In the RAW development area, FRANZIS has delivered a number of new features and thoroughly improved already existing functions. Brand new is the "FX" editing field with eight new effects, including sepia and film grain, as well as other effects designed for different editing purposes, such as Highlight Saver and Fog and Haze. Further additions can be found in the "Color" edit box, such as light diffraction correction and color dynamics.
Of course, we are not done yet. The Dynamic Brightness editing effect has been newly added to the list of existing options under the Exposure Editing tab. Another very useful addition is the Distortion Effects collection, which provides precise control over trapezoidal distortion.
The "Grid Display" button, previously located under the histogram at the top of the screen, is now next to the new distortion setting at the top of the effects column. So far, we've seen a lot of new features in this part of the program - with one exception: the Weight Adjustment edit box hasn't changed much. Now we will take a closer look at the post-processing window.
Post-processing effects and the tone-mapping process in expert mode
Expert mode requires a certain background knowledge of this part of the program before you can make any major progress, as it does rather little else. Worth mentioning, however, are two brand new tone mapping processes: One for image brilliance and another called 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 are located below, now more clearly arranged and easily accessible. The four buttons above the active list sort the various effects by basic properties and their intended use.
The first icon on the left displays all effects, just as in previous versions. The second shows only the most basic effects, and the third the effects that will be used later in the editing process. Finally, the fourth icon on the far right shows all the additional and artistic effects. Activating these icons also affects the content that can be displayed in the search results. For example, if the second icon is enabled, you won't be able to find the Airbag Distortion effect.
The following 16 post-processing effects have been added to the program's existing collection:
Haze and Fog Reduction
Noise Reduction Optimization
Film Grain – Analogue
Film Grain – Fractal
Logarithmic Color Channel Gradation
Color Tone Correction
A major advantage in all programs of the projects series was the selective editing option in expert mode. For selective editing, there is now one button for all 56 gradients that can be selected and applied with just one click, replacing the preselected masks.
Previously defined masks are saved to the clipboard beforehand and can thus be added again after applying the gradient by clicking on the corresponding icon.
In this way it is possible to achieve individual effects by designing masks by hand and modifying them with a gradient. The combination can also be effective the other way around: Designate a gradient for a smoother transition, and then apply a hand-designed mask over it.
Comparative Preview feature
The new Comparative Preview feature in the Variation Browser in Finalize mode now deserves its own test. This browser can be found in various places in the program and is represented by an icon with nine small boxes and a magnifying glass. Clicking on the icon starts the compilation of the preview data, which can take a while. Nevertheless, this feature can reduce the overall amount of time spent on a project and is almost always worth a try. Below are some examples of variants from the "Surreal" category:
The left mouse button can be used to rearrange the variations and the zoom levels can be adjusted by turning the mouse wheel in both directions. As in previous versions, a double-click is all that is needed to select a variation for use. The variation comparison function of the program is also interesting.
This allows a selected variation to also be used as a reference for comparison with another. The reference selection is done with a left click and the comparison is done with a right click, and the second variation can be zoomed in first before selection.
This is an innovative feature that is sure to meet the needs of many avid users. Kudos to the developers.
Optimization Wizard: Opacity
As we meticulously comb through all the new features in the new Projects 5 release, we keep noticing rather small additions that prove extremely useful.
One example is the new Opacity slider in the Optimization Wizard, which allows you to precisely control all the other available options by regulating their intensity.
This review was written by Gerhard Lang, www.ahadesign.eu