Useful software

 
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
I though I made about the useful freeware software for digital photography, but I guess I didn't (or I lost it) Embarassed

Neat Image
http://www.neatimage.com/
Shooting at high ISOs and getting a lot of noise? With a bit of tweaking you can get rid of it, with only a minor loss of sharpness. This shot was at ISO 1600, the square in the middle is after noise reduction:


Exifer
http://www.friedemann-schmidt.com/software/exifer/
Forget to change the camera over to daylight savings time? (I forget to every year). This program lets you alter any of the EXIF data in your photos.


Step 1: load folder with affected photos.
Step 2: Highlight them all.
Step 3: Right click, select 'EXIF/IPTC' option, then the 'Edit' option in the submenu
Step 4: Click 'EXIF' tab in new window.
Step 5: Click 'Date' tab that then appears
Step 6: Click 'apply to date modified and digitised' checkbox
Step 7: Set the "+" dropdown to the time correction you want. ("+" for going into daylight savings.)
Step 8: Set the "12:00 AM" box to "1:00 AM" to change the timestamp by an hour.
Step 9: Click okay at the bottom. It then asks if you want to alter the EXIF data, and if you want to backup. You don't really need to backup the old EXIF data.

And now it is fixed.

Smile

Photomatix
http://www.hdrsoft.com/
Does HDR photos, as well as merging multiple photos. This show was two separate exposures, one over and other underexposed. Do a 'Combine' -> 'Highlights and Shadows' and it come out nice.
[img]http://images.fotopic.net/ynxpci.jpg[/img]

AutoStitch
http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html
Automatically stitches photos together into a panorama.


So try them out - they aren't scummy spyware, but still cost nothing.  Smile

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  EvanC Chief Plonker

Location: Bayswater, Victoria
That "Photomatix" - is that the kind of thing you'd use Exposure Bracketing with?
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
That "Photomatix" - is that the kind of thing you'd use Exposure Bracketing with?
"EvanC"


I imagine so - I believe one shoots a shot at -2, 0 and +2 and combines them together. I've seen it used to great effect in places where flash is not allowed or would remove shadows from areas where they are needed.
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
That "Photomatix" - is that the kind of thing you'd use Exposure Bracketing with?
"EvanC"
Yep, though you can just adjust the exposure up and down manually depending on what you want.

Bracketing is also good if the lighting is funny, and you can't be bothered working it out in the field - take three photos of the same thing easily, and cull them down at home. Smile
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Thanks to wongm for the links again, just tried neatimage on a photo accidentally shot at ISO1600... beauty.


  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
I'm not sure why I didn't mention IrfanView as well - probably because I have been using some version of it for the past decade!
http://www.irfanview.com/

It is nice and quick for viewing images, and you should use it is your default program for them all. I just groan when I am using 'foreign' computers, and every images takes a month to open in the default program that ships with windows.

IrfanView also had a lot of hotkeys - you just need to bash the right keys to move forward though your photos in a directory, and bash another key to go from 'full size' to 'fit to screen'.

Finally, it is really easy to do basic editing with. My usual procedure is dump the memory card to one folder on the computer, have a quick flick though them all, work out the 'good' shots, then rotate, crop, and resize, before the upload.

It's as simple as this!
- Space bar to skip though photos
- 'F' goes from full size to fit to screen to check out if the shot is any good
- 'CTRL-U' to go the the rotate image dialogue box, then tinker with rotation if necessary then click okay
- use the mouse to draw the desired cropping of the image
- 'CTRL-Y' to apply it to the image
- 'CTRL-R' to enter the resize dialog box - there are buttons to got to popular sizes (I use 1024px as a maximum normally, gives a 150km image at the end)
- 'S' to 'save as', it automatically goes to the last place you saved an image, not the original location, so it makes overwriting the original hard to do. (I have a separate 'upload' directory to keep the edited cut down versions in)


So another thing to try out. Smile
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
thelastname put me onto another noise reduction program - Noiseware.

