Friday, 24 June 2016

6 Ways to Speed up Editing Photos in PhotoDirector

Editing photos does not have to be a lengthy process. Here are six tips to help you speed up your workflow so you spend more time shooting and less time editing.

1. Pick, reject and rate your photos 
Often when we come back from a photo shoot, we end up with hundreds if not thousands of images. PhotoDirector offers multiple ways to rate your images – star ratings, color labels and the basic Pick and Reject.

Start by going through your images a couple of rounds. In the first round, simply use the Pick (S) and Reject (X) shortcut keys. Any photo, you know you will not keep, such as misfires, wrongly exposed, click (X).

Next filter your photos to display those you have Picked. Now the second run, rate your photos from the not-so-good to the best ones, using the star ratings. Once your photos are rated, it will be easier to filter your images to see only the ones you want to edit.

And you can decide whether you want to remove the rejected ones from the library or even from your storage. While some people never delete an image they’ve shot, I prefer removing rejected photos to help clear the clutter on the interface as well as storage.
2. Compare your photos in groupsOften times, we take several photos of the same scene and end up with a series of similar images. And if you are to only pick the best one, it is best to compare them in groups. You can highlight them all and press the Alt+3 to show these images only. Compare these photos side by side helps you decide which one is the best. Or use the subtract method by removing the not so good ones. To drop an image click (-), continue until the best one remains.
3. Learn the hotkeysAs with any desktop software application, hotkeys are there to help you speed up the workflow. PhotoDirector has a list of hotkeys, you don’t have to remember them all. Just the functions you mostly use and you will remember them by time.

You can find a complete list of hotkeys in User Manual. Make a print copy of the list as a cheat sheet. Here is the link where you can download the User Manual:

4. Create your own presets  Applying presets is a quick way to stylize your photos. PhotoDirector comes with a multitude number of presets you can apply immediately. Alternatively, you can modify existing presets or design your own to create your iconic styles. Here is a tutorial that guides you to using presets and creating a new one:
Note that not only can you save your presets, you can also share it with others on DirectorZone.

5. Apply settings from one photo to others 
The batch editing feature in PhotoDirector helps save a lot of time. Simply edit one photo and apply those edits to a selected group of images. You can do this by clicking the [copy] button (or CTRL+SHFT+C hotkey) on the edited image. A dialog box will be displayed allowing you to copy only the selected adjustments. Then, select images you want to apply the edits and click on the [paste] button (or CTRL+SHIFT+V hotkey).

6.Turn on Hardware AccelerationEnable to speed up the photo export process with OpenCL technology: 

If your computer supports GPU hardware acceleration, make sure the Hardware Acceleration option is turned on. This option speeds up photo export processes by tapping into the multi-core parallel processing power of your computer. To turn on Hardware Acceleration, go to the Preference Menu.

After changing your settings, you will have to restart your computer in order to activate this feature.

So, there you have now the 6 tips to speed up editing. Make sure you incorporate them all in your workflow.

If you are new to PhotoDirector, learn more and download a 30-day free trial here.

Friday, 27 May 2016

How to Protect Copyright of Your Photos in PhotoDirector

As the creator of your images, you own the copyright. But are you taking steps to protect your art? If you do not add copyright information to your photos, whenever you share your images digitally, you have no control where it will go and whoever will pick up and reproduce it. So, it is a common practice to include copyright information, allowing others to seek permission from you if they want to use your images.

In this tutorial, we will go through the steps to add copyright information to the photo’s metadata. Whenever your camera captures an image, it also includes information about the photo, such as ISO setting, shutter speed, aperture setting, camera model, focal length, … etc. in a metadata. This metadata is stored together with the image and you can insert your copyright and contact details into this metadata. So, wherever the image goes, the metadata is attached to it and anyone who wants to use your photos will be able to reach you for permission. 

The metadata doesn’t appear on the image itself and it is only visible by using software that can read the information, such as PhotoDirector. In the Library module in PhotoDirector, there is a Metadata panel that displays the metadata in your images and the panel can be used to add on your copyright and contact information. In this tutorial, we will show you how to do so.

The MetaData Panel consists of 3 parts: EXIF, IPTC and Tags.

EXIF data are related to how you captured the photo with your camera, such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO settings, camera model, … etc. These information are provided from the camera and you will not be able to modify the content.
The IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council was developed as industry standards for interchange of news data. The data is used to describe ownership of the image, content and others. It was originally developed for use for photojournalists. Nowadays, photographers use this information along with their photos to claim their copyright.

