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What imaging software can do today - and will do in the future

19-Dec-2019

Imaging Software

While in recent years the camera business has always been about glass, magnesium and silicon, today a rather invisible ingredient influences the finished image: software, whether in smartphones, cameras or later on the computer, sets the pace - and will become even more important in the future. But what does this mean for photographers?

The state of the art in imaging software

Let's start with the following: When it comes to software, mobile phone manufacturers are leading, and clearly so. They are closely followed by the providers of the classic ‘processing software’ on the computer. In classic cameras, on the other hand, there is a from-to: While some manufacturers at least integrate smart filters or allow indexing via voice memos, others already consider an internal HDR to be a software symphony.

Wacom at photokina

Wacom Interactive Pen Displays at photokina

HDRs usually make smartphones always, automatically and as a matter of course. But the models have long recognized what you are photographing - and have not stopped at faces for a long time. For example, an iPhone recognizes pets such as rabbits, dogs or cats and automatically adjusts the parameters. The same applies of course to sunsets or even starry skies. Portrait light, live release with artificial Bokeh or directly a studio-like lighted picture can be managed successfully by amateurs.

In particular, the intelligent evaluation of data and recognition of motifs ensures that smartphone photographers score points with results ‘offhand’, while the ‘camera photographer’ has to know and adjust everything himself. Firstly, even a Huawei P30 Pro can already produce ISO 409.600, and secondly, thanks to more intelligent image stabilization, live image calculations or even the use of other color spaces, the cards in the ISO game are completely shuffled anew.

Outsourcing software

After all, classic camera photographers still have the dynamic range as an advantage, and with it it goes to the computer, purely into clever editing programs. Here, too, the focus is on the recognition of motifs or objects: Adobe Photoshop, for example, can now make it easier than ever to crop with the new object selection tool. Skylum goes one step further with the program Luminar 4: Already the predecessor recognized sky and outlines, but the 4er version makes it possible to change the sky including the light mood with one click. In addition there is an intelligent face retouch, which retouches a portrait with one click.

The software company only goes even further with the Photolemur program: the user just puts in a picture, the program edits it on its own. Only the strength or filter effects can be selected. It couldn't be faster or more user-friendly.

Smartphone camera

Smartphones are playing a leading role in the future of imaging.

The future

In general, what works on computers today will also work on mobile phones tomorrow. A clear trend is already emerging and will become even more pronounced: cameras and mobile phones will be able to recognize what is visible and what we want to achieve with the utmost precision while taking photographs. The picture shows a river? The camera automatically suggests a long exposure. This technology is soon to come - even in classic cameras.

Soon there will also be a live improvement of images: Today, live retouching is still more of a blur, but will soon be able to correct precisely. If a photographer doesn't like the sky, he inserts a new one. If a person in the background is annoying, they will be retouched live. And why not change the direction and hardness of the light digitally? Influence the weather? Turn day into night? Artificial intelligence makes it possible. And it will do it more and more automatically - after all, the image-making Homo Sapiens only wants a perfect result and not to be trained as a professional.

Where are creativity and ability left? Well, on the one hand, many of these things already work today - they are just much more strenuous. Secondly, there is still the path to art and creativity; for example with an analogue camera, functioning with ‘natural intelligence’.

Imaging software at photokina 2020

Visit these exhibitors at photokina 2020 for products and more information:

Areal-Media, Loupedeck, Mediaclip, Perfectly Clear by EyeQ , Synology, Taopix, Wacom