Friday, December 31, 2010

I want to hear from you!

I would really love it if everyone who reads this blog (and YES that includes you) would visit the new forums and do an intro and ideally inline display a photo as I’ve done in my example. 

Click here to see the page I’m talking about.

Nearly every day someone in almost every country in the world reads this blog, so it would mean a lot to me if you could take 5 minutes and say hello.

Please include where you are from too!

Feel free to include a shot of your native country flag, a photo of yourself, and even write something in your native language.

Thank you so much for supporting this blog in 2010, let’s work together to make this a great 2011!

Ron

NOTE: I will not spam you! This is just my desire to get to know all of my wonderful readers!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Forums added at http://forums.ronmartblog.com

I’ve added new vBulletin based forums to this blog at http://forums.ronmartblog.com and I’d love it if you joined and did an intro.

Check em out and let me know what you think!

Happy New Year,

Ron

P.S. Yes, I know those image verification things are annoying – I hate em too but they are a necessary evil!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010 - Part I of II (Updated: 12/31/2010)–LAST DAYS!!!!

LAST CHANCE on some of these offers!

This time of year I have a lot of people ask me about gear and what to get, but I find myself so busy that I usually provide some lame recommendation or point to an existing article on my blog. This year I decided to team up with some of my partners, especially B&H, to provide a more comprehensive list of things you can put on your wish list for now and in the future.

The products featured in my 2010 Gear Guide are mostly products that I have used and recommend. There are a few educated guesses based on information that I have and/or my access to pre-released products. However, the real goal here is to provide some ideas on products that I’d recommend to anyone shopping for the camera junkie in their family, or products I either have or would like to own myself.

I hope you enjoy my selections in this two part series and wish you the best of luck for getting all the gear you wish for from your loved ones this holiday season.

Trey Ratcliff’s HDR Video Tutorial (NOW as low as $84.15!!!)


Kyoto Alley - Copyright © Trey Ratcliff  (posted with special permission)
Post-processing by Ron Martinsen

I loved the fact that I was able to create the results you see in the above photo after watching the HDR Workshop DVD by Trey Ratcliff of StuckInCustoms.com myself using Trey’s techniques on his unprocessed image. Now Trey is offering three versions with the base downloadable version as low as $99, the Basic for only $219 and the Premium for only $379. Click here to learn more about each version and save while this offer lasts! The other good news is that the $99 version is downloadable for instant gratification!

I also have a special offer where you can save an additional 15% ALL StuckInCustoms products when you use my discount coupon code RONMART15 which can be applied on top of the savings listed above for the lowest prices ever!

This is a great gift for your photography junkie friends to keep them from hurting your eyes with bad HDR like I demonstrated in my HDR Efex Pro review!

HDRSoft Photomatix (15% Off)

Photomatix is the defacto standard for HDR these days and is also offered at a discount on this blog (see the Discount Coupon Code page for details). It is used heavily during the HDR Tutorial series mentioned above, so you’ll want to own it to get the most of these tutorials. I always try Photomatix first when doing my HDR images.

Topaz Software

 infocus_interface
Topaz Labs InFocus

HDR Workshop DVD by Trey Ratcliff of StuckInCustoms.com features Topaz Adjust quite a bit and I used it myself more often after watching that series, but now Topaz has come out with another tool that may become a staple in my collection – it’s called InFocus (click link to see my review). With InFocus, you get a simple, yet super powerful sharpening tool capable of recovering lost detail and restoring clarity to blurry images. It also includes micro-contrast detail enhancement controls which allows users to refine detail sharpness and edges. It’s a much better product than Focus Magic and offers some features typically only possible with HDR software. I reviewed it and found it to save some shots that I’d normally trash!

Topaz has also updated ReMask, its popular tool fore creating complex masks. I used it in my InFocus review and loved it! My review will be coming soon but I should point out that until 1/2/2011 you can save $20.00 off and get it for only $49.99 when you CLICK HERE and use the code SuperMask. You can use my normal Topaz Labs Discount (also found on the Discount Coupon Code page) on ALL other Topaz Labs products.

