Review of PL 32 in Australia

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greenmorpher
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Review of PL 32 in Australia

Post by greenmorpher » Thu 12 Jul 2007 05:09

Hello Gerhard and Martin

My review of PL 32 has appeared in PC Update which is the monthly member magazine for the biggest PC Users' group in the world, the Melbourne PC Users' Group in Australia, with 10,000+ members.

I hope it helps. It includes a picture of me, very usefully touched up and distorted in PL 32. A couple of readers who are friends of mine emailed to say how much better I look with the distortion!

I've mailed a copy to you airmail. Keep a watch on your mail box! :D

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Post by lutz » Fri 13 Jul 2007 21:17

Hello Geoff,

since many people will not be able to get the Australian magazine; could it be possible that the review will be accidently "leaked" onto the internet some day?

thanks
Lutz

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Post by greenmorpher » Sat 14 Jul 2007 04:26

Hiya Lutz

I was waiting until it got up. It should appear pretty soon at http://www.melbpc.org.au/pcupdate/

The cover is there! :wink:

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Post by lutz » Wed 18 Jul 2007 03:43

Thanks Geoff,

I am certainly curious.

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Post by greenmorpher » Thu 25 Oct 2007 01:48

Hi guys

I have checked and it seems that none of the "PC Update" magazines have been posted for this year (it is turned into web fodder by a volunteer who obviously isn't working smart -- why don't they just do a low rez PDF?), so I have made a quick PDF (in PL 32, of course) of my review and the illustrations which accompanied it, for you to download. It is 710 kb.

http://www.marketnow.com.au/PL32_Review ... Update.pdf

On re-reading it, I feel I should have emphasised more to how feature rich PL32 in fact is. In truth, I wasn't aware of that at the time. I'll try to find time to write an updater for the December issue.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Post by lutz » Thu 25 Oct 2007 02:23

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the link. I believe you did a great job - and you packed already a lot of features into the review. If you are really going to write an update you might want to mention the 16-bit and LAB space capabilities throughout - and there will be certainly some new stuff; a.k.a. version 14.

"... a small degree of blur was added to make it look sharper. "
I guess that is Australian humor?

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Post by greenmorpher » Thu 25 Oct 2007 10:02

lutz wrote:Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the link. I believe you did a great job - and you packed already a lot of features into the review. If you are really going to write an update you might want to mention the 16-bit and LAB space capabilities throughout - and there will be certainly some new stuff; a.k.a. version 14.
You make me blush with embarrassment at my ignorance, Lutz. :oops:

I know what 16 bit is but I don't know what you mean by "throughout" in reference to it, and I really have no idea what "LAB space" means and why anyone should talk about it! 8-)

Maybe I'll hold off on an update until v.14. If I go earlier, I'll put up a note here and ask everyone to name their favourite thing and give me a sentence or two of explanation as to why it is important and the kind of work others might want to do with it.
"... a small degree of blur was added to make it look sharper. "
I guess that is Australian humor?
Well, no, it's not actually, it is intentional -- that's what I actually did, for that reason, and I found PL32's Menu bar | Filter | Blue | Soften tool excellent. The picture was used at a fairly high magnification and was a touch "grainy" due to noise so softening by a fraction actually made it look sharper because it took the edge off the graininess and focussed the eye on the the features.

It's a variation of what we used to do in enlarging in the good(?) old days -- if a negative was a little too grainy at the magnification we wanted to print, we would adjust the enlarger lens to put the image just a fraction out of focus so that the images of the individual grains of silver "spread" in the print.

I have a plug-in called "Noise Ninja" which I have used for much more extreme cases than this and it works in the same sort of way -- go a step too far, though, and your photo looks as though it is spray painted!

My mate, Peter Lembrechts, http://www.lembrechtsart.be/ used this just recently as one of half-a-dozen techniques he applied to improve a scan of an ancient picture of my family taken with a Kodak Box Brownie and its disgusting upside-down flash -- so I'm not the only one! :D

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Adding Noise to Clarify

Post by Koyaanis » Thu 25 Oct 2007 12:25

(Downloading the review while typing this, will comment on that next time I sign in. :-) )

You may be noticing something that I accidentally discovered one winter. Bear with in this explanation.

I was snowed in for a few months, and had no net-access then. So I was frequently scanning short-wave and ham-radio frequencies looking for things that might be interesting to listen to. I had left my radio on in the living room on a station that was very noisy, but they were saying interesting things. I had to go make supper in the kitchen. I turned up the radio volume so I could hear it in the other room while working. Also increasing the noise level.

It was almost impossible to make out what was being said, but no matter, I was busy. Then I realized I needed to put more wood on the fire, so I cranked up the fire and turned on the forced-air heater that I made for my wood-burning stove. I went back into the kitchen to cook.

WEIRD!! The noise from the fan now made the sound from the radio clean and understandable. I experimented and turned off the fan again. I could hardly understand what was being said from the other room. I turned the fan on again. I could understand what was being said. It wasn't the motor from the fan cleaning up the electrical radio signal. The audio noise from that signal was just as pronounced as ever when I'd go into the living-room to hear it. It was only by hearing that radio station THROUGH the audio noise of the fan (walking past it and away, so the noise from the fan was between me and the radio, adding that noise into the radio noise), that the audio signal was now understandable.

I've since discovered this unique psychological phenomenon applies visually too. If you introduce a KNOWN and constant noise signal, the mind is able to add that into the noise from the source, and you can perceive more useful data out of that original signal.

Try it sometime on some funky noisy photos. Add some known noise using any of the filters for that purpose. The image will become more noisy, but the original noise disappears in that new noise. The details in the image become easier to see.

