Product Spotlight: DxO Optics Pro 8
I admit it: I'm part of the horde. I, like every other photographer I've ever heard of, love getting new photo gear. New lenses, bags, even the little things like blissfully pristine screen covers are really exciting! However, having tried out a slew of new photo editing programs since college, I have to admit that new software usually feels a bit more like a test (the 'Can I Figure it Out Without My Brain Exploding?' test) than something straightforward enough to be fun. There's an amazing amount of things you can do to images digitally these days, and I've experienced my fair share of copycat editing environments and unintuitive controls. So, when the day came that I opened up DxO Optics Pro 8 (my new editing software), I will admit I had my very best skeptical face on. But, I was pleasantly surprised!
In my first image, a lot of things were going wrong, and not all were the fault of my lens. Despite being an 80 degree, beautiful summer day, the image looks cold, dark, and like it's entirely possible I was in the middle of falling backward when I snapped it. So my first step was to use the Smart Lighting feature, which simultaneously brightens shadows AND brings detail back into highlights. Then I correct the color balance to match how the warm afternoon rays had made the scene look in reality, and used the awesome “micro-contrast” slider to get back some details. Next up: fixing those tilted lines.
When it comes to wide angle lens correction, the most important tools I need are keystoning correction, distortion control, and vignetting adjustment. I did have trouble locating where the keystoning controls were initially, but a quick visit to their Getting Started help guide showed me how to switch out of the basic workspace called First Steps and into the advanced workspace. You can switch between the two at any time, or customize each workspace to include more (or fewer) options.
One feature that's hard to miss when using this software is their before-and-after correction preview. Instead of having to hunt for a previous point in a history panel, or click on an eye check box to reveal the original image, you can check this just by clicking on the image itself in the central window. While you're still holding the button down, this shows the image “As shot.” As soon as you release, the customized image displays again. I really loved this and found myself previewing constantly, which helped prevent accidentally going overboard on any one adjustment.
Not only is Rebecca one of the awesome ZenMasters who helps Zenfolio users with their accounts on a daily basis, she is also a very talented photographer. Having grown up in West Africa and Montana, Rebecca is no stranger to breathtaking scenery. Her images, whether they are landscapes, interiors or portraits, showcase the subject in the best way possible. Take a look at her stunning images here: http://rebeccaherem.zenfolio.com/
Keywords: Architecture Photography , DxO, Product Spotlight, color correction, key stoning correction, retouching, retouching software, software
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