The Online Photographer

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Special Discount for TOP Readers

I'm pleased to report that Light Crafts is offering a 10% discount on LightZone 2.0 for any and all T.O.P. readers—all you need to do to take advantage of the offer is click on the ad on this page and use the code when ordering. LightZone was already inexpensive for such a powerful RAW converter with so many unique and useful image manipulation controls.

We've long been preoccupied with the distinction between how to do something and figuring out what you want to do, which are really two different problems. For me personally, where LightZone excels is in allowing me to explore my pictorial effects visually in ways I might never even think of trying in other programs. Recently, I've been working on two separate, very different pictures that both came alive only after I experimented with a variety of interpretations in LightZone. I was able to arrive at creative interpretations I would never have seen using other software.


Featured Comment by Simon Griffee: Some features of Lightzone which I enjoy:

• The focus on working with and developing photographs and nothing else. Photoshop has become a behemoth with so many tools and effects for doing anything and everything—you lose your concentration on the image itself.

• The ease of creating masks and modifying their feathering so you can develop only certain sections of a photograph. Drawing bezier curves is much easier than in any other software I've tried.

• All your editing work on a photograph is saved in a small file (around 100 kilobytes) which is applied and linked to the original JPG/RAW/DNG file, which remains untouched. The harddisk space savings are substantial.

Lightzone has a more "tactile" feel to it, an intuitive, visual approach of working with an image. Hard to explain, but if you take a bit of time to try the software, and read a couple of tutorials (such as here and here), you will likely love it.

It's the most exciting photographic development software I've used in a long time, and certainly helped give me the confidence to launch my site this year. I encourage you to download the trial and check it out!

I also love The Online Photographer—thanks for writing, Mike!


Blogger John said...

Mike, it would be very interesting to see examples of what you found yourself able to accomplish with Lightzone that you weren't able to realise via, say, Photoshop? I've looked at Lightzone and must admit to having struggled to see how to justify adding to the arsenal.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Michael Canyes said...

Mike, Like John, I would be interested in what you find special about Lightzone. I could download it and drive it around the block a few times, but the problem with that is it takes me a fair amount of time to understand a piece of software, before I can decide if it is helpful or not. So I would like some justification for putting in the time before I jump in. Thanks for any info.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

This will be coming along in due course, but not until I get my new computer. I'm currently working on a 2-generations-old G4 with minimal RAM for LightZone and a small, very full hard drive. My next upgrade with make LZ much easier to work with and I'll be posting more specifics about when I can work with it more easily. (I can't even run Aperture on my old box at all, and when I upgrade I'll be able to try that too.)


8:47 AM  
Blogger ADias said...

LightZone is very easy to use. Its ZoneMapper is much easier to use than Photoshop's curves. I suggest reading LightZone's tutorials available at their site for more insights:

11:01 AM  
Blogger David said...

FWIW, and I only know about this as a result of Alain Briot's excellent DVD course "Printing Mastery," in which he has a tutorial on Lightzone; it has a contrast mask tool that seems to make it very easy to deal with images that have compressed tones, because you had to expose to make sure the highlights weren't clipped. If you've exposed to hold the details in the highlights, and much of your mid and shadow tones have been compressed, Lightzone makes it easy, through the use of the contrast mask tool, to lighten the mid and shadow tones and regain detail in those areas. While this can be done in PS, it takes quite a bit more work to accomplish this.

Lightzone also has a "zone mapper" tool that breaks the image down based upon a loose analogy to the zone system, and then allows you, through an automatic masking feature, to raise or lower the tonality of that one zone. It seems pretty neat. Of course it has other tools that are similar to what you might find in Lightroom or ACR, and it's not what you might use for a significant number of images, but it appears to be quite a time saver for those difficult images as described above. Thanks, Mike, for arranging the discount. Based on Alain's recommendation of it, I now intend to purchase it.


11:03 AM  
Blogger doonster said...

To Michael Caynes - this is one of the easiest to use pieces of software I've ever tried and part of my day job is software testing. One of the few "no manual required" apps around.

I find that the ease of masking and speed of editting allows me to get more photos done and try more ideas than I ever did with PS. PS is now effectively relegated to a platform for plug-ins.

Worth checking out outbackphoto for their Lightzone contests which show what can be achieved and give the files to inspect the process.

All credit to Lightcrafts for combining power and simplicity.

8:33 AM  

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