To learn more about all of the many Topaz Labs products click here.

Imagenomic offers 20% off

Check out my Discount Coupon Code page for details on how to save 20% off all Imagenomic products including the winner of my Noise Reduction RoundupNoiseware! It also includes one of my favorite skin softening products Portraiture.

Nik Software (12/20/2010 – 1/3/11 NEW Special Offer)

'Tis the Season for Snowflakes and Sales

These are products that I literally use every day (see my Photographer’s Notebook for documented examples) and couldn’t live without! Here’s the discounts for the limited time (ONLY from 12/20/2010 through 1/3/11) when you use the code rmartinsen when checking out (as shown in this article):

  • Complete Collection Ultimate Edition $439.95 ($160 savings) – these are big savings so if you have been on the fence now is the time to act as this bundle (which now includes 64-bit editions for Photoshop, Lightroom & Aperture as well as the hot new HDR Efex Pro
  • Complete Collection Lightroom/Aperture Edition $239.95 ($60 savings) – Great value, but only get it if you never plan to get Photoshop.
  • Color Efex Pro 3 Complete $224.95 ($70 savings) – I couldn’t live without this product. Dynamic Skin Softener, Tonal Contrast, Polarizer, Reflector Effects, Graduated Neutral Density, Color Stylizer, Skylight Filter and more – I love em and can’t live without them!
  • Dfine$74.95 ($25 savings) – Despite coming in second by one point in my Noise Reduction Roundup, I find myself using this product more than the winner (the excellent Imagenomic Noiseware) simply because the U-Point controls save me when doing selective noise reduction (common for me). 
  • HDR Efex Pro $139.95 ($20 savings) – This is one of the hottest products on the web right now to create HDR images, so if you’ve been frustrated by Photomatix – super simple HDR that doesn’t have to look cheesy is now possible!
  • Silver Efex Pro $149.95 ($50 savings) – I mention it in my Advanced Black & White article because it’s true – nearly 100% of the pros I’ve talked to in my Printing Series swear by this product as being their go to product when converting color images to black and white. It converted me from a B&W hater to someone who enjoys creating them with this product now (see my Photographer’s Notebook for examples).
  • Sharpener Pro 3 $149.95 ($50 savings) – Sure you can use USM in Photoshop and get good results and Lightroom 3 now includes PixelGenius sharpening, but I still find that nothing is more brain dead to use than this product as I simply make my output selection and it just does the perfect job every time. This is the only tool I use for sharpening my professional photos and nothing else is worth looking at when it comes to print sharpening.
  • Viveza 2 $149.95 ($50 savings) – See the sexy girl shot later in this article? I was struggling with the hair and the lighting in a few places so I spent 90 minutes using masks and adjustment layers to correct the problem. I still wasn’t happy so I disabled the layers and tried doing the same thing again Viveza 2. In 5 minutes I was done and I only need 5 U-Points to get the exact results I was looking for. I love this product and it’s situations like this that remind me why I don’t use it enough!!!!
SPECIAL RONMARTBLOG.COM Bundle

Nik Software is also offering a special for this blog that you won’t find everywhere on the web. From 12/20/2010 until 1/3/11 you can get HDR Efex Pro and Dfine 2.0 together for just $199.95 (a savings of $60) ONLY when you use the code RMARTINSEN-BNDL

The annual sale is now expired but you can check out my Nik Software or Discount Coupon Code pages for my normal blog discount (15% when you use the code rmartinsen at the time of this writing).

onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 (UPDATED: 12/18/2010 – New Offer expires 12/31/2010)

onOne has a big release update (free to many existing users) for its suite formally known as the Plug-In Suite. It’s now called the Perfect Photo Suite and you can check out more about it here. You can also check out my new review of PhotoTools 2.6 which demonstrates some of the features of PhotoFrame and PhotoTune from this bundle as well!