It does the same as Neat Image, but lets you drag and drop things directly. From http://www.imagenomic.com/download.aspx you want the "Noiseware Community Edition Standalone" - the freeware one. Smile
  mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
I find Adobe ImageReady absolutely brilliant. It's basically a cut-down Photoshop, but you can download it (along with the 30-day trial Photoshop - 300MB!) for free and it isn't crippled in any way.

The only things I miss from real Photoshop are CMYK colour mode (which is a lot better for removing a colour cast on a photo) and the healing brush.
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
I find Adobe ImageReady absolutely brilliant. It's basically a cut-down Photoshop, but you can download it (along with the 30-day trial Photoshop - 300MB!) for free and it isn't crippled in any way.

The only things I miss from real Photoshop are CMYK colour mode (which is a lot better for removing a colour cast on a photo) and the healing brush.
"mjja"


Wot healing brush?
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
I'm also blown away by autostitch. I tried to do a panoramic view of Sydney Harbor a few years ago but gave up because each picture was a different exposure (stupid digital camera...).

Thumbs up from me!
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
Turns out I haven't posted it - a program to undelete images from your memory cards (and any other storage device!)

It is called Restoration, the author seems to have disappeared, but it is freeware and you can download it from here:
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
Turns out I haven't posted it - a program to undelete images from your memory cards (and any other storage device!)

It is called Restoration, the author seems to have disappeared, but it is freeware and you can download it from here:
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html
"wongm"

However, software like that only works if you haven't overwritten the sector of the storage device that the image was recorded on.
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
However, software like that only works if you haven't overwritten the sector of the storage device that the image was recorded on.
"michaelgreenhill"

I forgot to mention that. Embarassed

The main use of the software is if you have an 'oh $#@^&' moment and format or delete photos from your memory card accidentally. When you do, take the card out of the camera and don't take any more photos with it, then when you get home you can undelete them.

You can't take photos and fill your card, delete them all to make room, take another lot of photos, then go home and download the second lot of photos you can see, then undelete the ones you deleted earlier! Laughing
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
On the subject of useful software, does anyone know of a decent, freebie, PDF image extractor software?
  greenkayaker Minister for Railways

Location: Lithgovian Media Centre
How do you mean 'extractor'?

I take it that the snapshot tool doesn't do what you require?
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
Looking at useful photography software, and freebies,  there are those who are on the 64-bit platform, and in need of an image processor. I found one, called FuturixImager.  Its a bit rough around the edges, not so intuitive, and has a bit of a learning curve.

You can get it from http://fximage.com/

I am using the Beta and the supported plugins. Firm version is 5.8.8 plus plugins.


Lets step through the beta.  

First, a rough photo that could deserve some work. Taken from the Latrobe St bridge before going home on the 1833 Shepparton: (I was looking for a 3 car Vlocity, but alack, none came along... no apologies for the staunchion in the way, I just stood in the one place and took a few pics.)



Now, when you work with this, BACKUP your photo first. There are some functions in there with no going back.  



The toolbar doesn't look like much. Press F2 to see the adjustments menu.




Not much better. No point working in a keyhole, grab that bottom right corner with your mouse pointer and pull it down a lot. Make your viewport as big as you wish. (I actually grabbed that blue bar and pushed it up to the top-left, and then dragged the bottom-right corner to give me some comfortable space to work in.)



The adjustment-menu need a good, hard double-click to make something pop-up. You will see there is not much finesse in the msg-box, just gradations and a slider. Grab it and drag to your choice. You can pull thatmsg-box down so you can see what you are doing; and you get a wysiwyg when you drag the slider. Brightness, well, you take your choice, I went for a point, knowing I was probably going to fiddle with the contrast, too.



That contrast msg-box has no gradations on it, so a bit of experimentation and guesstimate is needed. Grab it and pull it down, and muck around with it.  OK, the contrast done, I decided to do a sharpen, and see if I could push some more light into this pic.



Although small, I found the sharpen box was a little bit surprising, compared to the sharpening function on Photoshop 7; I had some control over it. Don't like it overmuch, so I undid the sharpen.

Saved it as a jpg (default is Windows bmp, click the drop-down list) at 85% and it gave me a 235kb pic, which is a bit large. I checked a few things. Forgot to resize it.



OK, I decided to swing it here, and instead of selecting an arbitary size, I have decided to resize a 1200xwhatever to 70%



Hmmm. That gives me a 115kb photo, and I'll check that now in Irfranview to see what is going on... resized to 840x630, a bit to big for RP, so I will go down to 640x480 so it can compare with the first photo here. OK, that gives me a 61kb photo, and here it is.



Well, for a freebie, it has all the basic functions to fix photos, if you can't already do that in your camera itself, or with the supplied software, which, for those folks on the 64-bit platform, you can't, then this is a very basic program. A little learning curve, and you can mouse over the various buttons, crop, flood-fill, tile, split blur and all of that. A word of warning with JPEG-lossless operations, and rotate in the MAIN MENU, not the adjustments menu. They cant be undone, so as I said, backup your photo first.


Application itself needs a bit of polish and improvement and judging by the build numbers, the developer is doubtless hard at work at getting new builds out and improvements in. Worth a spin for those on the 64-bit platform who don't want to separate $400++ for Lightroom or its equivalents.

Minuses - as I say, still very much under development, no levels tool, no curves tool, no gamma. I like gamma very much,  for it would have done a neat job on the dark spots in this pic:



... all I put on that pic, using FuturixImager was a simple sharpen; not much else could be done with it, but gamma correction for the dark spots would have helped.

You can get it from http://fximage.com/
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
Another good tool: Hugin

Here's a panorama I made with it:


  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
various useful data and photo recovery sareware - save your self $1500.00 or more-

http://www.pcinspector.de/Sites/file_recovery/info.htm?language=1
  Dodge10 Chief Commissioner

Looking at useful photography software, and freebies,  there are those who are on the 64-bit platform, and in need of an image processor. I found one, called FuturixImager.  Its a bit rough around the edges, not so intuitive, and has a bit of a learning curve.

.
.
.
.

You can get it from http://fximage.com/
"574M"

I retraced a few steps and found this vaguely helpful, although I don't post pictures.
  richardlu_yy Chief Train Controller

Location: Singapore
Anyone using the new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.0 Beta? Really useful for doing quick processing of a large volume of photos, and best of all it is available for free download right now, at least until the retail version is released.
  Taitset Chief Commissioner

Location: Eltham, (former) vintage safeworking capital of Melbourne

The Photographer's Ephemeris is a fantastic program which is very handy for rail photography. You can use it to work out what angle the sun is going to be coming from at specific locations at specific times, it's a free download for desktop or iphone:  http://photoephemeris.com/
  Shacks Ghanzel

Location: Sir Big Lens of the Distant Upper Hunter
The Photographer's Ephemeris is a fantastic program which is very handy for rail photography. You can use it to work out what angle the sun is going to be coming from at specific locations at specific times, it's a free download for desktop or iphone:  http://photoephemeris.com/
"Taitset"

Sun Seeker is the one I use. 
  nr1_r761_s300 Train Controller

Location: Where ever the wild wind blows....
Well after searching through this forum I have to disagree with most...

In my opinion, from experience..

Adobe Lightroom 3 coupled with Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 is the best of the best.

Lightroom has some of the best noise reduction capability's available as well as the easiest slider bar editing available, couple that with Photoshop's manipulation capabilities or its Panorama stitching and you have yourself the ultimate set up, my set up  Twisted Evil
  thelastname Photo Overlord

Location: Somewhere
Also lightroom is pretty cheap, it's now $200 (I got it for $129 on special) use to be $499. 

Lightroom 4 has been released and the upgrade from 3 is $99 download.

Have to disagree with you there about Photoshop CS5, Photoshop elements is fine for most photography work and sells for around $100 as opposed to $1200 for CS5. 
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Have to disagree with you there about Photoshop CS5, Photoshop elements is fine for most photography work and sells for around $100 as opposed to $1200 for CS5. 
"thelastname"


I've only ever used Elements for my photography, and I've never felt anything was "missing". I'm sure I'd have more power, and more control with CS, but is it really needed for "photography"? Too much editing and one blurs the line between a "photo" and an "image". 

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