Friday, 29 July 2016

Fix Backlight Problems in 30 Seconds using PhotoDirector

Backlighting is a common photo editing problem. There is a loss of detail due to strong back-lighting and when camera exposes for the brightest part of the background, the foreground subject turns into a silhouette. This can happen photographing any subject - portrait, wildlife, architecture, and so on. Fortunately, this problem can be easily fixed to restore the details and in this tutorial, we will show you how by in a few quick steps using PhotoDirector.

The sample photo is an image of an owl, as you can see the camera is exposed to retain the color of the sky hence the owl is overly dark.

Simply move the Dark slider to brighten up the owl and darken the Bright. The owl has brighten up yet the color of the sky is retained.

Next, you can add some contrast to the image by adjusting the Contrast and Clarity slider. Clarity brings more definition to the mid-tone areas.

Next to sharpen the image even more, use adjust the Sharpen slider.

Use the Edge Mask slider to sharpen on the edge. By pressing down ALT and Edge Masker slider, the image will turn into Black and White. The white parts indicate the edge detected and sharpening will only be applied in those areas.

Next, 2 graduated filters are applied to darken the bottom part of the image. This is done by adjusting the exposure to the graduated filter.

and adding a subtle saturation adjustment to Blue when applying the Graduated Filter on the top.

And here is the Before and After Images to compare the result.

So, there, PhotoDirector is a smart tool that lets you brighten up dark areas without blowing out the highlights.

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

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.

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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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