New Canon Photo Culling AI Software Coming Soon 2020

It barely made Photo news headlines, but some weeks ago Canon announced a brand new plug-in for Adobe Lightroom Classic that could potentially be a huge time saver for photographers such as myself who shoot tens of thousands of photographs a year. The software is designed to help you save time during post-processing by intelligently selecting the best shots for you out of a large set of photos.

The plugin is powered by the Canon Computer Vision AI engine and uses technical models to select photos based on a number of criteria: sharpness, noise, exposure, contrast, closed eyes, and red eyes. These “technical models” have customisable settings to give you some ability to control the process. How well this works in the real world remains to be seen, but the potential is there for it to be game changing in terms of time saved. I don’t believe software such as this will ever be able to make the final edit decisions, but if it can help narrow the choice and save time in the process then it is most welcome in my workflow.

Canon says the Photo Culling Plugin will be available sometime before the end of March 2020 through the Adobe Exchange App marketplace. Unfortunately, the plugin won’t be offered with a one-time payment and perpetual license — just like when hiring a human photo assistant, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee (pricing has yet to be announced) for the AI’s services. Such is life these days.

Prepare Yourself for Storage Failure in the Field

Recently I had a very expensive 128 GB SanDisk C-Fast card fail on me in the field in Iceland when I was between Winter workshops. This was the first time in well over a decade of digital photography that I have personally had a card fail in a manner that was completely unrecoverable. I have on several occasions seen other brands of card fail and have several times been able to rescue files from cards that had been accidentally erased by clients in the field (using SanDisk’s excellent Rescue Pro software).  In this case however, the card had become completely corrupt with absolutely nothing recoverable. In fact, inserting the card into the camera would actually cause the camera to refuse to even turn on (same result in different cameras).  Trying to read the card in any computer would simply show either no files, or a drive that would not mount. Trying to run Rescue Pro (or SanDisk’s other ‘clear format’ software) resulted in ‘Drive not available’ errors. In short, my expensive card had become completely corrupt.

Of course, the first thing I did when I had access to the internet was to contact SanDisk (a painful process) and lodge a ticket for a faulty card. I had to supply photographs of the card (front and back), describe the failure in excruciating detail via several emails and provide proof of purchase via a photograph of the original purchase receipt. The entire process was exceptionally painful and longwinded and had the card not been worth around $500 I probably would have just thrown my hands up, thrown the faulty card in the bin and ordered another. Given the cost however, I decided to persevere and see it through to a resolution.

What caused this card to fail so catastrophically I cannot say for certain, although I have my suspicions it was caused by turning the camera on and off very quickly (hint – don’t do this). Irrespective of the cause, what is important to note is that I was not able to recover any of the photographs on this card – zero. To SanDisk’s credit they did replace the card (although it took over a month); although they offered zero viable options to recover any files outside of sending the card at my own significant expense to a third party data recovery company. Had the images on the card been really important to me I would have proceeded down this path; but given there were just a few landscape images I shot between workshops on the card I decided to save the expense and consign any potentially recoverable files to the digital gods. It was made crystal clear by SanDisk as a matter of policy that they take no responsibility for any lost data under any circumstances (interesting policy from a storage company – what exactly do they take any responsibility for then?).

The net result of this card failure was a bunch of lost photographs and a month without a replacement card (no big deal). What the experience taught me above all is the importance of being able to shoot to dual cards simultaneously in the field to avoid this sort of potential tragedy. Shooting to dual cards was something I always did with the previous generation Canon EOS 1DX camera. However, its a practice I subsequently dropped with the release of the Canon EOS 1DX MKII since the cameras frame rate slows down too much when shooting to both the CFast and CF card (and Canon in their wisdom and effort to be backward tech friendly did not give us dual CFast slots). Now, on the eve of the Canon EOS 1DX MKIII I find myself praying that the good people at Canon will PLEASE give us dual CFast slots on the new body when it is announced later this year.

