9/26/2006 LightZone 2.0 Beta
Disclosure: As a photographic
advisor to Light Crafts Inc. we are partly involved in the development
of LightZone 2.0 (mainly requesting features and testing the
software). Still what we write is our personal opinion and not
the one by
When we discovered LightZone (read
our review especially if you are new to LightZone)
in December 2005 we found this to be an application with
improved its tool set quite impressively with the latest version
So far LightZone's workflow features (mainly the browser) had
been very basic but this is changing now with version 2.0.
Lets revisit our initial list of what we found missing
- Selections via color range (still open)
- Printing with black point compensation (part of V1.6))
- Set the color of the
background (open but also minor issue)
- Copy/paste of settings (stacks) (part of 2.0)
- WB with an select neutral
option (part of 2.0)
- Improved noise removal (part of 1.6)
- Presets per tool (open but can be done with tools templates
- Easier integration with 3rd party RAW converters (no real
need because 1.5 LZ has an improved raw converter itself)
This clearly shows that LightCrafts is listening to the demands
of its users.
The rest of this introduction will highlight the new and improved
features in LightZone 2.0. Best you download a free demo version
and experience the new version 2.0 yourself.
Note: A great way to learn LightZone is to
look at the entries in our LigthZone
Contests. Here other readers
share what they do to improve images with LightZone. Because
you get all the steps of the processing you can learn from their
Browser in Standard Layout
The browser in 2.0 uses the proven layout
of current raw converters (but remember that LightZone is not
just a RAW converter because it allows powerful selective editing).
Via simple keyboard shortcuts or
the menu the Browser can be switched into the Editor Layout which
much larger image window.
A very nice feature in the new
LightZone 2.0 Browser is the grouping of files. RAW files and
the LZN files that use these RAW files get grouped so that you
can see that they belong together.
New and Improved Tools
Sharpening now allow the use of
a Threshold to avoid sharpening of noise.
Color Balance (new)
This tool mainly allows to treat
color casts in different tone ranges separately. You can e.g.
correct a cast in the shadows different than in the highlights.
This is very important because often the shadows and the highlights
are illuminated by different light sources.
White Balance (improved)
Finally LightZone got a color picker
to adjust the global white balance via neutral gray objects.
Because you can restrict all tools to Regions you may of course
even change the white balance of selected areas.
Spot Tool (new)
The Spot tool is essentially based
on the LightZone Clone tool. But you can apply corrections much
faster by just clicking on spots. Later you can fine tune the
clone source and size. Combined with the new
tools templates you can even copy a spot layer from one image
images (dust spots often show in exactly the same locations).
This is a very powerful feature
in version 2.0. The are two ways to copy tool stacks from one
image to many other images.
1. Copy/Past of tools
You just copy the tool stack from
one image to as many images as you like. Most settings get copied
including all regions. This allows unheard batch correction to
other images. More details will discussed in our soon released
LightZone chapter as part of our RAW book.
2. Save and apply named templates
Save and Apply Templates
This way you can create a whole
library of tool sets that can be applied to other images (somehow
like Photoshop actions but because of even copying regions it
can be even somehow more powerful).
Tool Templates are real time
What is still missing?
- Selections via color range (expect this in one of the next
versions after 2.0)
- Lens corrections and perspective corrections (also on the
Note: We worked for the last 30 to 40 days
with early versions of LightZone 2.0 and revisited likely over
1000 of our images from 2003-2006. In nearly all cases we were
able to get as good or better results as ever before and this
with less effort (more intuitive). Without the new "Apply Template"
feature it would not have been possible.
3/19/2007 LightZone 2.3 released
The LightZone 2.3 improves focuses on the integration
with Lightroom, Aperture and iPhoto (we use LightZone with Lightroom
all the time and can tell it works very well).
Special LightZone Basic (LightZone without the
browser, you use the browsers of your organizers) offer for Lightroom,
Aperture and iPhoto users:
We quote: "..Beginning 3/19/2007, Light
Crafts will offer LightZone Basic, its best-of-breed photo-editing
rate of $99.95 (regular price: $149.95) to Lightroom and Aperture
users, enabling them to take advantage of patented visual editing
technology seamlessly within these proprietary
photo databases.". Also DOP readers get a special discount
New B&W Tool
LightZone BW Tool
For BW we use nearly always LightZone. The entirely
new B&W filter even improves on the version before by featuring:
- Keeps Luminosity constant (independent of filter used)
- Can show the effects of color filters fast
- The combination of BW Tool, Hue/Sat, ZoneMapper and ToneMapper
is hard to beat for BW