The IPTC in PhotoDirector consists of 5 sections: Contact, Content, Status, Image and Copyright. The fields you must complete are the Contact and Copyright sections. In the following we will guide you how to complete the fields in each section.

IPTC Contact
These are the fields you must fill in, in order to let others reach you should they request permission to use your photograph. Here you will add your name, job title, address, email, phone, and website. Use commas to separate multiple emails or websites. 
The IPTC Copyright
In the IPTC Copyright field, fill in your copyright text. I usually type “Copyright {Year} {Copyright owner}, all rights reserved. In the Copyright Status box choose “Copyrighted”.
  • In the Rights Usage Terms field, include instructions how the photograph can be used – for example “No reproduction without prior permission”.
  • In the Copyright Info URL enter website of the copyright owner.
  • You don’t have to enter Contact and Copyright for each image. Simply select all the images in the Library Module and type in the fields. The metadata will be applied to all selected photos.
The rest of the IPTC metadata are photo specific, describing content, information of each image. This also means that each field entry is different for each image. Hence, the fields will be filled in one by one. Luckily, we don’t have to fill those information, these metadata are mostly applied in the news industry. They set a standard for the news media ecosystem. If you are interested, there is a complete guide that illustrates the purpose of each field:

So next time, you import your images, remember that the Contact and Copyright fields are filled in.

If you are new to PhotoDirector, learn more and download a 30-day free trial here.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Creative Effects Using the Blur Tool in PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector’s Blur Tool is an effective feature to create various effects to your photos. Plus they are extremely easy to use. The Blur Tool is located in the Edit Module. 

You can choose from Circular, Linear, and Brush (where you brush the area you want to be blurred) types of blur. In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to apply the Circular Blur Tool and the effects they create on the photos.

When you click on the Circular Blur Tool, a radial will appear on your image. The inner circle is where the focal will be and this part of the image will remain sharp and intact. The outer circle is the gradient range from being sharp and focused to blurred. Areas outside the circle will be blurred.

So, the first step is to decide to focal subject in the picture and adjust the radial location and size. In the side panel, there are 4 Blur Type options – Soft focus, Bokeh, Radial Blur and Focal Zoom. Each type yields to a different look and feel.

After applying the Blur effect, there are a couple of helpful tools:
1. A slider to adjust the intensity of the blur effect according to your preferred look.
2. A convenient check box to hide the radial indicator so you can preview the adjusted photo.
3. You can also use the “Compare” mode to see the images before and after applying the blur effect.

Soft Focus creates a shallow depth of field look to the image, focusing on just the part you want to emphasize in the photo.

Bokeh simulates a beloved depth and blurry effect rendered by some lenses. It also comes with different bokeh shapes.

The Round-shaped Bokeh is the most common effect.

The X-shaped Bokeh is popular shooting street lights at night time.

Radial Blur creates and swirling motion to photos.

Focal Zoom adds speed, motion and Wow factor!

Now, go through your photos and apply some blur effect to make your photos look amazing!

 If you are new to PhotoDirector, learn more and download a 30-day free trial here.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Turn Your Photos into Bright Watercolors

Creating a watercolor effect is one of the many ways you can stylize your images and it is easier than you think.

First select a photo in the Library, make sure the photo is not in high-resolution. Because this technique works best for low resolution images no more than 1000 pixels on the long edge. If your photo is in high resolution, you can export a copy in lower resolution.

Now that you have selected the image, go to the Adjustment module and in the Global Adjustment Tools:
- Set Contrast to 50
- Dark to 100
- Vibrance to 50
- Saturation to 50


In the Detail section, set Luminance to 100 and Detail to 50.
And there you have the watercolor version of your photo.

You can make further fine tune adjustment in order to reach the look you want. In this example, I partially selected the background trees and reduce the clarity.

And here is the final image:

More examples:

If you are new to PhotoDirector, learn more and download a 30-day free trial here.




Saturday, 9 January 2016

Six Highly Helpful but Often Overlooked Features in PhotoDirector Mobile

With PhotoDirector Mobile you get lots of tools and effects to spice up your images. But there are a handful of smaller features that are as helpful and mostly overlooked. In this article, we will give each one of them the attention they deserve. After all, they are the ones that give you more control over the look you want in your photos.

1. Dare to Make Mistakes

When it comes to creativity, never be afraid to make mistakes. PhotoDirector Mobile let’s you apply multiple effects and you don’t have to worry what went wrong because the arrow icons let you go back and forward through the history of steps.

