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Review update Piccure V3

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Review update: Piccure+ V3

Software correct images for lens blur and shake


Keith has regularly used Piccure+ since it first appeared, and found it to be really helpful with some images, if you were careful with its application.

As opposed to other software, based on lens profiles, it also worked well for unusual lenses such as images taken with shifted lenses.

For more details of the software see the Piccure+ web site.

Update 2018 Piccure+ does not seem to be for sale, but you can still download software (marked as a trial)

V3 of the Piccure plus image processing plugin

For more details of the software see the Piccure+ web site.

V3 of the software has been announced, with a number of changes and in this short review update Keith has a quick look at these changes.

If you’re new to the software, it’s probably best to read the much more detailed review of Piccure+ and also of V2.5 first.

I’ve a few examples here, but if you feel that a tool like this may be of use, then do get the free trial version of the software. As I’ve mentioned in the previous reviews, take time to see how best to fit the software into your workflow. If you are after optimal results you will need to take time to look at how Piccure+ works.

Changes in V3

The main change is a general improvement in processing speed, although I noticed the overall improvement in the design of the interface, giving finer control over settings.

If you have the software installed, it’s a free update.

software update for piccure+

Not having any Windows PCs here I’m unable to tell if it actually is ‘up to 6x faster on Windows (with nvidia GPUs)’

The authors list these significant improvements:

  • 50–75% faster RAW processing speed; 20–50% reduction in computation times across settings (CPU only, all platforms).
  • Two additional settings for finer adjustment of optical aberrations (five instead of three).
  • Finer adjustment of “Sharpness” (now called “Rendering”) in Quality+. Sharpness setting 10 in version 3 equals a Sharpness setting of 0 in version 2.5 or earlier. There are thus 10 new “lower and smoother” Sharpness settings available with version 3.
  • New cameras are supported. Fifty-six cameras were added to the list bringing the total to 689 (RAW).
  • Improved and redesigned user interface.

I note too that the Colour profile bug I first noticed when reviewing the software has been fixed and that the software has Retina support on Macs.

Here’s a photo I took on a recent visit to the Yorkshire Dales. It’s using my EF24-70 2.8L lens on a 50MP Canon 5Ds

I’ve opened it in Adobe Camera RAW and am looking at what are the default sharpening settings [amount=25]

sharpening settings for ACR

The 5Ds does show up the age of this lens a bit, but f/6.3 gives fairly good performance.

Here’s a 100% crop with the default RAW sharpening.

default raw sharpening

Here’s the view with the RAW sharpening turned off

sharpening turned off

It’s not a lot, but I’ve found that if you apply any sharpening to an image before processing with Piccure+, then it’s easy to end up with some unwanted sharpening artefacts. Not much, but enough to look wrong to me if I’m making a big print.

One thing to note is that changing the Aberrations slider will cause the next preview generation to be much slower than a change of the rendering slider, so if experimenting, start at ‘normal’ or the step below, and then after the preview appears, adjust the Rendering slider to see changes.

example sharpened section of image

Remember that the 50MP images of the 5Ds can comfortably be printed at 30″ x 20″

An unsharpened/sharpened preview of part of the image above.

comparison of sharpened and unshrpened images

Depending on your lens and camera, and obviously the image content, you might want to experiment with the optical aberrations and rendering sliders.

In the detailed Piccure+ manual (do take time to read it), it’s suggested that correction of several lens distortions can be taken care of in the RAW conversion:

  • Correct chromatic aberrations.
  • Correct vignetting.
  • Correct lens distortion.

I still prefer to run Piccure+ on a copy layer of the image since it lets me decide where sharpening is applied. With large prints I can use control over sharpness as well as tonality to build aspects of my print composition.

This second view (looking across Littondale) has large amounts of fine detail that only really begin to have a visual impact at A2 and above print size.

view across Littondale, Yorkshire

A 100% view at the centre of the image.

sharpened version of centre of image

Piccure bases its corrections on image content rather than any lens data, so works perfectly well for any old lens you might care to try (see more about this in the earlier reviews).

Secondly, a 100% view towards the corners, where lens aberrations are more evident.

sharpened version of corner of image

Conclusions

I’m running the software on a fairly fast MacPro (dual Quad Core Xeon).

Processing does feel faster, but to be fair, I only ever run the software at the Quality+ setting. I can’t see any reason I’d use it for my work at anything lower.

The finer controls are welcome, but don’t expect massive changes. You are looking right into the finest detail in your files, and you should always remember the final use of your image.

The new version has expanded RAW support, but since you have no control over the RAW processing, it’s a feature I can’t say I’d use.

Piccure+ already had a place in my large image/print workflow, where its ability to work with shifted images (using my TS-E17 or 24mm shift lenses) is unique.

Sharpening at this stage of editing my images can have a noticeable effect on print quality at the end of the process, but you need to take time to really understand and optimise your print workflow.

You can make comments and ask questions about this review below.

Summary

An application that sharpens images in a way that greatly reduces the effects of lens softness. It also allows correction for a degree of camera shake.

Updated version is faster. Perhaps still too slow for general use but very powerful.

A working demo is available from Piccure.

For more details of the software see the Piccure+ web site.

Update 2018 Piccure+ does not seem to be for sale, but you can still download software (marked as a trial)

System requirements

  • Windows and Mac standalone App
  • Mac OSX Minimum version 10.9
  • Plugin for Photoshop (CS4 or newer), Lightroom 3 (or newer), Photoshop Elements (version 7 or newer)
  • Helper application for Capture One (V8) and DxO Optics Pro (V10)

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