Tag Archives: Luminar

WWDC scholarships, Luminar, Photolemur, MacPilot, Espionage, Macs easier in enterprise, Time Machine space


Apple will accept applications for WWDC 2017 scholarships on March 27 — Apple has revealed the process to garner a scholarship to the 2017 World Wide Developer’s Conference, and is requiring applicants to create a short scene in Swift Playgrouns to attract the interest of the judges.

Luminar’s Golden Hour filter — A video shows how Pro photographer and educator Derrick Story uses the Golden Hour filter in his Luminar-based photo editing workflow. The filter helps you simulate that magical time around sunrise and sunset each day when the sun is low on the horizon and the light is warmer and softer.

Photolemur has analysed almost a million additional photos — The automatic photo improvement software has taught itself to edit them like a pro retoucher. Here’s the first demo of the 2.0 version vs manual retouching. Photolemur 2 will be available shortly.

Koingo Software announces the immediate availability of MacPilot 9 — This is a powerful tinker tool for Mac with over 500 features. MacPilot allows everyone to harness the phenomenal power of UNIX with the elegance and ease of Macintosh, from the perfectionist who wants to tweak the appearance and functionality of the Dock or Finder to the system administrator locking-down the operating system for guests.
Version 9 for macOS Sierra (10.12) comes with a free 15-day trial upon download, and sells at US$29.95 (about NZ$43) for a single user license after that. For everyone who purchased an older version within the past six months, this version is free. Versions for older copies of macOS are also on the Koingo website on the product page under the Download tab.

Espionage 3 Encryption Software for Mac — the Mac Observer has a deal on Espionage 3 encryption software for Mac. It allows you to create multiple master passwords, each protecting an isolated set of folders with a combination of AES-256 encryption and scrypt security. The deal is for US$19.99 on a lifetime license to Espionage 3, which includes all minor updates and major upgrades.

Surprise! Macs (and iPhones) are easier to support and deploy than Windows PCs, enterprise IT survey finds — Macs and iPhones are easier for IT administrators to deploy to workers than PCs and other smartphone platforms, according to a survey examining the increased adoption of Apple products in enterprise, with the results also indicating that Macs and iOS devices are also perceived as easier to secure and support than alternatives.

How to save space on Time Machine/Time Capsule drives — Chances are you really need to look at what folders you’re excluding from your backups. Here’s how to do that.

LG UltraFine, Luminar, secure VPN, leaving Apple, VPN deal, Adobe flaws


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LG UltraFine 5K Thunderbolt 3 display ship times drop to one week, in-store pickup [in the US] on January. 23 — Shipping times for the LG UltraFine 5K Display have dropped precipitously in the US, with outstanding orders being updated, and new order shipping estimates falling from 2-4 weeks, to just one week.
The New Zealand prices are $823.95 and $1528.95, but no shipping times are stated.

Dr Mac loves Luminar — When Bob LeVitus first saw the web page for Macphun’s new Luminar photo editor, he was skeptical of its claims. “But, having used Luminar for several months now, I’m no longer skeptical. Luminar does indeed make image editing easier and more enjoyable; its interface does indeed adapt easily to different styles and skill levels; and, while this part is strictly subjective, I find it both responsive and beautiful.”

Get a VPNSecure Lifetime Subscription for just US$39 — If  you spend a lot of time on public Wi-Fi networks? Perhaps you do a lot of traveling and want to have access to streaming services at home that are blocked from the country you’re visiting.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides an encrypted secure tunnel that keeps your data safe, and through a network of VPN servers around the world, your streaming requests can look like they’re coming from a local address. Apple world Today has a great deal on VPNSecure, with a lifetime subscription for $39 (about NZ$55) – this is normally US$450, about NZ$640.

More important people leaving Apple — Apple employee Chris Lattner, the senior director of Apple’s Developer Tools Department and the the leading figure behind Swift, has shared that he’s leaving the company after more than a decade. And Matt Casebolt, a “high profile” Senior Director of Design for Apple’s Mac lineup left the company in December for a role at Tesla as Senior Director Engineering, Closures & Mechanisms.

Effect Stack is an effective, non-destructive image editor for macOS — Sinisa Drpa’s Effect Stack is a useful non-destructive image editor for macOS 10.9 or higher. With it you can easily chain multiple image filters. Effect Stack costs US$9.99 (NZ$14.99) and is available at the Mac App Store.

