Saturday, September 24, 2022

DALL-E 2 Showcase: NYC Skyline

For these I simply prompted: "View of New York City skyline at dawn with the sky beginning to turn pink behind the tall skyscrapers.  Photorealistic digital art."

Friday, September 23, 2022

DALL-E 2 Showcase: Camel Caravan

 For these images I wrote the following prompt:

"Beside the ruins of an ancient African city a camel caravan and Arab traders plod through the Sahara Desert sand dunes under a blazing hot sky.  Digital art in style of French painter Gerome."

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Nikon Announces Power Zoom DX Lens

One of the reasons I recently purchased my Nikon Zfc camera was for possible use in vlogging.  I was happy to learn then that Nikon, when publishing its updated lens roadmap, indicated that a power zoom 12-28 DX lens is in the works.  The advantage to the power zoom, of course, is that it has much smoother operation than can be achieved with my 16-50 kit lens and additionally can be controlled by remote.  The wide angle focal length is also a perfect fit for vlogging uses.  I haven't had any word on pricing yet, but hopefully it will be affordable.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

DALL-E 2 Now Allows Human Face Editing

As those who've been following this blog are well aware, I've been working intensively for the past few weeks with DALL-E 2 AI imaging.  One of the drawbacks to working with it, however, was that in the past the app, though it allowed images to be uploaded so that variations could be generated, forbade the use of human likenesses, presumably from privacy concerns and worries over deepfakes.  Open AI has now apparently resolved these issues to its satisfaction with updates to its safety filters.  Accordingly I hope to soon post here variations on portraits and likenesses from photographs I've shot myself and am legally entitled to edit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

DALL-E 2 Showcase: Nighthawks

In these images I was hoping to recreate something of the mood of Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks and wrote:

"A late night diner with neon sign overhead on empty street.  Through the large window a few lonely customers can be seen seated at counter drinking coffee.  Digital art in the style of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks."

Unfortunately, I didn't think the results were all that successful.


Monday, September 19, 2022

DxO Updates and Synchs Camera and Lens Modules

According to an article in Digital Camera World DxO has not only updated its library of camera/lens modules but has also synched them so that they are all available across the range of its apps.  Since I use not only PhotoLab 5 but FilmPack 6 and Viewpoint 3 as well this is particularly welcome news.  It's always been a revelation to me how improved images appear when chromatic aberration and other distortions are automatically corrected in PhotoLab 5 and other DxO apps.  I would hope that the enlarged database now contains modules for the MFT Lensbaby lenses I use on my Lumix G9.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Topaz Labs Releases Photo AI

Topaz Labs has announced the release of Topaz Photo AI, a new app that effectively combines the developer's three adjustment filters - Sharpen, DeNoise, and Gigapixel - into a single AI powered piece of software that promises to analyze any image opened within it using the new Autopilot feature and then automatically make the necessary corrections to it, though these can be manually overridden if the user wishes full control of the adjustments. In theory, photos can be processed with a single click.

Simply from the point of convenience the app would be a great step forward if it worked as advertised since it would now no longer necessary to move an image from one app to the next in order to make necessary changes as I had routinely done in the past.  Everything could be accomplished in a single step and the user, if satisfied with the AI's recommendations, would need only save the processed image.  

Unfortunately, unless I am doing something wrong, the Autopilot does not appear to work as promised.  In most of the photos I opened in Photo AI the Autopilot, after scanning the image, only reduced the image noise (a green dot appeared next to Remove Noise), which wasn't that much of a problem anyway since the images had all been shot at ISO 800.  I had to manually click on the Sharpen, Recover Faces, and Enhance Resolution tabs - without, however, inputting any manual adjustments - to prompt the app to make corrections in those areas.  (When I then clicked on Reset to Autopilot Settings the image discarded these additional corrections and was noticeably inferior to that on which the prompted adjustments had been made.)  The entire procedure is not particularly cumbersome if one is processing only one or two images; but it is unwieldy, to say the least, if one is attempting to batch process a large number of photos.

Topaz Labs controversially began charging for upgrades to its filters several years ago, and I'm not sure it had all that much luck in convincing users to sign on for the extra payments.  Photo AI is most likely a way of sidestepping the problem by offering customers a new app that essentially does the same work as the three old filters but in a new and streamlined package.  The final images, after following the steps noted in the above paragraph (i..e., clicking on each tab individually), were certainly of excellent quality and decidedly better than I could have attained using the three adjustment filters individually, for which I have to admit I'd never purchased the upgrades.

The introductory price of Photo AI is $159 through October 7th, a savings of $40 off the regular price of $199.  One has to look very closely at the fine print to discover that current users of Topaz products are entitled to an even greater discount.  In any event, the purchase price entitles the user to a year of free upgrades.