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Posts tagged with "photography"

Pixelmator Pro 2.1 Adds ML Crop, Quick Fill Color, and Text Tool Updates

The team at Pixelmator has released an update to its Mac photo and image editing tool Pixelmator Pro that includes several new features.

Teased last month, Pixelmator Pro 2.1 has been updated with ML Crop, a machine learning-based cropping tool that algorithmically suggests ways to crop your images. The feature joins several other machine learning-based features that the app has added in the past couple of years. In my limited testing, ML Crop works well, suggesting crops based on the subject of photos that are more dramatic and focused on the image’s subject. The entire cropping process is non-destructive, so even if you aren’t entirely happy with a suggested crop, it can be used as a starting point and easily tweaked manually.

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

Pixelmator Pro has evolved into more than just a photo editor. The app includes powerful image creation tools that got an update today too. Quick Fill is a fast way to fill an image layer with color by simply dragging the color from the app’s new color well that also supports switching between foreground and background colors.

The app has added a Stroke with Brush feature that facilitates painting with the app’s brushes along the path of shapes and image layers too. The feature joins a new brush picker and an option for smoothing strokes. Also, the Type tool has been updated to add a slider that quickly resizes text and the ability to control paragraph spacing.

There are other smaller refinements throughout the app too. For instance, when you hover the pointer over a predefined crop, your image updates with a preview of what the new crop will look like. The feature works dynamically in tandem with ML Crop when that feature is turned on, and there are now multiple crop overlay options in the latest update like the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Ratio, the Golden Spiral, and others. Image perspective can be adjusted, and the background of the app’s editor can be changed too. For a quick demo of the highlights, Pixelmator’s announcement video is worth watching:

I haven’t had a chance to try all the new features of Pixelmator’s latest release yet, but I like what I’ve seen so far. The app’s machine learning-based features are fast, especially on an M1 Mac, and they work well in most circumstances. Even when the results aren’t exactly what I want, the app’s machine learning tools are a handy head start with editing.

Pixelmator 2.1 is a free update on the Mac App Store, and currently, the app is available for $19.99, which is 50% off of its usual price until July 6th.


Photo Editing and Management App Darkroom Adds Extensive Shortcuts Support

Photo editing and management app Darkroom, which added a new Clarity tool last month, has added substantial new Shortcuts actions to the app that allow users to automate a wide variety of its features for the first time. The update is notable because it allows Darkroom to work hand-in-hand with other apps, something which few photography apps do. For now, the shortcuts are available in Apple’s Shortcuts app on iPhones and iPads, but this fall, when macOS Monterey is released, the Darkroom team says that it plans to offer the same actions on the Mac.

The update features five Shortcuts actions:

  • Import to Darkroom
  • Flag Photos
  • Reject Photos
  • Add Photos to Favorites
  • Edit With Darkroom
Darkroom can automate cropping to a long list of aspect ratios.

Darkroom can automate cropping to a long list of aspect ratios.

The Import to Darkroom action adds images to Darkroom and can simultaneously apply a filter with the intensity you choose, set a frame aspect ratio with an inset, and optionally prepare the processed image for export. The Edit With Darkroom action can also apply filters and apply a frame to an image and adds the ability to crop an image to any of a long list of preset aspect ratios and add a watermark to images, all without opening Darkroom. Cropping an image has also been added as an edit that can be pasted to multiple images inside the Darkroom app itself.

The Flag, Reject, and Favorite actions do as you’d expect, allowing you to mark images accordingly without doing so from inside Darkroom itself. Flagging and rejecting photos is a recent addition to Darkroom, which I previously covered on MacStories.

It’s fantastic to see Darkroom adding such deep support for Shortcuts. The app itself is one of my favorite photo editors. However, by freeing its core features from the app itself, Darkroom gains the advantage of becoming part of more complex photo-editing workflows, automatically processing images in multiple apps, without the images having to be opened sequentially in each app. I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what Darkroom’s new Shortcuts actions can do, but the possibilities are intriguing.