Adobe patches critical flaws in Flash Player, Reader, and Acrobat — Adobe Systems released security updates for its Flash Player, Adobe Reader, and Acrobat products fixing critical vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to install malware on computers.

Black Friday online sales


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CreativeTech in iBooks — Black Friday pre-Christmas sale on all CreativeTech books until Sunday 27th November.
Prices are across all 51 territories with discounts commensurate to the following in local currencies:
Parcels From Home: The Prisoner of War Parcel Scheme and the New Zealand Red Cross in World War Two, now NZ99¢/Australian-US99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$11.99)
Parcels From Home: Jack’s War by Steve Bolton (historical graphic novel telling the NZ WWII Red Cross Parcel story) now NZ$1.99/Aus-US 99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$17.99)
Parcels From Home: The Prisoner of War Parcel Scheme and the New Zealand Red Cross in World War Two (Trainspotter Edition), now NZ$2.99/Aus-US$1.99/UK99p (usually NZ$17.99)
Friendship, Foes and Feathers: June, Anne and the Great War by Lynda Johansson Nunweek, now NZ99¢/Aus-US99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$7.99)
Four Immeasurable States and What Is Nirvana? Traleg Rinpoche, now NZ99¢/Aus-US99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$9.99)

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MacPhun — Luminar (offer available until December 1st)
Price for Macphun Users: US$49
Price for New Users: US$59
Buy before December 1st to receive the following Black Friday Bonuses:
Africa with Athena Video by Athena Carey ($60 value)
Cameras in the Wild ebook by Contrastly ($29 value)
Making the Image ebook by Dan Bailey ($25 value)
Luminar Presets pack ($25 value)
Aurora HDR 2017 (offer available until December 1st )
Upgrade Price for existing Aurora HDR Pro Owners: US$49
Price for existing Aurora HDR Owners: US$79
Price for New Users: US$89
Buy before December 1st to receive the following Black Friday Bonuses:
The Essentials of Street Photography & The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide by James Maher (US$25 value)
20 Minute Video Training from Trey Ratcliff (US$20 value)
Holiday Preset Pack (US$25 value)

Review ~ Luminar by MacPhun is comprehensive photo improvement software


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MacPhun seems to have been making Mac image apps for ages, and had a real success with last year’s Aurora HD (which was recently updated in an excellent new version for 2017, available now; I have already reviewed this) but is also known for the very handy Snapheal cloning tool – it has powerful erasing and healing tools for removing things you don’t want in images, as well as standard editing tools.
In the CreativeKit, MacPhun bundles six handy photo apps, including Snapheal and FX Studio Pro … this company knows what it’s doing. (Luminar pretty much has all of these in the one place, though.)

Luminar will be available soon, as it just went on presale, is a non-destructive RAW photo editor, built from the ground up around two things: simplicity and creativity. I’ve been trying software like this for a while, as I resent Adobe’s new subscription policy. If I thought I could replace it with a standalone app that did what I use Photoshop for, I’d get it. So, will this be the one ..?
Luminar is designed to be usable right out of the (virtual) box, without a steep learning curve, but to then adapt as your use becomes more sophisticated to offer more capabilities. Luminar’s user interface adjust to your skill level and preferences: you can use a one-click fix (like the magic wand in Photos) or you can develop away with 35 filters, all with their own settings faders, plus tools, layers, blend modes, brushes, masking and more. Add to that Layers, Custom Textures, Brushes, Masking (including automatic Luminosity, Gradient and Radial Masks), Noise Reduction, a Healing tool, Crop & Transform, History Panel, Selective Top & Bottom adjustments, plug-in support
I used to really like Aperture until Apple killed it off, as its non-destructive tools were excellent. It was better than Photoshop at fixing up scans of old photographs, of which I have quite a collection. And I tried Adobe’s Lightroom but I found it deeply irksome that it followed a darkroom of old as a sort of digital workflow method. This might sound weird coming from a former darkroom technician, but I’d fully embraced digital and I didn’t see the point of going through ‘stages’ of a process artificially to get where I wanted.
Luminar has perhaps the best of both worlds as it it uses workspaces you can tailor to your preference. They can be set up to feature only the tools most suitable for your type of photography, saved into sets of different filters. The defaults are Portrait, Black & White, Landscape and Street. You can add different filters to these workspaces or build your own.