My blog offers a 15% off all onOne Software products via the link on the Discount Coupon Code page, and until 12/31/2010 you can save $100 off Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 when you use the special code RONM15.

ExpoDisc, RayFlash and Rogue Flash Benders – All 15% Off!!!

imageimage
image

ExpoImaging is offer 15% off when you use the coupon code ronmart09 at http://expoimaging.net.

Cradoc Software’s fotoQuote & More – now 30% off

image

Cradoc Software's fotoQuote is the product I use when invoicing commercial clients for usage rights for my work. Their fotoKeyword Harvester and fotoBiz products are quite popular as well.

You can see my full review of fotoQuote in my article How much is my photo or video worth?. They have several other great products for photographers as well, so explore their web site and see if you should take advantage of the first sale I've ever seen on these products!.

Click here to get 30% off any Cradoc Software products before January 7th, 2011

Think Tank Photo Camera Bags (Special Offer)

Receive a FREE GIFT from Think Tank Photo

Airport Security v2.0 has to be my favorite bag of the year, but the reason why there are so many bags out there is because different occasions call for different bags. There really is no one-size-fits-all solution as I thought when I used to scoff at photographers who had a closet full of bags. I find myself using my Urban Disguise Series bags the most often but my Modular Components with the Digital Holster 30 are my go to setup for sports. I still love my Streetwalker Pro and Glass Taxi’s too, so despite the redundancy I’ve been unable to give either one up! Of course there’s the Hydrophobia 70-200 for conditions like today when the snow is pouring down as well as the Seattle rain, and the most used bag in my collection isn’t for camera’s at all – it’s my Artificial Intelligence 17. My 5D Mark II also uses the Camera Strap, so you see it really is tough for me to live with just one bag!

These bags make wonderful gifts and if you buy them direct from Think Tank Photo you’ll get a no hassle return or exchange policy as well as a free gift (see the Discount Coupon Code page or the Think Tank Photo page) AND you can avoid sales taxes in most locations!

ColorByte ImagePrint (10% off)

If you print with an Epson printer (and in the near future, even Canon printers), you owe it to yourself to stop wasting time looking for the best paper profiles or generating your own and just get ColorByte ImagePrint. Without question, it’s the best way to get the best prints possible out of your Epson printer and you are very fortunate as this product never goes on sale. In fact this blog is the ONLY way you can get a discount on this product (according to ColorByte), so check out my review and get the details on how to get this 10% discount while it lasts (it is currently set to expire on 12/31/10) via my friends at JVH Technical (the best place to buy large format printers if you are in the Seattle area).

QImage Ultimate Holiday Promo (10% off)

QImage Ultimate

QImage was my find of the year as it is the best layout program I’ve used – ever. It saves me time like few products do (i.e., Viveza 2 is another),. It’s a decent RIP (but you provide your own profiles and it’s for Windows only). Use this link and save over 10% off in this exclusive discount to readers of this blog.

LensRentals.com – Rent at a discount before creating your holiday wish list

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

I was lusting for Canon’s TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Manual Focus Lens for EOS Cameras, so before putting it on my personal holiday wish list of things I’d love to get, I rented it from my friends at LensRentals.com where this blog offers an exclusive 5% off discount that you can’t find anywhere else. I loved the lens, but the manual focus got old quick so I decided to take it off my list. No buyers remorse and no returns to deal with, so it was a brilliant move that saved me money in the end. I highly recommend you try this out if you are on the fence on anything (including camera bodies, lighting, etc…) on your own holiday wish list this year!

You must visit the Discount Coupon Code page to get the latest coupon code as it changes regularly. Please do not post this code or share it on the web (link to my page instead).