Austin Mann on the M1 iPad Pro for Pro Photographers

Source: Austin Mann

Source: Austin Mann

I always look forward to Austin Mann’s unique perspective on Apple hardware. His latest review is from Flagstaff, Arizona where he takes Apple’s new M1-based iPad Pro through its paces as he processes photos taken at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Mann cuts right to the chase:

As any photographer knows, one of the most time-consuming parts of the photo creation process is culling through thousands of images, making selects, and editing the images. Thanks to the M1 chip, faster internal storage, and a few other improvements, the new iPad Pro with M1 is the fastest image sorting tool I’ve ever used.

A great demonstration of the power of the new iPad Pro is the video in Mann’s post in which he moves rapidly through a large set of 60+ MB RAW photos. There’s absolutely no lag, making the iPad Pro a terrific tool for culling large collections of imported shots.

Unsurprisingly, Mann also concludes that the iPad Pro’s big, bright display and mobile data connection make it an ideal tool for previewing images on a sunny day and staying connected to research photo shoots. However, Mann’s wishes for the iPad Pro, like background importing of photos and the ability to connect multiple external storage devices, are precisely the sort of thing that is holding the iPad Pro back from being a more complete solution for photographers and other pro users. Despite the limitations, though, the new iPad Pro looks like a big step up for photographers, which I can’t wait to try with my own camera soon.

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Lux Delivers an iPad Version of Halide That Addresses the Unique Challenges of iPad Photography

Students are finishing up the year here in the US, and nothing says graduation season like a relative gripping an iPad with two hands to snap photos of a graduate at a family gathering. It’s easy to poke fun at iPad photography, but those aren’t easy shots to get with Apple’s tablet. Both of your hands are occupied, and the viewfinder is huge and partially obscured by the app’s UI. If you’re at one of these events and see a relative struggling to take the perfect family portrait with their iPad, before you assume that they cut you out of the frame on purpose, show them Halide. The brand new iPad version of the app from the team at Lux makes taking iPad photos more natural and, of course, offers all the advanced features available in the iPhone version of the app.

I don’t take many photos with my iPad, and I doubt I ever will. The camera hardware isn’t as good as it is on the iPhone, and I don’t find myself in situations where I have my iPad but not my iPhone. However, once in a while, I’m using my iPad and want to capture a moment quickly without digging my iPhone out of my pocket. For those occasions, I’m going to use Halide because the app’s thoughtful design makes the experience far superior to other camera apps I’ve tried on the iPad.

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Photo Editor and Organizer Darkroom Adds New Clarity Tool

Photo editing and management app Darkroom has been updated with a new Clarity slider that I’ve been testing on the iPhone and iPad for a couple of weeks now.

The new slider in the app’s editing panel is deceptively simple. Move the slider to the right to make the details of an image pop or to the left to smooth out the details. If you look carefully, though, you’ll notice that the increase in contrast isn’t uniform across a photo. You can turn the Clarity of a portrait down to smooth a person’s skin, for instance, without affecting their hair or eyes.

Source: Darkroom.

Source: Darkroom.

As Jasper Hauser explains on the Darkroom blog, the Clarity slider is logarithmic, meaning that the effect intensifies more quickly as you approach the endpoints. Picking a point in the middle of the slider’s range produces a subtler effect.

The effect works well with landscapes like the photo of skyscrapers along the Chicago River at the beginning of this story. You can see that increasing Clarity brings out the details in the windows of each building, and turning Clarity down softens areas like the water.

Clarity can achieve a wide range of effects like this shot where it is turned down, smoothing details

Clarity can achieve a wide range of effects like this shot where it is turned down, smoothing details

In contrast, turning up Clarity increases a photo's details dramatically.

In contrast, turning up Clarity increases a photo’s details dramatically.

As Hauser explains, Clarity works by building a detail map of an image and then adjusting the contrast of its regions using an algorithm called a Fast Local Laplacian Filter. There’s a lot of math happening under the hood that Hauser links to if you’re interested in learning more behind what the Darkroom team has managed to incorporate into a simple slider interaction that’s yet another excellent addition to this Apple Design Award-winning app. To learn more about Darkroom’s features, be sure to check out our past coverage and interview on AppStories with Darkroom co-founder Majd Taby.