Interface — This looks a lot like Aurora in that the image loads into the large space in the middle to the left edge, with features down the right edge and presets along the bottom. The presets are Clarity Booster, Classic B&W, Detailed, Fix Dark Photo, Foggy Day (adds fog), Foreground Brightener, Gloomy Morning, Image Enhancer, Mid Image Enhancer, Sharp & Crisp, Sky Enhancer, Soft & Airy, Vivid, 60s B&W, Center of Attention (sic), Cold Morning, Enhanced Reality, Noble, Only Yellow, Peruvian desert, Subway, Abandoned Place, Auto Smart Sharpener, Bright Day, Colors of the Fall (sic), Daydreams, Fix Dark Landscape, Misty Land, B&W Fashion Magazine, Enhanced Portrait, Glamour, Mysterious Girl, Noble Beauty, Portrait Soft Glow, Smooth Portrait, Dark Moon, Dull No More, Explore Dark Alleys, Final Frontier, Ghost Ship, Happy Memories, Impressive, Marco Polo, New Discovery, Silver Crystals, Sleepy Valley, Vivid Dreams, Warm Sunset, Artistic Copper Strong, Bloody Mary, Cold Mood, Dramatic Grungy, Dramatic Look, Enigmatic Vision, Film Noir, Lost Soul, Mood Enhancer, Tears in the Rain and Vintage Look. I count 56!
Clicking on any preset resets all the sliders in the tool strip from scratch, and each preset area has its own intensity slider so you can choose how much of the combination of controls you apply. A second or two and the effects are applied to the image so you can see it full screen. Rolling the mouse or stroking your trackpad over the main image zooms it in and out. You can click a little star at lower right of each preset to make it a favourite, which might be a good way to start working out what you’ll want in a customised workspace.

The tools — The tools down the right side have group buttons on the right-most edge: Hand, Brush, Gradient, Radiant Mask, Rectangular Marquee tool, Stamp (clicking on this initiates a 3-second ‘Preparing’ operation), Eraser, Denoise (which immediately zooms in so you can inspect the effect) and Crop (with rule-of-thirds grid). The first four keep the sliders in the rest of the right vertical strip visible, but the next batch of five don’t.
To the left of these, but still in the right vertical strip, there’s Levels at the top, Layers, Filters (click to make a menu appear with 35 filters in it), the Workspace menu (Custom, Clear, Default, B&W, Landscape, Portrait and Street) and then there are different sliders that appear below this section depending on the workspace you choose – for example, under Street there are Colour Temperature sliders and below that Tone (Exposure, Contrast, Smart Tone, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks) and beneath that in turn, Saturation/Vibrance sliders, Clarity, Structure, Soft Focus, Curves, Cross Processing, Texture Overlay, Vignette and Grain. And then, in case that’s not enough, an Add Filter button that shows those above-mentioned 35 filters. Other of these include Bi-Color Toning, Channel Mixer, Foliage Enhancer, and Orton Effect … So do you have plenty of variations available? Goodness yes.
The feature of customisable workspaces means that if you find yourself using specific filters on particular types of photos, you can create a custom Workspace for them. For instance, for landscapes you may want to always use Clarity, Saturation (or Vibrance), Polarizing Filter, Brightness and Contrast.

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But wait, there’s more — There are also options along the top of the work space: from left to right, there’s a folder icon for Open, then Share; plus, minus and the zoom amount is displayed; Quick Preview (click and hold to see the ‘Before’ state of the image); the cool Wiper tool found in Aurora (shown above, where you can also see the intensity slider on the preset itself – click the image for a larger view). With the wiper, turn it on with the upper central button then then drag the vertical line on the image to see Before and After states side by side.
Then there’s Undo, Redo, History, buttons to flip on the Layers vertical right-hand toolbar or the Filters one, and buttons to turn on or off the Prestes strip along the bottom and/or the Tools strip on the right hand side.
A lot of this may strike you as familiar to Aurora, but Luminar is a single-exposure editor and not an HDR editor (like Aurora). Luminar does not have the ability to merge exposure brackets to HDR and then flexibly control those ranges.
Luminar also has Layers, Custom Textures, Brushes and Masking (including automatic Luminosity, Gradient and Radial Masks), Noise Reduction, a Healing tool, a History Panel, Selective Top & Bottom adjustments, supports plug-ins and more. The only thing really missing is the ability to make selections and paths, and that’s a shame, because they’re the only tools I keep having to go back to Photoshop for.