Conclusion

I’d like to thank all of my partners here, many of whom offer their only discounts on the web through this blog, for their generosity in bring these offers to you on my favorite products. I do not recommend products I do not love, so if you see it in this series then you can rest assured that I’d feel confident giving the product as a gift to a close family member or recommending that they spend their hard earned money on these products.

Happy Holidays to everyone of all faiths!

Be sure to visit Part II of Ron Martinsen’s Holiday Gift Guide 2010 on ronmartblog.com!

***** Don’t forget to visit part II by clicking this link *****
***** Don’t forget to visit part II by clicking this link *****

Disclosure

I may get a commission if you make purchase using the links provide in this article. Thanks for supporting this blog by using the links!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Canon Fine Art Bright White 330gsm Paper Review and How To Walkthrough

When I started my printing series I didn’t really care for matte paper, but I’ll admit that at that time I honestly didn’t know the difference between what I traditionally knew as matte paper and a true fine art matte paper. I know now, and I am quite pleased to say that I love it. I especially enjoy using the  Canon Fine Art Bright White 330gsm on my Canon iPF6300  printer because the end result is a hearty thick, yet smooth paper that looks fantastic and feels like it belongs in a museum with a high price tag.

Favorite Prints with this Paper

Oddly enough I found myself preferring to print people on this paper, which I never thought I’d doe with matte papers. Here’s a few of my favorite images printed on this paper:


The colors just pop on this paper for this one

The details in the blacks were faithfully reproduced

The detail in the white was brilliant every
detail was just as I remembered in real life.
This is by far my favorite print on this paper.


Web browsers ruin this photo, but when it is printed on this paper you see it as
I see it on my wide gamut display and it is good!

This is very durable paper

Now one concern I always had with matte papers was that they didn’t feel as durable as luster or glossy papers because the ink just feels exposed. Well the truth is that this is very durable paper and beginning with my test on October 9th, until late December 2010 I’ve let (mis)prints using this paper sit out in the weather elements and in my garage and the paper has held up very well. Now inks play the biggest role in durability and I’m using Canon Lucia EX pigment inks which are known for their durability, so your mileage may vary if you are using a different ink set. I also am only looking for flaking, chipping, and discoloration in my testing, and thus far I’ve seen none of those. However the paper will naturally distort in the rain, but it can be flattened again.

Specifications

Here are the key facts that I have gathered about this paper:

Basis Weight 330 g/m²

Thickness

20 mil
ISO Brightness 115
Base Material 100% Acid-Free Cotton
Surface Finish Matte

Canon’s full PDF on this paper can be found here.

Paper Profiles

Color Gamut Graph of Canon Fine Art Bright White 330 gsm
This paper has an excellent color gamut  with the Canon paper profile
Graph via ColorThink Pro 

For this printer I only used the profiles that Canon provides with my Canon iPF6300 printer and I was pleased enough with the results that I didn’t feel compelled to generate my own paper profile. I also did not try to use this with a RIP

As  you’ll see later in the walkthrough I also found that when using the Canon plug-in that if you have the media type listed (in this case Fine Art Bright White 330g) that choosing Auto for the Output Profile is acceptable because the software is intelligent enough to choose the proper ICC profile based on the settings you choose in the dialog (i.e., highest max passes versus highest require different ICC profiles). Based on advice from Eddie Tapp I tested this feature and found it to work enough that I trust it now.

The names of the profiles I used outside of the plug-in are as follows:

  • CNN63936E.icc – Highest Print Mode (Max Pass is 16-bit only)
  • CNN63963F.icc – High Print Mode
  • CNN63963G.icc – Standard Print Mode (8-bit only)

Custom rendering intents are unavailable outside of the plug-in so sometimes the best results are only possible with the print module which can be used from Photoshop or for free with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) product.

Tips

I preferred Canon’s Export Module’s “Perceptual (People & Dark Areas)” rendering intent the most for my people shots. When doing my black and white prints I found Auto Mono Neutral to be my preferred choice (much more so than printing in color – but for color printing of black and white images Relative Colormetric was better).

