Sunday, November 18, 2012

Autofix Revisited

Its been a long time since I looked at autofix features in software, mostly because I consider them a feature or button that takes up valuable screen space. However I had a prompt to revisit this concept after I noticed a nifty light weight app call Color Leap on the google play site (for android phones). Its claims that “true photo enhancement was never so easy.” seemed a bit extravagant and in need of testing. I have noticed cameraphones have particular limitations when they are pointed towards the light, and particular contrasty backlit subjects. They are often hazy,having flared highlights and underexposed detail, they just look flat!  Well Color leap promises to do 4 common enhancement without any user intervention, no buttons with weird names no sliders. promises to remove under and over exposure, fix problems like smoke, haze and dirty lens smears, reduce “colour” noise in low light conditions and even sharpen objects that are “slightly” out of focus. So it was out with my HTC Wildfire and off to get a few examples. I’m sure I could have taken worse photos, but I just wanted to take some realistic examples and I used my phone’s basic camera so I had an original reference photo (you can also take the photo directly in colour leap) I then processed each “on the phone” from the gallery using the color leap app which is truly as simple and automatic as claimed, with the option to view both the original and processed result using a toggle key overlay at the bottom of the screen. I finally loaded the originals onto my computer and used Picasa’s I’m feeling lucky and Lightroom’s Auto White Balance/Auto Tone Combination. So the verdict:  clearly all the Autofixes offer some improvement but as to which is good, better or best is a more objective judgment.
Original
Color Leap
Picasa/Google+
Lightroom
IMAG0688 2012-11-18 04.49.05-proc IMAG0688-001 IMAG0688-2
IMAG0685 2012-11-18 04.49.28-proc IMAG0685-001 IMAG0685-2
IMAG0686 2012-11-18 04.48.34-proc IMAG0686-001 IMAG0686-2
Whilst I actually seldom use the Autofix features of my software I would like to suggest that as you are learning your own style of photo processing it doesn’t hurt to “have a quick look” at these best automatic attempt at “enhancement” and then do better with your own little tweaks. If you are just looking to quickly upload your photos to instagram, twiitter or facebook maybe color leap will get you there without much effort and no manual to read or complex controls to remember.
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