Darkroom’s latest update is available on the App Store.


Pixelmator Pro Teases ML Crop Feature and Announces a 50% Off Sale

Source Pixelmator.

Source Pixelmator.

Some of the most impressive additions to Pixelmator Pro in recent updates have been the ones that rely on machine learning. From the auto enhancement feature added in 2018 to last year’s ML Color Match and ML Super Resolution, a wide variety of the app’s tools have harnessed machine learning to help photographers edit their images. Today, the Pixelmator team announced that their extending Pixelmator Pro’s reliance on machine learning to its cropping tool with ML Crop.

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

ML Crop uses machine learning to analyze the composition of a photo and suggest how you might like to crop it with the click of a single button. From the video in Pixelmator’s blog post, which is excerpted in the GIF above, the feature looks promising. ML Crop joins features that let you quickly set primary and secondary colors for an image and edit colors in a composition using drag and drop.

In addition to the sneak peek at ML Crop, Pixelmator announced today that the app is currently on sale for 50% off, which makes it a great time to jump in and give Pixelmator Pro if you haven’t yet.


Darkroom 5.2 Improves Photo Management with New Flag and Reject Functionality

One of the greatest advantages of the iPhone’s camera hardware is that it’s easy to take photos wherever you are. That’s also a bit of a curse because there’s probably no greater friction in managing a photo library than sifting through a large stack of images looking for the ones you want to keep. The convenience quality of the iPhone’s camera means that I take more photos than ever, many of which aren’t shots I want to keep long-term. With today’s release of Darkroom 5.2, the photo editor that we’ve covered on MacStories before takes a significant step forward in making the process of culling the best images from an extensive photo collection easier.

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Hands-On with the Apple Store’s Insta360 ONE X2 Camera Bundle

Source: Insta360.

Source: Insta360.

Starting today, Insta360 is offering an exclusive bundle of the Insta360 ONE X2 camera and an assortment of accessories through Apple’s online store for $479.99.

I’ve been intrigued by Insta360’s action cameras since coming across them during CES in 2020. I bought a DJI Osmo Pocket when it launched at the end of 2018, which sold me on the notion of a tiny, versatile camera that integrates with the iPhone. So, when Insta360 offered to send me the Apple Store bundle to try, I was curious to see what it can do and what a 360-degree perspective would add to the mix. I’ve only had the ONE X2 for a few days during a brutal Chicago cold snap, so my use of the camera has been limited. Still, the excellent app integration has made getting started a breeze, so I wanted to share my first impressions.

The Insta360 ONE X2 bundle being sold by Apple is a great starter package that includes the ONE X2 camera, an Invisible Selfie Stick, an extra battery and case to carry it, a 32 GB MicroSD card and SD card adapter, two charging cables (USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to Lightning), a carrying case, and a soft pouch. Separately, the camera retails for $429.99, and with the accessories, the entire package would cost around $511 based on the prices listed on Insta360’s website. However, through Apple’s online store, you can purchase the kit for $479.99, saving some money and getting everything you’ll need to get started.

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Apple Spotlights iPhone 12 Photography

Source: Apple

Source: Apple

For the past several years, Apple has shown off some of the best photos taken with the current-generation iPhone. In a press release today, the company highlights 17 beautiful images taken around the globe, as a showcase of what the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max can do. It’s one thing read about the latest iPhone camera technology, which today’s press release recaps. However, it’s something entirely different to see what the latest hardware and software can do in the hands of a skilled photographer.

A few of the many photos highlighted in Apple's press release. Source: Apple.

A few of the many photos highlighted in Apple’s press release. Source: Apple.

In 2019 and 2020, Apple’s January photography announcement was accompanied by a photography contest judged by Apple employees and a team of professional photographers. This year’s press release makes no mention of a contest, which is understandable in light of the global pandemic.

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