As card storage sizes have continued to increase with every generation released the chance for failure of a card that holds an entire trip or holidays work becomes greater and greater. Imagine loosing your entire next workshops work because you were shooting to one of the huge 512GB+ cards that subsequently critically failed. Cards of this size mean that you could shoot for days (or even weeks) before you had the need to download and empty onto a hard drive. Thats a huge amount of work to be stored on a card that is not backed up and that ‘might’ fail at any time. Something to think about the next time you are preparing to go out and shoot in the field. There just might be method in the madness of shooting either to dual cards where possible, or to multiple smaller cards instead of one gigantic card.

Skylum Software Announce Luminar 3 with Library Module

In some exciting news for all those who despise Adobe’s cuthroat subscription model (myself included) – Adobe is finally about to face some real competition in the digital asset management (DAM) space as Skylum software bring to market Luminar V.3 complete with a DAM Library tool. The new library panel turns the already acclaimed photo editor into a one-stop imaging solution, allowing amateur and pro photographers to intuitively import, organize, edit and publish images with unprecedented ease and efficiency. The real key to the success of this new library module will be the potential capability offered to existing Lightroom users to easily and quickly migrate away from Adobe.

PRESS RELEASE – BELLEVUE, WA – December 6, 2018 — Today, Skylum Software announced the availability of the next version of Luminar, their award-winning photo editor. Luminar 3 will start shipping to customers on December 18 and adds the ability to organize and edit multiple images simultaneously with the new Library panel. This addition transforms the photo editing software into a comprehensive, all-in-one imaging package.

Luminar 3 is a sophisticated image editor and library, which uses artificial intelligence to allow anybody, working with digital images to make better photos with intuitive and time-saving workflows. Luminar 3 makes processing, managing and editing photographs quicker and easier than with conventional software packages.

“This has been a long-anticipated update as our users were keen on a fast library function that works with their existing folders. We never replicate what’s already on the market, but look for new approaches to make our app as fast and easy to use as possible. And this is only the first of many far-reaching updates, so stay tuned.” says Alex Tsepko, CEO of Skylum.

The new Library panel is the result of years’ of research, analysis and interviews with a wide range of photographers. Skylum optimized the Library panel for speed and efficiency, responding to long-standing complaints by photographers that existing library options were cumbersome, cluttered, or impractical.

The Luminar library is a highly customizable image catalog that makes browsing, rating, and organizing a joy. Users can easily see a beautiful image wall that works with existing folders on their hard drive, connected devices, and synced cloud storage. There’s no need to re-import images, simply selecting a folder adds it to Luminar where pictures can be viewed, color labelled, rated and edited. Photographs are also automatically organized by capture date— all features that make it quick and efficient to find and sort images. Changes are made in real time in the original folder, keeping files and the hard drive organized as effortlessly as possible.

Luminar 3 also allows photographers to sync their editing adjustments. Any change made to a single image can easily be applied to a selection of files, which is useful for photos taken in similar settings or when a uniform style is desired. Syncing works extremely well thanks to Skylum’s unique Accent AI and AI Sky Enhancer filters which use artificial intelligence to analyze and fix image problems. With these features, a number of images can be adjusted simultaneously, saving the photographer time and effort.

The new Luminar 3 will be available as a free update for all the users of Luminar 2018 and will include multiple free updates as they build out a fuller set of photo management tools and more time saving artificial intelligence features. More information about the future update is available at https://skylum.com/luminar/roadmap.

 

Software that Totally Redefines the Need for Mega-Pixels

Over the course of the last week I have been testing a new piece of software that in brief my experience to date totally redefines the need for super high mega-pixel cameras. This new piece of software is such a game changer that I believe it may well revolutionise not only the workflow of a great many serious photographers (especially those like myself who print) but seriously challenges the validity of cameras with any more than about twenty mega pixels. On top of that, it raises serious concerns about what can be done with a image downloaded from the internet. The potential for this to be abused is a bit of a concern, but that is a topic for another day.

I ran across this new piece of software quite by accident. To be completely transparent I don’t even remember exactly where it was I first heard about it. I may have read about it on a forum or someone may have mentioned it in passing. In any case, I have been testing this new software from Topaz Labs called A.I Gigapixel™.