If people weren't so picayune about having clean images all the time and adamant about making sure every pixel in an image was clean, I would use this "add noise to remove noise" more often in my photography because it's so amazingly effective. It's much easier to add a known noise to clean up the perception of details in an image than try to remove noise and losing details in the process.

Hopefully, by mentioning this, and sharing my findings, it might become a more common practice and an acceptable way of displaying some exceptional photography that could be ruined by using traditional noise-removal methods. I'm an available-light photography addict. Noise is my nemesis. Any way that I can find to reduce the perception of it and find ways to make the detail more perceptible is a huge plus in my world.

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Post by greenmorpher » Thu 25 Oct 2007 12:44

Ho, that's na interesting one! Do you mind if I copy it over to the Wizaerd's Canvas forum, Koyaanis? Some of the buys will be very interested, I think.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Post by Koyaanis » Thu 25 Oct 2007 13:05

greenmorpher wrote:Ho, that's na interesting one! Do you mind if I copy it over to the Wizaerd's Canvas forum, Koyaanis? Some of the buys will be very interested, I think.
Please do! If adding noise to remove noise became a common and acceptable practice in digital photography .... I could submit tons more of my photography without fear of ridicule. :-)

We need a social paradigm shift over this. It's truly an effective way to deal with noise in any arena where human perception is concerned. Think about how you deal with an itch. You introduce noise around that itch to make the itch go away. Same thing! This works on so many levels and with so many things.

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Post by Hoogo » Thu 25 Oct 2007 13:05

It's a little bit like looking at very small thumbnails. Look at them and you can recognize the person shown on that picture. Enlarge it 800% that it fills the screen and you see nothing but blocks or some washed anything... unless you glimpse through nearly closed eyelids at it, then it looks sharp and recognizable again.

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Post by Koyaanis » Thu 25 Oct 2007 13:09

Hoogo wrote:It's a little bit like looking at very small thumbnails. Look at them and you can recognize the person shown on that picture. Enlarge it 800% that it fills the screen and you see nothing but blocks or some washed anything... unless you glimpse through nearly closed eyelids at it, then it looks sharp and recognizable again.
Another good example. :-)

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Post by greenmorpher » Tue 30 Oct 2007 10:41

Hiya Koyaanis et al

Me mate Peter has sent me a recent example of using added noise as one of the steps towards improving an old photo of himself. Don't laugh at the hair of a quarter of a century ago!

I have posted his illustrations of the three steps in a 2.6MB JPEG, which you can download by visiting: http://www.marketnow.com.au/PETERS_NOISE.jpg

I left the file rather big so you could see clearly what he has done. When you open the document in PL32, it will be 35 cm width.

Here's his narrative:
About " noise ". It all depends on the image you are working on.

I usually add noise to make it look "even" after having used the clone tool or painted on top of the image. It gives an even grain and sure does make it "feel " sharper most of the time.

As an example, here is a shocking image of yours truly while working as a panel beater / mechanic in a local garage from 1981 to 1986.

The picture was taken by a friend in the summer of 1983 - I know that exactly, since I am wearing a tie and a light blue shirt, because I was in civil service back then. We were 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off - during which I worked in the garage!

The garage was like heaven. We had a lot of fun there and it was known as a place where anything could be fixed (we had customers from all over our small country) and people still talk about it today, while it closed down some 20 years ago when the owner got ill.

About the picture then:

It was scanned from a badly scratched photo, so I wanted to clean it up a bit.

1) I selected the dark areas (mostly these show more scratches) and put that selection on a new layer (blurring the edges of course).

2) Then I used the " dust and scratches " filter to remove most of the artefacts (background_blur.jpg).

3) I then sharpened the foreground layer and added a noise filter to the background to match the foreground.

ORIGINAL image shows at left, EDITED on right.

I didn't change the color - though it could do with some adjustments - but I only wanted it to print properly ( there' s not a lot of pictures of me around - certainly not from that era :P )
Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Post by Koyaanis » Tue 30 Oct 2007 17:07

Thanks for providing a sample (of what I already knew :-) ) but on my rural dial-up bandwidth (1.9KBs), I cringe at any files over 100k.

And back on topic, I read your PDF article. Nice. But you left out so many important things to mention. I agree that the HIS and Lab modes should have been mentioned. Even PhotoShop doesn't have that variety, nor can it edit them individually with each tool just by clicking a little L, a, or b button on each tool or filter.

Another non-mentioned but important bit is the phenomenal raster to vector conversions it can do. Not even dedicated raster to vector stand-alone applications do as nice a job with that as PL32 can do. (I've tested them all looking for a decent one.) PhotoShop can't convert a raster layer to a path or mask, PSP can't do it with more than text. None of the advanced graphic editors can. (Can Canvas? I've never checked.) If you need to have some text follow the yellow edge of a sunset just do a quick raster to vector conversion then apply the text to follow the vector curve of the sunset. Do you need to have some text printed around the edge of someone's hat? Raster to vector. No other editor on earth can do that. Do you need to convert your image into one that you can up-size to a billboard without making the edges blurred? Raster to vector, enlarge it as much as you want. Do you need to have the name of a river and its tributaries follow the convoluted shape it makes in some satellite photo that you are turning into a map for your kayaking trip? Raster to vector. Do you want to convert your image into a paint-by-number for your kids with separate pages for each color on their paint palette, to show them which sections to paint in which colors? Raster to vector. The only reason people don't realize how important it is, is that they've never had it at their immediate disposal. Need to create complex masks? (You've seen what it can do there. :-) )

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Post by Koyaanis » Tue 30 Oct 2007 17:55

P.S. Can I ask a favor Greenmorpher?

Would you be so kind as to put your HUGE signature line in your profile options in the area just for that purpose, instead of pasting it to every one of your posts? It's very annoying trying to figure out where your post ends and your sig begins. It takes up so much space on every page too.

Thanks.