Posts Tagged ‘amateurphotographer’

What’s that? You want more ways to stay organized and find things quickly? Well, not to worry. ACDSee has a variety of styles in which you can organize, so you can really just pick your favorite. Potentially your new favorite way to organize involves using the Collections tool. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You collect photos based on a common variable. That variable is up to you. And then you can find them super easy. Collections is a powerful grouping and search query tool, and is arguably the most efficient way of finding elusive photos.

You might choose to group based on the camera used, or maybe the size of the image. Or you might make collections for workflow purposes, such as collecting images you intend to share or process. It’s up to you — and you don’t have to explain your decisions to anyone!

To Create a Collection:
  1. In Manage mode, at the bottom of the Folders pane, select Collections, which is tabbed with Catalog and Calendar.
  2. In the Collections pane, right-click and select Create Collection… from the context menu.
  3. In the Create Collection dialog box, make some decisions. Name your collection—that’s obvious. In the Location section, you can choose to place this collection inside of a previously existing collection. But assuming this is your first time and that you do not have a time machine, you can overlook this part this time.
    Under Options, select Include selected photos to effectively achieve two steps in one: creating a collection and adding the selected photos to it right away. But adding images to your collection after the fact is not difficult, so don’t sweat it if you didn’t have any photos selected. And then select Set as target collection to say that this is the collection you want to be able to send photos to with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + C.
  4. name_collectionPress the Create button.
Adding Photos to Collections

Now there’s a number of ways you can add the photos you want to your new collection. You can right-click the images in the File List pane and choose Collections | Add to | [name of the collection]. Or you can do the ol’ drag and drop your images from the File List pane onto the collection inside the Collections pane.


Or, with the Organize tab of the Properties pane open, you can select the images in the File List pane and select the checkbox next to the collection.


If you didn’t set your collection as the target collection in the set up phase, or if you want to change the target to another collection, you can do it at any time by right-clicking the collection and choosing Set as Target Collection. A target collection will display a blue circle icon next to it in the Collections pane. It looks like this:


With your target collection set, you can easily add as you go by selecting the image(s) and pressing Ctrl + Alt + C.

Before we go any further, let’s cover what to do if you were sleeping and put the wrong images in the wrong collection. Select the collection in the Collections pane. Then right-click the image(s) in the File List pane and choose Collections | Remove from Selected Collection.


This won’t delete the image(s). It will only remove it/them from the collection. As you can see, you can also opt to remove it/them from all collections.

Finding Images with Collections

Now for the interesting part. While grouping your images is fun, a collection’s true purpose is to be ridiculously awesome at finding the images you need at any given time. This is where smart collections come in. It’s not that the average collection lacks intelligence, but more that a smart collection’s IQ is off the chart. A smart collection is a collection with a query built inside of it. Yes, inside. How does it get there? You, my friend, specify what you want it to be and the images that fit your query will show up in your smart collection.

Well that sounds kind of complicated. Technically speaking, it probably is. But for you, it’s positively accessible. Search queries get saved to the database and when you catalog new images in the future, the ones that fit your search query criteria will automatically show up in your smart collection.

So let’s make a number of smart collections and see what we can find.

  1. In the Collections pane, right-click and select Create Smart Collection… from the context menu.
  2. In the Create Smart Collection dialog box, enter a name for your collection—something that will help you remember what search query it contains. In the Location section, leave the Inside a Collection Set checkbox enabled to place the collection under the Smart Collections folder to keep it separate from not smart regular collections. In the Match section, press the Add button.
  3. In the Add Search Criteria dialog box, choose criteria by clicking the plus + signs to expand the tree and toggling the checkboxes on and off to select your properties.
  4. Press OK.
  5. Refine each item by clicking the underlined variables and selecting an option from the drop-down, or entering a number or word into the field.
  6. Press OK. Select the smart collection in the Collections pane to reveal the results of the query.

There are a wide variety of search queries you can create. Let’s say you’re looking for some photos you’ve uploaded but you don’t know exactly when. You know it had to be some time between the present day and April 2014. These would not be difficult to find. In the Add Search Criteria dialog box, expand the EXIF section, then expand the Image section. Here, check the box beside Date/Time. Press OK.

You can refine a date and time range by selecting the underlined date. This will open the Select Time Range dialog box, where you can specify down to the second.


Press OK.

You can further define by clicking the underlined word between the property and the date and selecting an alternative. By choosing “is within”, the smart collection will take the amount of time between the two dates and apply that relative to the present date. What this means is that the query will always return images within the past 731 days. There’s no need to update it.


And that’s that. Happy hunting!

Let’s talk about lens distortion. It happens to us all, even if we don’t realize it. It’s not complicated to fix, but it is a bit complicated to describe, so I will do my best to make it clear for you.

In barrel distortion the photo appears to bulge outwards from the center. In pincushion distortion the photo appears to shrink inwards towards the center. Barrel and pincushion distortion are common in photos that were taken with wide angle or zoom lenses. Can’t visualize it?

Here is your image distortion-free:


Now here’s an example of what a barrel distortion would do to that:


And pincushion:


But fear not — you can correct barrel and pincushion distortion. In ACDSee Pro 9 or Ultimate 9, you have the option of manual correction, or lens correction based on your lens profile. This time, I’m going to talk about automatic correction, which is based on your lens profile. What’s a lens profile? It means you can select the make, model, and lens of the camera used and receive a correction that is lens-specific. It corrects the distortion inherent to the lens used. The Lens Correction tool contains a database of camera makes, models, and their possible lenses. The possible lenses for the selected camera will be available for you to choose from the Lens drop-down menu, unless there is only one possible lens, in which case, that lens will be pre-selected.

