. AURORA HDR 2017 is your best present.

[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

5 STARs

  • MSRP: $99
  • Current Users of Aurora HDR Pro Upgrade Price: $59
  • Current Users of Aurora HDR Upgrade Price: $79
  • Upgrades and Pricing:

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MACSOFTREVIEW

 

MACPHUN AURORA HDR Pro review

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Version 1.2.1
Developer Macphun USA
Website  Aurora HDR + Bonuses

AURORA HDR Pro

Aurora HDR Pro is another outstanding photo editing tool for Mac. HDR is another tool to make your pictures stand out from the crowd.

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.

INSTALLATION

Installation is straightforward and Aurora HDR Pro will automatically search for supported software to install plugins. Now just click on ‘Done’, and setup is finished.

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FEATURES

AURORA HDR Pro offers a wide range of features, allowing the user to unlimited adjustments and create stunning pictures.

  • Dozens of smart color controls
  • Best-in-class tone mapping algorithm
  • High-quality presets for all HDR styles
  • Multiple layers with blend modes
  • Powerful detail, clarity and structure controls
  • High-quality, fast RAW processor
  • Custom textures & Luminosity masking
  • Plug-in support: Aperture, Photoshop, Lightroom
  • Pixel perfect HDR noise reduction
  • +68 Other powerful, yet simple tools

AURORA HDR PRO INTERFACE

The interface is like all other Macphun apps and this approach makes it easier on the user to get familiar with the layout and options. On the right sidebar all presets and adjustable controls are situated in a clean
and professional look.
AURORA HDR Pro has Presets available for different situations or requirements of the photographer. Within these Presets all adjustments are possible.

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WORKING WITH AURORA HDR PRO
Importing a picture in AURORA HDR Pro is a little different from what we used to. Just choose ‘open’ and pick your photo. Now a import screen appears with option for Chromatic Aberration Reduction. Tick the box
and choose CREATE HDR.

What is Chromatic Aberration Reduction:

Chromatic Aberration, also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of color are focused at different positions in the focal plane. Chromatic aberration is caused by lens dispersion, with different colors of light travelling at different speeds while passing through a lens. As a result, the image can look blurred or noticeable colored edges (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, magenta) can appear around objects, especially in high-contrast situations.

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IMPORTING PHOTO TO HDR

 

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Right now the fun part starts, changing you from an average painter into a real REMBRANDT.
Just go through all Presets available and see what is already made for use. 

See how colouring is changing to vivid showing all details. This is the way to create your own masterpiece.

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Once you are happy with the end result, its time to export your photo. Finally Macphun created a nice export function with available presets.

 

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VERDICT

AURORA HDR Pro is a masterpiece for HDR editing. Working with this app is a real pleasure and provides full creative settings to turn you in a Pro.
I can only say ” I think I am in love ” again. Fantastic piece of photo-editing, this makes my day. To make it even better Macphun provided a price drop and added a bonus.
Right now its even cheaper then the normal standalone app, so get your wallet out and order. You won’t regret it. Who doesn’t want to be in love !

 

5 STARs

[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

 

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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.

 

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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 )

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ZOOM 100% FILTER ON ( drag to left )
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USING DUAL PANE SCREEN ( compare left & right )

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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

[Total: 2    Average: 5/5]

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

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MACSOFTREVIEW