Take control of your digital darkroom with Scarab Darkroom

Scarab DarkroomI love digital photography. Unfortunately, I was bitten by the camera bug quite a while back, and I am constantly on the lookout for a new lens, new picture tweaking or developing software and new information to help my pictures become more professional looking. Tools like Scarab Darkroom really fit the bill, too. This Windows based app is something that most every owner of a supported camera should have.

Scarab Darkroom is a digital camera file converter with support for over 100 different camera models. Many digital cameras can take pictures and save them directly as a JPG or other compressed file format, but doing so really limits your ability with what you can do to the file, post production. Many cameras have their own native formats, often called RAW. Most image editing apps don’t support them out of the box. Scarab Darkroom does.

Scarab-Darkroom

The compression algorithm in JPG’s is popular as a storage format – files are usually small and easily transported from one computing system to another. JPG’s are also very popular with web sites like Facebook , Flickr, and Shutterbug. However, when you try to tweak a JPG, you lose a lot of information and detail.

Scarab Darkroom provides support and tools for editing RAW files directly. It allows you to edit fill light, brightness, contrast and black levels and provides a way to edit simple tone curve adjustments. You can also tweak color temperatures and gives you the ability to pick white balance from a gray area in the picture, among other editing options. When you’re done, it provides a lightning fast conversion with excellent detail rendition using a proprietary demosaic algorithm. Basic editing options – crop, resize, etc. are also supported.

Scarab Darkroom is a decent application. Its support for many RAW file formats from Nikon, Sony, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and others is something that can provide value to a great many enthusiasts. The anticipated Pro version is said to have all of the freemium features as well as others including more color controls, a grayscale mixer and noise reduction, among others. A Mac version is also anticipated next year.

Download Scarab Darkroom

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Play any DVD from anywhere in the world with DVD X Player

Sometimes it sucks when the cool movies don’t come to a retail store near you…or even anywhere in your country for that matter. When that happens, you most likely go without, as even if you could get your hands on it, you likely wouldn’t be able to play it because of a differing DVD Region Code encoded on the disc. With DVD X Player, however, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s an awesome video player for Windows.

DVD X Player is a DVD region free player enabling users to watch any region-coded/CSS-encrypted DVD movie on any DVD drive. With DVD X Player, you can play any DVD from any country in the world, even if you have used up your region counter and can no longer change the DVD drive’s region.

DVD X Player can play DVDs from multi-regions including 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,etc anywhere in the world.  The software auto removes restrictions or copyright protection like CSS, PRC Region code, CPPM, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs, ARccOS, RipGuard, Macrovision, etc. for the life of the DVD.   You get to enjoy all your DVDs. movies, videos, photos and music.

The software  supports adjustable lightness, contrast, saturation, and hue color adjustments for the best possible picture quality. You can instantly zoom in or out for all movie details and enjoy in any screen size like Letter Box, Pan&Scan, and Smart Stretch.

The software, is very expensive for a DVD player, and users need to consider how often they will run into or need to play DVD’s from any region in the world. If you do a lot of international traveling this may be worth it to you. If not, then other apps may be a better choice.

download DVD X Player

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Manage and edit your digital photo collection with ACDSee 14

With the holidays fast approaching, people are going to be taking a LOT of digital pictures. With my digital SLR, its easy, and not uncommon for me to take well over 300 pictures at a family gathering. After that, it’s usually transfer, convert and tweak…the first two are easy. The last one, however, can be a bit of a problem as finding the right tools to tweak pictures the way you want isn’t always easy. That’s why I’m glad I’ve got ACDSee 14. It’s an awesome digital photo manager and editor, and its available for Windows.

ACDSee 14 is the ideal photo editor and photo manager for your PC, with all the features you need to organize your photo collection. You can edit and add effects to your images, and share your photos online. You can quickly find and organize your photos, and with its easy-to-use photo editing tools, get a perfect result every time. If you make a mistake, don’t worry. Your originals are always preserved, so you can go back and start over if needed.

