20 Nov Comprehensive Test of all HDR projects Features Part 5
When it comes to the field of RAW Development, Franzis has delivered a batch of new features and thoroughly improved previously existing functions. Brand new is the FX editing field offering eight new effects including Sepia and Film Grain, as well as others designed for different editing purposes, such as Highlight Saver and Fog and Haze. Further additions can be found in the “Color” editing field, such as Light Diffraction Correction and Color Dynamics.
Of course we aren’t done yet. The editing effect “Dynamic Brightness” has been newly added to the list of existing options under the Exposure editing tab.
Another quite useful addition is that to the collection of Distortion effects allowing for precise control over the Trapezoidal Distortion.
Previously situated below the histogram near the top of the screen, the Grid-Display button can now found next to the new distortion setting at the top of the effects column. So far we’ve witnessed a wide range of innovations throughout this program section—that is, with only one exception of the editing field Weight Adjustment exhibiting no major alterations. Now we will take a closer look at the Post-Processing Window.
Post-Processing Effects and the Tone Mapping procedure in Expert-Mode
Expert Mode requires specific background knowledge of this program section before major progress can be made, otherwise it does rather little. Worth mentioning nonetheless are two brand new Tone Mapping procedures: One for image Brilliance and another labeled Contrast for deep shadows in landscape photography. This brings the total number of Tone Mapping procedures available in HDR projects 5 professional to an impressive 13.
Another 97 Post-Processing Effects can be found underneath, now more neatly arranged and easily accessible. The four buttons situated above the active list sort the various effects according to fundamental characteristics and their intended use.
The first icon at the left displays all effects, the same as in previous versions. The second shows only the most basic effects and the third those effects intended for implementation further along in the editing process. Lastly, the fourth icon all the way to right displays any additional and artistic effects. Activation of these icons also affects the contents able for display in the search results. For example, when the second icon is selected, this will prevent you from finding the Airbag-Distortion effect.
The following 16 Post-Processing Effects have been added to the program’s already existing collection:
- Haze and Fog Reduction
- Noise Reduction Optimization
- Color Dynamics
- Film Grain – Analogue
- Film Grain – Fractal
- Logarithmic Gradation
- Sharpness Optimization
- Highlight Restoration
- Structure Optimization
- Logarithmic Color Channel Gradation
- Color Tone Correction
- Shine (Lichtschein)
- Lens Reflection
- Water Reflection
A substantial advantage in all programs in the projects-series was the selective editing capability in Expert Mode. Selective editing has now been provided with one button for all 56 gradients which can be selected and applied as quickly as with only one click, therefore replacing any preselected masks.
Previously designated masks are saved to the clipboard beforehand and can thus be added again by clicking the appropriate icon after applying the gradient.
This way it is possible to customize effects by hand designing masks and altering them with a gradient. The combination can be just as effective the other way around; designate a gradient for a softer transition and then apply a hand-crafted mask overhead.
Comparative Preview Function
The new Comparative Preview function in the Variation Browser back in Finalization Mode now deserves a test of its own. This browser can be found at different locations throughout the program and is represented by the symbol containing nine small boxes and a magnifying glass. Clicking on the symbol will prompt the compilation of preview data, which has the potential to take a while. Nonetheless, this function can reduce the total amount of time spent on a project and is almost always worth a spin. Shown below are some examples of variations from the category “Surreal”:
A left-click of the mouse allows for the rearrangement of the variations and adjustments to zoom levels are made by rotating the mouse wheel in either direction. Selecting a variation for use is as easy as one double-click, just as in the previous versions. Interesting is also the program’s variation comparison capability.
This also for a selected variation to be used as a reference for comparison with another. The reference selection is made with a left-click and the comparison with a right-click, whereby the second variation can first be zoomed in on before the selection is made.
This is quite the innovative feature that is sure to meet the needs of many avid users. Great praise to the developers.
Optimization Assistant: Opacity
Whilst meticulously combing through all the new features in this new Projects 5 Version, we notice time and time again rather minor additions that prove extremely useful.
An example of this can be seen in the new Opacity slide control added to the Optimization-Assistant which allows for precise control over all other available options through regulation of their intensity.
This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang, www.ahadesign.eu