In short, A.I Gigapixel is a simple stand alone application for uprezzing images.  That in and of itself is nothing unique, but what makes it so special is the incredible results you can achieve with this remarkable piece of automated software. According to Topaz Labs:

A.I Gigapixel™ is the first and only desktop application to use the power of artificial intelligence to enlarge your images while adding natural details for an amazing result. Using deep learning technology, A.I.Gigapixel can enlarge images and fill in details that other resizing products leave out.

I wont bother to repeat any more of their marketing copy here on my blog, suffice to say this software works as advertised; and it works in spades. In direct comparisons between uprezzing in photoshop and uprezzing in A.I.Gigapixel there is a clear and obvious advantage in the Topaz Labs software. The difference is so pronounced as to be truly extraordinary. I have long harboured the belief that all you really need is about fifteen mega pixels to make a really great print up to roughly 20 x 30 inches if your capture is sharp and well exposed. I have demonstrated this fact countless times in my print workshops. Of course, everything has to do with viewing distance, but in the real world we don’t view prints six inches from our noses or under the power of a loupe. Now, with this new software it is possible to make prints of simply superb quality much larger than previously possible. Don’t believe me?

Well, you can try it for yourself as Topaz Labs offer a 30-day money free Trial with no obligation to purchase at the end of the trial period. If you are interested in making prints and you need to get the best possible image quality I strongly recommend you give it a try.

To be absolutely clear I have absolutely no affiliation with Topaz Labs. I have never spoken with anyone from the company and nor have I ever received anything from them for free (I have never even tried any of their software before). I downloaded the trial of A.I Gigapixel, tested it and within fifteen minutes I was so blown away that I immediately purchased it. If you print, or if you need larger files I wholeheartedly recommend you check out A.I Gigapixel. It might be the most significant piece of software for the digital photographic industry since the release of Photoshop.

Skylum Updates Luminar to Jupiter with Big Performance Increase

Skylum software has just updated my favourite processing plug-in to Jupiter. The update 1.2.0 for Luminar 2018 is available now as a free update to all current users of Luminar 2018, and includes adding Batch Processing and a Free Transform tool to the Windows version. This update also features over 300 improvements and updates that make the app faster, more responsive and useful than ever.

The most essential features of the upcoming update are:

  1. Speed (Performance & adjustments): Dramatically increased the speed of editing across all areas of Luminar 2018.

  2. Automatic Lens Correction: RAW Develop filter analyzes your image and the metadata to calculate a one click Automatic Lens Distortion fix.

  3. Enhanced image quality on image view:  Most of the demosaic and green equilibration issues have been fixed.

  4. DCP Profiles Support (for the Mac version only. Coming to Windows soon): Luminar 2018 recognizes the industry standard DCP files that you may already have on your computer (or have bought from third parties).

  5. Import speed (for the Mac version only. Coming to Windows soon): re-engineered RAW import, optimized for speed.

  6. Windows version catches up with Mac: Added Batch processing feature, Free Transform image feature, Flip/Rotate image feature to the Windows version.

Here is a full list of the new features and improvements:

MAC:

  • Fast RAW opening;

  • Super fast image editing and adjusting;

  • Faster image export;

  • DCP Profiles support;

  • Automatic Lens Correction (fix Lens Distortion, remove Chromatic Aberration and Defringe);

  • Enhanced image quality on image view – most of the demosaic and green equilibration issues have been fixed;

  • Big number of stability fixes;

  • UI and UX improvements;

  • Localisations updated (German, Japanese, Chinese & more).

    WINDOWS:

  • Super fast image editing and adjusting;

  • Faster image export;

  • Batch processing feature;

  • Free transform image feature;

  • Flip/Rotate image feature;

  • Automatic Lens Correction (fix Lens Distortion, remove Chromatic Aberration and Defringe)

  • Big number of stability fixes;

  • UI and UX improvements;

  • Localisations updated;

  • Added ability to change localisation language in the application main menu;

  • Fixes with color profiles on export/in plugin mode;

  • Preview mode feature added (F hotkey);

  • Enhanced image quality on image view – fixed most of demosaic and green equilibration.