Getting the best exposure for your shots is often difficult. It’s easy to ruin a great shot with too much or too little light. If that happens, don’t worry. ACDSee’s patented LCE (Lighting and Contrast Enhancement) technology can instantly lighten shadows and reduce highlights in one click; or you can manually adjust individual sliders to fine tune every aspect of your photo. You can change the tonal range, white balance, and color balance of your photos with its easy-to-use adjustment tools.

You can unleash your creativity with its cool special effects and then share your images through e-mail, social media or your own personal space on ACDSeeOnline.com. You can showcase images in an attractive, advertising-free photo sharing interface and easily manage your online images. To insure that only the “right” people see your shots, ACDSeeOnline.com employs full privacy control. You can also control resolution settings. You’ll have a full 10GB of free storage space for your photo collection.

read full review | download ACDSee 14

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Bring out the best in your digital photographs with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

There are a lot of digital darkrooms and photo organizing apps out there with a number of different and overlapping features. If you serious about photography and want to take serious control of your shots, then you really need the right tool for the job. This is one of the reasons why I like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It’s a multiplatform tool with the tools that professionals and prosumers need.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software helps you bring out the best in your photographs, whether you’re perfecting one image, searching for ten, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands.  With it you can create incredible, moving images. One of the best things about it is that you can fearlessly experiment with state-of-the-art, nondestructive, editing tools. If you make a mistake, it’s easy to revert to an unmodified image, or undo the changes.

Lightroom allows you to easily manage all your images, and showcase your work in elegant print layouts, slide shows, and web galleries. You can also upload them to popular, online, photo-sharing sites.  It’s easy to do all of this directly from within this one, fast, intuitive application.

If you’re an advanced amateur or professional photographer, you need a wide range of tools to keep your digital projects creative and organized. Lightroom provides all your essentials in one intuitive package.  It has a wide range of new features and enhanced capabilities, including faster performance, new world-class noise reduction, lens correction, support for DSLR video files, a process to create easy-to-share slide show videos with music, and much more.

In some cases, light, or the lack of it, can create unwanted noise in your photos, even if you know what you’re doing and you meter and light everything as well as you can.  With Lightroom, you can get just the look you want from every shot with state-of-the art image processing tools that let you easily alter contrast, tune color, convert to black-and-white, add grain, reduce noise, adjust sharpness, and more.  Tools of this quality are important, especially if you’re going to go the extra mile and have the photos professionally printed.

read full review | download Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

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Give your digital photos the professional touch with PhotoFiltre

I’ve said this a couple of times now, but it’s very true – with the Holidays come and gone, you’ve probably taken quite a number of digital photos that you’d like to do something really cool with. I see it nearly every year. Post-holiday sales of graphic apps are generally very good for one reason: people want to retouch their photos and give them a professional touch. This is why I really like applications like PhotoFiltre. It’s a prosumer photo retouching application for Windows.

PhotoFiltre allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters to it. It’s simple and intuitive to use; and has a shallow learning curve. Its toolbar gives you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks. It also gives the application itself, a robust look.

PhotoFiltre has a wide range of filters, allowing novice users to familiarize themselves with the world of graphics. You can find the standard adjustment functions – brightness, contrast, dyed, saturation, gamma correction – and its artistic filters – watercolor, pastels, Indian ink, pointillism, puzzle effect via both toolbars and menus. The application has more than 100 different filters.

PhotoFiltre uses both automatic and lasso/polygon vectored selection methods to select objects and photo elements. Both allow you to select a customized form by drawing a shape by hand or using a series of lines. Every selection can be saved into a separate file, to be used later on.

You can further enhance your photos with PhotoMasque.  You can create advanced contour and transparency effects on your images by using preset masks. PhotoFiltre’s masks are gray scale images, where white is the transparency color.  Opacity increases as the shades of gray become darker. Black is completely opaque. PhotoMasque comes with several basic masks to inspire you to create your own.

Read full review | Download PhotoFiltre

 

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