When soft proofing in Photoshop I found that the Relative Colormetric rendering intent most closely resembles the result I see when printing using the Perceptual (People, Dark Areas) rendering intent. However, I didn’t like like the Relative Color metric rendering intent for actual printing.

Walkthrough on Canon

Since Canon provides an excellent Print Plug-in for Photoshop (which I refer to as the export module) the printing is very straightforward in 32-bit Photoshop (and identical on Mac and OS platforms). Here are some screen shots of my some of my print settings for images featured in this article:


I always do Max Passes and 16-bit even though I haven’t been able to prove
that it is better than 8-bit and Highest print mode


The preview window is your friend here as what you see is what you get


For completeness I’ve included a Mac Page setup dialog to show that they are
identical to the PC – the same is true of the Main tab as well.


I choose Auto (Monochrome Photo) for my output profile


I prefer the Pure Neutral Black setting for my B&W prints on this paper
NOTE: These settings are only available on the Color Settings Tab
when you choose Auto Monochrome

 

Lightroom 

Lightroom is a little more tricky as the export module is not available, but it is an experience that is closer to what you would find if you skipped the Canon plug-in and went straight to Photoshop (not recommended). I was unable to produce results as good in Lightroom or Photoshop directly as I am able to produce using DPP or Photoshop with Canon’s Export Module so this method of printing isn’t recommended at this time.

It is my understanding that Canon will be releasing an update for Lightroom soon so I will postpone doing a Lightroom walkthrough until that happens. In the meantime I recommend using Photoshop or Canon’s DPP software and print using the settings shown above in the plug-in.

Prices & Sizes

As of December 29th, 2010 you can purchase Canon Fine Art Bright White 330gsm at B&H or local print shops like JVH (tell them I sent you) from as little as $14.73 for a 50 sheet pack of letter size paper up to $204.95 for a 60” roll with 50’ of paper. It’s offered in all of the paper roll sizes Canon printers support plus the standard letter, 13”x19” (Super-B) and 17x22” sizes.

Additional sizing information can be found here as well.

Conclusion

I like this paper quite a bit. I find it to be very comparable to Epson’s excellent Hot Press Bright paper but much thicker along with the added benefit that it seemed to work fine no matter which side I printed on (at least in my short term testing). This is a hearty and substantial paper that is worthy of your portfolio prints, and I didn’t find it to be to rough (i.e., it’s not a Cold Press paper). It is very bright white so if you don’t like OBA’s, then you’ll probably not care for this paper, but for me I thought it looked great. I did find that my blacks suffered a bit on this paper so adding a little black boost in your image before printing on this paper probably isn’t a bad idea.

Disclosure

I may get a commission if you purchase using links in this article. Thank you for supporting this blog and future articles like this by using the links when making your purchases or making a donation if that isn’t possible.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Picture of the Week Winner – Week 7

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Congrats to Yatharth Gupta who took this amazing shot of the eclipse using his Canon Rebel XSi at ISO 800 and he processed it with Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Windows.

I love the color and exposure in this shot, but the best part is simply the timing which falls under the category of composition. He nailed this one perhaps by chance (as is the case with most shots like these). I was too busy to get out and shoot that night (and the clouds and rain didn't help either), so I'm glad to get a chance to see this rare event via a shot by one of my readers.

Be sure to click this photo above and leave some feedback on Flickr so this reader can get your feedback both good and bad (be gentle) and feel the love from our readers here!

Congratulations Gupta! Learn more about how you can participate in the Photo of the Week contest by clicking here.

Ron

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

REVIEW: Purosol Optical Lens Cleaner –All Natural Formula

For years I was a obsessive compulsive automotive detailer, and no cleaning job was complete without sparkling clean glass. I’m a big fan of Griots Garage products for my detailing, so I’d usually use their window cleaner when I needed to clean my lenses and electronics gadgets.

The company that makes Purosol sent me the kit above to try and I thought it’d be handy to have the spray bottle to put my Griot’s cleaner in, but I was happy to discover that this is some really good stuff – way better than my Griots Window Cleaner!

I know it is a little spendy, but I found it is better than anything I’ve used at getting rid of skin oil – especially on those damn polarizers where it seems to never want to come off! I also love it for my iPhone and other electronic gadgets.  alt

I highly recommend  Purosol Optical Cleaner for cleaning your camera LCD, lenses, and other gadgets – but please use as directed and consult your products cleaning instructions before use. Some lenses aren’t water proofed so you have to take care to avoid getting liquid in the lens (I usually spray up holding them to the ground with a soft puff to the center of the glass, and dry using the soft clean microfiber in this position.

Visit B&H for a complete list of Purosol products.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of the wonderful people who have supported this blog over the last year! It has a been a record year with a phenomenal fourth quarter, and I owe it all to you!

Thank you for making my holiday season special by using the links on this blog and donating so I can give my family a wonderful holiday experience during some difficult financial times that simply wouldn’t have been possible without your support!


Happy Holidays
from
The Martinsen Family

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise Series Update –V2.0

I wrote about Think Tank Photo’s Urban Disguise series in my blog at the beginning of this year, and about a year later I got one of the v2.0 versions of Urban Disguise 40.  Now in my review I had originally said that my Urban Disguise® 50 was too big and that I’d prefer a 40. Now that I have the 40, I realize the 50 is the perfect size – go figure? :)

Here’s what’s new for the v2.0:

Normally I do a little video to show the bag because I find the info on the web site to be less informative than I’d like, but in this case there video is spot on so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel – just check out what’s new here:

Additional Photos

Here are some great photos of this new bag from the Think Tank Photo web site:


Extra camera (non-pro) bodies can easily fit in the pockets
My 5D Mark II fits fine in there in any orientation

Swap a flash for the macro lens below and this is spot on as to how I configure my UD40 v2:


This is how you have to carry a long lens. If you try to put it on the camera then
the body will poke out, but the hand straps snap works in a pinch to get the bag
together when you need to do that (not recommended).

Using the new v2.0 expansion zipper, you can store a pro DSLR in these bags much easier than before.

Conclusion

The new 2.0 bags offer a variety of new features that are subtle at first, but when you actually use them  you realize they are very handy. Now unless you have a pro body, it probably doesn’t warrant replacing your Urban Disguise series v1.0 bag, but if you are looking to get a new bag I’d say go straight for the Urban Disguise series 2.0.

I still use my Urban Disguise bag quite often for local lightweight shoots and family outings.

Special Offer

Check out this page for my latest special offer on Think Tank Photo bags and lots of reviews on their other products.

Disclosure

I was given a UD40 v2.0 bag to evaluate and discuss at my discretion. I may get a commission if you take advantage of my special offer, so I really appreciate you purchasing using the links on this blog.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Announcement: Trey Ratcliff’s new 100 Cameras in 1 iPhone App

100 Cameras in 1 - Stuck In Customs

HDR guru Trey Ratcliff has released a cool iPhone app that I think will be a blast to play with. Currently it’s only $1.99 and you can learn more by clicking this link.

Trey also has a great page on his web site which shows a video and more, but do me a favor and come back here and use my links if you decide to order.

Disclosure

I may get a commission if you use my App Store links to make a purchase.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Using Manual Mode in Nik Software Dfine

One of the members of the Photography club I belong to asked a questioned about Nik Software’s Dfine versus Topaz Labs Denoise for which I felt the solution was using Nik Software’s Dfine in manual mode (something I discuss in my Noise Reduction Series).

To respond to him properly required a complex response complete with pictures, so I decided I’d just do a blog article for the response so others might be able to benefit from this as well. Essentially I’ll demonstrate how to use manual mode in Dfine to get better results than you’ll get by default in Dfine and many other noise reduction products.