2. Devil is the Detail

PhotoDirector Mobile features a brush tool, click on it and a set of tools open up that let you adjust effects in fine detail.

In the following, we will use the Effect Tool to describe how to take advantage of the brush tools. First start by importing a photo:

Select an Effect and by clicking on it, the effect will be applied immediately. I liked the way the foliage turned brown but I would like to retain the original color of the water

Click on the Brush tool on the lower right corner of your photo and the Brush Tools will appear. Use the first icon to brush over the water and the original color reappears.

As you go into smaller areas, zoom in and change the brush size by clicking on the 3rd icon. A slider will appear to let you change brush size. 

You will notice that I brush into the land where the boy is standing. Never worry about making this kind of mistake. Simply click on the 2nd icon and brush over the area you want to recover the effect.

 The fourth icon is the inverse tool, which inverts the areas you have brushed over. I sometimes use this tool to check if I have covered all the areas I wanted to brush. As you can see, some bluish area in the water indicates areas that I missed.

And the final image:

3. Never Go Wrong with the Eraser

Similar to the Brush Tool, the Eraser lets you remove the Magic Brush Effects.

4. Undo, Undo, or Start Over Again

You can find these handy tools in the Magic Brushes (one of the Pen Tools). Similar to the Step History, this tool let you undo several steps and if you decide to start with a clean slate, simple click the right icon.

5. Before and After

The Compare feature. Long click on the icon to see what the original image looked like. Check if you made the photo look better or can be even better.

6. i for Information

In case you need help, there is the information icon on the upper left corner. It's always there to give you quick guidance. The help content changes depending on this which screen you are at.

Don't have PhotoDirector Mobile? Get it Now.
Available for Apple, Android and Windows devices.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How to make your own BB-8 droid animation in PowerDirector

With the release of Star Wars Episode 7, the lovable droid BB-8 has become one of this season’s hottest gifts, and has even earned the title “cutest droid in the universe”.

In spite of all the merchandising, BB-8 hats and purses might not be your thing. If that’s the case, you might want to create your own BB-8 animation instead. We’ll show you here how easy it is, and you will be wowing your friends with your mad video editing skills in no time.

Our animation is comprised of just three images and a music track. For the background, we will use a plain desertscape image. Note that you could also use a different background scene like a forest or jungle. For this project we are using a stock desert photo:

Then we need an image of BB-8’s body. Find an image in png format with a transparent background.

Then import an image of the droid’s head, also in png format with a transparent background:

Once you have imported the three image files, put them on the timeline as shown below, stretching each one out so that they are all the same length you want your animation to be. Our example is a short clip, about five seconds in length. 

Resize your background image so that it fills the screen, and then shift the background image to the left, so that there is a space on the right hand side that is about 1/6 of the total width. Save your changes. NOTE: The resize and reposition features are found in the PiP designer, which launches automatically when you double-click an image on the timeline. If you are not familiar with the PiP designer, this tutorial video from the CyberLink Learning Center will quickly bring you up to speed.

Resize and reposition the head and body as shown. 

Now set the motion path for the body. In the PiP designer window for the body image, click the “Motion” tab, and then select “Custom Paths.” Add a starting keyframe by clicking the diamond on the position line. Drag the slider to the end of the track, and then click the diamond again to add the ending keyframe. Then click on the dot at the center of the image, and drag a path to the right side of the screen as shown. Set the rotation counterclockwise to around 2100 degrees (Note: It is easier to just key the number directly into the field than to try to use the slider bar to set the number.) Tick the box for Motion Blur, and set the blur length to about 1.30 and the blur density to 22. Click “Save,” and then close the PiP designer.

Next, use the same steps to add the motion path for the head. However, you will not need to set a rotation. For the motion blur, set the blur length to 1.44, and the blur density to 24.

Now you just need to scroll the background in the opposite direction. Open the background image in the PiP editor, and zoom out so that you can see the entire image within the window:

Set a custom motion, moving the background image to the right until the left side of the image is flush with the left side of the viewing window. 

Lastly, if you want to make the movement of BB-8 more realistic, here’s one more trick: Go to Effects, and add a “Quake” effect onto both the body and head by simply dragging and dropping the effect onto the timeline object. This effect will make BB-8 look like he is rolling over rocky ground – with a slight movement-induced shake.

Now let’s see what the video looks like after it is produced: