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In what has become a tradition of sorts, Apple today published iTunes Rewind 2011, an annual list of the best iOS apps and games split across 21 App Store categories. See what we chose as the best apps and games of the year, and stream video trailers to find out more. In addition to apps, charts are also available for music, movies, television shows, e-books and podcasts.
Surprisingly, Apple gave Tiny Tower the iPhone Game of the Year award even though Angry Birds remains the top seller in the games category.
The amount of astounding things we can do with our computers soared with this year’s Mac App Store launch. The ADVA Soft’s Handy Photo ($2.99) is a really handy app that offers some of the best options everyone would love to have. If you are a person that gets bad close-ups, then no fuss, the Facetune ($0.99) is there to help you improve your close-up clicks by removing wrinkles, dark circles around the eyes and more. The upside of photography in the digital age is that it’s easy to make as many images as you want. While Aperture and Lightroom are positioned as competitors, they have distinctly different strengths. To better explain the nuances of this, let’s take a look at a few essential points of the process.
When you import a card full of images, the first task at hand is to sort out the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad. For years, I struggled with various strategies for sorting out how to give an image a precise star rating. These days, I skip stars and rely on flags to do most of the heavy lifting of sorting out the photographs to focus on.
Once I have a set of photos that I’m interested in, I filter my view to see only the photos I’ve flagged.
In this filtered view, I’ll repeat the process of scanning through the photos, but this time I kick out the ones I don’t want to see anymore or that don’t make sense in a particular grouping. Everyone knows all the typical reasons why you should make backups of your precious data—you do use Time Machine or the like, don’t you?
The solution I finally arrived at was to make a complete copy of all of my photographs to my NAS when I imported photographs onto my laptop. Over time, I realized that having the freedom to toss images off of my laptop’s drive was akin to when I worked with slides on a light table a long time ago and would pull out the best into my collection while putting the rest back in boxes to sit on the back shelf. While most of the Lightroom users I know approach sorting images with the same broad concepts, there are some differences — for example, some photographers use stars as markers.
The mad genius image software engineers at Adobe have distilled an amazing amount of functionality into the Adobe Camera RAW library and made it fairly straightforward to use via the Develop module. Every tool you can use in the Develop module — from adjusting white balance to applying camera lens corrections — is in the right-hand sidebar. As an example of what you can do with the Develop module, here’s an image that I took through a multilayered aircraft window.
Starting with the white balance slider, I cooled the image slightly then increased the contrast using the aptly named contrast slider. Color Temperature: Some digital cameras are better than others at getting this right in their auto white balance mode, but all won’t get it exactly right all of the time. Clarity: This slider combines tone curve adjustments — especially in the mid-tones — while increasing local contrast. Vibrance: If you remember Velvia slide film — responsible for those really saturated photos from the ’80s and ’90s — you could call this the Velvia slider. Of course, there are so many more tools in the Develop module, but using just these four can make a big difference in your photographs. The magic of RAW is that you can essentially remap any color temperature using the white balance controls.
After discovering clarity, I almost never sharpen an image anymore as the clarity also does a nice job, gently sharpening things that are not tack sharp. Using the vibrance and saturation sliders can bring up a whole discussion on what is modified vs unmodified. If you are working up several photographs that are all similar — shot in the same lighting conditions and of the same subject — here’s a handy tip: You can move onto the next image and hit the “Previous” button (or use Cmd+Option+V) to apply all the same corrections you just made to the last image.
Use the Previous button to copy the adjustments of the last photograph you were viewing to the current one. If you want to “pick up” the corrections from one photo and apply it to another somewhere else on the filmstrip, you can use the Settings > Copy Settings menu (Shift-Command-C), go to any other image, and then apply them with the Settings > Paste Settings menu (Shift-Command-V). You can go even faster by selecting a bunch of images in the filmstrip and hitting the Sync button. If you find a set of adjustments you apply all the time—such as always adding a bit of clarity and vibrance—you can make your own preset. Last, even if you’re totally comfortable with all the sliders, don’t overlook the amount of time you can save by using one of the presets that Lightroom ships to quickly get a certain color treatment or look, ranging from wildly colored cross-processed to old-school black and white.
I love shooting high contrast scenes, so with the amazing new dynamic range possible in sensors like the D800, I need highlights, shadows, and contrast to balance all that tonality usually hidden in the RAW to start. One of the ways in which tools like Lightroom has a big impact on the image processed out of a RAW file is how it handles noise — the little dots and speckles that show up in your images when you shoot at higher ISO speeds.
If you want a surprise, open up an old high-ISO RAW image from 6 or 8 years ago and see how Lightroom treats it compared to how you saw it then. The other fine detail control you’ll want to investigate if you haven’t already are the Sharpening tools. Every single photograph you make — especially ones you shoot in RAW — has a much better version of it hiding just beneath the surface that can be coaxed out in a matter of seconds with a bit of practice.
Now, as I’ve said, I think the best tool for organizing a finished set of images isn’t Lightroom, it’s Aperture. Aperture also excels at doing the sorts of things you really want to do with your photos once you have a set of them, like making books and ensuring that your images are synchronized to your iPhone and iPad so that you can show them off to whoever you happen to meet for coffee.


No matter how much I like Aperture’s organization tools, Lightroom keeps me coming back for the Develop module.
The bottom version is after adjusting just the sliders shown over the course of a few minutes.
As much as we’ve all been looking for the “One Best Application” for all our photo needs, the best organization tool isn’t the best editor for making your photographs look their best. If organizing images and sharing them is your top priority and you can live within the bounds of its processing abilities, Aperture is the best tool for the job.
On the other hand, if being able to make your images look their best with a minimum amount of fuss is your top priority, and you can live with a poorer interface for organization, then Lightroom is what you really want. If both things are a top priority — as they are for me — then you might consider using each tool for what it’s best at. With over 1 million users world-wide, SmartDraw makes it easy to quickly create complex and powerful visuals.
Google Photos is the best cloud management solution for photos for most people due to its low cost, ease-of-use, and helpful features.
Rdio has millions of songs, from massive hits to rare gems to cult classics, with more added every week. We love VSCO Cam because of its incredible selection of one-tap filters and its powerful fine-tune image editing tools for those who want more.
Duncan Davidson is a photographer, Web geek, and cross platform software developer who loves to travel the world. The best Bible app for iOS, a reader's Mac and iOS setup, a tip about application access, and more. YouVersion is the best Bible app for iOS because it features a host of translations, built-in audio Bible, great typography, and a well-thought-out design. Steve Goslin is a Solution Delivery Manager at Dynamit, where he works on awesome projects in the Columbus, Ohio area. Plus, browser 2011’s top sellers and our favorite apps from this year in all 21 categories.
They named Snapseed for the iPad App of the Year and Electronic Arts’ Dead Space for the iPad Game of the Year.
Now with just a click, we can download amazing apps for editing photos, designing graphics, getting things done, playing great games and more.
Especially designed to make the central area more clear, the app brings unique ideas to your photos.
She is civil engineer by profession and got certified from university of California in 2004. Aperture’s strength is in its user interface and its organizational tools — it is the best tool for the long-term process of building out collections of finished photographs.
The problem with any strategy is that you either like an image or you don’t, and for the ones you like, you either like it better than another image or you like it better sitting right next to another image as a grouping. Kicking out an image just requires removing the flag — the easiest way is to use the ‘`’ key to toggle the flag. For the first decade of my digital photography, I operated under the assumption that I thought I needed every image I ever made at my fingertips at all times. Then, I was free to delete images from my catalogs at will while secure in the knowledge that I could still get to some random image if I wanted. That lets me blast through in the Library with a filter of flagged and unflagged using X to cull out rejects while marking keepers with 1 star and hopefuls with 2 stars. I also have a few 4 star images, but I’m holding back on 5 stars for my own personal growth.
Even those of you that aren’t adept with terms like exposure and saturation can get a lot out of Lightroom, thanks to the large number of one-click presets that you can quickly and easily apply.
As a general rule, you can start at the top of this panel with the white balance, tone, and presence controls and work your way down until you’re happy with the image. I then pulled down the highlights a bit to present more detail in the bright white tanks and clouds and made the blacks a bit darker as well, further improving contrast.
In simplier terms, you can really punch up an image by sliding it to the right or make it look softer and somewhat watercolorly by sliding it to the left. It really brings up the amount of color in your photograph, but keeps colors from “blowing out” and looking as strange as they might if you crank up the saturation slider too much. For another take on these essential sliders, I asked phtographer and retinal neuroscientist Bryan Jones for an opinion.
I’ve accidentally left the WB on specific settings and then walked outside and not changed it back. Also, with the latest generation of lenses and sensors without the aliasing filter, I find that I almost need to back off on the sharpness some. Color, sharpness, saturation, and vignetting are all variations on what might be considered adjustments that the combination of human eye and visual cortex see anyway depending upon attention and other measures. Or, you can select a bunch of images in the filmstrip and hit the ”Sync” button to choose which corrections to apply to everything at once. This lets you repeatedly right-arrow and then apply settings as you work your way through a set of images. This is like being able to build your own advanced, modifiable filter, such as the ones in your favorite iOS photo editing application. There’s a fine line between suppressing noise so much that fine detail gets smudged away and not going far enough. Of course, Lightroom can’t turn your old Canon D30 into a new 5D Mark III, but it does have a significant effect. Far from being something that’s only applied some of the time, sharpening is an essential process of working with digital images. Adobe has done the hard work of profiling lots of lenses with different cameras and built up corrections for vignetting, chromatic aberration, and spherical distortion. Aperture is pretty great at processing images, but Lightroom’s Develop module is absolutely sublime.