Automatic Method – The Default

To begin with, when you use Dfine you probably do like most people out there and just run it and get this dialog:


Automatic Profile Applied – The Default Behavior

Automatic method is very good and most of the time will give you the results you want with no further action required.However, if you are unhappy with the results, then try Manual Mode.

Manual Method – Step by Step

Step 1 is to change the method from Automatic to Manual as shown here:


Change the Method to Manual

You’ll notice that there are rectangles in various places on the Lego guy, the glass and the stand disc. These are the measure points that Dfine detected automatically.

Step 2 is to click the Add Rectangle tool and draw rectangles around the areas where the automatic noise reduction didn’t work very well. What you are doing here is telling Dfine to include sample from those areas when doing the noise reduction which means that it will be more aggressive next time it removes noise (which is now a manual operation discussed later).

alt
Click the Add Rectangle Tool

Here’s examples of two places I did additional measurements on – mouse in and out of the image to see the locations on the top and between the Lego characters legs:

Mouse over to see measure point near head, mouse out to see measure point between legs
Drag new rectangles over areas not handled very well

Step 3 is when you click Measure Noise so that the noise reduction is now applied to the areas where you drew rectangles.

alt
Click Measure Noise to reapply noise
reduction to the image with your new
measure points

You should now see better (or at least more aggressive) noise reduction than you did the first time. This may be too much noise reduction so you may need experiment around with this to get the best results (or use a layer mask/brush feature to paint in the noise reduction you do and don’t want).

Other Helpful Tips

Since we are creatures of habit and many don’t explore beyond those first days with a product, I’d like to take this change to remind you of a couple other neat “hidden” features of Dfine over competing products.

Color Ranges

The first is Color Ranges where you can apply or suppress noise reduction based on color samples you select as shown here:


Color Ranges

In this example if I wanted to prevent noise reduction occurring on his shirt logo then I’d just sample that red and choose 0 for Contrast Noise and/or Color Noise.

Edge Preservation

One problem with noise reduction is that it can cause edges to get soft, especially in hair. To combat this issue, yet still keep some noise reduction you can experiment with the Edge Preservation slider to see if it helps.

It isn’t entirely necessary if you have Sharpener Pro and will be sharpening your image anyway, but some may prefer to do this step here – especially Lightroom users.

Conclusion

While Imagenomic Noiseware won my Noise Reduction Series because of its superior noise reduction with edge preservation for its default scenarios, Dfine was only a point behind and offers some powerful tools like those shown here and of course the wonderful U-Point controls to turn noise reduction on/off (especially useful for hair, textured walls, etc…) that in skilled hands can offer unmatched results that reduce noise and maintain image detail.

I highly recommend this product and use it quite often because of its flexibility, which is why it is at the #1 spot in my What Plug-ins Should I Buy? article.

Special Offer

Check out this page for some special offers for the products mentioned here that are only available during the holidays:

and visit my Discount Coupon Code page for specials on a wide variety of products – many of which aren’t available any where else on the web!

Disclosure

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If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Ron Martinsen & Rick Sammon team up to educate our readers about printing

I’d like to extend a warm thank you to Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon (http://www.ricksammon.info/) and his colleague Juan Pons who allowed me to guest blog on his Digital Photo Experience web site to offer an intro for my upcoming Printing 101 article that is a part of my Printing Series. We are both very passionate about educating the photography community, and I’m happy to welcome his readers to my blog to learn more about this complex topic.

Click here to read the article, and don’t forget to check out my review of Rick Sammon's Photo Buffet 24/7 (iPhone & iPad App).

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Save $100 off Perfect Photo Suite by onOne Software

onOne Software has made it easier to enjoy their new Perfect Photo Suite featured in my recent review for PhotoTools by offering a single page to learn more and have your coupon code applied. This offer expires on December 31st, so act soon - click here to order!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.