What’s great — The workspaces are all fine, but what’s really great are the image controls which are full featured, very variable and very comprehensive. It’s pretty great you can use it as a plugin for Lightroom, which it installs by default, but I suspect most users will want to add this to Photos.
extensionHere’s how: install Luminar (and/or Aurora), open Photos, select an image, click the Adjustment button at top right (it looks like three sliders), find Extensions at the bottom of the list of adjustment controls (under Retouch), click it’s three dots in a circle icon, choose More then tick Luminar (and/or Aurora). Awesome! Now you can use the magic right from within Photos when its own tools prove insufficient by going into this area (above) to improve a photo.
What’s not — It’s a bit clunky getting though the presets at the bottom as the keyboard arrows don’t do it, there’s no left and right arrow. You can swipe left and right using the trackpad (and some mice) but with some mice, the only way is to grab the little scrollbar at the bottom and drag it left and right. I also had a strange glitch in my pre-release version that let you roll the scroll-wheel to zoom in, but when I hit max zoom, the same motion zoomed out. I really wish there were selection tools like Paths and Feather.
Needs — Anyone for whom Aurora is too specific; also works well as a companion to Aurora.

Luminar pre-order from November 2nd; launch is scheduled for November 17th; US$59 (about NZ$83). If you already own a Macphun app for Mac, you pay only US$49 (about NZ$69) to get Luminar along with some exclusive bonuses.

System — Intel Core 2 Duo from late 2009 or newer; minimum 4GB RAM; OS X 10.10.5 or newer; 2GB free space on hard drive; display resolution 1280 x 800 or higher (Retina displays supported).

More info — MacPhun’s Luminar page.

Top Pro orders, 13 teardown, Luminar, FXStudio Pro, new from Adobe, cheaper Mac SSDs


Luminar is an all-new photo editor for Mac
Luminar is an all-new photo editor for Mac

Phil Schiller saysNew MacBook Pro has more orders from Apple than any other pro model ever — In an interview, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller discusses Apple’s philosophy between keeping iOS and macOS separate, record-breaking sales of the new computer from Apple’s website, customers being up in arms about the MacBook Pro features or lack thereof, and Apple fandom.

MacBook Pro 13 teardown reveals a smaller battery, custom SSD hardware — As is typical for every MacBook Pro release, iFixit got its hands on one of the new Touch Bar-less 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop models soon after they were available and promptly tore it apart.

Luminar is a new all-in-one photo editor from Macphun, now available for preorder — Macphun has just announced the start of pre-orders for Luminar, a new all-in-one photo editor that is designed around the idea that all photographers are different, as are their needs for photo editing. [I am working on a review now.] Starting today and running through November 17, customers can pre-order Luminar for just US$59; pre-orderers also get extras.

FX Photo Studios — If you like tweaking photos on your Mac and need more than Photos, you should check out FX Photo Studio for Mac (also from MacPhun) for its plethora of special effects.
It offers access to over 150 photography effects. You can use it to blend filters and experiment with styles of photography art such as lomography, analog effects, vignettes, tilt-shift, sketches, textures and many more. Plus, there are sport photo editing tools including sharpening, shadowing and colour adjusters. FX Photo Studio for Mac is available as a standalone app or as a plug-in for US$39.99. It requires macOS 10.9 or later.

Adobe unveils new design apps, ‘Sensei’ service, updates & more at MAX conference — Adobe at its MAX 2016 industry conference on Wednesday announced a slew of new software products and app updates for imaging professionals, including an automated service called Sensei, as well as a stock photography and video partnership with Reuters.

Apple cuts price of flash storage upgrades on some older Macs — Apple has cut flash storage upgrade pricing for 512GB and 1TB modules on some older Macs. Apple has been charging between US$200 to $500 for a 512GB SSD upgrade, depending on the Mac model and base configuration, while the 1TB option sold for between US$700 and $900. With the updated pricing, shoppers in the market for a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac or Mac Pro can save up to US$200 on custom high capacity configurations.