Sunday, June 17, 2012


That there is not an easy way to use a digital photography editing application to get pictures to look their natural best is an accepted fact. Most see it is a steep software learning curve and competence using it takes a lot of practice. Images have many attributes like optimization to fit a computer file-space, Adobe calls levels, and then there is brightness, contrast, saturation, color balance sharpness and more. No one button click will do this in any of the image editing applications automatically found in consumer use today, except the first auto-Levels in Photoshop works quite reliably - but there is a long road yet to travel to perfection. The solution requires the image is open and displayed on a computer screen so you can see it and recognize what needs adjustment. The problem is that process does not provide the computer being used with any understanding of what the picture is your viewing.
For those of us who understand a digital image is a matrix of pixels and each one has five numerical values , an XY number set that locates the pixel’s location in the matrix, and a set of three RGB numbers that identify the pixel’s color. Whether the pixel information was made by digital camera with it’s own sensor that has a matrix of cells that function like millions of individual tricolor light meters or a scanner that does a similar thing essentially, a picture is not inherent in that mechanical information until it is reproduced by a computer screen and software or with a digital color printer. In other words, our computers are not aware we are dealing with pictures, just a lot of numbers for pixels whose pattern reveals a picture when reproduced. The users’ vision provides the recognition of what the subject of the picture is, but the hardware and software is not aware if it’s an image of a motorcycle or a horse, a cat or a chicken - we know what the subject is by seeing it, the machine and its software doesn’t.
These two disparate forms of information, a computer file and an image of reality do not come together in any sensible fashion for individuals. But in the world of media where newspapers, magazines use large numbers of images these two distinct kinds of image information have been brought together to efficiently process and enhance image quality for specific purposes. Over a decade ago Elpical in Europe has been providing an automated image enhancement service to media that combines objective image data and means to identify picture subjects based on acquired information through image processing that has resulted in an effective automatic enhancement that recognizes and identifies the kind of image that is being adjusted.
Just recently Elliptical made an individual user application software called Organic Imaging available. Immediately after the announcement at the DRUPA convention in Dusseldorf, Germany I downloaded a beta version of Organic Imaging. I found first that it does not have the distorting faults of the consumer image editing automatic adjustments, Organic Imaging recognizes when an image is ideally edited manually and leaves the file intact without change. To test it positively I made a selection of atypical, difficult to edit color slides, and scanned them to high-bit raw TIFF files. I processed these with Organic Imaging, and a separate set with Photoshop’s three auto adjustments, and finally took the raw originals through my personal workflow using SilverFast HDR for editing adjustment to finished ready to print 8-bit TIFF files. Organic Imaging enhanced and edited these image to results close to or exactly how I would do the processing manually. By the time this series of tests was done a release version of Organic Imaging was available I downloaded and installed. I then took some dSLR Raw files from my archives, converted them to raw 16-bit TIFF files and ran them through Organic Imaging with equally good results.
It is not just that Organic Imaging does an effective job of automatic image enhancement because it incorporates a recognition of picture subjects, but it is also a very easy to use and affordable software solution. There is no charge to download the Organic Imaging software from, and the processing of the first 250 images is also free. If you try it and like what you obtain enhancing 250 images, you can pay with a credit card through PayPal inside the application to process more at a modest rate each. 

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