Over time, I’ve found it to be impossible to create a good archive of images in Lightroom while it’s quite straightforward to do in Aperture.
To illustrate this point one last time, here’s a comparison of two versions of a recent photo I made.
It’s an excellent step up from iPhoto, a real bonus for anyone that’s been using Apple’s entry level photo application. And now that the price of each has dropped so much, there’s almost no downside to having both. Extreme care was taken to enhance all aspects of her comfort and style, while maintaining her pedigree as a true performance yacht.
As for the iPhone, Apple put Instagram at the top (runners-up were VidRhythm and Band of the Day). Seeing that need of smartphone users, we somehow managed to bring you some of the best photo-editing apps that can really spice up your images.
Moreover, it lets the users to stay connected with the community of those who’re using this nifty app. One thing that really grabs the attention is its custom feature that enables you to write anywhere in any style on the photo.
However, when it comes to taking a pile of images, selecting the best of them, and then making those look awesome quickly, Lightroom is the better application. All the photo editing applications that throw up a grid of photographs to work with give you two primary tools to use to do this: star ratings on a zero to five scale and flags that let you either mark interest in an image or reject it.
It’s this relative comparison that matters, and in the end it comes down to looking at images side by side and making a gut call based on what your eyes see. After arriving at the final image or set of images I want to do something with, it’s time to make them look their best. Beyond all the common reasons to backup, however, there’s a reason you might not have thought about to make a second copy of your images: It gives you the freedom to delete images at will from your main library.
That worked for a while, but then I started running up against the size limits of hard drives, especially internal ones that fit in a laptop. I then run the the images again and zoom in to check focus and bounce over to the Develop module to dive into highlights and shadows. Modern cameras capture so much information in the highlights that its almost always useful to try to see what you can pull from them. A quick tip to help you get the feel of what each slider does is to run it up and down its full range. The white balance slider changes the interpretation of the red, green, and blue pixels for the different kinds of light you find yourself in. In short, clarity has largely obviated any need for the kinds of global sharpening that were needed before. Its interesting that the human eye tends to see things with more clarity than are represented in camera image sensors and perhaps why some folks respond to strongly towards highly saturated and contrasty images.
And, if you find yourself doing the same corrections often, you can save a preset to quickly apply any time you’d like.
The latest version of Lightroom goes far beyond what most other programs can do in terms of reducing noise without making an image look plastic. By default, Lightroom usually does a pretty good job with its default settings, but you should experiment with them for noisier photographs.
It’s really easy to go overboard, but there are times when adding a bit more than the Lightroom default is called for, especIally with a photograph like the one above with lots of super-fine detail.
They’ve also pulled in a feature from Photoshop that can analyze and straighten many images to correct for a slight tilt in the way you aimed your camera. Even though it’s the same functionality as what you get by opening up a RAW file in Photoshop, it’s so much better organized in Lightroom that using the Photoshop interface is a headache in comparison.
Then, I bumped up the contrast and pulled in shadows and highlights to tame the huge dynamic range in the photo.
I had a conundrum: I wanted to be able to always have my best photographs with me, but I certainly didn’t need the 80% of my work that I wasn’t interested in.
Occasionally, I hit B — which adds the image to the quick collection — to mark something I want to find later.
You’ll see its effect go from subtle to overkill and can then dial it back to a level that feels good to you. If that goes over your head, remember it this way: Indoor lights are typically yellower than outdoor sunlight, and light in the shade tends to be quite blue. You also shouldn’t ignore the negative values of saturation and vibrance and how that can affect the mood of your images or even correct them back to what you saw and felt when you made the photograph. Second is a web page generator, but I have to be honest with you, I’m not really keen on it.
Yet, I didn’t want to permanently delete the cruft because there might be a gem in there I would regret deleting later. Finally, if I have images to merge into a panaroma, I color them blue and stack them together.
In any case, after trying to organize some portfolios in Lightroom for the past few years and not making headway, I suddenly made a lot of headway when I went back to Aperture to do it. Normally, I wouldn’t ever use this much clarity, but this particular photo responded well to it, so I went with it. This lets you quickly and easily ignore everything else and just compare the photographs that caught your eye.



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