You can also map the correction specific to your lens, (the lens profile), to your camera make, model, and lens combination. Mapping the lens profile will enable you to apply the correction to all images with the same camera-lens combination that you open in the Develop mode Lens Correction tool, should you choose.

To Automatically Correct Lens Distortion:

1. Open your image in Develop mode, and click the Geometry tab.

2. Open the Lens Correction group.

3. Select the Enable Lens Profile checkbox.


4. Often, ACDSee detects the correct camera make and model. However, if it does not pre-populate, use the Make and Model drop-down menus to select the make and model of the camera used to take this particular photo.

5. Next, select the lens model from the Lens drop-down menu. If you’re not sure what the lens model is, you can refer to your EXIF information in the bottom right corner.


It’s probably worth mentioning that the lens value displayed in the EXIF information may not be reliable in the case of third party lenses, as the camera itself may only recognize the third party lens as an ID number. If possible, recover the correct lens value and select it from the Lens drop-down menu.

The correction will occur instantly. Tip: To observe the difference, toggle the Show Original button in the bottom left corner.


Some results are fairly apparent, depending on the amount of distortion:


Others, less so:



(Don’t ask me what that is a photo of. Sea creatures? Confectionery?)

Now you have the option of saving this lens profile as a default for future use on other images with this camera make/model and lens combination. This will save you a ton of time if you’ve got a bazillion photos with the same camera/lens combo. As this function relies on EXIF data, this can mainly be performed with JPEG, DNG, RAW, and TIFF images.

To Save Your Lens Profile as a Default:

1. With your desired camera and lens combination selected, press the Map Default button.

2. Optional: Select the Auto-apply this mapped profile when entering Develop mode checkbox to apply the mapped default to future images upon entering Develop mode.

3. Press OK.


You can also manage your saved defaults, should you decide later on that you don’t want certain lens profiles anymore.

1. Press the Manage Defaults button in the Lens Correction group.

2. In the Manage Mapped Defaults dialog, you can select any profile from the list and delete it by pressing the Delete Mapped Default button.

3. Press OK.

And that’s that! Happy perfecting your images!


If you’ve never driven a standard transmission, it’s possible you’ve wondered why anyone would bother with a car that involves extra work to drive. Sure, you look cool doing it… But seriously, foot-hand coordination? Why?

One word: Control. The Tone Curves tool is like the stick shift of photo light and color adjustments. Yes, you can use lighting and exposure tools, but Tone Curves gives you a whole other level of control over the tonal range. You can select specific colors, (red, blue, or green), to adjust, or the entire range of the image. And then still adjust lighting and exposure after and beyond to get the image just how you like it.

Let us first look at adjusting contrast and learn how the tool works. Begin with an image in Edit mode (or Develop for non-destructive adjustments if you’re a Pro or Ultimate user). In the Exposure/Lighting section, open the Tone Curves tool.


Inside the tool, notice the bars on either side of the x and y axis of the graph.


The dark area of the bar represents the shadows in your image. The middle represents the midtones, and the white area is the lightest parts of your image. You’re ultimately trying to improve the contrast of the image by changing which pixels map to the brighter area of the graph and which map to the darker area.


Let’s take a closer look. The following photo is nothing special, but it is helpful for demonstrating the concept behind the graph. The input, represented on the x axis, shows you what tonal range the pixels in your image fall into. The Output, or the y axis, shows you where any of the given tones are mapped to. Look at any point on your x axis, find where it hits on the curve (the line through the graph), and then find where that hits the y axis: this is where the tone is being mapped to. As you can see in the histogram of this image, most of the pixels are concentrated in the area closest to where the axes converge — the shadows. And, as we haven’t made any changes yet, their output is also mapped to the shadows.


Now, for the sake of understanding, check out what happens when I move the curve down.


Even the pixels at the lightest point on the x axis are mapped low into the shadowy area on the y axis, hence the image is almost entirely black. Conversely, on this image below, I have moved the curve up, so even the darkest pixels on the x axis are mapped high into the light area of the y axis, and therefore, the image is significantly lightened.


Generally, you want to achieve heightened contrast in your image. And this is done by what we call an “S curve”. It’s when you make an S with the curve, (you don’t say!), dragging the shadow section down, darkening the darkest pixels, and dragging the lights up into the highlight section, lightening the whitest pixels in the image. However, it’s important to note that you can’t add contrast to one tonal region without decreasing it in another region. The steeper you make the curve in the shadow region, the more detail you will get.

This image starts out kind of flat.


But then—Tone Curves tool! Through an S curve, I made the dark darker and the light lighter, achieving greater overall contrast.


But this is what happens if you get out of hand….Ok, it’s kind of fun.


Adjusting the Tone Curves tool is a useful time to take advantage of the Exposure Warning. Exposure Warning (blue)1 In the upper left corner of the tool, enable the button in order to display clipped shadows and highlights. Click the icon or press E on the keyboard, to highlight over- and under-exposed areas of the image.

You can also adjust the tonal range on a color by color basis. From the Channel drop-down menu, choose a color channel.


Play with the curve to get the effect you want. Less is more if you are seeking a natural look.


From this point, you can really take it wherever you want, be that adjusting it in other tools, or being satisfied and sharing it in a variety of ways. That’s basically it. Hopefully this has shed some light on how to use the Tone Curves tool. I know at first I found the look of this graph as daunting as my first hill start in a standard. (A graph?? I don’t do math!) But once you understand how it works, it’s easy to get your lighting, color, and contrast show on the road. ;D